Reflections from an underwhelming All Blacks performance

The All Blacks have struggled to a 43-10 win over Georgia in Cardiff; but a high number of handling errors will have coach Steve Hansen concerned as the average showing in this RWC continues.

Credit: SBS AU

Julian Savea scored three tries for the All Blacks, but an example of calmness with ball in hand set by captain Richie McCaw wasn’t followed by the majority of the team as the defending champions put on a performance that would be expected from an opening game of the season, not a pool match of RWC.

Georgia managed to score a lucky try in the opening period of the match, but the real story of their performance was their unbreakable defense.

Some takeaways from the All Blacks performance against Georgia:

Waisake Naholo’s first match since injury.

The much talked about return of the Fijian born winger came to fruition when with his first touch, Naholo broke two defenders to score a brilliant run away try. Naholo looked confident with the ball in hand but his opportunities were kept minimal, thanks large in part to the All Blacks inability to get the ball out to the wing and create any open space.

Handling errors at an alarmingly high number.

The All Blacks were poor with ball in hand for the entire match, almost notching double figures for handling errors in the first half alone. Aaron Smith looked like he was trying to do too much at halfback and made some poor passing decisions that led to dropped ball, and the backline didn’t appear to be in sync as key players including Ben Smith, Daniel Carter, and Conrad Smith didn’t manage to find a way to break through a strong Georgian defense.

Julian Savea picked up a hat trick of tries on the night and was the brightest light in the backs, giving the All Blacks 15 of their 43 points.

A difficult night of kicking for Daniel Carter.

While the majority of his kicks were from out wide, the kicking success of Daniel Carter wasn’t as high as anyone predicted heading into the match. Carter missed three conversion attempts, albeit from difficult positions, but his blunder trying to find touch towards the end of the game where he kicked the ball dead was a sign that Carter wasn’t performing to his usual standard in this match.

With no other goal kicking options on the bench, Carter was given a full 80-minutes.

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