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Ofisa Tonu'u.

Ofisa is a former All Black and Samoa international. As one of the most prominent halfbacks of the 1990s, Tonu'u won back-to-back Super Rugby titles with the Blues in 1996 and 1997.

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Tonu’u: Passion can only do so much

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Ofisa Tonu'u     15 Jun 2016     Getty Images

For sixty minutes in the first Test, they hung tough with the All Blacks. But in the end, the All Blacks strong bench, superior fitness and match finishing ability won out. The All Blacks were rusty and Wales fed off their mistakes. They grabbed two well taken tries in the first half and showed they have a genuine game-breaker in fullback Liam Williams. Sam Warburton was a real menace at the breakdown and Toby Faletau was powerful with ball in hand. Halfback Rhys Webb was impressive in the nine jersey and Dan Biggar had some nice touches at first five.

But as the match wore on, the All Blacks mistakes dried up and gaps started to open in the tiring Welsh defence. Wales found out that passion can only do so much. They needed to bring something different in the second half. They put the ball high into the air to the All Blacks back three, gifting vital counter attacking opportunities to the men in black. At the breakdown, they tried to slow the ball down, but the injection of Patrick Tuipulotu and Ardie Savea provided some thrust for the All Blacks to keep the ball flowing.

Wales didn’t have a lot of answers in the final twenty minutes and will need to pull something out of the box to go all the way with the All Blacks. We’ve seen Eddie Jones transform Japan and England over the past 12 months. They have executed unique game-plans to take down more fancied opposition. Wales need to do something similar against the All Blacks.

For Steve Hansen and the All Blacks coaching team, there are a number of areas to work on. Upfront, I think the front rowers will have got a roasting this week. While defensively, the backline will be working overtime on the tackle bags.

Although they showed great signs in the first Test, I can’t see Wales coming close to the All Blacks in the final two Tests. The All Blacks have got a sighter now and will shut down Wales attacking threats. They have shaken off the rust and I expect a more cohesive performance.

I was also interested to see Ireland take out South Africa and England clean up Australia on the weekend. Together with Wales strong showing and the recent improvement of Scotland, the foundations are being set for a stunning Lions series next year. Just imagine Toby Faletau with a pack that is going forward, or George North getting regular quality ball in space. But first things first, the All Blacks have put a marker in the sand now and need to keep improving – starting this Saturday against Wales in Wellington.


Ofisa Tonu’u
 is a former All Black and Samoa international. As one of the most prominent halfbacks of the 1990s, Tonu’u won back-to-back Super Rugby titles with the Blues in 1996 and 1997. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author only.