Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Tourists need more of rampaging Kieran Read

Tactics have been explained in video clips, detailed in team room talks and whiteboard discussions then worked through on the training fields.

Commitment has been burnished by the All Black coaches and support staff, now it is up to the players and the leadership of Kieran Read to redress the blip in Chicago.

Read has felt the impact of his side's first failure and seen the effects of that historic first defeat to Ireland 40-29 as his team regroups for a repeat chance tomorrow in Dublin.

There were enough holes in that All Black performance a fortnight ago for them to believe the return of some key players, a rise in attitude and performance will be the elixir to reverse that result. More from Read would help as well.

He ranks with the best No8s in All Black history and in his pomp there is no one in New Zealand to challenge the damaging range of skills he brings with his game.

That damage has been a fluctuating force this year and it's baffling. Read remains a potent lineout force with driving grunt from the back of the scrum, usually reliable defensive hits and a close running game.

But where are those pounding runs down the tramlines where offloads out of the back of his hand, round the corner, over the heads of rivals or smashing into defenders cause so much grief for rivals. We see Dane Coles doing that sort of business, why isn't Read doing something similar on the other flank?

It's hard to work out if there is a deliberate plan to use Read more through the middle and if that's the All Blacks' plan because the tight five needs backup.

This is the most pressure the All Blacks have faced for some time, even more than the burden and tension about claiming the World Cup last year. They were always going to beat the Wallabies in the decider which doubled as a farewell for decorated captain Richie McCaw and his colleagues.

That same confidence is not as easy to gather about their chances tomorrow. The pressure and emotion in Chicago will feel like window-shopping compared to the hullabaloo which has engulfed rugby followers all week in Dublin while there are misgivings about a few All Blacks.

We know Aaron Smith is a brilliant halfback but will that form return, is Liam Squire going to deliver enough strong defence and can we have the old Read back - the one who does all his strong graft and garnishes it with those damaging surges.

- NZ Herald

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Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

The latest commentary and analysis from senior rugby writer Wynne Gray. Wynne has been covering the All Blacks for more than 27 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

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