It would be foolish of any rugby expert to underestimate an All Black rugby team, but no one would look askance at him or her if it was predicted that the New Zealanders could already be eliminated in the quarter-finals of this year’s World Cup tournament in France.
The All Blacks’ weak points were exposed by the Springboks last Friday night at Twickenham in London when they were beaten 7-35.
Forget that it was the right medicine, that the All Blacks will benefit from it.
No, it was a blot on their name; the biggest defeat in 102 years since the first test in 1921 between the two rugby giants.
The All Blacks, who have been the trendsetters in world rugby for many years, who have lifted the Webb Ellis trophy in 1987, 2011 and again in 2015, who have been masters of the Tri-Nations, Quad-Nations and Rugby Championship 20 times since 1996, farm the last few seasons backwards.
It is said everywhere that Ian Foster is a poor coach, that Sam Cane is not an inspiring captain, that the All Blacks cannot hold a candle to the Boks’ physical play, that they are very vulnerable in the lines without Brodie Retallick , that their forward lines are not strong enough, that their discipline is lacking in important matches and that they implode when put under pressure.
The Bucks gave the French a blueprint on how to beat the All Blacks in the opening game of this year’s World Cup tournament.
Foster, who was appointed as head coach in Steve Hansen’s place in 2020, has already lost nine times in 37 tests.
He boasts a winning percentage of 70%, unheard of in New Zealand rugby. Compare that to Hansen (87%), Graham Henry (85%), John Mitchell (82%) and John Hart (76%).
This also includes a first defeat against Argentina (2020), a first defeat against Ireland and a first series defeat against Ireland (in 2022) in New Zealand and then also Friday night’s record defeat against the Springboks.
The All Blacks are also ranked fourth in the world.
Before his appointment as head coach, Foster did not convince with the Chiefs in the Super Rugby series either.
He was initially just one of Hansen’s assistants, looking after the backline, where he did very well.
The All Blacks boasted 93 wins in 108 tests during that time and lost just ten times.
But after Hansen’s retirement, Foster was hired as head coach and things began to go wrong.
He also already knows that Scott Robertson will take over from him.
The All Blacks compete in Group A this year with France, Italy, Namibia and Uruguay. This could add fuel to the fire because you have to keep your best team warm, but are you going to let them loose against Namibia, Italy and Uruguay?
The All Blacks will almost certainly make it to the quarter-finals with the French, where they will play against either the Boks or Ireland.
Who would you bet your money on?