Discipline a World Cup focus for All Blacks

Discipline a World Cup focus for All Blacks

The All Blacks were understandably buoyant after a brilliant display in their 96-17 victory over Italy at the Rugby World Cup last week but one 10-minute patch of play has been the subject of some concern in the camp.

New Zealand had reached halftime 49-3 ahead but Italy came out firing after the break to score a try with the All Blacks not helping their own cause by conceding a rash of penalties.

Normal service was resumed soon afterwards as the three-time world champions ran in 14 tries to put one foot into the quarter-finals ahead of their final Pool A match against Uruguay.

"It's just great to see an All Black machine go out and do its business," scrum coach Greg Feek told reporters on Tuesday.

"(But) you would have noticed, just after halftime, we got a bit sloppy. We thought our discipline was really good in that first half and then just for a little part there, we kind of slipped off.

"We probably weren't up to our standards so that's been a bit of a focus for us."

New Zealand have good reason for being a little nervous about discipline after a rash of penalties and yellow cards in their three games preceding the Italy clash, including in their 71-3 pummelling of Namibia in their second pool game.

"We strive to find ways to get better and so four penalties in 10 minutes probably isn't good enough from us. We want to limit errors," Feek added.

"If you're going to keep building your performances, and that's what it's about, we are more focused on performance than on the 14 tries or the big win."

With so many players hitting top form against Italy and a fully fit squad, Feek said team selectors Ian Foster, Joe Schmidt and Jason Ryan would have a job choosing a side to face Uruguay in Lyon on Thursday.

"I was looking at training footage the other day ... and the players are training really well, the ones that didn't play on the weekend," he added.

"So Foz, Joe and Jase will have a few Panadols to try to put a team together."

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