What the All Blacks need to work on

Can the All Blacks get better? Kris Shannon offers four suggestions where the All Blacks could improve.

1) Rest and rotation
After enjoying the luxury of picking a consistent team for each of the All Blacks' four bonus-point victories, Steve Hansen will now be able to test the depth of his squad. We've already seen how effective the bench can be in changing games, but exerting a similar influence from the kickoff is a different matter. And with Jerome Kaino possibly joining Sam Cane and Aaron Cruden among the casualties, the matchday team should have a varied look in coming weeks.

2) Winning without home comforts
There's no denying the All Blacks are deserving Rugby Championship victors after only four rounds. But it's equally indisputable they have benefited from a friendly draw, travelling only as far as Sydney in the competition's opening weeks. Now, though, the newly-crowned champions will be tested in two of the hottest environments in world rugby, heading on the road to Buenos Aires and Durban.

Sure, they're dead rubbers, but still.

Best images: All Blacks v South Africa

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3) Getting Owen Franks over the line
The All Blacks, so intent on breaking records, turned down a couple of opportunities to help Owen Franks break his duck on Saturday. Both Israel Dagg and Ben Smith could have held the ball up in the in-goal while waiting for Franks to trudge in and collect a pass, but both inexplicably opted to dot down as close to the posts as they could. Priorities, people.
Now Franks owns the mark - 84 tests, no try - it's time to do the right thing and put the
prop across.

4) Gagging Graham Henry
Graham Henry and Michael Cheika fall on opposite ends of the approval scale in this country. One led the All Blacks to a breakthrough World Cup win, the other was last seen whining his way through a Wallabies thumping in Wellington. But Cheika is right about one thing, Henry is irrelevant in the current game. Actually, there probably is one area in which he retains relevance: providing motivation for opposing nations. Perhaps Shag could have a quiet word.

- NZ Herald

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