The very big problem for all All Black teams, is that they see a team sheet headed by Scotland or Italy, and they think it's going to be a try fest. When that doesn't pan out, the All Blacks start to panic.
Today was no exception. It was not a good game and I felt rather bored even watching it (after I stopped feeling completely frustrated with the way the All Blacks couldn't hold a pass).
To Italy's credit, they came out firing and ready to play. They scored a good try and they managed to distupt any flowing magic the All Blacks might have had (at least up to the 70th minute, when then the Azurri ran out of steam).
While the northern hemisphere journalists wax lyrical about the All Blacks and their free flowing hands, and the NZ media (those male, pale, stale 'experts') talk about watching an All Black training session where the players were so perfect they made zero mistakes (I mean please, don't write about this in such a gloating fashion....you are just setting your team up for a major fall).
The All Blacks talk about respecting these lower tier teams, but it's all lip service really. And I think one day, their arrogance will seriously be made to pay.
I think I watched Ali Williams' last game today. He was ineffectual (apart from his haka, which I find at the most charitable times in my mind nauseating, and at the least, vomit inducing). Yes, he was once a good All Black (he was never great, although he had a couple of lovely moments), but it's time for him to call it a day.
Aaron Smith seems to have lost a touch of his form from the tri nations. He may be quick, but if you're going to be fast, you need good decision making too. I'm hoping he will find his way again towards the end of the tour.
Nonu had a bad game. I'm getting a wee bit tired of our creaking front row and I would have preferred Victor Vito on for Messam at about the 50 mark.
Otherwise, we won, we scraped up spare points in the last ten minutes with our super subs, that made the score line a little more predictable and deceiving.
I think the All Blacks are going to have a tough match at Twickenham.