Why the All Blacks always win

There is little doubt in my mind that the Wallabies’ continued losses to the All Blacks are not because of a lack of will. Every year our players and our journos build our side up to be the best chance of reclaiming the Bledisloe since our dynasty over the trophy in the Rod McQueen years. Pretty much every year they let us down; or we let them down. Either way the “Orl Blecks” win.

Maybe it’s just a perception thing, and the things that I am about to say only appear to be true to Wallabies supporters as we watch the games unfold, resulting in piles of hair on the floor and a whole lot of vacuuming to do later. It could just be that the things the All Blacks do are due to them just being better than us, but I really doubt it. What I’m attempting to do is make a list of the things we notice in the game that the All Blacks do that the Wallabies don’t, or the things the Wallabies do that the All Blacks don’t, that give those boys from across the ditch the seemingly insurmountable and inevitable edge over the other team wearing poncy yellow. Maybe I just found our first problem.

The first one is really obvious to anyone who watched the game from tonight. The All Blacks relish being shitheads.

Remember the stick Quade Cooper copped from the New Zealand media after he pushed their poor defenceless captain Ritchie McCaw around a little. He gave him a nudge, maybe a stray knee, and had to endure weeks of torment from those black-eyed peanut journalists. Yet, we see Keiran Reid and Liam Messam take David Pocock out of the game all night (see: 0 pilfers on Pocock’s stat sheet) and it is barely acknowledged, and if it is it is seen as cunning strategy.

The truth is Quade actually stumbled upon a little secret the AB’s have been harbouring all these years that the Wallabies never caught up with. They love being dickheads to the other team. Did you see Ritchie take out Rob Horne to open up a massive gap for by Israel Dagg? Is that the same Ritchie who was being bullied by that big fat meanie, that nasty man in yellow, Quade Cooper? Is that the same Ritchie who loves being on the ground between the ballcarrier and the halfback every ruck he gets to, and the same Ritchie who himself loves bullying little Aussie backs whether he has the ball or not?

Quade needs to keep that mongrel, and teach it to the 15 who took the field tonight. Only then will the Wallabies actually be intimidating to play against.

The best example of this has to be the oft-criticised Bakkies Botha. The media complained endlessly about him being a cheat and a terrible person yada yada yada; but did Bakkies ever change his game once in response? Not the eye-gouging, face-mashing, off-the-ball-taking Bakkies I watched. And the Springboks thought he was a legend. Yet we chastise Quade because he has the guts to stick it to the bloke who loves sticking it to us. It needs to change.

Secondly we need forwards who can actually pass!

Think back to the number of overlaps the Wallabies had today but could not take advantage of because a big guy with number 1 through 8 plastered on his back doesn’t possess the first skill taught to everyone who has picked up an oval shaped inflatable object. Numbers 4 and 5 being the worst offenders. And while we’re there, our number 10 looked like he couldn’t pass today either.

Contrast this to the pride of the Commonwealth of New Zealand, whose second rowers by my count offloaded three times to put outside men (also often forwards) into space that meant linebreaks, metreage and quick ball. In Wallaby land, meanwhile, the ball is being suckled by a nurturing forward who is scared it will cry, until Genia stops worrying about how his sure-thing multi on the dishlickers at Wenty is going and decides pick it up. More passing drills are not the answer. A willingness to use one’s skill is.

Finally, break the rules.

The frustration and glory of rugby is, was, and always will be the interpretations offered by the men in the middle. It is a game where the audience, players, and referees embrace and respect the grey areas, not demand that the referees call them by their full name and tell them why they can’t take a piss into their whistle. Subtlety.

When 5 forwards in black are suddenly all fall to the ground on the gold side of the breakdown it’s probably not due to peer pressure. They know that referees, despite the protestations of the crowd, are not going to penalise them every time. It’s also obvious that in those messy rucks the ball does not magically go from being on the Wallabies side to the All Blacks side. There are a bunch of dudes in black who are rather adept at subterfuge, and are masters of using their hands and all that dastardly, All Black business. They understand they won’t always get away with it, but when they do it quickly turns to genius. We need to make this part of Wallaby business.

Turnover ball is dangerous. The Blecks understand this. The Wallabies, with their thirty second waiting time so Benn Robinson can do his shoelace before taking a hit up, probably do as well. They just don’t cheat hard enough to capitalise on it.

So please, please, for the sanity of the fans and probably the All Blacks, who must be sick of winning by now, cheat your heart out, use the skills you spend so long training and ruck some skulls, rub some faces behind the referees back, and do some other nefarious business (non-Hopoate related) that will make those fellas in black think twice about getting their head down the bottom of a pile of bodies again.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Djam on August 19, 2012 at 8:48 am

    For me it was two very basic things, time at the breakdown and kicking away possession at critical times. You’re spot on about genia taking his sweet time at the ruck. The all blacks recycle ball out a lot quicker which means we don’t have time to reset our defense, so gains are made with a quick pick and drive or a spin through the backs. Whereas we always seem to be running up against a brick wall and most of the time are driven backwards. Secondly I don’t think Barnes had too bad a game save for that pass that landed in our in-goal, but he is usually the one responsible for the pointless chip kicks that hand them possession 10m up the field. I think for the most part it is his lack of imagination. Adding to that our backs were often standing far too deep to make any real progress. Finally, the dropped balls were unforgivable and were really just the icing on the cake. You compare that to the consummate professional Israel dagg who effortlessly carves holes whenever he has the ball. It’s not even a fair contest.

    Reply

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