Unlike in recent years there’s a real edge to commentary across the ditch for the opening All Blacks v Wallabies Tri-Nation’s series start. The apparent lack of success in the domestic lead-up matches by the All Blacks has left the populace a little nervous about what’s to come.
The scorn with which Graham Henry and associates reappointment to the All Black coaching positions for the next two years has been received by some is palpable and has been much discussed. In fact, you’d think our Kiwi cousins had adopted a typical Australian response to this: cynical and sarcastic with a hint of irreverence!
As far as the rugby goes and the All Blacks chances at Eden Park, well….there’s been a bit of a ‘ don’t mention the war’ thing going on. Deep in their hearts they know that the AB team is not what it’s been for many a year and the preparation for this series hasn’t been ideal. But they don’t want to say too much about that. They’ve been focusing on other things this week to take their mind off it. There’s the National Sheep Dog trials in full swing, not forgetting the Golden Shears: Godfrey Bowen v Jackie Howe, now there’s a match-up!
Lote seems to be getting a bit of a mention over there with suggestions his ‘termination’ by the ARU will disrupt the Wallabies preparation. Most commentators agree that he is past his best and this isn’t necessarily a bad outcome. I suppose it isn’t if you’re Cory Jane. Many secretly applaud and wish that the NZRFU had a JO’N as well, someone with the guts and foresight to dispose of ‘Wonk’ Henry and his like.
To make themselves feel a bit better they’re focusing very much on history, and there’s something to be said for that. Six Bledisloe’s and four Tri’s in a row, not forgetting the Northern Hemisphere Grand Slam from last year is something to Crowe about. I’d just say that on the law of averages it surely is time……bugger, it’s not that convincing I know?
If the All Blacks lose the locals have a ready made excuse: ‘it’s not surprising, your coach is one of us.’ And how they wish Dingo Deans was in charge of the ABs, instead of the ‘poindexter’ Henry. The ‘blogosphere’ is full of it and if the Great Redeemer loses Lord Bledisloe’s silverware his contract will be about as secure as Lote’s.
Our mates at Sportsfreak.co.nz have already given up the ghost:
‘this is a team in decline, the mistakes are not being learnt, and there is a growing lack of cohesion and new ideas. There is no way that even the most sycophantic of All Black supporters can look at this show and say the All Blacks have a realistic chance of the RWC 2011; even factoring in the massive home ground advantage’.
Shit, this is serious!
For those that are subliminally looking for excuses for an All Blacks loss, it’s Rabbit O’Connor. He lived in NZ as a kid so if they lose they’ll say the Wallabies were a better side because he really is a Kiwi. His father is a New Zealunder who came over to Australia and married a Saffa here. He got her up the duff in Australia and then moved back to NZ a few years later. After six or seven years they shifted back to Australia. Struth Rabbit….like Bob Cunis you’re neither one thing or another?
A disaster of a different type has befallen the Kiwis as well this week. It’s even worse than Colin Mead’s broken arm in South Africa in 1970. No, not the current state of the NZ dollar but it’s about Canterbury, the company that produces footy jumpers and other delightful woollen garments. Their European arm have gone belly up due to the GFC….or SCG….or BBC or whatever it’s f*ckin’ called these days. This is despite having many contracts with footy and soccer clubs all over Europe including the Scottish RFU’s main supplier. A disaster of truly national proportions. It’s a huge dent to their mana, like losing a test series to the Cornish Pirates.
Although they’re loathe to admit it to a foreigner, the national psyche is preparing itself for potential regime change. Not just collateral damage or shock and awe, but a tsunami of discontent if the beloved ABs succumb to the marauding green and gold hordes from both Tri-Nation’s countries. If the unthinkable happens, like $Malcolm from Point Piper, the Wonk will be in terminal decline despite his recent contract success. Trust me, the iwi will give him a good kick in the raho and he’ll be on his bike. And I’d hate to think of what would happen to the old farts (n. pl. Bumface for Alikadoos) at the top!
Over the past 24 hours the Kiwis have been a bit intrigued by Dingo’s selections, especially the loose forward contingent. There’s some concern that Robbie has concocted a cunning plan to beat Richie at the breakdown. I’m not sure how smart the selections are considering Smith and Waugh unsuccessfully operated in tandem the last time we played here. At least it gives the pakeha’s and bro’s another thing to worry about in what could be an historic encounter.