All Blacks 19 England 6
Just like the ‘win’ at Dunkirk in 1940, the Poms went down fighting in a ‘glorious defeat’ against an All Black team that has finally recovered its confidence.
However, unlike Dunkirk it didn’t involve a ‘strategic’ withdrawal as they continued to attack the Kiwis right up until the end but were unable to climb their Everest and snatch the Hillary Shield.
Although the portents suggested a loss early in the 2nd half when Jimmy (note: christian names to be used only, due to their well-knownness) scored the only try of the match, England were still in the game.
I suspect that the All Blacks have got bigger fish to fry but their workmanlike performance and relatively expansive play suggests they’re coming into the sort of form that they’ll need to overcome Le Coq.
The advertising hoarding at Twickers (HQ) said ‘Rooster Potato’ – which is actually an Irish variety – however, I suspect that Le Coq won’t be quite as easily French fried as the Poms have been recently.
Martin Johnson will be a little relieved that the pressure has eased after this ‘glorious defeat’ and he will get an opportunity to regroup before the Six Nations Tournament begins.
Although, if he was a Kiwi coach he’d probably have been sacked by now. That is, unless he was the Great Redeemer himself. Ted would have been smugness personified as he surveyed the gathering of hacks at the press conference.
To give him his due, unlike some other Southern Hemisphere coaches we won’t name, he’s now on a bit of a winning streak. I guess Ted, Porky and Wayne have the cattle.
Although the weather turned a bit nasty during the match this game was quite entertaining. The All Blacks were deserved winners but had to scrap all the way.
Their set piece was very sound and the lineout yips of yore have now been rectified. They even took a couple from the masters, Borthwick and Shaw.
You could tell they meant business by Richie’s demeanour during the anthem. The scowl was there for all to see – no, not a sneer, a scowl. I won’t bother mentioning the (yawn) kamate thingy, except to say that young Zac Guildford would hardly even scare the pants off Paris Hilton…….
The Poms actually took it to the All Blacks in the first 20 minutes or so with little reward. They lost Joe ‘Cardinal’ Worsley after three minutes, replaced by Tom Croft. The intent of both teams was to use the ball and despite a bit of kicking, it remained that way throughout the match.
The All Blacks had the better of the possession stakes and forced England to make virtually double the number of tackles that they had to. The English defence was quite sound actually. Mark Cueto had a storming game at fullback and took numerous high balls under pressure.
The game was level 6-6 at halftime with Dan proving to be humanoid after all, missing goals and line kicks – just like Gits!
In the 2nd half the All Blacks eventually kicked into a higher gear, with Jimmy scoring after Sitiveni and Richie worked the blind. They kept the pressure on until the Pommy fightback at the end.
Why is it that petulant Jimmy spends half of his life waving his arms about at the referee whenever the opposition have the temerity to actually put the ball in the scrum? Makes him look like a pork chop and, unlike Byron, he doesn’t have either the sophistication or girlfriend to pull it off.
Speaking of the corpulent Pommy prop Duncan Bell, he bears an uncanny resemblance to actor Timothy Spall from Auf Wiedersehen Pet, albeit with a larger girth.
You know, Barry – the guileless, chinless wonder who is in the shit constantly. I like Duncan’s input around the park and, apart from his Clive Palmer-like proportions, is earning his keep. Jimmy nailed him on one occasion.
Matt Banahan, the skilless tattooed tyke, surely has played his last game for the Old Dart. The converted 2nd rower cum winger ain’t got an ounce of nous and is a one trick pony. A little like the Volcano I suspect? Size does count but you’ve got to be able to do the basics as well.
Richie was, as Richie is. Once again, in a class of his own although Lewis Moody wasn’t that far behind him. Malili at fullback was another who had a great game with penetrative running every time he had possession. He’d have to be the world’s best, wouldn’t he?
Dylan ‘Mad Dog’ Hartley, the South Sea Pom from Rotorua, was like a gushing geyser (or was that ‘geezer’) all aggression and mouth. Once he gets that under control he’ll be a reasonable player.
The Cape Crusader, Kaplan the Destroyer, was relatively benign in his adjudication. He didn’t even yellow card anyone for a legitimate tackle. That didn’t come as a surprise to me as the Wallabies weren’t involved in this match?
The All Blacks are definitely on the improve and look like they could win a ‘Grand Slam’ of their own this weekend. As for the Poms, well the jury’s still out but at least there’s some structure there now.