All Blacks: What the hell is front-loading?

Don't worry, the All Blacks don't have a secret new training ritual involving alcohol.

Sections of social media have been abuzz since Sam Whitelock's enigmatic halftime interview during television coverage of the Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney last Saturday night.

Interviewed by Sky Sport's Ian Smith, Whitelock repeatedly referred to "front-loading".

The emphasis - he mentioned it three times in the 30-second sideline interview - confused and bemused viewers.

"We've just got to keep front-loading our energy rather than chase it," the giant lock told Smith.

He later added: "The boys are front-loading which means we're getting set early which is helping the pass."

Some wondered why Whitelock was talking about drinking - obviously getting confused with the term "pre-loading" where young drinkers scull alcohol in cars or other areas before arriving at pubs or parties.

Others assumed it was a new rugby expression used by the All Blacks but unfamiliar to fans.

All Blacks selector Grant Fox was asked what Whitelock was referring to in a radio interview yesterday.

"I didn't hear the halftime interview, so I've got no idea what he's talking about," laughed Fox.

But former All Black halfback and Herald rugby analyst Justin Marshall has probably solved the mystery.

"I did hear the interview and I'm pretty certain what Sam was referring to was that the All Blacks had to continue to ensure they were getting over the advantage line and presenting the ball properly for quick movement," Marshall told the Herald.

"I'm pretty sure that's what the term 'front-loading' means."
So there you have it, mystery solved.

Front-loading now joins phrases like "truck and trailer", "clean-outs" and "guard dogs" as new additions to the rugby lexicon.

WHAT IT MEANS:
Guard dogs: The two ruck defenders immediately facing the attack.
Truck and trailer: Accidental offside/non-deliberate obstruction.
Clean-out: Removing stray defenders at a breakdown
Jackling: A 'jackler' is a player uses his hands at the breakdown

- NZ Herald

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