Monday, 9 August 2010
While Ferdy is off at re-orientating herself to UK life at The Big Chill, enjoying a bass bin battering from the likes of Massive Attack, M.I.A. and Roots Manuva, it falls to me to step up and repay the Good Lady's faith in giving me ‘game time’ on ruggerblogger. So, here goes ...
Now, I’ve got to admit, I am not a huge Sevens fan, but I was really enjoying that game on Saturday night ... then a Test Match broke out and I had to settle in for 65 minutes of old fashioned see-saw. It was a New Zealand victory based on two early pounces of expansive, flowing rugby, and long periods of defence when the Wallabies had all the possession. Hell, we even kicked our way out of trouble; at least twice Carter hoofed the ball 50-60m down the field, and it was refreshing to see this pragmatic shift in strategy. Despite the new interpretations finally catching up to New Zealand’s long standing willingness to run the ball from everywhere and carry the ball into contact, in tight games like this it is nice to know that Carter’s boot can conservatively thump us to a better gain in field position. A Plan B perhaps?
Yes, the match looked uncomfortably close for periods when the teams were only 7 points apart and those Canary Yellow jerseys seemed to be holding phase after phase ... but so many times they struggled to gain ground after the first tackle, let alone multiple phases. This All Black pack could stop inflation.
Deans’ team (presently) just lack that cohesion to really steel their enthusiasm. At this stage, players with 2,7 or 15 caps will never compete against our more experienced core of players in the 25-45 cap zone, but I’m with Ferdy ... give them time. Shining lights like Will Genia (quiet on Saturday), David Pocock and Drew Williams will always put them in good stead for the final rounds in 2011.
These All Blacks are just in scintillating form and brimming with confidence at the moment. Are we peaking? Is this another 1994, 2002 or 2006? I don’t believe we peak ... I think we just crash for 10 minutes every four years, with calamitous effect.
For now though, I’m feelin' the love again this year. I am enjoying this Tri Nations. I feel ‘comfy’ with this team. With that whopping Bledisloe Cup in the trophy cabinet for another year, the last hurdle - the icing on our 2010 cake - is not just the Tri Nations win, but doing it with an emphatic away win in the Rainbow Nation ... no, not the North Shore - South Africa.
PS Woodcock was very, very lucky. Richard Loe will be smiling.