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Aisle be back: The Rugby Championship continues

Representative Rugby | 04 October 2017 | Kevin McCarthy

Aisle be back: The Rugby Championship continues

I've got a niggling feeling about the All Blacks transformation into beautiful swans as the Rugby Championship has played out. 

Some of the attacking footy is phenomenal. Tries are routinely scored that 5 or 10 or 20 years ago would have been considered out of this world good. 

Now they tend to blur a bit - how do you rate one over the other, when so many are mini-masterpieces. 

I'd suggest one key rule is that a try scored in a really big match - a World Cup final, a Lions decider, etc - is clearly worth a lot more. If it happens to be a thing of beauty as well, then that's great. 

So to bring it back down to Earth, the All Blacks are getting very good at shredding opposition which either isn't much chop, or is just that little bit off. 

But earlier this year they struggled against a Lions' side that had worked them out defensively and had enough weapons to counterpunch. 

Now is it fair to compare the side in late 2017 with that in mid-2017? Possibly, even probably not. Obviously the squad has now been together for longer, and largely unaffected by serious injuries to key players. 

So how would the team that demolished South Africa at Albany and will no doubt do something similar this weekend, fare if they met the Lions for a fourth test? 

I suspect, not that differently. For all the big victories, it will still be about the big days, when the tries, ugly or otherwise, really count. When the opposition isn't defending like bystanders, and the pressure goes on. 

So for all the ugliness of the second half in Buenos Aires, perhaps that's more valuable for building the resilience needed for say a World Cup than all those wonderful blitzes. 


It's a big ask, but imagine that the world was well, more normal. 

In which case, Bok coach Alistair Coetzee would not be coaching this Saturday, or ever again, at test level. 

His remarkable press conference comments that anyone thinking the Boks could beat the All Blacks was living in a fool's paradise should have sparked a rugby coup. 

It's been variously rationalised as a reverse psychology ploy, or the brutal truth. 

That's too kind. 

No matter how difficult the task, a coach can never send out a team with the ringing public endorsement that they are without hope, and definitely going to lose. 

Any coach who does so, well, needs to step aside. Their credibility is shot. 


I’ve got little sympathy for Kurtley Beale’s call to have a golden point or some-such tiebreakers when teams draw.


He and his colleagues may feel frustrated with two draws against the Boks this year.

But I’m betting the occurrence of draws is miniscule in the number of tests played, and no good reason to move away from 80 minutes deciding the outcome. Golden Point is a horrible contrivance and does not necessarily produce the most worthy winner; same with football penalty shootouts.

There can be perverse outcomes, where in the dying moments, team play conservatively in order to go to extra time.

Of course, rugby world cup finals do allow extra time – you may recall a certain game in 1995. It’s logical in that case.

But for the rest, well, international players, if you don’t like kissing your sister, then make sure you win in regular time.

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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