ABs working on line speed issues: Perenara

Sep 10, 2017 - 4:54 AM Only time will aid the All Blacks in overcoming their opponents' defensive line speed, halfback TJ Perenara believes.

So destructive in attack throughout 2016, the All Blacks have found themselves under genuine pressure this season and occasionally been found wanting.

The Warren Gatland-coached British and Irish Lions placed rush defence at the heart of their Test game plan, and were rewarded with a series draw.

The All Blacks' Rugby Championship opponents have since followed suit, with both Australia and Argentina disrupting the Kiwi attack for long stretches.

On Saturday in New Plymouth, Hansen's troops shot themselves in the foot to trail 16-15 to an unrelenting Pumas outfit at half time.

Yet they rallied in the second stanza as the Pumas' defensive tactics caused them to tire, and eventually put on six tries in a 39-22 win.

Coach Steve Hansen said his side was still learning to adapt to line speed by playing less flat or launching their attacks from a greater depth.

Perenara echoed his coach's thoughts, saying they still had plenty to learn ahead of challenging Rugby Championship Tests against South Africa.

But they wouldn't change their running-rugby philosophy.

"We pride ourselves on our skillsets and the (other) team's going to bring pressure on us - we need to be able to adapt to that and still get our skillsets away. It's not the end of the world, we're still chancing our arm," Perenara said.

"If you bring line speed, you often leave an inch free - if we can execute well, whether kicking or passing into that space, you can leave people in holes.

"You can't mark everywhere on the field."

Having wrestled the Test No.9 jumper off a distracted Aaron Smith at the back end of 2016, Perenara has been mostly used as an impact substitute this year.

Saturday's match marked his first Test start of 2017.

He was mostly pleased with his performance, sniping around the ruck and making eight tackles, and by helping his team secure victory.

"We've all been in tight games, games where the opposition team are playing pretty good and putting us under the pump," the 25-year-old said.

"To play against an Argentinian team like that, and you're down by one point at half time and come out and win, it's something I really do enjoy."

Source: AAP

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