This was yet another test match ruined once again by the whiste happy world cup blower Wayne Barnes. I know – it was really Jamie Heaslip’s fault, but could you have sent the errant knee offender off with a yellow instead of a red Wayne Barnes? Surely the judiciary could have sorted out the rest the next day? The match was over after fifteen minutes ruining it for the paying spectators as well as the television watchers dotted throughout the world. Thankfully there were some salvageable things to come out of the match.
The new boys in black are looking good
I was particularly excited about the baby blacks coming through for the first test of the season against the Irish and the new boys didn’t disappoint. Particularly Israel Dagg who looks like a big star of the future with his darting counter attacking run and silky skills. Already he seems to have built up some kind of psychic understanding with Cory Jane where they ran some slicing lines off each other.
The thoughtful Benson Stanley provided the base for his outsides Carter and Smith to shine. I like the look of this guy, he offers difference and altogether something a bit more steady than the erratic Nonu. The gritty Franks brothers too seem like good prospects for the future and I would pick either of them any day to prop the scrum over the normal incumbent Tialata - even at this point.
With the New Zealanders playing a white hot game in the first half and springing out to a 38 point lead by half time, the three wise men thought it right to empty their bench giving the rest of the 22 a run out. Cruden and Vito didn’t have much time to shine although for now I think Carter and Kaino don’t have too much to worry about. Cruden for me just seems too small at this stage and what is the point of having a first five eight who can’t kick goals.
The pluck of the Irish
The Irish of course put up a plucky defence (how condescending were we all?) in the second half which was admirable. But the ABs had taken their foot off the gas by then (they always seem to when they’re far in the lead). I think the All Blacks would have been quite disgusted at themselves to leak four trys on their line, particularly when the Irish were playing with 14 men. Actually, I was a bit disgusted at them too. So to quote Fitzy, they’ll have to go back to the drawing board about that.