The All Black / France inveco series - although a frustrating affair has been a good barometer of where the All Blacks and New Zealand are set for 2011. Unfortunately the barometer indicates that we’re currently not in a very good position.
Tialata and Rokocoko need to go
Firstly, our lack of depth has been sorely exposed. Although it was hard to lose to France in the first test in Dunedin, the old saying is true that you learn more from your losses than your wins. What can we in the end take from this assorted mish mash of All Blacks who were filling in for the superstars and how do they improve if the superstars don’t find their fitness on time? Firstly, Henry and the selectors need to seriously consider dropping the deadwood from the team that didn’t do much in the super 14 and weren’t too flash in the tests either. That means Tialata and Rokocoko should be replaced until they ‘find their form’.
Favourable stats but no go forward – what’s happened to our backs?
A big worry as far as I was concerned was the lack of potency in the backline which by New Zealand standards is surprising. Whether this was caused by the lack of finesse around Cowan and Donald’s game or whether it was more to do with the sluggish forwards is anyone’s guess. Even though the media rabbited on about the forwards beating the French in the second test, with wonderful performances by Mealamu and Thorne aside, it still didn’t look to me like the French were quivering in their boots when it came to the All Black scrum. More work needs to be done.
Where’s our trophy? Boo hoo hoo.
The anti Henry brigade was given further ammunition when the All Black coach admitted he had not told his team they needed to win the second test by six points to retain the silverware. It was news to me that there was even silverware to be won but really - what saddo cares about some tin pot trophy that no-one even knows the name of anyway? Well obviously, the balding, middle aged red necks of the New Zealand media – that’s who. “Henry’s gaffe was sheer stupidity!” screams the self righteous Jonanthan Millmow from the Dominion Post. As far as I’m concerned there’s only one trophy that we all really want and that hasn’t seen the light of day in NZ since 1987, but that’s a whole other story.
Meathead All Black supporters give the rest a bad name
The embarrassments continued well after the tests for this country when the French team were pelted with rubbish by moronic All Black ‘fans’ at Carisbrook after the first test and the French centre Mathieu Bastareaud was assaulted outside a cab rank by a group of meatheads after the Wellington test on Saturday. It just depresses me so much when I hear about this and I wonder – are this country’s rugby supporters of the zombie ilk? Most are good but the small minority who don’t have two brain cells to rub together and need booze and violence to make them feel like real men are letting the rest of us down. There is a divide in this country – those who like rugby and those who don’t. The reason lots don’t like the game are because of the zombies who boo, jeer and assault. And they’re giving the rest of us a bad name internationally too.
Which leads me onto - the lack of singing in the anthem?
It’s good that everyone’s going on about the fact that the All Blacks look like a pack of stuffed morons when they line up for the anthem and barely move their lips. But they’ve always been like this so I’m surprised people are going on about it now. Their actions typify a section (not all) of New Zealand society who are very repressed, staunch and dour. Basically singing a song to the emotionally retarded = bad as it means you are not very masculine. Doing a haka and getting angry = good however as it means you’re very manly and primal. It’s all macho bullshit as far as I’m concerned but apart from Graham Henry standing on a chair and giving them all a singing lesson I really can’t see what’s going to be done about making them sing. Personally, it would be preferable if they only performed the haka a couple of times a year. Having pride in Maori culture is great but the haka is now overdone and is more posturing pantomime than a spiritual expression of our indigenous culture. And if these All Blacks are so proud of the Maori culture, why is it they won’t sing the words to the Maori verse of the anthem?