Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Half way point in the Tri Nations 2009 - fall out and theories

Half way through the Tri Nations and it looks like the Saffas are going to steam roll the very mediocre All Black and Wallaby outfits this year. Or will they?

Granted the South African team is very good but will they be good enough when they’re away from home? And is it just me or does anyone else think this Springbok team bears a striking resemblance to the English of 2003 with a kicker in Steyn that is as metronomic as Jonny Wilkinson, a forward pack who can clinically wear down any opposition and a back line that looks rather short on ideas and attack. Mind you – as an All Black supporter, who am I to dis the South African backline when the NZ backline currently doesn’t look like it would be able organise a piss up in brewery.

It seems that rugby’s pendulum has swung. Where as four years ago in 2005 a team that played glorious, attacking rugby was the victor, rugby now is won by strong defence and having a man in the backline who can kick all your territory and points. Of course, It helps if you can get into the ref’s head at the breakdown as well. For New Zealand, we’ve never been much good at this (current popular theory is lack of intelligence). We suffer most with Welsh and Irish referees who seem to collectively hate us.

Whether it’s the old rules or the ELVs, everything is up the whop at the moment when it comes to rugger. The kind of rugby we are seeing being played and won this year is the kind of rugby that normally only appears at rugby world cup tournaments. Low risk rugger where you batter and squeeze the life out of the opponent with a one man point scorer. Maybe it’s good for the All Blacks that is happening now. Maybe the pendulum would have swung to a more attack based game by 2011. Or maybe we will be able to better deal with what is before us in two years time if we have a bit of practice and do the hard yards in pain now.

Sports after dark blog - the endangered All Blacks

1 comment:

Nursedude said...

Hi Ferdy,
I think there are a few things to consider here. First, a lot can change in two years. Case in point, back at the 2007 RWC, Ireland did not even make it out of the group of death to the quarterfinals, but yet, won their first grand slam in over 60 years this past Spring(well, fall down in the southern hemisphere)

Morné Steyn has had a ridiculous start to his international career,sort of a fly half version of Tiger Woods, when he turned pro as a golfer.

I think the trend with stout defense and then cashing in on penalties has beein going on awhile. It did not win the 'Boks any style points in 2007, but it did get them the Webb Ellis Trophy.

I do think that help is in the wings for the All Blacks. Let's not forget that the U-20 New Zealand Side has won the last two under 20 IRB championships. You still produce an insane amount of young talent-the question will be how Graham Henry works these young guns into his senior All Black side.

Injuries happen too. The All Blacks are a very different without Dan Carter wearing the number 10 jersey. If you have a really hot #10, Like Wilkinson with England in 2003, Ollie Campbell with Ireland in the early 80's(yes, I am that old) or Morné Steyn now, you can win a lot of games.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in 2007, didn't South Africa finish 3rd in the Tri Nations, yet won the RWC?