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Wide ranging All Blacks willing to concede some ground up front

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ANALYSIS: James Mortimer     19 Nov 2013     Getty Images

France and England were determined to repel the invading Black army and put together displays that were a blend of tamed ferociousness and extreme belligerence in the forward exchanges.

This combined with a willingness to run attacking waves at the All Blacks, although the French used their midfield to weave their lines together as opposed to the coordinated frontal assault that was a feature of a crashing and bashing England.

Such an approach is a throwback to England’s blueprint used with success, when their infamous pack of ‘white orcs’ laid such a pristine platform for Jonny Wilkinson.

However at the highest level, raw power cannot be the only way to unravel the opposition.

Equally, teams that can take on such bruising and return it in kind are the most dangerous - a beast that the World Champions are striving to become.

Playing with this required precision is something that has become largely second nature to the All Blacks, able to go toe-to-toe with their sleeves rolled up if needed, but able to sense and capitalise on the rare moments which can be the winning of a contest.

English and South African packs have often succeeded with bludgeoning simple because a rival team becomes so fatigued in defence that decision making becomes flawed in the dying stages of the contest.

This lends to All Blacks belief that most games are won in the final ten minutes.

Their fitness doesn’t just allow for them to run over the top of teams, but enable the grey matter to effectively function when the body is screaming to be shut down and rested.

Looking for these unique chances requires an almost constant set up, a side that almost remains permanently poised to sniff for blood.

Survey the field at a whole and you will see how the All Blacks snap back to position with military coordination.

Hence the lurking presence of the likes of Kieran Read out wide, a practice that might take some of the bite out of the All Blacks breakdown work at times, but it has been a long time since New Zealand packs simply flooded the ruck area.

They prefer to stay alert to the possibility of the contest’s momentum shifting, and like an apex predator, the look to strike in a moment.

This has also been evident in the All Blacks scrum work, clearly looking to use it as a platform, a principle in conflict with the desire of some nations to use this set piece as a weapon.

The World Champions prefer to move quickly from phase to phase, notable in the evolution of their aerial work.

Some suggest this has come at the cost of punch and the breakdown and dominance in the scrum, but it is hardly as if the All Blacks are being clearly beaten in these realms.

Indeed, with some irony the All Blacks might now boast the world's premier lineout machine, even if they aren't dominating in the scrum as they have in the past - but those previous New Zealand teams played a frontal game vastly different to the 2013 hybrid of the side.

Width, and more importantly the holding of such a pattern, might allow enemy forwards to collect extra change in some minor battlegrounds, but these fistfights often end with the World Champions returning blow with tactical strike accuracy.

This comes from a view to attack at all costs, without the usual vulnerabilities that come with such a vision.

The All Blacks won't be keen to give any change in future visits to Europe and will no doubt continue to develop their scrum and breakdown to combat the forward heavy battlefields of the North, but for now other aspects of their portfolio are allowing them to remain the top ranked team in the world.