All Blacks vs Italy: All Blacks searching for attacking balance, says Dane Coles

Hooker Dane Coles is looking forward to washing the bitter taste of defeat out of his mouth, when the All Blacks take on Italy this weekend.

Coles says the side is "still hurting" after their 16-6 loss to Ireland on Sunday (NZ time) and this weekend's test in Rome is a chance to leave Europe on a winning note.

"It's always nice that you get another week to right that wrong," said Coles. "I'm sure that'll motivate a lot of the lads."

But they'll likely be doing so with a much different looking line-up. Coles expects the selectors to give those who've had less game-time a chance to run out at Stadio Olimpico.

"Without knowing the team, I'd say it'll be the guys who haven't played too much footy as well, so, it's an exciting time for them.

"That result will probably leave a little bit in the gut over the summer… but it's now about this week and hopefully we can improve."

Some of those changes will be injury-enforced, with Sam Whitelock, Sonny Bill Williams, Matt Todd, Liam Squire and Joe Moody all leaving  the tour a week early.

The 31-year-old admits the team are still trying to strike the ideal medium between playing on instinct and operating within a new attacking system.

"We've got some of the best players at the world at playing what they see in front of them.

"On the weekend, everything we did, Ireland were just there - we didn’t break them down at all. They were everywhere, they played their hearts out.

"You've got to have structure and you've got to have balance, but we've got guys reacting to situations, and sometimes that's just going outside of your structure and just playing what's in front of you.

"We're still trying to find that balance… hopefully we can find a few solutions from the weekend's game."

Coles says the responsibility lies with everybody on the park, not simply those in the traditional playmaking positions.

"We're all drivers out there. We can't just rely on guys like the Beaudies [Beauden Barrett] to make all those decisions. There's 15 of us and we need to help each other out - call it and just back our instincts, and trust what we see.

"We probably didn’t do that in the weekend. There was some space, but we didn’t see it or make the right call.

"If it's the wrong decision and you commit 100 percent, then so be it. That's what you've got to do."


Join us at 3am Sunday for live updates of the All Blacks vs Italy

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