The rest of the world had better hope that the version of the All Blacks that came out and played in Auckland on Saturday night doesn’t show up in Japan for the 2019 World Cup. If they do – and it is a big if, given some of the All Blacks’ performances this season – then they may as well be given the trophy the second their plane touches down in the Land of the Rising Sun.
With all due respect to the likes of England and Australia, no one can touch New Zealand when they are in the irresistible form they showed this weekend.
All Blacks dominance
Maybe we should have seen this performance coming. The All Blacks rolled over South Africa last year, scoring a half-century in their 57-15 win in Durban last time out. Perhaps the way South Africa plays the game – certain matchups that the All Blacks coaching staff has figured out how to exploit – make the Springboks prime fodder for the Kiwis.
It also just seemed like New Zealand was ready to spring a performance like this. After the brutally physical and mentally draining series against the British and Irish Lions, followed by deep runs into the Super Rugby playoffs, many of the players have been coasting by. The media hasn’t exactly been throttling the All Blacks, but after being run close by Australia and having Argentina on their backs for 60 minutes, you felt like this caged animal was ready to let loose and inflict damage on their next prey. Boy, did they ever do some damage.
It is hard to see how South Africa recovers from this defeat in the short term. This is a Springboks side that had been feeling good about themselves after the disaster that was 2016. Their record this year had been good, but if we examine it a little more closely, it smacks of inflation as the wins were all against some of the weakest Tier 1 nations out there. This may not have been the South Africans’ first true test of 2017, but it was by far their biggest. It was also one they failed miserably as the All Blacks ran in eight tries and blanked the Springboks in a monumental beatdown that will live long in the memory of both nations for different reasons.
It is unlikely we will see this kind of effort from New Zealand again until the November Internationals. With the Rugby Championship all but secured, the team is expected to send an experimental (weakened) squad to Buenos Aires and Cape Town to round out the series. This will only increase the ridiculous strength in depth that the All Blacks possess. Another reason why they will sweep all before them in Japan if they can hit the levels that they did on this historic night in Auckland
Can anyone stop this version of New Zealand? Comment below.
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