Rugby: Hepburn's view

Ma'a Nonu
Ma'a Nonu
Otago Daily Times rugby writer Steve Hepburn shares his view on the test.

Star All Black

Jeepers, this is not easy to pick.

Plenty did not put their hand up but Ma'a Nonu tried very hard and made metres every time he got the ball. Looked dangerous and played his heart out. Cory Jane was not far behind him.

Star opponent

Tom Wood - Almost as hard to pick this one as all the Englishmen were at their absolute best. Perhaps the best was former North Otago man Wood, who was all over the park, while goal-kicker Owen Farrell was, in the end, the difference between the two sides.

Highlander watch

Nonu did as much as he could, while Aaron Smith completed a tour in which he has not quite nailed his performances.

Tony Woodcock was solid but the All Black scrum looked scratchy the whole game.

All Black grade

E - Whenever the All Blacks lose, that is the grade they get.

Question

Does this loss put a blight on the entire year?
And is it a signal that some of the All Blacks' experienced players are simply getting old?



Heaviest ABs' losses

1. Australia 28 - All Blacks 7 (Sydney, 1999)
The All Blacks had beaten the Wallabies by 19 points at Eden Park a month earlier but were never in the match in front of 107,000 fans at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

Australia scored only one try, through Mark Connors, while Matt Burke kicked seven penalties and a conversion for a tally of 23 points.

2. South Africa 17 - All Blacks 0 (Durban, 1928)
The opening test of the 1928 tour of South Africa stood as the All Blacks' worst defeat for more than 70 years. The Boks scored the only try of the match, while first five-eighth Bennie Osler kicked two penalties and two drop goals (worth four points at the time).

3. England 38, All Blacks 21 (Twickenham, 2012)

4. Australia 26, All Blacks 10 (Sydney, 1980)
A famous win for the Wallabies, not just for the size of victory but because they defended the Bledisloe Cup for the first time. On the eve of the test, the All Black squad was struck down by food poisoning (sound familiar?).

The Wallabies scored four times while the All Blacks' only try, to Bernie Fraser, came in the closing stages.

5. Australia 20, All Blacks 5 (Wellington, 1964)
The final match of a three-test series which was already wrapped up after the All Blacks claimed victories in Dunedin and Christchurch. Australian winger Stewart Boyce scored two tries and Phil Hawthorne slotted a 40m drop goal.

It was the last test for All Black greats Don Clarke and captain John Graham.