The All Blacks have shown they can play fast. What they haven't shown yet is whether they can play fast and be consistently, deadly accurate with it.

They managed that dream combination for 50 minutes in Sydney. And they really did deliver extraordinarily good rugby in that period.

The Wallabies hardly covered themselves in glory defensively that night but it shouldn't be used as a reason to doubt the skill and intensity of the All Blacks.

But 50 minutes isn't much of a return from 180. No parent is over the moon when their child comes home and says they scored less than 30 per cent in a test.


That's not cause for contentment and that is precisely the same with the All Blacks coaching team: over the last two tests the All Blacks have probably delivered, just, more good than bad but the coaches are kind of hanging out for a definitive 80 minutes that confirms what this side are all about.

Without relentless accuracy the All Blacks become a danger to themselves when they play that all out attack game.

It's such a fine line. In Sydney, when the execution was exceptional, the Wallaby defence simply couldn't cope with the speed and width of the attacks.

But when mistakes are made by the All Blacks when they are playing like that, they tend to be relatively easy to punish.

Look what happened in Dunedin in the first few minutes. The All Blacks had the Wallabies all over the place and men extra on the right wing.

If Damian McKenzie had floated the pass, it was going to be a try for the All Blacks. He fired it flat, though, and it was an intercept and a try to Australia. Fine line indeed and it was the same in Sydney in the second half - when the passes don't stick or the accuracy isn't there, the All Blacks are relatively exposed as they have committed everyone to attack.

Those of a more traditional mind set and conservative standing may legitimately wonder whether the All Blacks would be better reducing the risks they take, slow down their attack, be prepared to be patient, kick more and effectively earn the right to play fast and wide.

Sensible advice no doubt but also a little bit dated. Rugby has changed. It's no longer so defined by territory and possession. These measurements aren't obsolete but they are usually less relevant in determining the outcome.


The All Blacks can and have won many tests on less than 40 per cent possession and they frequently score from long range.

Also, when they got it right in Sydney, they scored 54 points in 50 minutes and the game was over by half time.

Faced with a choice of lowering their ambition or raising their skills - they will take the latter every time. That's their way - and that's what we should see in New Plymouth: a commitment to high intensity attacking rugby, but with a more prominent element of control, discipline and accuracy.

That means if Sonny Bill Williams is playing, he has to tidy up his handling. If McKenzie is involved again, he has to be prepared to not throw as many high risk passes.

Maybe Beauden Barrett, should he be at No 10, needs to use more attacking kicks to mix things up and across the board there has to be a deeper attention paid to the basics.