Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The All Blacks: A matter of faith

Well, the All Blacks achieved the second Grand Slam in three years over the weekend. Convincingly. In a year which started horrendously with our exit from the World Cup, we have now collected the Bledisloe Cup, the Tri Nations, and a Grand Slam. What a fantastic vindication for the New Zealand Rugby Union who were brave enough to vote Graham Henry, Steve Hanson, and Wayne Smith back in as coaches. It would have been all too easy to bow to public pressure and knee jerk into a new coaching era, forgetting everything this trio had done prior to that one disastrous 80 minutes. Instead, the coaches buckled down, eliminated a lot of stuff, changed their views on things like rotation, and really delivered a highly motivated, highly professional, all round performance.

The defensive effort on the tour of the U.K. has been unparalleled. No international team scored a try against the All Blacks and no one scored any points in the second half against us. When you think about the exodus of players from New Zealand this year, the result is even more important. It is a strong endorsement of continuity, commitment, focus, re-invention, and creating a culture of responsibility throughout the team.

We can now all put the World Cup behind us and move forward.


Pi said...

Exodus? UUuuurghum ... I think Samoa, Fiji and Tonga would have something to say about that.
It was fantastic to see the AB's do so well in Europe. I watched every minute and supported them all the way. Not one try you say? That is awesome, made all the more difficult as they are the ones all the others are trying even harder to do well against. Hopefully the Tri Nations will be another cracker in 2009 and we (Springboks) can have a few more classics against the All Blacks.

Mike Molloy said...

Ah Kevin you've been watching rugby long enough to realise that the All Blacks are always invincilbe between World Cups - don't let them lull you into a false sense of security.