As New Zealand Rugby gets set to decide the future of besieged coach Ian Foster, the respected Read has pointed to his Crusaders connections for orchestrating a change in fortunes for the struggling All Blacks.
Ryan, Scott Robertson’s assistant coach at the Crusaders who was persuaded by Foster to replace John Plumtree, had quickly brought a new attitude to the All Blacks pack that had been shown up by Ireland and France at the end of last year and again exposed by the Irish in the home series defeat in July.
Looking from the outside, Read felt Ryan had been able to use his Crusaders connections in the All Blacks forwards to make a much-needed instant impact where New Zealand lineout, scrum and ability to counter mauls, had dramatically improved in his first two games in charge of the pack in the tough environment of South Africa.
“I think it’s hard to see too much detail … and maybe the attitude was the biggest one he could shift over in South Africa,” Read, who played 127 tests for New Zealand including 52 as captain, said of Ryan’s influence in an interview with SENZ Radio.
“Just getting the guys more aligned I think could help.
“Jase is a smart man, and he would’ve seen a few things that he could’ve just provided up to a few guys, individually.
“I think the way he’s got his senior players in that forward pack stepping up. I guess he can lean on a few Crusaders; Sam Whitelock I’m sure would’ve had a big impact in there, echoing a bit of what Jase has been saying.
“And then Scott Barrett, I thought, had one of his best games in the lock jersey as well, he was brilliant and went all 80 minutes.
“So, he deserves a bit of credit there, old Jase.”
In terms of improving the direction of the team on the field at the daunting Ellis Park, Read had no doubt about the instant impact of Mo’unga, selected to start at first-five instead of Beauden Barrett.
“Richie Mo’unga was the guy for me, who steered the ship around and got us in the right areas of the field,” Read told SENZ Radio.
With the forwards manning up and Mo’unga continuing the go-forward with some astute kicking and clever passing, the All Blacks’ quick start had pressured the Springboks.
“The way the Springboks selected their team, I think the fact that we made them go to their bench early really helped us down that back end,” Read, who won 16 of his 22 tests against the Springboks, said.