Well lightning struck again recently. The undoubted form and class rugby team of recent years failed at the World Rugby Cup. And brought down in a French ambush once again. What happened?
The All Blacks can beat any team in the world in a series, but in one off sudden death games it gets unstuck.It wins Southern Hemisphere Tri Nations Tournaments nearly every year. The same with The Bledisloe Cup matches against Australia. It thrashed the Lions at home a couple of years ago. It won a grand slam against the Home Nations last year.This year?
Let me tell you that Graham Henry got his own way as coach of the All Blacks and the NZRFU spent 50 million NZ dollars trying to win the RWC.
The All Blacks played wonderful rugby for three years and developed some wonderful players. Henry almost had two players in every position, except he never replaced Tana Umaga at outside centre, and used the world's potentially best fullback,Mils Muliaina, at centre when the other players failed for one reason or other, mostly through injuries.
Graham Henry's reconditioning programme, which saw 22 of the best All Blacks taken out of Super 14 for eight weeks, resulted in the AB's being underdone and injury prone at the business end of the world cup.The South Africans had the right programme, won the Super 14 without the AB's, beat England and won the world cup.Good on them!
Daniel Carter and Richie McCaw, the two best rugby players in world rugby during the last two years, went into the quarter finals against France with injuries that prevented them from lasting the game out. There were other AB's with injuries. Henry wanted and maintained he had two players in every position. There was no back up open side flanker to McCaw,only utility flanker Masoe; and Nick Evans followed Dan Carter to the stands with an injury too!
There are people who want Henry retained as coach. He is a very good coach, but maintained everything he had done was to win the RWC. He was a failure and should fall on his sword.The All Blacks have to have a new coach for the next world cup at home in New Zealand in 2011.The last time they won was at home at the inaugural world cup, where they were light years ahead of the opposition, including beaten finalists, France.
Four more years. congratulations to South Africa and England, special mention to Argentina, and Le Bleus!
http://orble.com/huttriver "The Writers Lounge"