All Blacks 31 - Springboks 17. Cake Tin/Wellington. Tri Nations 2010
So another comprehensive win for the ABs against a Springbok side that is beginning to look decidedly creaky. However, I still have problems....
I have a huge respect for Graham Henry as a coach. I think he is unparalled in tactical nous. No matter the old fuddy duddies that think Robbie 'dingo' Deans should be taking over the team. It is proven that Henry has the goods being the most successful All Black coach on record. But why would he pick Rene Ranger who is yet another All Black that has been charged with assault? It's not a good look for the team. And the people that are borderline like this - never make it far (eg. Sitiveni Sivivatu, Sione Lauaki, Adam Thompson to name a few).
Ranger is young. He wasn't great this evening under the high ball and in the tackle. He was lucky in fact not to sent off for a shoulder charge. (He wasn't so hot against Wales either when he butchered a try with a three man overlap). He did finish a good try but I still don't think he should be representing the All Blacks or New Zealand in any sport in this period. Prove him innocent, and then he can prove himself on the field.
Now Israel Dagg really is the great white hope. He is a superstar in the making. Tonight, after only a few minutes, he managed to splice apart the defence of two of the best rugger players in the world (Spies and Berger). Which brings me to the person which is keeping Dagg from a starting berth:
Mils Muliaina- yes, he's playing fantastically at the moment, granted. But a niggling thing keeps creeping into my soul when I watch him play. The man is selfish. He would rather not pass or offload. He's always hoping for the try that wins another 80 minutes into the selectors hearts. I hope Dagg will be in the starting 15 that leads us into a sudden death play off in a world cup game. I think by this time next year he will have more to give than Mils.
The Springboks. They were again beaten soundly tonight. Yet again, another yellow was given in the opening ten for Roussow attempting to threaten McCaw with a slight eye gouge (although on replay it looked rather harmless). McCaw himself was lucky not to be yellow carded in the second half of the match, and I borrow Green and Gold rugby's saying that our great All Black captain should be renamed His Highness Field Marshall Richard McCaw, Order of the NTBYC (Never To Be Yellow Carded).
Even with another thrashing, the Boks were gracious and lighthearted in defeat. I wish we could be more like that. I respect them and I certainly am not writing them off for 2011. They'll be back but I really do believe they need some fresh blood and legs in there to get them going again. And maybe it's time for them to look at changing their gameplan. Freeflowing rugby is back on the menu. Pity it's between world cups.