In our last video, which was the review of round three of The Rugby Championship we suggested that the All Blacks would not have been happy with their performance.

This seemed to stir the ire of a number of people, and to some extent, it was possibly justified. Perhaps we had been too aggressive in our analysis, but the fact remains that they underperformed against a team that is ranked 10th in the world. A remarkable 17.21 ranking points below them. And as Gareth always says, we judge them differently to almost every other team because their results over the years demand it.

But as is so often the case at The 1014, the community stepped up to deliver a vast array of valuable insights. They don’t just throw rocks at a performance; quite the contrary, they suggest reason and solution.

The following snippets outline some of the suggestions as to why the performance was off. What do you think?

Headology

Long time commentator and United States based rugby coach Mike Q suggests that: “NZ are fine. Read is a tremendous captain. The team probably can’t help be a little tired, especially mentally. The Lions tour had to be massive. Hard to stay up for more than one do or die international tournament in a calendar year. After all, It’s 15 people against 15. Headology is of the utmost importance.

I think drawing on the Headology comment is valid.

The Lions Series did not go the way the All Blacks wanted and there will have been repercussions from this. Add to this the comment from w leota that suggests key senior players are missing; “don’t forget Kaino, Whitlock and Ben Smith weren’t playing so a lot of the “old heads” are missing.“, and you start to think that Headology mixed with missing leaders might be compounding problems. Missing key players and mental fatigue are real factors towards performance. They are not figments of imagination… so to speak.

Fire and Fury-tactics

From another angle, Dusty Pink speculates that; “one explanation I can see for the AB’s “Fire and Fury-tactics” at the moment is that Hansen wants to see what the newcomers bring to the table when they don’t have solid structures to lean on. I believe as soon as Hansen has identified the newish players that make the cut to be AB’s men with the aim for WC 2019, they will start to focus more on the tactics and structures.

I like to think that Dusty Pink, as per usual, has a good point. Much like the last three games of pool play of RWC15, perhaps the All Blacks are trying things that they are not actually comfortable with. Perhaps they are pushing the boundaries a little too far, a little too quickly.

Critique the All Blacks - Just some of the comments suggesting reason and solution.
Just some of the comments suggesting reason and solution.

Pushing Boundaries

Chris Mwenda, suggests that: “Yet again maybe it just might be a way to push boundaries and have a year to start refining plays and probably shifting to new styles of play. The 1st Lions Test was All Blacks playing very differently and that might be a new element to their game.“, Chirs Mwenda has a good point. He also reminds us of that impeccable display at Eden Park in the 1st Lions Test this year when the All Blacks chose to attack the close channels and did so very successfully.

So although it was not the “complete” performance we all demand each and every time the All Blacks take the field, certainly from a Kiwi point of view. It is a performance that would have given the All Blacks think tank plenty to work on and plenty to ponder. And with 738 days until RWC19 kicks off (yes, we are counting) there is plenty of time for this machine to perfect its game.

From The Shed

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Author: Steven Prescott

I am a total sports fanatic; it is as simple as that. I love all sports, and when I’m not sitting at my computer living my dream with The 1014, I am planning adventures. The last time I did this I ended up convincing my wife to cycle 26,125km across three continents, and 22 countries with me as part of the Pedalling Prescotts.

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