All hail to the greatest rugby team in the world

Mike Kilpatrick December 3, 2012, 2:26 pm
All hail to the greatest rugby team in the world

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When the final whistle went at Twickenham on Sunday morning I was met with conflicting emotions.

Disappointment at a great team's proud record had vanished in such a disappointing manner was, of course, present.

But I knew the glee in which the English fans and press (and some in New Zealand too) would greet the defeat that had me annoyed before a word had even been written.

And so it has come to pass.

England are world beaters, just a week after their own captain was booed during a loss to Australia. And the All Blacks, who just a month ago were the greatest team of all time, suddenly have huge issues which need sorted.

For goodness sake, can we just have some reasoned analysis of this game, taking into account everything, without resorting to hyperbole?

England were fully worthy of their victory at the weekend. They took advantage of some less-than-stellar defending in the backline and their kicking game was better in almost all regards to New Zealand's.

But this has to be put in some kind of perspective. This wasn't the World Cup final at Twickenham - it was the last game on a long tour after a long season of rugby and the All Blacks didn't turn up for most of the match.

I'm not trying to make excuses for the All Blacks - they got beat, end of story. I don't believe the norovirus which ran through the camp had any effect - it was a mental thing more than anything.

But to try and make it the changing of the guards, as too many seem willing to do already, is beyond laughable.

England have proven they can, on their day, beat any team in the world. I don't doubt that most of us already knew that.

Their problem is doing it regularly and on the biggest stage - something they haven't done since winning the World Cup.

France have had exactly the same issues over the years. They can be brilliant one week and devastatingly bad the following.

This means in tournaments like the World Cup the odd upset may be had. And that will continue to happen in the future.

But, as I said before, this has to be put in perspective.

England had to win this game, after disappointing defeats to Australia and South Africa and an okay performance against Fiji in the Autumn tests.

This followed a tour earlier in the year in which they lost two games to the Springboks and drew one.

And in the Six Nations they struggled to beat both Scotland and Italy, while losing at home to Wales - teams which have shown themselves to be relatively ordinary this year.

The old adage in sport as only being as good as your last game has some relevance, but if England want to define their year by one result they are kidding themselves.

This result can provide a springboard for the future, sure, but there are far more questions hanging over England that need addressed before they are acclaimed as winners of the next World Cup.

Consistency, for a start.

The All Blacks, meanwhile, played 14 games, drew one and lost one, whilst scoring almost double the tries of any other team over the same period.

There are things that Steve Hansen will undoubtedly look at - particularly in the front row, at halfback and in midfield - as he looks to sharpen his team for next year.

But if I were an England fan (god forbid!) I would enjoy the victory over the All Blacks while wondering why the same intensity and effort has been sadly lacking from the team for much of the year.

Make no doubts about it, this was a shock result. But let's not get too concerned just yet.

Let the English fans and media talk it up and let them buy into the hyperbole. I just think we're a little bit cleverer than that over here.

One final thing from Twickenham on Sunday and it's an old bug-bear of mine.

The singing of 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' makes me physically ill, particularly when it's done over the haka.

The song is a traditional spiritual song sung by coloured people, and is widely assocaited with the slavery trade.

It was apparently first sung at an England match by some fans who were happy with a new black player on the wing. Yep, what better way to welcome a black player to the team than with a song associated with slavery, eh?

But the long history of English imperialism added to the irony of its origins as a rugby song turns me cold. It's like the traditional bully singing an anti-bullying song to a group of their victims.

Hate definitely isn't too strong a word for how I feel when I hear it being sung. Drowning out the haka with it made by blood boil - and that's as someone who has had a few pops about how precious some see the haka.

I thought it might install a new will to win for the All Blacks as they faced the English team. Ah well, being wrong isn't a new experience for me!

So what do you think? Are you worried about England's resurgence?

Or are you quite content as an All Blacks supporter?

