All Blacks wary of Los Pumas' nippy backline
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: Aside from their really powerful forward pack, Argentina possessed a quick backline, warns All Blacks scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow ahead of their Rugby Championship Test.
Without some of their most experienced players for the Rugby Championship Test against Argentina, the All Blacks were keen to switch into their preparation mode as quickly as possible in Buenos Aires.
The All Blacks currently occupy the top spot on the Rugby Championship log and will be heading into the Argentina full of confidence especially after their 57-0 demolition of the Springboks a fortnight ago.
However, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who joins French Top 14 Club La Rochelle at the end of the 2017 season, along with fellow scrumhalf Thomas Perenara has warned All Blacks to be wary of the Los Pumas, especially after their narrow 39-22 win in New Plymouth.
With most of the attention on theLos Pumas' 'really good forward pack', Kerr-Barlow said they had some 'nippy outside backs' which could be problematic.
"If we turn the ball over we've got to flick straight into our defence or else they've got the ability to skin us with their speed," Kerr-Barlow said at the press conference.
"The outside backs are extremely quick and also the halves are very good around the ruck," he added.
Meanwhile, Perenara added that both Los Pumas scrumhalf had a good understanding of offensive awareness and were also conscious of when fatigue was setting in and when defensive screens might be vulnerable.
"When they get going they've got a great set-piece, defensively they're very good as well and they've got some offensive threats that are second to none," Perenara said.
"If they play a game that suits their tempo, if they bring their physicality into games, they can beat most teams and they've shown they can be competitive for good periods of games and we know each time we play against the Argentinian team that our hands are full,"
The duo talked about the competitiveness that has evolved amongst the two and first choice scrumhalf Aaron Smith since 2014.
Perenara said the player who missed out on the squad selection usually tried to make life as difficult as possible, in training, leading into the Test match to try and ensure the other was prepared to the maximum for the game.
"I want to be the best I can be to make sure he can be the best he can be so that on game day what he has done during the week is at the same level, if not higher, than what it's going to be on Saturday," he said.
Kerr-Barlow said it could be disappointing to miss out on match selection but at the same time, you were still part of the best team in the world.
"If I am not playing I use our Thursday training as my game. We're always trying to improve and if we can't play the next best thing is being part of the team.
"So, you just have to suck it up and do what is best for your mates and get them prepared as well as you can," he said.
Perenara said he would miss Kerr-Barlow when he leaves at the end of the year to pursue a northern hemisphere career because he was a competitor both on and off the field and was vocal in pointing out where things could be done better.
He would especially miss playing against him, the Chiefs scrumhalf said.