The All Blacks Playing Irish Rugby History Stuck on Repeat
There was much that felt new, as we re-entered the world of All Blacks rugby, Saturday night.
A generation with no experience post-the World Cup joy could hear for the first time - “World Champion All Blacks” - with the arrival of McCaw and his merry men, onto this field of living dreams.
While this was a new beginning for All Blacks rugby, after the 80, it proved much the same as the previous century, for the Irish.
In a near jam-packed Garden of Eden, the All Blacks unleashed. The initial 20 would be about forming the foundation; about pounding the Irish and building the base, with DC locking and unloading, even from deep. The next 40, all about construction; fashioned with four of the best. The final 20, more about admiration, with the result readied for the first edition.
Final score, 42-10 – All Blacks.
Leading into this fixture, conditions and early season expectation encouraged a typically conservative kiwi outlook, and while the Irish were missing three important names in their eight, early on, there was emerald hope. The Irish work at the breakdown was their survival of the fittest, and with the board only reading, 9-3, this Sean O’Brien factor was doing his best to save face, staple-gunning over an All Black, five metres out.
Crisis averted? Unfortunately, for the visitors, this was the beginning of their end.
Winning their lineout ball that ensued from this penalty, the Irish 9 would clear the lines, putting the box-kick in the quadrant of Guildford. Gracefully fumbling his – sideways - he would regain composure – playing on – and connecting with his outsides. Push play now. Dagg, Savea, Conrad, SBW on the cut, inside to DC, with a backing up big men, “Jules”; broken field liberation under the posts for the debutant, in a man of the match-type performance; seven-heaven, and the beginning of the Irish hell.
This was the All Blacks first try in 2012; some 26 minutes in the making; the straw that would break the Irish backs and their plucky resistance. It would also welcome a rising star onto the scene, with his first of three, showing off his skill-set & his fast feet; now being matched by his confidence to unleash – Welcome All Black, Julian Savea.
There were other names that stood to attention.
Carter; with a master class off tee, particularly when placed in a juxtaposition of the grief and angst associated with that groin. Conrad; just one of three Smiths finding game time in the 22, showing again why he is the glue-gun that unites and sets the potency, out back. Kieran; built on the engine whilst providing plenty of room in the boot. One moment; the restart between “he” and DC was as skilled as it looked easy, a moment to take-your-breath-away brilliance.
We have spoken of Savea, but the other two of three, weren’t bad.
Brodie Retallick has plenty of loose to his tight, but the pleasing thing about his Saturday night was that when the lights were on, we didn’t see much of his mug – enough said. Aaron Smith, on the other hand, would look to make easy on the eye for his outsides. The pint-sized precision in delivery was hard and fast, even with ball in hand. It has been some time since we have had such a clearance sale, but his price was right.
All reads fine and dandy, but this was far from a complete performance. Thoughts will move to the lack of time together; the development in personnel and playing perspective post 2011, and the transition toward implementation. All remains a work in progress, but this was more than a passing mark.
From a personal perspective, this scribe was intrigued to gauge the development in the Sonny Bill Williams project, now given precedence in 12.
However, you will have to wait for these words in the next post, as we go back to back, on BackingBlack.
You are only as good as next week, which has been the living worldview for any All Blacks side. This season has just begun, and this series still has to be won.
BackingBlack has got you covered, as we head to another Garden that is a City. Paint this town Red... and Black. Hello Christchurch!
Now, your thoughts on this First Test in 2012?
The All Blacks performance?
Who stood out for you?
What Say You?
Until Next Time