Sunday, 7 October 2007

All Blacks Choke....Again

All Blacks 18 France 20

Now I love the All Blacks and I am most certainly not going to be one of those dour kiwis that has a good moan, starts cursing the coach and calling the captain a suitcase with no leadership skills. But once again, we have fallen. And what is worse, this time it is at the third to last hurdle, the earliest exit the All Blacks have ever made in a World Cup tournament.

As a New Zealander, I have to say this game was about as riveting as a car crash. You couldn't look away but it was painful. Like the Fiji / Wales match a week earlier, each team held ascendancy over the other in patches. Each team showed moments of flair and ambition, and each team had moments of sloppiness.

The French played with so much passion and as the game wore on the All Blacks slipped back into a panic mode and sadly, started dropping like flies. Hindsight is a great thing but unfortunately it is beginning to look like the controversial conditioning programme of Graham Henry's didn't in the end do much for Jerry Collins, Dan Carter, Keith Robinson and Byron Kelleher who looked like they were all limping as they came off the field.

With Kelleher subbed, the All Black backline lost its shape and the French stepped up their defence. There was nothing that McAlister, Rokocoko or Sivivatu could conjure up. We had nothing to offer and as the time ticked away on the clock, it became evident that once again, France would be celebrating another famous victory a la 1999.

With Michalek coming onto the paddock in the last ten, I knew deep down it was over for the ABs. An inspired 40m sprint by Michalek set up a Jauzion try and from here the French finally took the lead by the smallest of margins (two points). Through brave defence they managed to hold off the All Blacks who lost their team cohesion and started playing like a collective of individuals as opposed to the well oiled machine we have seen on so many occasions before.

Graham Henry was gracious in defeat and admitted that we didn't have the rub of the green. There were some controversial decisions (a sinbinning to McAlister; a forward pass in the build up to a crucial try to the French) but this is what the game is, and there is no point moaning about decisions that go against you when on another day, they will go for you.

I think Henry has been a great coach for this team and this team was indeed great - about two years ago. With the dip in form of Carter this year, the All Blacks have dipped too as a collective. However, I am proud of what they have achieved these last four years and the sun will rise again.

So - four more years! I'm a bit shocked, but also ok. It was a great game of rugby and we were beaten by a better team on the day. Well done Northern Hemisphere for turning the tables on us arrogant southerners. Well done France.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments, I want to say I'm sorry for the AB's they deserve to get that cup, no doubd they are the best team in the world. Even here in France not many people would have bet a penny on our own team against the blacks.

A Rugby fan for France;

Anonymous said...

I am distraught for myself and 'the boys' please tell me it is all a nightmare and i will wake up sunday morning and cheer on our boys
Jane

nursedude said...

Yo Ferdy, I gotta say I was torn on this one. I have lived in France and have a lot of friends there. I have freinds on my club who are Kiwis and I also just love the way the All blacks play. The French Admire them, too. I think I mentioned just how much I saw All Black related commericals in France. New Zealand is where people go to learn to play the game at a higher level, but the All Blacks, just like Moses, cannot seem to make it to the promised land. I hope at least guests are nicer to you than some of the people on Matt's blog. Hang in there Ferdy. Have a Steinlager on me,love.

John said...

Very sorry for what has happen to the All Blacks. They were the best team during this World Cup.

But France played brave and well.

With all this upsets, I'm now more worried about my beloved Pumas against Scotland

Matt @ Green and Gold Rugby said...

Commiserations from commiserations land. I have an inkling of how much pressure was riding on this for you guys, so it would be interesting over the next few days to read about the reaction over there.

For the pommy reaction - just read the mostly moronic comments on my blog from an instant english readership that I've attracted. Highest ever blog hits last night.

As for the 'rub of the green' - as a neutral I'd say the McCallister binning wasn't far off the mark, but the pass to Michalak was forward. But hey, as if this matters now.

Yann Riché said...

Hello,

I'm sorry for the Blacks as they are like brasilains playing football. But yesterday french defense was top.

As you know the three best defenses for the first round were Argentina 33 pts, NZ 35 and France 37. Both team were very close we were I think luckier.

See you

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I am an English rugby fan living in France, in our village bar at the end of the France/Argie. game the locals were at each others throats over Mad "Das Fuhrer La Porte". Last night half off them did'nt turn up they were so sure they would lose, the other half turned up to drown there sorrows.

At the end of the match it was like Bastille Day, Liberation Day, and the second coming of Joan of Arc all rolled into one, with plenty of comments on the fact that the best team lost, and only an imbeceille like that "maison La merde" ( Shithouse) la Porte could pick a team with everybody playing in the wrong position and win.

Very flowery these French with there expressions when you get to study them closely.

They all agreed ,yes a forward pass, but as I pointed out as someone who watches NZ rugby on Sky each week Your refs have never seen a forward pass in there lives and your commentators are so far up there own arses that any ref from the Northern Hemisphere is automatically slagged off. Bye the way we Leicester Tigers supporters thank your selectors fo not tiring out Mauger before he joins us and at least you will not have to put up with those whining Aussies crowing at you.

Le Tiger Francais

Anonymous said...

Shock
Denial
Anger
Depression
Acceptance

In another four years we'll have another go, and I'll shout and stamp and call the ref a C**t and all the same stuff I did this time around. But not today. Today I don't wanna hear about rugby.

Depression-Man.

Nevyn said...

After reading that comment about moaning about decisions that don't go your own way I've got to completely disagree.

The reffing was incredibly one sided. Furthermore, it's had me questioning the integrity of the competition.

Are the referees held responsible in anyway? I know the media aren't supposed to mention them.

I caught all but the first 18 minutes or so and in that time I saw All Blacks Players being held before receiving the ball, off-sides, a sin bin from some made up rule (you're not allowed to turn your back on a player who can't see?!?) and a winning try being scored as a direct result of a forward pass. The lousy refereeing seemed to have spread to the touch judges as well. Oh I forgot - the scum for a forward pass which the ref admitted he wasn't sure whether it was a forward pass or not.

Pity he wasn't playing it that safe when the French scored their 2nd try.

The biggest pity for me is that I think France might have won without all the crappy refereeing and it would've been a much more interesting match and maintained some integrity to this competition.

As it stands, I say damn the competition. If refereeing like this is allowed to stand, there is no point to this competition. Just ask the refs who they want to win and award the cup to them.

Oh and for those people who say things like "northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere refs are different" - it's called the Rugby World Cup right? It's all the same game? Forward passes are not allowed? holding and/or tackling a player before receiving a ball is a definite no no? Offsides are still an offside?

As far as I know, rules are rules, no matter which hemisphere you're from. And they apply to both teams.

With Malice said...

As a Wallabies fan, I too am gutted.
Feel for you bro'...