All Blacks undefeated but nobody happy



Chris Rattue on the weekend’s test match. Yes the back line was sluggish, and yes they could use a plan B, but we’ve just won 6 in a row, chaps! (Including two close ones, remember we used to always lose those) By my reckoning we haven’t had a pack this good since 1997, and for once it’s the forwards instead of the backs winning matches for us. Once it all comes together we could be looking at something special – and our next two matches are to be played on dry tracks.

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NZ Rugby needs our greatest rivals to be great again



I remember sitting up to watch our first game against South Africa after they were re-admitted to international competition, and watching the grainy coverage of the brown grass, the forwards that seemed impossibly huge, and feeling the tension. That green jersey evokes so many memories, from the colossal test series of the 50s and 60s, to the 1981 tour and all that means for us as a young nation, to the 1995 world cup loss. It’s been six years since the Boks have beaten us, and now the foot-shooting is starting all over again. Rivals make each other strong, and we’re missing that all-out confrontation that a traditional ABs v Boks match brings. The fans from this proud rugby nation deserve far better than this.

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Old fashioned test match – just add water



Old fashioned wet weather rugby from the All Blacks on Saturday night. Can’t understand the doubt about the performance, though, All Black bashing after a win is both too fashionable and really boring to me – would sir prefer the Warriors? We’re building something here, take a chill pill and enjoy holding the Bledisloe for another year. And think about what that amount of possession would mean on a dry track.

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All Black pack ready to tackle the Tri Nations



No matter how flat the All Blacks were against Argentina and the Pacific Islands, the fact remains that we haven’t seen a black pack dominate a quality side when the chips were down like in the first half at Carisbrook in a long time. Our back line has fired because of the take no prisoners approach of the tight five. Waikato’s Keith Robinson and Jonno Gibbes are a throwback to the All Black forwards of yesteryear, shame that they (or Deon Muir. Or Duane Monkley.) have not been given the chance before. The All Blacks could have done with them.

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Sent them home tae think again



Clive Woodward’s England left the Southern Hemisphere having lost three tests. Not exactly revenge for the World Cup, but it was great seeing the ABs playing like men possessed for a change, and sets things up nicely for what should be a fascinating Tri-Nations this year.

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The (non-hysterical) take on NZ Rugby



Eddie Butler is the UK rugby journalist that shares Stephen Jone’s obsession with NZ rugby – but without the agenda of winding us up. Fair assessment of the new AB coaching trio, and a lament for the lack of foward power in NZ Rugby – yeah, tell us about it!

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