The reason I'm critical of the All Blacks performances this
year is because the selectors are choosing defensive players
with no attacking abilities. Jane, Nonu and Dagg were the
best players in their positions in the world a few years ago
but in the last two years their play has been abysmal.
In 16 tests this year against good teams, England, Australia
and South Africa, they have only scored a miserable 2 tries
between them, and have only made just a few line breaks.
Carter is the same. He's still the one of the best goal
kickers, but his running offence has diminished. Sonny Bill
Williams is great against weak teams like Tonga, Japan and
the USA, but against Aust. and SA he was very ordinary. In
the world cup quarter, semi and final, he had 0 off loads, 0
try assists, 0 line breaks and 0 tries. In fact he couldn't
even make the starting team for the semi and final. It's 1991
all over again.
From the winter of 1990 to the semifinal of the world cup, in
5 tests against Australia and 1 test against England, the
entire AB back line only scored just one try. There were a
lot of silly excuses as to why we couldn't win that cup, but
the fact is the selectors didn't spot the weaknesses in the
backs. Fekitoa is clearly the best second five we have. In, I
think, four tests he has started, he's already scored two
tries, including the winner against Australia. Ben Smith is
best at fullback, and either Cruden or Barrett will do at
first five. You can't question either their attacking or
defensive skills. lf we can just find a decent winger to
replace Jane at right wing, I'll believe again. If the NZRU
continue to be loyal to these selectors, then I'm certain we
wont win next year. I've seen it all before.
Yes our opponents are nt far behind the All Blacks and an off
day come the World cup final or the Semis could see us
beaten. That's the way it should be. But let's have some
respect for an outstanding rugby team. Only one dodgy penalty
in Pretoria broke the All Blacks' unbeaten run in The
Championship. The name of the game in all sport is to find a
way to win. Last time I looked Richie and the boys were still
doing a damn good job on that front.
I must disagree with previous comment. You don't need to win
the world cup final by a country mile. You only need a one
point advantage. Yes the other teams are as close to All
Blacks as ever before. But that's what makes the competition
more exciting. Why do we always expect the ABs to walk over
the opposition? This level of competitiveness has added so
much to the Internationals being played at the moment.
Ireland beat South Africa who very nearly beat the ABs! Bring
on RWC 2015 I say! And I really hope we win.
Unfortunately there appears to be an error within the
record-keeping system. Roger Johnson's best 400m hurdle time
is 49.7. This was set in Los Angeles on April 15, 1972. Thus,
Roger Johnson still holds the New Zealand national record.
Please see: http://www.all-athletics.com/node/284959
Having players from abroad in the team each year can not have
helped the financial situation. Why do we need to recruit
these players when we have teams like Otago Boys winning the
national secondary schools champs? These guys are the future
of Otago Basketball. After a great 2 years in the NBL it is
indeed a very sad day for Otago Basketball.
Take a closer look at the All Blacks' performances this year
then tell me we have a chance of winning the world cup then
try to keep a straight face. We struggled to beat England in
the first test earlier this year, scoring a late try,
breaking a 15-15 deadlock. In the next test, England totally
dominated the final 20 minutes, and would have won only to
run out of time. The first test in Australia was drawn 12-12
then the second was only won with a conversion after full
time. Against South Africa at home, the looked like beating
us until inexplicably and meekly their player was pushed into
touch meters from the goal line then we lost away in SA.
Finally at Twickenham on the weekend, England gave away
certain victory by playing silly buggers in the second half.
When you're two points behind and have a one man advantage,
you don't continually kick away possession because two things
happen. Firstly, if you kick the ball to the opposition, you
can't score points, get the lead back and win the game.
Secondly, if you give them the ball, only they can score, and
that's exactly what happened. Their game plan in the first
half brought a try, excellent field position and a three
point lead. It's actually a good idea not to change the
original plan for the second half. In the first half, England
only conceded 8 points and by giving the ball away in the
second, the AB's scored another 16. The All Blacks just
aren't dominating teams like they did over the last two
seasons. We could easily have lost four tests this year. To
win the world cup you have to win three tough quarter, semi
and final matches, and the chances of the ABs doing this
looks extremely remote.
Here's hoping the Volts reconnect to their power source for
the remainder of the season! Already some tough decisions to
be made by our new coach - but make them he must. Wooden
spoons never look nice in a trophy cabinet.
Don't get me wrong, not a good look and pretty foolish for
someone in his position to smash through a door while having
it filmed on a mobile phone. However, what stood out to me in
this article was the fact that the team had to leave the
Wingatui Races due to the drunken antics of some students,
and that their hooker had "never seen as many drunk people in
all his life".
Yes yes, I know the English drink too, and heavily blah blah,
but you really do have to wonder how, as a society, we have
allowed our bad booze culture to reach epidemic proportions.
It is about time we stopped referring to 'drugs and alcohol'
with the inference alcohol is not a drug, and therefore by
implication less harmful and damaging. The reaction to
synthetic cannabis was borderline hysterical, some would say
rightly so, yet the fact a teenage girl died in Timaru only a
few weeks ago from alcohol poisoning after a party with
friends was barely noticed.