In Europe, they seem to think the All Blacks have unleashed some new rugby phenomenon that is fresh out the laboratory and the result of some clever science.

A few people up that way have worked themselves into quite a lather about the way the All Blacks are scoring so freely from turnovers; about the way they have been so lethal from unstructured play.

The excitement levels are understandable but the belief that what the All Blacks are doing is bringing to life the creation of a mad tactical professor is a little perplexing.

There's no magic formula to the gameplan at the moment and instead the All Blacks' success has been built on nothing more than the ability to pass, catch and run.


That's it – the big secret is that the All Blacks have players who are able to execute the basics with an accuracy and intensity that most other teams can't match.

There's obviously a bit of skill in the way the All Blacks are able to manipulate opposition attacks into the places they want them.

They are looking to funnel opposition attacks into specific areas so they can then look to pounce. Connected to that there is a significant amount of trust in the way the defence doesn't lose its shape which means that if and when the All Blacks create the turnover, they have width to exploit when they transition into attack.

All Black TJ Perenara scores a try during their Rugby Championship test match Argentina v All Blacks. Trafalgar Park, Nelson, New Zealand. Photo /
All Black TJ Perenara scores a try during their Rugby Championship test match Argentina v All Blacks. Trafalgar Park, Nelson, New Zealand. Photo /

But once they have the ball and are running at an unstructured defence it is the basics of the game that are setting them apart.

The timing of their passing is everything. To a man they seem to know when to release the ball to commit the defender.

To a man they are also running straight which means they preserve the space for the last runner to exploit.

And to a man they are aware that the instant the ball is back in their possession, they have to immediately switch from defence mode to attack mode.

They have done it well throughout the Rugby Championship so far and assistant coach Ian Foster says the team has probably delivered more on that front than was expected.


"I think in terms of outcomes yes," he says. "We have given ourselves lots of opportunities to do that and a lot of that has come through some really good lineout work and it has come through a lot of defensive pressure and that has been positive.

"To date we are pretty happy. It is probably more the volume of opportunity we have which has given us a good strike rate in that area but again it is an area where we know teams will be working hard to reduce the number of opportunities we have and to try to
find a different way to try to defend it.

"We are very alert in that area and teams will try to minimise those opportunities."

And that will be the challenge for the remainder of this year – finding ways to keep out-witting their opponents who will presumably get wise to the way the All Blacks are trying to manipulate opposition attacks.

The likes of England and Ireland, especially the latter, are particularly good at playing low-risk rugby that builds pressure on opponents.

They will be watching and analysing the All Blacks in the next few weeks to see how they can reduce the likelihood of being hurt on the counter attack when they meet in November.

The Boks, too, will presumably have seen ways in which they can limit the All Blacks' opportunities to break the game into an unstructured run-fest.

And presumably they will all have seen that there is nothing miraculous or revolutionary about what the All Blacks are doing.