Thursday, September 13, 2007

The match : NZ vs. Italy

The interview is in French only for the moment -sorry!

«Améliorer notre jeu»
Malgré la chaleur, les All Blacks n'ont fait qu'une bouchée de l'Italie (76-14) à Marseille. Pourtant, Richie McCaw, auteur de deux essais, n'entend pas s'en contenter.

Richie, vous étiez attendu au tournant pour votre entrée dans la Coupe du Monde contre l'Italie, vous devez être satisfait avec une large victoire 76-14...
Richie McCaw : Bien sûr, nous sommes très contents de ce résultat. Nous espérions depuis longtemps pouvoir produire un tel volume de jeu comme sur ce match. Je pense que nous avons réalisé 20 premières minutes excellentes et au long du match, nous avons réussi à transformer toutes les opportunités que nous nous sommes procurées.

Vous avez inscrit 6 essais en moins de 30 minutes, vous attendiez-vous à réaliser une telle entame de match ?
Richie McCaw : Pas forcément. Nous avons réussi à être précis dès le départ, nous avons su saisir chaque occasion. Après, c'est toujours difficile de gérer la suite quand on a une telle avance dès le début de la partie. Ce n'est pas évident de rester concentrés pendant 80 minutes dans ces cas-là. Nous avons d'ailleurs un peu perdu notre rugby en deuxième période.

Comment vous êtes-vous senti sur le terrain ?
Richie McCaw : Mieux qu'à la fin du tournoi des Tri-Nations. Evidemment, notre première mi-temps a été bien meilleure que la seconde, mais c'était normal vue la chaleur qu'il faisait sur le terrain.

En quoi cela vous a-t-il gêné ?
Richie McCaw : J'avais déjà connu des matches dans de telles conditions en Afrique du Sud et cela influe sur le rythme du jeu. Personnellement, après 20 minutes de jeu, j'ai commencé à en ressentir les effets. La fin du match a été assez dure pour ceux qui ont dû tenir les 80 minutes.

Cela signifie-t-il que nous n'avons pas encore vu les Black à 100% ?
Richie McCaw : Oui. Nous n'avions pas joué ensemble depuis longtemps, donc, en plus dans ces conditions, ce n'était pas facile. Mais nous avons tous ressenti beaucoup d'excitation à rentrer dans la compétition et nous sommes très heureux d'avoir débuté comme cela. Maintenant, nous allons tenter d'améliorer notre jeu au fur et à mesure des rencontres.


ABs canter past Azzurri
September 08 2007

New Zealand beat Italy surprisingly easily in their opening Pool C clash in Marseille on Saturday, recording a 76-14 victory in blistering heat.

There was so much hope that Italy would equal, and maybe even surpass, the passion shown by Argentina on Friday. That was until New Zealand totally destroyed them with a near perfect opening twenty-minute salvo.

The only mistake, if it can even be called that, came when the penultimate pass in the sweeping move that led to Doug Howlett going over for his first of three tries, reached Leon MacDonald on the bounce. That aside New Zealand were imperious and, in stunning fashion, shrugged off any suggestions that they make take a little time to get going in France.

It was, in fact, the Azzurri who were slow out of the blocks. It will be of small consolation that they did eventually get going, and when they did they frustrated the All Blacks for concerted periods.

However by that time the game was gone, and so too was their pre-tournament confidence. They will do well to put this annihilation behind them and re-group in time to begin their assault on a quarter-final spot, and on preparation for that match against Scotland.

When they were unable to put the shackles on a rampant All Black side they were exposed with a striking regularity. New Zealand showed hunger in every aspect of their game, from Richie McCaw feverishly working away at the breakdown, to the outside backs chasing Dan Carter's fine array of clever kicks.

It took barely ninety seconds for the opening try, McCaw taking the honours and adding a second just four minutes later. The tries continued to flow as Italy failed to make any impression on the game, aside from giving away needless penalties, which in fairness probably reflected their frustration.

The main concern for Graham Henry, as half-time approached, will be the nature in which his side looked to play too much rugby. As if they needed reminding of the dangers of such a style it came with an intercept try. Marko Stanojevic was the benefactor of a hopeful pass and galloped away to the biggest cheer of the afternoon.

Whatever was said to the Italians at half-time sparked them into life, as for the opening ten minutes of the half they not only contained New Zealand but caused them several problems when on the attack. It did help they had a numerical advantage, Carl Hayman earning the indignity of the tournament's first yellow card. In fairness he was lucky to escape with that having connected cleanly with a punch.

Normal service was soon resumed however with a flurry of tries, two of which brought about a new All Black record. Doug Howlett's second and third tries sent him to the top of the all-time top try-scorers in All Black history, equalling the record held by Christian Cullen.

Having opted against meaningless warm-up games, Graham Henry will be delighted at the manner in which his side went about business. He was even afforded the luxury of utilising his full bench with more than a quarter of the game remaining.

Despite the defeat Pierre Berbizier will be able to take some positives from the game. For one, the Italian set piece was solid, and on occasion their scrum overpowered their counterparts'. But it will be the open play aberrations that will have concerned Berbizier the most.

On countless occasions they allowed New Zealand to offload in the tackle, and more often than not such moves ended in tries. A stark contrast to the Italy we saw in the Six Nations and their warm-up games. Scotland will have had more than an eye on proceedings here.

The fact Mirco Bergamasco managed to score a messy try late on will be of scant consolation for Italy, and you could sense the sighs of relief as Wayne Barnes brought this non-contest to an end.

Man of the match: With such a scoreline it will come as little surprise that this award goes to an All Black, but which one. Dan Carter looked to be nearing his best again, both Ali Williams and Chris Jack were prominent throughout, as too was the entire back row. Yet it was Leon MacDonald, a late addition to the side who set the pulses racing. Solid at the back and electric in attack, his performance was near faultless.

Moment of the match: This came after just ninety seconds when Richie McCaw was offered a clear run to the line. This was to set the tone for the rest of the game as far as Italy and their defence, or lack of, was concerned.

Villain of the match: In a game where attacking rugby was the order of the day this award is shared. Firstly Carl Hayman for his punch on Salvatore Perugini. And then Perugini himself for taking out Ali Williams in the air. No need for either incident.

No comments: