by Tom Stephens
Australia once again face the great black nightmare this coming weekend and will they, or anyone else for that matter, ever beat New Zealand again?
The All Blacks have performed so well over recent years that it’s starting to seem as if defeating them would be an impossible task. Their recent clash against the Springboks at King’s Park in Durban on the 8th October 2016 was further proof of the hideousness of their all consuming brilliance, as the absolute hiding that took place on the field left the South Africans looking even worse than they clearly presently are. Their loss to the All Black at Kings Park marked South Africa’s worst rugby defeat in the 95-year competing history between the nations, going back to 1921.
In another time, that game would be eagerly anticipated, since a New Zealand victory would put the Kiwis in a tie with the Springboks for the most consecutive successful test matches for a major rugby union. But, given how well they have been playing, the odds were heavily in favour of the All Blacks and all drama was taken out of the game. Had they lost, anyone who had had the balls to go against them would have enjoyed a very tidy payout, as odds were 4/1 for South Africa and 1/5 for New Zealand. Of course, anyone who did go against them them was either blind, mad or both.
The bookmakers were correct, however, and anyone who had put money against the All Blacks would have been bitterly disappointed in the final score of 15-57. If you’re passionate about rugby but you prefer gambling on something a little less fraught with tension, you might enjoy the Rugby Stars Slot game. This Microgaming video slot can also help you to score big, and you won’t have to get into a scrum, or run for the try line at any stage.
The Kiwis have racked up many other wins and accolades recently, including being the team to climb the most places in World Rugby’s ranking system since it was first introduced in 2003. They also got to take home the 2015 World Cup and finally lose the chokers tag, and the 2016 Rugby Championship title with plenty of games to spare. Their style of play and string of victories have completely dominated international rugby for the past few years, despite losing some key legends from the playing ranks.
Heyneke Meyer, the ex-South African coach who had a close relationship with Kiwi coach Steve Hansen, has weighed in on why he thinks the All Blacks are currently so far ahead of the pack. Meyer has seen the team perform close-up, and puts a lot of their success down to continuity, which he cites as essential for any strong rugby team. This is definitely a factor that is strong with the New Zealand team; Hansen will have been coaching the Kiwis in some capacity for 16 years when he sends them onto the field in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Many of those watching the All Blacks say that their strength comes from their devotion to the team and the general mental and emotional strength that this brings. This has been very influential in world sport, with many other coaches looking to New Zealand for inspiration. Playing as an All Black is considered a sacred duty, and a way to serve the country and it’s not just the haka that’s taken seriously. Many affirmations of faith have also been issued from the team, and their value-dominated culture has been widely applauded. But is too much made of this? While this is important, the fact is that the All Blacks not only have the most talented players, they also have the ability above anyone else to execute gameplans and make decisions that foster a winning and dynamic approach. Also, not enough attention is paid to how punishingly physical they are, as well as richly skillful
The All Blacks continue to dominate world rugby and at this stage it looks as if the team is invincible, and they head into this weekend and then the Autumn Internationals with very little chance of anyone stopping them.