Saturday, August 06, 2011

Rugby Mind Games this Week

You can tell when the All Blacks actual rate the Wallabies as a genuinely tough assignment. The media mind games go into top gear!! First there was Justin Marshall in an article talking about the awakening of the sleeping giant that is Australian Rugby between World Cups [they who peak in between them would know I guess].
Then came reminders of Quade Cooper shoving Richie McCaw in Hong Kong last year when we actually one a game [the dead rubber junket]!!
Now serial pest Steve Hanson brings up the 'they don't show us respect' chesnut and various comments to and fro... all revealing how much of the game is played between the ears. Graham Henry and Ma'a Nonu were in good form, pretending to be either surprised at the use of Digby Ioane as defending at 5/8th or claiming knowledge of how many tackles he made last match as having been gleaned from the newspapers.
Make no mistake, the All Blacks will have been studying video of that... of Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale... where the foolish chip kicks happen, whether our scrum is better and what lines to run in attack to best pressure our defensive structure. I think we are odds on to implode this afternoon and to lack the polish to convert pressure to points [but we would learn a lot from such a game] yet there is a chance, if the forwards play with aggression, that we could actually do something great.
It's interesting to think that when I first took up an interest in Rugby Union [early 1980s] that it was OK to own and wear an All Black jersey... a sign that you respected the best of the best and somehow knew we were at best happy to be having a stab... who wore golden yellow anyhow!! But as we began to get competitive, suddenly that was no longer OK and you'd be mistaken for a kiwi instantly, why else would you wear that...
I keep thinking 27-16 to the Wallabies.... let's see!! Is it raining in Auckland?

When I spoke to Phil Hawthorne about Test Rugby he talked about the ebb and flow of momentum and how simple things can turn a match and you just knew in an arm wrestle that something was going to break the tension... we have not had the ability or application to play that way for a few years... now we have close to our best side available... we'll see if we can compete!! I for one would not be telling the All Blacks they are old and slow... that will come back to haunt!!
Do not bother phoning me between 5.30pm and 7.30pm tonight!!

2 comments:

spirit2go team said...

Some great quotes here:

"I keep thinking 27-16 to the Wallabies.... let's see!!"

"I for one would not be telling the All Blacks they are old and slow... that will come back to haunt!!"

steve

RJ said...

Yep, just around the wrong way Steve!!
And again, the rush up mid field defence did what they hoped, pressured Genia, then Cooper and gave us the outside channels where the ball could then be isolated in the tackle... it was a well executed game plan by the All Blacks. There were vulnerabilities but we weren't good enough to fully capitalise e.g. a few dropped balls, the charge downs, and direct wide play... not the stupid Cooper fwd passes!! Onwards to Durban!!