Martin Devlin: What the All Blacks can learn from Canada win

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thursday, 3 October 2019, 10:59AM

Yes they are important. Pool matches at the RWC I'm talking about.

Sometimes it's the result that stands out, e.g. Japan beating Ireland, sometimes you take the learnings - as we will from last night's Canada/All Blacks  clash. 

The win was never in doubt, the scoreline margin predictable enough, the ABs will be happy for having had the run, the Canadians to a man delighted I bet to have played the biggest name in the sport on the biggest stage of all. And I genuinely mean that. Why wouldn't they be?

For a semi-professional outfit, from a country where rugby lags behind tennis and cricket in player numbers, a test vs the All Blacks must still feel even a little bit) like the All Whites taking on Brazil at the '82 FIFA WC.

I sincerely hope I'm not reading this wrong and apologise in advance if anyone thinks I'm being even the slightest bit patronising, I can promise you I'm not. Canada's World Cup was qualifying for the tournament.

Ranked 22nd in the world their final was, and still is, always about their final pool match vs Namibia.

It's important to acknowledge that not every team is in Japan to win the WC.

I'm sure World Rugby's PR schmucks would bore you potty spewing forth their meaningless drivel about it being "a true world championship" and how "the sport is now as global as football and basketball" etc etc.

Meanwhile the reality, clearly visible, continues to tell us that the gap between Tier One and Tier Two nations is as vast as it's ever been. 

Different teams have different drivers. No-one can convince any of us with a semblance of brain that Uruguay, for instance, arrived In Japan with similar ambitions to us or South Africa, England, Ireland or even Japan.

The hosts upsetting the Irish last weekend was perfectly timed both to set the event alight and remind us all here in NZ that beating SA was not winning the WC. 

A great start, sure, but there are far more important matches still to play than that one.

AND there are no easy knockout games, no "easier" quarter final opponents, surely 2007 taught us that if nothing else. So much of these early weeks is speculating, predicting, supposing, assuming, crystal-ball gazing. All we know is to bide our time.

Be patient. Beat whoever is in front of us, underestimate no-one and kick that heathen beast called over-confidence firmly into touch. The business end of the tournament will come around quicker than you can say "Quarter final vs France in Cardiff".

The learnings from that '07 match we have never forgot, a major reason why at World Cups since then our team has never lost. 

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