Rugby Championship

All Blacks still well off RWC pace

2015-07-18 08:55
Daniel Carter (Gallo)

Christchurch - Ace flyhalf Dan Carter has put the brakes on praise for the All Blacks 39-18 demolition of Argentina on Friday, saying they were well short of the level required to defend their Rugby World Cup crown.

The reigning world champions would also need to improve considerably just to foot it with South Africa when they clash in Johannesburg next week, he said.

Coach Steve Hansen said he was "very, very happy" to see the error-filled performance against Samoa the previous week replaced in their Rugby Championship opener by a five-tries-to-two win over the Pumas.

"We went up four or five gears and we needed to, to be honest," Hansen said.

The New Zealand media also applauded the performance with the New Zealand Herald saying the All Blacks had transformed themselves "from dithering to devastating".

But the 33-year-old Carter, a 104-Test veteran, was considerably more circumspect when he rated the side's performance.

"Well and truly, a lot," he said when asked if much improvement was needed before the World Cup begins in England in two months.

"It's still early days, only our second Test match of the year and we realise we've got to keep moving in the right direction.

"The big thing was we stepped up from our game in Samoa last week and each game that we play we've got to keep improving obviously for the big tournament later in the year."

The All Blacks have only three more Tests - first against South Africa and then twice against Australia - to impress Hansen before he names his 31-man World Cup squad.

Carter said that after the full-time whistle against Argentina, the All Blacks immediately began talking about the need for "a huge step up" in skill level for the Springboks Test.

"We talked briefly in the changing room about that and last time we played them they got the wood on us and beat us so it's going to be a huge week and obviously we're going to have to travel well, recover and prepare well for what's going to be a huge Test match."

Hansen, who delivered a broadside about the legality of the lineout drive - the ploy used by Argentina for both their tries - said that was one area the All Blacks needed to focus on.

"They were pretty soft tries and if we were under any illusions about what South Africa are going to do... we know that they will scrum for some penalties, they will kick for lineouts and they will drive," he said.

"One of the key things we didn't do quite right (against Argentina) was to try to break it down early enough.

"I'm not talking about doing it illegally but we just didn't get in on the ball or on their wedges quick enough and they got a platform set and as soon as they took it off centre we were in trouble."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  rugby championship  |  dan carter  |  rugby

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