Monday, October 24, 2011

Reflections on the RWC Final

Easily, the greatest day in NZ sports history winning with our fourth choice first five and R. McCaw injured. Has there been a gutsier display from an All Black team. More like the halcyon days of NZ rugby than the airy-fairy recent years of expansive back play. This is real rugby. Fantastic.

The choice to retain Graham Henry and his team was correct. You can't beat experience! I repent of my belief he should have been dumped four years ago. Let's don't forget Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen.

Against my better judgment (as if I would know), Graham Henry's rotation policy was vindicated. Stephen Donald came on and was ready, he knew the calls, he was confident. Same with Cruden a week or so earlier. Without the rotation policy, they would not have been ready.

The AB fitness coach Nick Gill is a legend!

The AB's peaked against Australia which we had to do to get to the final. They looked jaded in the second half. Who cares, one point or one hundred, a win is a win is a win.

Rugby is as much a game of defence as attack, this proves it.

Why give player of the match to a losing Frenchman? They lost. It should have gone to the NZer who made the most tackles when the game was won by tackling.

The ref was awesome! Sensational, a World Cup Final decided by the players and not the ref. He was only 33, and maybe it is time to have more younger refs, they can keep up.

My previous blog about the French was right; they are dangerous, play their best rugby against us when they are written off. Thankfully the AB's clearly understood this and were ready—just.

Nice to hear a European All Black giving glory to God—go Brad Thorn. We should get him to Laidlaw to speak.

Is there a greater sports achiever in our history than Brad Thorn? Winner of Aussie League Comps 1997, 1998, 2000, 2006; State of Origin 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005; he played eight games for the Kangaroos. He was a part of the Crusaders Super-comp winning sides in 2001, 2008; the Canterbury team that won the NPC in 2004, the tri-nations in 2003, 2008, 2010. He was named as one of the twenty best players to play for the Broncos in 2007. Now he is world champion. Seventeen years as a rugby professional, and now off to Japan—his body will need some serious TLC as he ages.

Rugby at a world cup is a different beast to all other rugby. It is far more intense, physical, and won by power, force and guts. We now know what it is about and how to win. We should be able to plan better for the future.

Richie McCaw is a great leader. He has learned from adversity. He leads humbly, from the front, and with calmness in the fire.

A lot of players will now move on, but it is not as if the world should be thrilled as if the AB's will now get weaker. Richie is only 30. Kieran Read is brilliant. The Franks, Whitelock, Thompson, Cruden, Kahui, Jane, and Dagg; not to mention the waves of youngsters coming through, all suggests to me that the world's pain at the hands of the AB's will go on.

We need to win an off-shore world cup now to show the world that we can win it away from Eden Park.

I am so pleased for Christchurch—enjoy it people.

1 comment:

Nathan Bayliss said...

Brad Throne is a an absolute legend!!! It would be awesome have him speak here. Maybe graduation haha!! With regards with the rotation policy at the last world cup, I think the issue was it became something that it should never have been. It was a smart idea to develop depth in the squad so that when injuries came up, there were players who cold step up. What happened last time was it became more than that: it became the strategy in its own right, which was being used right up to the 1/4 final.
But that all history now. WE ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!! YEAH!!!