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Retallick critical of defence deficiencies

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/06/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Gone are the days when locks would tell you solely about jumping at lineouts and pushing in scrums.

Meet Brodie Retallick, All Blacks defensive line perfectionist who delivered a fairly harsh verdict following last week's 39-21 first Test win over Wales.

To be fair, Retallick was only echoing coach Steve Hansen when he said the world champions delivered a patchy first-up effort for 2016 in terms of their work without the ball.

He expects considerable improvement in the second Test at Wellington on Saturday, beginning with how well they switch from attack to defence.

It is an underrated part of the game, Retallick said, before going into some detail about how his side lacked urgency to the breakdown and were slow in reforming.

The Welsh surprised him with their speed and expansiveness.

It was fortunate, he said, that the tourists lacked a killer instinct.

"There were probably a lot of fractures in our D-line which we were lucky they didn't catch onto," he said.

"It's definitely something we need to be quicker at because they would have seen the tape this week."

The All Blacks' 18 points conceded by halftime was their worst defensive effort for an opening half in 17 Tests.

Only once in 31 clashes with Wales have they leaked more points in the first half - when they won a helter-skelter quarter-final at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, 53-37.

Retallick says there was improvement in the second spell at Eden Park and he senses greater clarity among the players this week after spending more time together.

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