Martin Devlin: What we learned from fourth Bledisloe Cup match

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 9 Nov 2020, 12:28PM

Martin Devlin: What we learned from fourth Bledisloe Cup match

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 9 Nov 2020, 12:28PM

Rugby these days is all about the learnings. Taking learnings, using learnings, learning from learnings.

So, in no particular order, here's what we learned from Bledisloe IV:

-Australia aren't that bad (Wellington, Brisbane) but they can be truly awful when they refuse to tackle (Auckland, Sydney).

-We aren't always great (Wellington, Brisbane) but we can be when we feel like we've got something to prove (Auckland, Sydney).

-Ian Foster can and will criticise his side for poor performance. The coach's post-match assessment was honest and refreshingly blunt, exactly what we want isn't it?

-We learned that Reiko will continue to plant the ball down in the way  he does. Which is all well and good unless he does another Wellington in which case he'll have relearn those learnings he hasn't learned.

-We also relearned that Ardie at his rampaging bullocking best is unstoppable. He is the All Blacks Beastmode and somehow we've just got to keep feeding him.

-And if Beauden wants to reclaim the #10 jersey he needs to play in that position every week in Japan. It's hardly splicing DNA is it? But at least he will be back in black when he comes back.

-Unlike TJ Perenara who we've learned is probably leaving at the right time. He looked laboured, clunky and no longer our second best #9 on Saturday night. A great servant, sure, but this is his last year as an All Black.

-Damian McKenzie's future might be best suited to the Olympic 7's. He's brilliant, elusive and at times unplayable when given time, space and the oppo is tiring. Play him in the pivot position and suddenly our gold medal prospects would go through the roof.

-We learned that TRC needs South Africa and without them it would be dead as a comp. Four tests against Ozzie is too many. We need different opponents, better opponents and annual competition against the world champions.

-And finally, we relearned that the red card rules are way too inflexible and need fixing. And unless the fish-heads at World Rugby address this they should all get given one and replaced by people who will.