Martin Devlin: This All Blacks side isn't very good

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Nov 2020, 1:09PM

Martin Devlin: This All Blacks side isn't very good

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Nov 2020, 1:09PM

This All Blacks side is not very good. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Saturday night's loss to Argentina, aside from the fact that they were absolutely superb, is we are not. The All Blacks are stuck in a malaise that started last year following the semi-final loss to England.

We've won just three times in the last seven tests, lost three and escaped with a lucky draw against Ozzie in the other. Back to back losses for the first time since 2011 is bad enough, but this is also the team's worst run of form since 2009.

And now the blame game begins. Yesterday the talkback ran hot with people blaming everything from silly haircuts and pink boots to a lack of invention and inability to impose any physical presence. Remarkably we took more calls  post-match Argentina than we did after the loss to England!

Fans were  shell-shocked at the ineptitude of our players most demonstrated by a complete lack of any alternative gameplan when whatever it originally was clearly was no longer working. Is that all the coach's fault? Obviously Ian Foster will wear it worst than most. Already the knee-jerkers have started calling for his head. Me, I refuse to enter that side of the argument simply because it is not going to happen.

Fozzie is in the job 'til at least the end of his two year deal next year and he aint leaving a minute beforehand. The responsibility lies first and foremost with the players, many of whom are just not good enough. When captain Sam

Cane admitted afterwards that "they wanted it more than us" serious questions  have to be asked about why that is. Desire, intensity, ruthless efficiency - these are things that should never be questioned about any All Black side. And they are also qualities that no coach should ever have to introduce or attempt to impose upon his players. Good grief, if you aren't out there absolutely desperate to win every game then why are you wearing the jersey?

The test on Saturday night was summed up in one play late on where Reiko Ioane stood watching the ball on the ground until one of the Pumas dived upon it to secure possession. That's not anything to do with coaching, that's entirely to do with, as captain Cane said, how much you want it. The rest of the rugby world is looking at us right now knowing we're vulnerable, there to be beat.

The All Blacks are ordinary. And that's a word no All Black side should ever be called.