Saturday, 30 July 2011
All Blacks V South Africa B - Tri-nations 2011
I felt for this Bok B team. They've been used by P-Divvy as sacrificial lambs and didn't their faces show it by the end of the game. They were really quite inept, and I can't understand how a team with such rugby mana could be so useless, particulary in their backline attack.
The All Blacks looked quite good by my standards although a quick trawl of the New Zealand papers and you'd think the world has fallen around us with such a mediocre performance.
Unlike the bah-hum-bug middle aged grumps that work for Fairfax however, I took heart from a lot of things. Dan Carter for example was back to his ghosting best although his kicks at goal left a lot to be desired. I can forgive him that though. He looked the Dan of old in the field of play and he's back to all time world rugby points scorer, overtaking a certain Mr Wilkinson, so I'm happy to cut him some slack (just this once mind ;-)
Our backs, particularly our wings and Conrad Smith looked fantastic. Cory Jane (why ever was he put into the reserves in the first place) was my man of the match. He steadied the ship and he surely deserves to be in the first team, as a wing or as fullback. Zac Guildford showed some nice speed and Conrad Smith did what he did best (excuse me while I pull out this cliche) and ran some good intelligent lines.
The forwards were their usual steady selves and it was good to see us back on top of the breakdown stats again. It was particularly heartening to see the Ali Williams of old take to the field and not come off through injury.
Overall this was a good performance, although admittedly, they were playing boys. I have a few gripes. I'm still not happy with Muliaina as first choice full back. Ditto our two half backs, but what can you do when there's no-one better on the sidelines. Number 9 is our absolute weak point in this team and has been for some time now.
Watch this space on ruggerblogger, there will be more to come in the next few days.
NEW ZEALAND 40 (Zac Guildford 2, Cory Jane 2, Wyatt Crockett, Colin Slade tries Daniel Carter 2 cons 2 pens) bt SOUTH AFRICA 7 (John Smit try Morne Steyn con) at Westpac Stadium. Referee: Alain Rolland