All Blacks 20 – England 15. Eden Park. 7 June 2014
Well! That certainly made for a nail chewingly, blood pressure pumpingly high morning. A brilliant game played by two teams who were trying their hardest but not quite executing. But gawd dang - who cares?! It was a great game.
Well done England too, although I wasn’t surprised that they had Eden Park gaping in silence for large parts of the match. Unlike the acolytes who blindly follow the great rugby trolls of the British media – Cleary, Kitson and Woodward, I didn’t believe for a moment that this so called ‘sixth string’ side would be rolled over. The main cavalry coming next week eh Sky UK? We’ll just see about that.
Highlights in white for me were Tuilagi who to my blind one eye sadly seems to have Conrad Smith’s number . Also Robshaw and I thought that Freddie Burns was better than Farrell and less pig headed. In fact what I like about this England team is that they didn’t throw their toys out of the pram everytime a decision went against them (and to be fair, they copped a couple of unlucky calls). The Fodens (yes, I know he’s not playing) and the Youngs of the past would be stomping their feet petulantly and it’s not a good look. As well as playing attractive rugby, I think Lancaster really is getting them to man up in other areas too. Love ya Lancaster! *
For us, and some might say that without Savea, Reid and Dan we too were looking distinctively second stringey - Richie was his lionhearted usual and Kaino and Aaron Smith were also everywhere. I loved the audacious tap and kick run from Cruden at the end. And it paid off - so in your face Cruden knockers! Why not do that? No other team would dare. That’s why we love the Blackness!
But otherwise we lacked and it was earl grey splutteringly frustrating. Why did we kick away so much possession? Why did Hansen play Barrett out of position at fullback? Why did Izzy continue to ‘drop the ball’?. And harshly, why are we now persevering with some of these old All Blacks who have seen better days. Surely it’s time to start making the way for the new, as England are doing.
Our scrum has been creaking for years. It’s time that Steve Tew brought himself a ticket to Toulon with cap in hand and a large suitcase of money. We need Carl Hayman back if we want to have any chance of winning next years’ tournament. Because when you’re relying on Mealamu, a man who has played over 100 tests as hooker and Wyatt Crockett to pick up the pieces of our messy scrums in the final quarter of a test match, something is just not right.
Right. Rant over. Can I just say a vote of thanks and admiration to Lu who has designed the most incredible rugby app I have ever seen! It’s beautiful and should be made into a hard cover coffee table book sold in museums, art galleries and reputable bookshops! Rugby’s very own Wisden! Lu, you are one talented guy.
If you haven’t already downloaded yet, please get to Itunes promptly, support ruggerblogger and look up Ruggerblogger –it’s free!
*But not as much as Steve.