Watching the All Blacks “a chore”

via telegraph.co.uk

via telegraph.co.uk

From the twentieth minute, the game became incredibly frustrating. The All Blacks have more practice at shrugging shoulders and shaking their heads than getting back for kick-off receptions right now.

It’s not just handling errors and a lack of composure, they’re struggling with their general rugby nouse. The number of times the All Blacks outside backs were put in to touch instead of heading in field to keep possession and continuity was alarming.

Yes, they got the bonus point for seven tries. Yes, it was only Georgia. But pool play is all about perfecting patterns and combinations, not panicking when things don’t continue to go your way. The second and third tier nations have improved, so you can’t just expect them to roll over. The top teams now have to stick to their patterns for 80 minutes to run up big scores. The All Blacks seem incapable of that.

Maybe when they take on a top tier team, which plays to a proper structure, they’ll flourish. We have come to expect 43-10 scorelines against some of the very best sides. Maybe we’ll see the team we know and love emerge again come the quarterfinals, when they actually have real pressure on them and they require more focus.

But maybe the All Blacks’ confidence is being eroded with each sub-par performance.

It used to be a pleasure to watch the All Blacks showcase their skills in World Cup pool play.

Right now, it’s a chore.

Using my head, not my heart, I’ve expected the ABs to exit at the quarters, and there is absolutely nothing happening to change my mind. ? Still, every game is a new one, and in the end it is only the score that counts. ?But the number of unforced errors and turnovers against a minnow side degrades the confidence and hope that the ABs are in this tournament to be in the final.

They have a lot of work to do to get anywhere near it right now.

 

– Ross Karl, 3 News

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