Are the All Blacks on the slide?

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:29
Large richie mccaw face

IN THE NEWS: The New Zealand media is an unforgiving animal, pouncing at the very first sight of a potential weakness.

The New Zealand media is an unforgiving animal, pouncing at the very first sight of a potential weakness.

In the wake of a rare draw, after a 17-Test winning run, the question is now being raised: 'Is this All Black team on the slide?'

NZ Herald columnist Chris Rattue suggested the All Blacks appeared to have peaked and are now sliding towards rugby mortality - where the rest of the world resides.

"Are these All Blacks any longer the indomitable force that we like to portray them as?," Rattue suggested.

He started off by suggesting the world record (for 18 consecutive Test wins) was of little consequence and said the aftermath of the drawn Test in Sydney at the weekend must include concerns that the All Blacks' World Cup retention campaign is showing too many flaws.

"A lack of ball carrying clout from the forwards allowed an average Wallaby side to limp within sight of victory with barely a tackle in anger thrown in their way.

"Where were the big statements from the major players? It's hard to recall one decent rumble from a fired-up All Black pack. Instead, Saturday night's snorefest suggested that while Steve Hansen has put together a very good record, these All Blacks aren't as good as a world mark would have made them appear.

"They were woeful in the rain, the only thing being that the Wallabies weren't much better.

"Who really cared about this world record 18 consecutive test victories anyway? There are only four or five decent Test rugby nations and it's a naff business comparing modern records to what went on in a very different yesteryear. It was all a bit of PR hoo-ha, although the record would have been a nice trinket to have.

"The All Blacks have ended up creating a record for not breaking the record, falling at the final hurdle again. Rather than sticking a flag on top of a mountain, they looked like day trippers without the right gear. With the World Cup year looming, and after the lucky escape against Ireland and inconsistent series against England, the All Blacks are one scratchy performance away from a potential crisis after an ill-disciplined, ragged display. Saturday's Eden Park contest has new meaning."

According to All Black great Justin Marshall, who also wrote for the NZ Herald, it's the All Blacks who'll head to Eden Park this week in the better frame of mind.

"For long periods they were second best and on balance, when they review the game, they'll probably concede that a draw was as good as they deserved," Marshall wrote in his column for the mass-circulation newspaper.

"The penalty count was against them and they had discipline issues, most of them of their own making. That put numerical pressure on them for a quarter of the match.

"Yet when everything looked lost they still had the courage to try to win.

"That's why I'm convinced they'll arrive at Eden Park in Auckland the happier side.

"Australia threw a lot at the All Blacks. Just looking at the body language and attitude they took into the game convinced me it was going to be a tough night for the visitors, but the All Blacks stood up to it all.

"They'll get to Auckland, review the tapes and immediately recognise several areas of improvement. Australia will arrive still not quite knowing how they didn't win the game. That can be deflating."

Source: NZ Herald

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 29 April 2016
Boland v Griquas 12h30 Wellington
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 18h45 AJ Bell Stadium
Treviso v Connacht 19h30 Stadio Monigo
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Munster v Edinburgh 19h35 Irish Independent Park
Sat, 30 April 2016
Blues v Rebels 05h15 Auckland
Highlanders v Brumbies 07h35 Dunedin
Reds v Cheetahs 09h40 Brisbane
Border v Pumas 12h30 East London
Namibia v EP Kings 13h00 Windhoek
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Welford Road
Northampton Saints v Bath 14h15 Franklin's Gardens
Western Province v Golden Lions 14h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 14h30 Millennium Stadium
Ulster v Leinster 15h00 Kingspan Stadium
Lions v Hurricanes 15h05 Johannesburg
Dragons v Scarlets 17h00 Millennium Stadium
Stormers v Waratahs 17h10 Cape Town
Jaguares v Kings 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 01 May 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 12h00 Sandy Park
London Irish v Harlequins 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Newcastle Falcons 14h15 Allianz Park
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 13
New Zealand 3 2 0 1 9
Argentina 3 1 0 2 5
South Africa 3 0 0 3 2