You could hardly call the draw in Sydney over the weekend the beginning to a crisis in the All Blacks camp.
As a rugby obsessed nation, it is understandable that the public are disappointed in the All Blacks after they failed to secure a world record 18th straight victory on Saturday night. The performance on the field was a shocker from the outset, and with the Rugby World Cup looming on the horizon, Saturday night was a timely reminder that the All Blacks can play a poor game every so often.
Without question, if the All Blacks play that brand of rugby during the World Cup next year, the Web Ellis Trophy will not be retained.
But again, Chris Rattue has penned an opinionated editorial in the Herald which paints a picture that is a little more dire than what is the actual case. He is correct in many of his statements though.
If you want to talk facts, the All Blacks didn’t lose the match on Saturday night, and writing a headline that reads “All Blacks are on the brink of a crisis” feels a little too dramatic given the current circumstances.
In some aspects, Rattue is correct in his viewpoints. Where was the impact from the major players in the All Blacks? Why didn’t they come close to scoring a single try during the match? And why did they leave the door open for the Wallabies on so many occasions?
Rattue is also completely correct when he says the All Blacks have created a record for not breaking the world record.
It was the second time that they tripped at the last hurdle, and when you take the Irish test last year into account, the All Blacks are creating a habbit of “almost losses” and gory victories when anything of real meaning is on the line.
But the All Blacks are not on the verge of a crisis. They won’t win the World Cup next year playing like they did last weekend, but nothing is certain heading into that tournament anyway. Nothing is ever certain on game day, the All Blacks are not invincible, nor should we expect them to be, but Rattue writes as if there is this impending crisis inside the All Blacks camp that could lead to several losses in a row.
Eden Park this weekend has the same meaning as all over All Blacks games, and if the men in black lose again, then talk of a so called crisis may be a little more relevant.
Assumptions that the rain hindered the gameplan of the All Blacks are slightly correct, but despite this, the rain is no excuse for the performance that Richie McCaw and his All Blacks side served up in Sydney. If anything, the Wallabies played better in the conditions, and utilized the backline better. The Wallabies certainly threw the ball around more.
The performance on Saturday was bad, but there isn’t a crisis in the All Blacks camp just yet.