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Aisle be back: The Pumas and the Lions

Representative Rugby | 13 September 2017 | Kevin McCarthy

Aisle be back: The Pumas and the Lions

Beauden Barrett runs out on to his home track in New Plymouth against the Pumas on Saturday. Photo by Dave Lintott Photography.More photos here

Now this is a column of a Hurricanes fan, so stating the obvious, Iwon't be joining the ranks of the Beaudy haters.

And boy have they starting coming out of the woodwork this season.

Indeed, you would think that really, if we'd just had a differentfirst-five, we'd have nailed the Lions series.

And we'd be leading the Rugby Championship by now. Oh hold on, we areleading the Rugby Championship.

Then there's the ill-discipline. Indeed, with Beaudy off the park onSaturday, the All Blacks suddenly screamed back into control. Furtherevidence.

As for SBW, who is playing horribly - good thing we milked him back intothe test side so quickly - he only has Beaudy to blame. Terrible passing.

Tick the same box with Aaron Smith. Beaudy only excels with the extratime that Smith delivers.

Now for this narrative to really work, it is important to set aside the line breaks, and the matchwinning try in Dunedin.

RLM

Then you've got a pretty good case for dropping Beaudy. Oddly enough thecriticism often is couched in terms of "he's brilliant, but . . . ".

So let's get a grip. The All Blacks aren't playing well. Beaudy isn'tplaying that well. The rush defence is a thing, and a thing yet to becombatted.

But the Rugby Championship 2017 will be utterly forgotten come RWC 2019.Sure it's nice to win, but the relevanceof the tournament is only in what it contributes to learning for the future.

As some have suggested, in fact the team has suggested, they are a bitlike lab rats, being asked to find ways to problem solve the fact othersides are closing the gap.

At the speed the game evolves tactically, the rush defence could be wellobsolete in two years' time. If it isn't then it really is time to worry.

So be patient and if you feel your Beaudy bile rising, just think thatsabotaging the confidence of our first-five is precisely what opposingcoaches would love to see.

Vladimir Putin would admire the handiwork.

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Lab rats or not, rejoice at the Springbok resurgence. They're back witha bit of swagger and a ton of confidence.

Whether it's real or not, we'll find out. But a cocky bokkie is just what every All Black fan should want.

There's was something pitiful about the way the Boks dragged themselvesfrom miserable defeat to miserable defeat over the last couple of seasons.

Now, let's hope, a win over South Africa can be restored to what itshould be. Something to savour.

A loss? Well, we just don't want to think of that do we.

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It's probably too much to hope for a home team boilover against Caterbury this Sunday, although the red and blacks are turning around after a midweek match.

The Dompost is doing its best to talk down Wellington's prospects, which is a realistic assessment.

That did however work a charm against the last premiership team to waltz into town - Taranaki. So we can hope.

Certainly the Lions have got off to a flier, and but for the nailbiter loss against Tasman, would be four from four. They seem to be doing many more things right than wrong this season, so fingers crossed they don't lose momentum with their toughest opposition of the year.

Lifelong All Blacks supporter Kev has followed the Hurricanes since they began. Last year his faith in them was rewarded when they won the title – they've missed out in 2017, but he'll be back!

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