On the eve of test two for the All Blacks of 2012, a few thoughts.
1. How good was this NZ backline? Offset by a Number 9 who finally looks like they can pass faster than Justin Marshall (that in itself is not a tall order at all….but we’ve had such a plethora of sluggish half backs with their inaccurate passing in the last decade, I was beginning to doubt I would ever see the day that NZ would produce someone that could even just have a hint of the Gregan in them).
2. Savea. That’s all. Just Savea.
3. Great to have Dan Carter back steering the ship, supported by the ever sturdy, ever dependable Conrad ‘runs an intelligent line’ Smith – who as it turns out has won 50 of the 56 tests he has played for NZ. This in itself is a world record. What can I say? The man is Taranaki born and bred.
4. Why does Adam Thomson do that wind wiper thing when he is on the lucky end of receiving a try? Can’t stand the guy….sorry Slugso, know you love him, but he’s no Kaino, and his showboating is hard to take.
5. Speaking of showboating….what is Ali Williams doing in this team? From the moment he snatched the Webb Ellis trophy out of McCaw’s hands at the world cup presentation last year, my patience finally wore out for this particular journeyman. Yes, he was good in his day, but he is past it now. Why Williams is allowed to stand in the front row of the haka and do the most am-dram rendition is beyond me. Probably his bezzie mate status with McCaw is protecting him somewhat. However, he doesn’t deserve to be in the All Blacks anymore.
6. The Irish weren’t as bad as the scoreline predicted. Often they had it over our forwards and took us to the wire in the back row.
7. In saying that – I wish they would stop moaning about how tired they are because they’ve been playing for 11 months. It is such a poor excuse. The All Blacks often have played for 11 months when they made the trip to the UK for the end of year autumn internationals. And you didn’t hear them complaining much about being tired.
8. So the Irish are already done and dusted. The series will be 3-zip. Well… that is according to every arm chair critic in the country. The flames are fanned of course from the parochial and arrogant NZ media (Chris Rattue, a ‘commentator’ who has had to eat his words more times than I have banged on about Robbie Deans being a traitor). Best remember people ‘pride becomes before a fall’. And to dip further deeper into my carpet bag of clichés: ‘It ain’t over till the fat lady sings’.
9. It would be nice if Richie McCaw acknowledged the opposite team a little more. It is so important to be gracious in victory and defeat (well, for the most part, unless of course Wayne Barnes has been officiating…then it is fine to blame the ref).
10. It should be another emotional night with it being the first test match back in Christchurch since the earthquake. I hope it turns out to be a spectacular one in the best possible way for everyone concerned.