All Blacks to improve lineout work

by staff

Lock Luke Romano acknowledges the quality of the lineout ball given to the backs must improve when the All Blacks pursue successive Rugby Championship victories over the Wallabies on Saturday.

He says coach Steve Hansen described that aspect of New Zealand's game in their 27-19 win over Australia in Sydney last weekend as "a bit shoddy".

"Getting that top quality ball from the lineout is essential to launch out backs," Romano said on Tuesday.

"That's an area us locks and lineout jumpers are looking to improve this week."

The Test was Romano's second and it was his first taste of a Bledisloe Cup encounter.

The biggest eye-opener for the 26-year-old Crusader, who made his All Blacks debut in the 60-0 demolition of Ireland in Hamilton in June, was the greater precision needed in execution.

"It was just how accurate you have to be," he said.

"If you get any little, small thing wrong, it gets amplified into a bigger situation. If you don't get a good placement, you are liable to get the ball turned over."

The All Blacks will make at least one change to their starting 15 for the match in Auckland on Saturday night, with 87-Test prop Tony Woodcock ruled out due to a rib injury.

Woodcock's replacement is likely to be Wyatt Crockett.

The last of Crockett's six Tests in a stop-start international career was against the Wallabies at Eden Park last August, a contest the All Blacks won 30-14.

Romano said Woodcock's experience and "scrumming nous" would be sorely missed.

But he said Crockett had been in good form and he was sure his fellow Crusader would step up.

"If he gets the chance to go out there, he's just going to put his best foot forward," Romano said.

"He's a great ball-playing prop and he scrummages really well. He'll just be looking to do the simple things well."