All Blacks 'have problems'

2009-08-07 13:01
John Mitchell (AFP)
Christo Buchner

Johannesburg – Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell said it was fascinating to see how the Springboks choked the life out of the All Blacks in last Saturday's Tri-Nations Test in Durban.

Mitchell, who coaches the Force in the Super14 series, this week helped coached the Sharks for their Currie Cup match against the Leopards.  Coach John Plumtree is in New Zealand for a short period.

Although he was full of praise for the Boks' performance, he believes the All Blacks have several problems.

"They appear without leadership and there are not enough experienced players who can help save a situation like in Saturday's Test," he said.

Mitchell said on the Sharks' website that the Springboks achieved success with the direct way in which they played. But he feels the All Blacks are without direction and not systematic enough.

Mitchell says there are subtle differences in how things are done in the top three rugby countries in the southern hemisphere.

"The Springboks play more directly, while the Wallabies try to manipulate matters cleverly and force more phases. The All Blacks try to find their style somewhere between that of the Boks and the Wallabies," he said.

As far as the Force was concerned, he said the team was still in a growth phase.

"Remember, we are only five years old, but already have ten players in the Wallaby group."

He admitted that the loss of the excellent flyhalf, Matt Giteau, who will next season play for the Brumbies, was a big blow.

"It is sad to lose him as an individual, but as a group we are better off than last season."

"Our front row is stronger, we have an international loose trio and the arrival of André Pretorius is also good news."

"The rest of the back row remains basically the same and in James O'Connor, we have a young star," said Mitchell.


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