All Blacks: Three probing questions

Wynne Gray of the NZ Herald, Patrick McKendry and Daniel Richardson of APNZ and Gregor Paul from the Herald on Sunday answer three probing questions from last night's test between the All Blacks and Australia.

1. What is your assessment of Tom Taylor's test debut?

WG: Taylor did not overplay his work, he used and listened to the experience all round him and then went about the work he knows. Strong debut, obviously got the temperament, tough with lots of touchline and long range kicks.

GP: Taylor was everything the All Black coaches thought he would be. Composed, assured and certain. He didn't try to take on too much - picked his options wisely and was all about making others look good. It was an impressive debut and one that will have given some confidence he can play at this level.

PM: An excellent first-up effort from Taylor. He looked composed, showed nice hands and got stuck into his defensive duties.

I just wonder if he would be better suited to second-five. The road to the No10 All Blacks jersey is a rocky one with Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett ahead of him, but his straight and incisive running suggests he could have a future at No12.

DR: Tom Taylor was assured and didn't seem rattled by the big occasion. Bar a couple of skewed goal kicks, the Cantabrian was sound and showed a couple of nice flashes with ball in hand. His cover tackle on James O'Connor was a highlight.

2. Steven Luatua made at least two telling interventions, but is it too early to anoint him as the No 1 blindside flanker? Why?

WG: Luatua needs to get busier early but he is putting heat on Messam because of impact with the ball, lineout option and his feel for the role.

GP: Steven Luatua is a natural athlete who will become a seriously good rugby player if he continues as is. There is no need to rush him yet - Liam Messam delivers physical, robust rugby and Luatua will be best served by occasional starts and cameos off the bench for the remainder of this year.

PM: Liam Messam is the incumbent, so Luatua will have to bide his time. However, he showed enough to suggest he will at least be putting a lot of pressure on Messam in the near future. We know about Luatua's size and skills _ now he just has to find a bit of mongrel and put a shoulder on a few people in defence.

DR: No it's not too early to anoint him as the No 1 blindside. Luatua brings a dynamic aspect to his game that Liam Messam and Victor Vito have never managed to show in the All Blacks jersey. A big performance against the physical Springboks in the future will only cement this theory.

3. Can the Wallabies take any positives from these two games?

WG: The losing margins are coming down but the scrum problems are infecting the side. Baffling kicking tactics too but the Wallabies made enough breaks to scare teams who are less effective on scramble defence.

GP: Yes. They are over.

PM:Not sure where Ewen McKenzie goes from here. The Wallabies put a bit of pressure on in the first 10 minutes or so but that was about their lot. Backline mix doesn't seem right - they appear obsessed with kicking the ball away and lack a counter-attacking spark. Their forwards were monstered in the scrum and will wear the mental scars for some time.

DR: Not really. They lacked innovation in Wellington last night and were worse than the loss in Sydney. Their set piece was diabolical. The only time Israel Folau was given the ball in space was by an All Black; they needed to find a way to involve him.

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