Slade out from Dan Carter’s shadow at Rugby World Cup
The All Blacks are travelling well. Daniel Carter is a big loss for the campaign, but that’s what it is.
Now Colin Slade gets his chance and I’m sure he will go well. It is his team to run and if he calms down and plays his game, then the dramas should be minimal.
It is a difficult thing to be in the shadow of Carter and always being measured up against what we think are quality teams and against the best player in the world, and sometimes that is a bit out of skew.
Slade has the chance to show his skills in this quarter-final. I believe he will do well. If he settles, feels happy and just worries about his areas and understands what his role is, the rest will fall into place.
Slade has plenty of strengths to his game and he will get support from those guys around him who are very experienced.
He does not have to overplay his hand, that is what he has to understand. It is not about trying to be the best player at this level, it is about doing what he has been picked for at first five-eighths.
Sometimes I think he is doing things which he has been told to do which are not natural to him, rather than trusting his own ideas. We need him to play his natural game, do the basics and get on with it.
He is inexperienced but that is not his fault. That is the way it is, but he has a lot to offer. If it doesn’t go as well as we want I guess the excuses are laid out there.
My second and third tests were against Argentina way back in 1997 when we cleaned them up.
But four years later we were extremely fortunate to escape with a win at the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires when Scott Robertson scored a late try.
Generally, the Pumas have not been a great threat to the All Blacks. They have a penchant for scrums and lineout mauls and those areas of the game are where they give us the most trouble.
When I was at Toulon, we came up against a great number of Argentine players in Europe and they still have most of their men playing in competitions there. They have a lot of ability and are improving all the time, and will continue to do so in the Four Nations next year.
They have been sending a development side to train at Stellenbosch and play in the Vodacom Cup in South Africa and that sort of thing will continue to boost their rugby. Most of it has to be done offshore though because, strange as it seems in these times, the game is still largely amateur in Argentina.
It is a shame Juan Fernandez Lobbe is injured for the quarter-final tomorrow. He is a big loss, he controls play, he is a great tactician and leader and his absence takes a fair bit away from their side.
Felipe Contepomi is a seasoned player, not too many frills but not too many mistakes either and he is a very useful attacker. He is a handy goalkicker, loves the big stage and that is where he is at his best. He has lots of experience and is very intelligent.
It’s great to see my mate Mils Muliaina make it to his 100th cap. When he first started he was very quiet and to see him flourish and become a leader has been great.
The coaches fostered and encouraged him and now we have a player and person who has the utmost respect of his peers. He is dependable, a great team man, a player with a very low error rate and all those things make him valuable.