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131 Comments

  1. Madaxeoo104:19pm Sunday 30th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Robin Kerry get over yourself. Im more worried that the ABs,SA,ARG an OZ will have to go through a tough Rugby championship like this year with unbelievable travel as well as protecting players from injury where they may not be able to field their stars an then have to meet the Northern hemisphere sides during athe 2015 WC starting their season.The demand is unreasonable during a WC year. fact.Could any northern hemisphere team play 3 of the top teams in rugby in a round robin ALL over the world an then walk through a Southern hemisphere tour an get the same results.Never going to happen buddy.lets talk about the IRB an WC rankings.WHY have rankings count after a long season an on tour for the Southern hemisphere.Talk about home ground advantage an a leg up for the North. How come Samoa doesnt rate a better ranking after beating teams in the North.Seems to me the rankings should be over the 3 years before a WC, not a bloody Northern tour .How big of a leg up was that the IRB gave the north.Fresh havent travelled anywhere an should they play the 6 nations its a 30 miute flight not 18 bloody hours per game buddy between NZ,OZ,SA an ARG. Im really not that worried because it still comes down to interpretation an theres a big difference between the two Hemispheres.I felt for Wales as 6 nations champions who got treated like shyet by OZ media an interpretation was differently the difference.Wale should have won at least 1 0f the 3 tests yet the ref was bias forsure.Ireland got ohh so close yet it was a dead rubber.take nothing away from Englands win.They deserved it.However could the same team travel an face SA,OZ,NZ an the Pumas an boast wins an then face the ABs coming into their season.Thed get thrashed if it was at Eden park buddy theres some prespective.Enjoy the win an congratulations.However until a Northern hemisphere side beats all comers down under an then faces an AB team down under. It means squat...lol..real.

    Reply
  2. gwiz09:45pm Tuesday 25th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    It's going to be another tough year in 2013.The match preparation and grunt of the English side is not surprising,a portent.Better now than later to be aware and prepare

    Reply
  3. Peter05:35pm Sunday 09th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    They wasted bll against whales, jut kicked it awayif nothing on which shoed me lsck of enterprise or, lazy coaching. thought it would have its price.

    Reply
  4. Peter05:17pm Sunday 09th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    I expect the writer hs seen shrink, slave song bunk doent even fit, scraping the barrol there, reality comes hard for those who play mirror mirror on the wall too long., the poms must have seen them coming.the world cup was the easiest test of all cups, we scrapped in and didnt wake up, we pretenededthe 17 games win didnt mstter, its a game not our standard of living!

    Reply
  5. Robin And James04:34pm Sunday 09th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    You need to get over yourself and realise that the ABs have been helped for years by the irb.Why should we have to endure the haka and not respond in kind they should be made to get on with the game and not have dance lessons first. We should also have the right to confront them.as for the thugby that the abs play they should see more red if only the refs were not so biased

    Reply
  6. Francis joseph03:59pm Saturday 08th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Because they can Jared and we can't ,simple .

    Reply
  7. Outofwaikato11:44am Saturday 08th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    I think we have to all agree this is one of the greatest rugby teams ever. They share that with only a few, mainly kiwi teams. Nothing short of amazing and for those of you who disagree, you have never played the game or probably been couch players your whole life, more than likely never played any sport, and have no idea what it takes in the way of commitment And Peter, they havent just beaten these teams they dorked them, something no other team has managed

    Reply
  8. Outofwaikato11:40am Saturday 08th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Are you serious peter,,, you are not a kiwi obviously, I have said for some time now it would take a very good team to beat this AB side playing an average game, Aussie couldnt do it.

    Reply
  9. seesee11:40am Friday 07th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    The writer of this article gives me the shite's and , wasn't that the cause of the loss to the Pom's

    Reply
  10. Larksea09:58am Thursday 06th December 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    so you base the world rankings on one game? a team of tired niggle ridden All Blacks at the end of a long season recovering from a mid week virus. Well done England they still had to play well to beat an AB side at by far their weakest point this year. But it would be foolish to read too much into the result. This to me looked like an all blacks side running at about 80-85% at best.

    Reply

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