All Blacks centurion Mils Muliaina has called on New Zealand to make subtle changes to their “whole game plan” after being beaten by Ireland.
Ireland dominated both possession and territory in their 29-20 win against the All Blacks, as their variety in attack and aggressive line speed in defence proved to be too much for the visitors to handle.
New Zealand’s players, coaches and pundits have all congratulated Ireland for what was an excellent performance, but they have also acknowledged that the All Blacks needed to be much better.
Muliaina was speaking on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown and called on the All Blacks’ coaching team to change the side’s tactics when coming up against top international opposition.
Mils Muliaina on the All Blacks’ game plan.
“There’s always talk about not reinventing the wheel but I think there needs to be subtle changes in terms of our whole game plan,” Muliaina said.
“I think the disappointing part is obviously we didn’t have any ball, and when we actually got the ball we panicked. I know that’s pressure but some of these guys that actually panicked are well established guys.
“The skill-set – which we’ve always harped on about in this part of the world – is extraordinary, but we didn’t show that. We struggled to get into the game. Wes struggled with momentum and the end result was that we lost.”
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) November 14, 2021
New Zealand look to end the year on a high.
Life won’t be getting much easier for the All Blacks this weekend, when they take on an in-form France side in Paris.
France do like to play a high-tempo game like Ireland, although they will test New Zealand in other ways as they are currently utilising a dual play maker system with Matthieu Jalibert at 10 and Romain Ntamack at 12, unlike the Irish who used a crash ball centre at 12 in Bundee Aki.
The All Blacks struggled to break down Ireland’s rush defence at the weekend, and they will have similar problems against France, who have excelled at rush defence since Shaun Edwards took over as their defence coach last year.
New Zealand rarely put in two underwhelming performances in-a-row, but they will have significant levels of fatigue to deal with after a massive defensive effort against Ireland that was ultimately in vain.