Dunedin - All Blacks centre Ryan Crotty is not getting carried away
with the praise he is winning for the control he has been showing in the All
Blacks' backline, especially against Australia in Sydney at the weekend.
With the side preparing in Dunedin for Saturday's second
Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship Test, All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster
said he thought centre Crotty was outstanding in Sydney on Saturday.
"He gets labelled the 'Steady Eddie' in some ways
because he doesn't make many mistakes but then you look at his gain line
carries [where he is] is one of the highest in the team, and line breaks and
offloads so there is a lot more to his game than he is given credit for,"
Foster told the All Blacks' official website.
"And yes, he's a calming influence and he's a really
good reader defensively but he's also a pretty significant contributor on
attack in a probably less flamboyant way but a very effective way."
Crotty said he didn't read too much into the credits he was
being given for his role in commanding the backline.
He said all he was trying to do was his job to meet the
requirements of the side.
Utility back Ben Smith, who is playing his last game this
weekend before going on a sabbatical, said Crotty was a good communicator and
he met his role of doing what was required of him every week and that helped
provide clarity on what they were doing for the players around him.
Crotty said they were aware they slipped off the pace in the
second half in Sydney last weekend and the Australians had got themselves back
in the game.
"Our attention got a little bit diverted one way or
another and let them back into the game. We saw when we did execute with the
ball, and without it, the limited opportunities we gave them," he said.
That was a key lesson for them.
The Australian ability to defend was tested because of the
speed of ball the All Blacks were able to achieve. That allowed them to play a
lot and when that happened it made it easier to pick defences apart, Crotty
"When they start slowing that ball down and making the
ruck a bit slower it becomes a bit more difficult which I am sure will be a big
focus for the Australians this week," he added.
"So we need to nail our ball carry and clean out to
give ourselves that quick ball we need to attack and execute opportunities that
Crotty said Smith would be missed while he was on leave
because he was probably the best outside back in the world and as much as he
contributed on the field, he also did a lot off the field.
"He's a real leader in this team and he's a good
man," he said.
Smith said he was expecting Australia to be more physical at
the breakdown in Dunedin and the All Blacks would need to be accurate in that
Both teams would have had a good look at how each other
played and would make respective adjustments.
"I think you'll see an Aussie team that is pretty fired
up this week," he said.