Joe Schmidt Dives Into Hands-On All Blacks Role Ahead of Pumas Clash
A fortnight ago, the All Blacks were in dire straits, having lost five of their last six Test matches and slipped to No.5 in the World Rankings.
Their most recent Test at Ellis Park brought a big turnaround, however, as the All Blacks put 35 points on their arch-rivals the Springboks. The result redeemed their failing season, and with it, Ian Foster’s coaching tenure was extended to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
However, perhaps the biggest change in the All Blacks’ camp since their return to New Zealand has been the increased role of rugby maestro Joe Schmidt.
Joe Schmidt’s New Role Within the All Blacks’ Camp
Initially brought into the All Blacks’ staff as a selector and analyst, Joe Schmidt has not remained in this limited role for long.
Having coached Ireland for seven years until 2019, Joe Schmidt is one of rugby’s great minds. His tenure at Ireland saw them rise to No.1 in the World Rankings, and secure two famous victories over the All Blacks. Upon resigning in 2019, Schmidt indicated a desire to return home to New Zealand to spend more time with his family.
Evidently the ex-head coach didn’t want to stay away from rugby altogether, hence his limited role with the All Blacks initially.
However, off the back of All Black assistant coaches John Plumtree and Brad Mooar being sacked, Joe Schmidt has agreed to take on a more involved role with the All Blacks, officially becoming the attack coach.
Joe Schmidt Makes an Immediate Impact as Attack Coach
According to Jordie Barrett, Joe Schmidt has made an immediate impact in the All Blacks’ camp as attack coach.
“From the 48 hours I’ve seen of Joe, he certainly hasn’t eased his way back into training. He’s a confident coach, and he watches a lot of clips,” Barrett said.
Sam Cane also spoke to the media on Joe Schmidt’s involvement, explaining, “We got a little bit of an insight into Joe and got to know him a wee bit that first week against the Irish, so to have him in camp full-time is a real privilege, we’re excited to work with him,” before adding, “He’s already stamped his mark in a few areas, he will predominantly be working with attack and attack structure. We’ve had a few sessions in the classroom with him already, and it’s good to have him on the field.”
Given that Joe Schmidt has been the chief architect behind two All Blacks’ defeats over the past decade, it’s safe to say that their attack will likely benefit from his presence as attack coach.
All Blacks vs. Argentina Odds This Weekend
The real test of Joe Schmidt’s impact won’t come from how players talk about him, but by the results posted this weekend by the All Blacks against visitors Argentina.
After two weeks of the Rugby Championship, Argentina sit in first place on the table, having thrashed Australia last round. Less than two years ago, a fired-up Argentinian side claimed their first win over the All Blacks 25-15 in Sydney, and the visitors will be looking for a repeat this weekend as they meet the All Blacks in Christchurch.
However, the bookies aren’t given Argentina much of a chance, with odds of -1250 in favor of the All Blacks, making them greater than 90% favorites on Saturday. Argentina get odds of +600 for a victory, a less than 15% chance.
Given the All Blacks haven’t strung together consecutive wins yet in 2022, these odds may seem a little harsh. However, the All Blacks will be desperate to win the remainder of their Rugby Championship games against Argentina and Australia, to prove they are still a world-class team.
South Africa vs. Australia Odds This Weekend
In the weekend’s other Rugby Championship clash, South Africa are slight favorites against Australia.
Both sides are coming off losses in round two and will be eager to right the ship. Australia have a strong record against the Springboks in Australia, having not lost there since 2017. However, their poor loss to Argentina the week before last sees them with odds of +160 to beat the Springboks.
The visitors, on the other hand, are -192 favorites to come away with the win this weekend.
If results go according to the bookies’ odds, the Rugby Championship table will see some order restored to it, with New Zealand and Australia moving to the top two places halfway through the competition.
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