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.