Sunday, 24 June 2012

New Zealand v Ireland - 3rd Test 2012

Let’s face it ... we have ll been out on Saturday nights and done shit we wished we could forget the next morning, but Ireland are not going to live this one down. After being one snapped drop goal from preventing a series clean sweep by New Zealand last week, last night in Hamilton they just had nothing left in the tank that could compete with a wounded & hungry All Black side.

And Ireland will have to live with that 60-0 margin until they tour New Zealand again in 12 years.

Look at the numbers, and this really looks like a normal, ding-dong, hard Test ... the possession, territory look almost fair. However, Ireland’s error rate was high - they were missing 1 in 5 tackles! And with the All Blacks on fire they had no chance, they were punished mercilessly.

I thought Aaron Cruden was sublime. That was shades of Daniel taming the 2005 Lions in Wellington’s 2nd Test. Last night the game was over in 25 minutes.

The way Aaron Smith gets that bullet pass to Cruden, quite wide, releases the backs brilliantly, and then Cruden turns it back inside to SBW. Blinding. Carnage.

Luke Roman, Sam Cane, and Beauden Barrett all played with confidence - there is something surely going right in the ABs when the camp can manage to slot in new players like this so seamlessly.

Very happy for the All Blacks. They have a real solid base from which to build for  this year’s inaugural Rugby Championship. Don’t get complacent peeps, the level of travel just went up a notch for this new comp, and anyone who think Argentina are going to be easy (especially at home) is a fool.

In fact, I think Argentina may well be the next team to pick the Wallabies’ pocket.

To the Irish, and their supporters, I don’t think its fair to dwell on last night. Over the three Tests it is clear the gulf is not 60 points, but a Test series is a reborn creature that may take new thinking, and I am sure it will get criticism for being tacked on after a very long season for the Irish lads. There is enough talent there to contnue at the top of the European competition - its just maybe they should be looking at the next generation to come towards 2015.

Certainly hope that a few of their lads make the Lions for 2013: O’Brien, Healy, Heaslip, Kearney ... BOD even? Always a pleasure to watch and listen to O’Driscoll, I just think the guy has been around long enough to actually have something to say, and he’s always honest.

It make some wonder whether the Six Nations next year needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Don’t get me wrong, I lived up there long enough to love the tradition, pageantry and rivalry of those matches ... but when the teams bring the ‘best and brightest’ down here and can’t even win a game against a raw Bok side, or a depleted Wallaby team (ahem, actually ... Scotland, you are the exception!), you have to question their ability.

Once again, in 2012, there’s only one hemisphere!

PS I could not locate some numbers for the AUS v WAL test, and the Boks drew with England ... I just got lazy and after that display by NZ I couldn’t really be arsed doing those stats.


Ferdy said...

Slugso - you are a rugby man after my own heart. I couldn't agree more with your sum up of today.

Cruden was 'that' second test in 2005 all over again. (And he only needed 25 minutes to do it - whereas Carter took the full 80).

Cane, Romano, where have these guys come from?! (Shame on me for not watching super rugby this year).

Aaron Smith though is the find of the season. Finally the ABs have a scrum half who has a bullet pass. (I don't think I've ever known one such man wearing the number 9 and the silver fern in my lifetime).

Even Liam Messam mildly impressed me. And for once, Adam Thomson didn't do the wind wiper dance, and I could finally concede that maybe, just maybe, there is some talent popping up in the right place at the right time.

SBW. Well, unlike most of NZ, I have always loved him (and no, it's not just because of his guns).

As for Ireland. I felt for them today. But not in a condescending 'I'm so sorry for you poor blighters' kind of way. More that of all the teams that get given a doughnut by the ABs...I don't want Ireland to be one of them.

They have always been my favourite team in the NH. They play with invention and spirit and they are Goliath conquerors on a good day. Unlike England and Scotland and the like, they have never been afraid to try and play rugby with risk, inventiveness, courage.

I haven't seen a scoreline in my lifetime before today committed by the ABs. Althought I loved every minute of it, I did wish that the team wearing green in the oppositition had been wearing a fair dose of yellow too (preferably with a wallaby logo on the chest).

slugso said...

Haha, Ferdy .. I know you don't fell the love for Thomson so it cracks me up he's got two tries in two Tests.

He's a good player. Maybe more of a loose loosie than a Kaino style 6, and that is what we are still looking for. Either Messam or Vito need to be given time at 6 ... remembering that Big Jerome took years to become the legend he is now.

Cruden. Wow! SBW. Wow! Shame he'll be off to the NRL, he'll follow the $$$ I am sure, which is sad. This guy is on teh cusp of being globally huge, truly has potential to be game's biggest star.

But if he wants to go play in a sport that is basically a club sport, and in which international level is a joke ... bye bye.