Joe Moody has admitted that the All Blacks are feeling the effect of their heavy defensive work load against Ireland ahead of their encounter with France.
New Zealand were put through an enormous amount of work in defence during their 29-20 defeat to Ireland, which saw them make a total of 250 attempted tackles, compared to the hosts’ 124.
Moody put in a massive defensive shift, having made 17 tackles in his 53 minutes on the pitch, a high total which still pales in comparison to New Zealand’s busiest defender, Dalton Papali’i, who made 29 tackles.
The veteran prop was speaking at a press conference ahead of the All Black’s final test match of the year against France and admitted that New Zealand were drained of energy in the first half against Ireland.
Joe Moody on the ‘draining’ defensive effort against Ireland.
“It was a very heavy load. We definitely felt it coming out of the game yesterday. It was a tough physical battle, and I guess it’s what test matches are all about,” Moody said.
“The hardest physical part of that game was through the first 10 to 25 minutes where it was really fast and we were forced to defend for long periods of time.
“It definitely does take it out of you when you have to defend for those long periods of time because you’re always moving, having to get off the line, make those tackles, hit the rucks and get out – it gets pretty draining.”
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France are aiming to beat New Zealand for the first time in 12 years.
Just like a wild animal, the All Blacks are often more dangerous after being wounded, but France will be well aware that their opponents this weekend will be suffering from some fatigue.
Overall, it hasn’t been the most testing northern tour for New Zealand, as they were able to rotate and rest players for their first three games against the USA, Wales and Italy, but their encounter with Ireland was certainly more draining that France’s last game against Georgia.
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster will likely be forced into some changes, after Beauden Barrett and Anton Lienert-Brown suffered injuries against Ireland, while it may be prudent to give the likes of Papali’i a rest after an exhausting shift.
New Zealand have beaten France in their last 14 encounters, but Les Bleus will be smelling blood ahead of this weekend, in what promises to be another absorbing encounter at the Stade de France.