Special meeting for All Blacks

NZRU     27 Jun 2006     NZRU

The squad was originally intended to meet in Christchurch on Sunday but team management are concerned that the side is behind Australia in its preparation.

After the Argentine Test in Buenos Aires at the weekend, coach Graham Henry said there was 'a lot to do' before the Tri Nations starts next week, and the special meeting is part of that process.

Henry said it was not normal to get together so far out from a Test.

But it would be a brief three-hour meeting in Wellington.

"It's just to set some foundations and to get the squad together before we start that week [on Sunday] and give them some objectives for that first game. I think that is important because they haven't been together as a group this year in a rugby sense.

"The meeting will be long enough to set the objectives before we get together on Sunday," he said.

Henry said that while the two squads approach to the early internationals had produced three wins and had resulted in freshened players, there are still concerns ahead.

"We weren't that happy with the quality of rugby that we produced," he said.

"There were difficult conditions in two of the three Test matches which was frustrating. It poured in Auckland and we had similar conditions in Buenos Aires so it wasn't easy to put a game together.

"But there are little things that we are not doing well and we need to work on them."

The All Blacks are still a long way from achieving the type of game they want to play.

The opening Tri Nations Test in Christchurch on Saturday next week is shaping as a huge contest, Henry said.

"I think Australia have improved immensely from last year, they had probably a little bit of an embarrassing year last year and they're really showing some steel.

"They've always had good backs so they can finish, so it's something to look forward to as a rugby team and I'm sure our guys are looking forward to it.

"We're pleased with the three wins we have achieved, it is just that the process we are going through to achieve those results is not as good as it should be. So we've got no excuses about personnel, it's just the implications of what we are trying to do on the track that's not as good as it should be," he said.