The All Blacks seem to not have a plan when they can’t force their opponents into making mistakes, says commentator Scotty Stevenson after the team’s first loss to Argentina on Saturday.
The 25-15 defeat to the Pumas in Sydney meant the All Blacks lost consecutive tests for the first time since 2011. It also means new coach Ian Foster has had just two wins in his first five matches in charge.
Stevenson said the All Blacks had looked directionless two weeks running when the Wallabies and then Pumas hadn’t made mistakes.
“What we’ve seen here and we’ve seen since 2019 at least, is a lack of patience from this All Blacks side,” he said.
“The record win [over the Wallabies] two weeks ago in Sydney didn’t come from anything naturally constructed by the All Blacks, it came from a whole bunch of mistakes from the opposition.”
“We as a nation play our rugby based on other teams making mistakes and the All Blacks side is the epitome of that.”
“A lot of these victories come out of the mistakes they force on teams, when they can’t force those mistakes, what’s the plan? Cause I didn’t see a plan on Saturday night and I didn’t see a plan the week before [in the loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane].”
The All Blacks were also unwittingly taking on a Kiwi arrogance that Test victories were a right for the men in black, Stevenson said.
“Right now we have a sense that when the All Blacks go out to play, they have a right to win, a right that is not earned, a right that is expected and that has got to come from above,” he said.
“We have got to change that narrative because that filters through, these are impressionable young men, as good a athletes as they are, they still hear this, they pick it up.”
“When you see them getting dishevelled and discombobulated in a game because people are up in your face, when that happens to a rugby team that is apparently better on paper that is called frustration and frustration comes from the fact that you can’t handle the other team won’t let you get what you think you deserve.”
Despite the All Black disappointment, Argentina’s historic win was fantastic for neutral rugby fans and World Rugby generally, Stevenson said.