You could see it written on the entire All Black teams faces when the full time whistle finally blew. Relief. There's no doubt that the AB's were far from confident of a win in this game, despite what they may say in hindsight. The game was so hyped up, it was always going to be tough. If the All Blacks were half as nervous as I was when the game started, they would have lost by a truckload... Congratulations to the Men in Black on a great win at the home of English rugby!
So... what was good... and what wasn't?
||He played like a man possessed! I'm sure that even if the team was playing crap, he was determined to win the game single handedly... I'll be watching with interest to see who gets a start when Meeuws is back from injury. Dowd certainly said "pick me!" in a loud voice, especially as he was playing in an unaccustomed tighthead prop postion.|
||What can you say - he's a bloody legend! And Dallaglio seemed determined to make him an even bloodier legend. Actually, I think he got a shove from behind, and fell on Lomu... If you don't believe me, have a close look at the replays... But, desipte that, one word for Laurie: "Wanker!" That aside - no-one else on the planet could have scored that try, and without a shadow of doubt it changed the course of the game.|
||How the all Blacks survived the initial 15 minute onslaught by England without conceding more points was outstanding. Discipline in their own half was obviously a priority for them, and they did it well, except in the last 5 minutes (at least a penalty a minute!) when it didn't matter a shit anyway!|
||Good luck seems to follow this guy at the moment. His pass is sharp and the game runs his way. Two tries in two games and he's had bugger all time on the park really. When you're hot, you're hot. Two words for John Hart. "Start him!!". Sorry Justin.|
||Absolutely at his best. Aside from dropping an easy pass, his kicking and decision making were brilliant. Oh - he might have missed a tackle somewhere too, but he slotted enough difficult sideline kicks for me to forget some small indeiscretions!|
Not so good:
||The editing is just f*cking awful! I'd love to know what happened in the 15 minutes following the England try while they showed the three hundred replays of it... Unbelievable! I hope this is the last rugby coverage ITV does of rugby. The camera angles are odd and they miss key segments of the play off the ball.|
||New Zealand should have won by more. After holding the Poms out for the first 15 minutes while they worked the enthusiasm out of their systems, they should have capitalised. They scored a fantastic try in the corner to Wilson, but then proceeded to muff the next few opportunities. England were on the ropes. But dropped passes, turnovers and crooked throw-ins (does Oliver actually practice throwing in!!????) cost them some great chances. The backline looked in complete control and were making space everywhere. We should have nailed them. Rugby is a game of confidence. New Zealand let England off the hook, allowing them to grow in confidence again. HUGE mistake!|
||If there was a weakness in the AB defense, it was around Mehrts and Ieremia... There were more than a few occasions that the English backs and loosies were all but through a gap and were just pulled down by scramblimg cover defense. This was most noticeable in the last 15 minutes of the 2nd half as they got tired. This has to be sorted out or the Aussies will cut us to pieces in that area.|
But lets not end on a low point.
It was a bloody HUGE game, and the All Blacks have proven that they are capable of winning the Cup this year. Not only to the fans, but to themselves as well.
It was well worth getting up to watch the game. I'm just happy that I'm at work now and can catch up on some sleep!
GO THE ALL BLACKS!