Bledisloe Two: On the Cusp of Greatness?
What do you mean, cusp?
Rearrange the last two letters and that is what we have; undeniable. Yes; that word now spells, cups.
There have been times; we have had such periods before, with one including the "Bill" of world champion status after 1987, where we played fearsome in this rugby. However, in a certain region of the world that place has another question mark, with this other side, getting out of jail versus Los Pumas in the Investec Rugby Championship over this selfsame weekend. Time to draw.
In regard to this question, recent signs have been positive with that third Test annihilation of the Irish, now followed by the Wallaby-blanking in the Second Bledisloe. I believe it is only 1972 since this last happened to the Wallabies. A couple of years between stints.
Speaking of this time, the Garden of Eden would be packed with the darkness, with only an occasional, gold. What was indicative off the field would be even more emphatic, on.
This is an All Blacks unit that has that fearsome air, a lethal edge, and a roster whose memory will likely outlive our own. While the “22” was pleasant at the end of the 80, it was the arctic cold of near sub zero for a Wallaby outfit, unable to offer anything but platitudes for the homeside proving peerless. Consider that some five times this All Blacks side would enter the airspace across the line without as much as touching the scoreboard. This could have been the Rugby version of the Ashes.
This is a sombre place to tread for the opposition that was committed to a man on defence, offering their bodies for their cause. Their intensity in contact was a step in the right direction from the previous week, but such are meagre returns when offering positives after a contest.
For the All Blacks, all 22 would contribute, but two would rise a little higher, in this scribe's mind.
Kieran Read it and weep for the opposition is the best Eighthman in the world. No headline there. We have said this before, but again we were able to witness the growing influence Read is having in a Test match; like a plague for the opposition. It would not be an entirely indecent proposal to consider his importance as coming alongside, McCaw. He is the ideal wingman to his onfield Boss, both in style and performance. Still only 26 years young, he is groomed for succession and will assume the captaincy in 2016, building on the legacy of before.
The other needs little introduction.
The Sonny may have set too soon in our side, but we believe in a second coming of this human hypeline. We have talked previously how the game of Brad Thorn grew with his time in this code; so it is true of S-B-Dubayuu. Will Genia made the remark after the match that he did not like tackling Williams. Exhibit A of how much he can get inside the opposition's head. His physical gifts are matched by his willingness to work at his game; something not as regularly stated. Thorn would need more years to forget his past and play it natural. Now, Williams has the intuition. I have also said it before that we would not see his best until the 2015 event; not 2011. He has now laid a foundation. There has to be a time for him to build. It would be a sporting form of crime, a national example of doing time, and a personal sense of incarceration living like regret, if he does not finish what he has started.
On the cusp of greatness?
Ability wise, names such as Dagg, Jane, Conrad, SBW - YES, Nonu, Read, Whitelock, Woodcock, Mealamu, and Franks, together with the living legends, DC & McCaw, provide this side with the necessary talent to justify these expectations. Consider also names like Aaron Smith, Liam Messam, Luke Romano, and Brodie Retallick; not to forget the likely return of the world's best six, the Hammer, Jerome Kaino; we have some fruit for their whine. Do not even consider generation next with such initials as TJ.
On the cusp of greatness? In this world, there is only next week.
We have the Bledisloe. We have passed this Test. Man-Love and Congratulations to the whole team. Los Pumas; next.
Finally, see you soon, Sonny. You know it does not get sportingly better than this. Love your work. There is no place like this home. We’ll be watching and waiting.
What Say You?
Until Next Time