New Zealand: Former fly-half Carlos Spencer slams ‘predictable’ All Blacks attack

Colin Newboult

The maverick former All Blacks fly-half Carlos Spencer has criticised the current side after they laboured to a narrow 38-31 triumph over Japan.

Although it was a hugely impressive performance by the Brave Blossoms, Ian Foster’s men struggled and almost left Tokyo embarrassed.

It followed a string of poor displays this season, which has seen them succumb to Ireland 2-1 and lose at home against Argentina for the first time ever.

One dimensional

“So predictable around our attack, it’s frustrating,” Spencer told Sky Sport. “We’re one dimensional, our attack is 90 per cent inside the 15s, we’ve got no options off our back door, we’re so direct.

“Scott McLeod said at half-time, he said ‘we want to go back to being direct’. I’m not sure that’s the answer. We tried to be direct but we’re actually making it easy for them defensively.

“We’ve just got to have a little bit more innovation around trying to have numbers off our back door with maybe another back door, and trying to attack down that 15-metre channel a bit more. Far too predictable.”

New Zealand now head to Europe and take on Wales in their first game before finishing 2022 with matches against Scotland and England.

They have never lost to the Scots and last went down to the Welsh in 1953, but they are encounters which are potential banana skins, especially given their form this season.

The All Blacks are favourites to win both but those two Six Nations sides may well fancy their chances of claiming landmark triumphs.

Foster’s men did end the Rugby Championship well, which eased the pressure on the head coach slightly, while they had a number disruptions heading into the Japan Test, something that Spencer acknowledges.

But the former playmaker believes that there is a fundamental issue with the team’s approach to the game.

Mindset change

“I think you’ve got to (consider the disruptions) to a degree. Coaches and players have got to take a bit on their shoulders as well, cause we’re a far better team than that and we’re far better individuals than that,” he added.

“I just think our mindset’s wrong. When we’ve got coaches talking about being direct after we’ve just spent 30 minutes being direct, we’ve got to have that ability to change in the moment.

“I’ve got the put the onus back on the players, they’ve got to start reading pitches and opportunities out on the pitch. They can’t reply on coaches getting those messages to them all the time.

“Our mindsets got to change I think.”

READ MORE: Brodie Retallick to face World Rugby disciplinary hearing after red card