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Rugby News: ‘Pack dented, and the jersey’

Incoming All Blacks forward coach Jason Ryan has targeted improved maul defense as an immediate must fix area for the under pressure team ahead of the Rugby Championship.

Ryan joined the All Blacks from Crusaders, where his work on stopping mauls was the best in the business.

He faced the media for the first time as an ABs assistant on Tuesday after being named to replace John Plumtree, sacked alongside Brad Mooar by head coach Ian Foster.

“The All Blacks pack has been dented, it really has been, and the jersey,” a forthright Ryan told reporters.

Ryan has worked under Scott Robertson at the Crusaders for an extremely successful six years and was also Fiji’s assistant coach during the recent Pacific Nations Cup.

Asked what he needed to change in the current All Blacks performance, Ryan said: “We’ve got to stop mauls, that’s for sure, so there’s a little bit of work that needs to go into that and our contact area.”

The All Blacks conceded two maul tries against the Irish in the third Test of the 2-1 series loss.

Ryan said he had already started to work with the players in that area.

Jason Ryan (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

“We’ve done a lot of work on the mauling stuff obviously and we’ve done a bit on the contact area. Just getting them to really understand what they’re trying to achieve and what they’re really trying to believe in has been the big one.

“I honestly can’t wait. There’s no better environment or country or team to test yourself as a forwards coach but in all honesty it’s about the boys – it’s about the All Blacks and where this team is at and where the forward pack is at. We’ve got to be fast learners pretty quickly.”

Asked why he decided to leave the Crusaders for the All Blacks at a time when the national team is struggling he replied: “I’ll answer that really clearly. It’s a chance to coach my country and it was a dream to always be an All Blacks forwards coach. I can’t wait to get into it.”

He said Robertson had been supportive of him making the step up.

“I’m a loyal person, so initially it was. I care a lot – he’s done a lot for me – but as I said he was really supportive and that’s all I wanted.”

prop out of tour

All Blacks prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi has withdrawn from the team’s Rugby Championship matches in South Africa because of a neck injury, New Zealand head coach Ian Foster confirmed Tuesday.

Tu’ungafasi, 30, picked up the knock during the third Test loss to Ireland in Wellington, which saw the All Blacks suffer a first home series defeat since 1994.

He will sit out New Zealand’s Test matches in South Africa on August 7 in Mbombela and a week later in Johannesburg, with the All Blacks under pressure against the world champions after losing four of their last five games.

It is hoped Tu’ungafasi will recover in time to join the squad for their home Tests against Argentina on August 27 in Christchurch and a week later in Hamilton.

Tu’ungafasi has been replaced in the All Blacks squad by 22-year-old uncapped Crusaders prop Fletcher Newell for the tour of South Africa.

Foster has complete backing

Richie Mo’unga says the All Blacks want to make a “statement” and show the world what they are capable of whejn they face South Africa.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to right a few wrongs and to be better because we know we’re capable. We need to make a statement about who we are as All Blacks,” Mo’unga said.

And the flyhalf has given full backing to Ian Foster, who said earlier this week the players supported him.

“Fossy is the man for the job. 100 per cent big Fossy,” he said.

“I think now he’ll have a more hands-on role with with the backs and with attack.

“I’ve had that taste early on in my All Blacks career (when Foster was an assistant) and I was able to gain so much knowledge and had ‘wow’ moments out in the field when he was coaching.

“It’s good to see that happen again the last couple of days.”

Richie Mo'unga of the All Blacks celebrates scoring a try during the 2020 Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup match

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Dagg says league dominating union

Former All Black Israel Dagg says rugby league is “absolutely dominating” rugby union.

“If I’m going to be completely honest it’s not entertaining. There’s no real entertainment factor to Super Rugby,” Dagg said on The42 Rugby Weekly Extra podcast.

“We’ve got a real situation now where rugby league and rugby union are competing, and rugby league is absolutely dominating.

“I don’t know if you saw the State of Origin the other day, New South Wales vs Queensland. But (it was) probably the game of a century.

“If you want to go watch sport for entertainment, you go watch league at the moment. They’re ticking all the boxes. “

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