They bitched the AB pack
Watched the game this afternoon.
First point to get out of the way: the bitching and fucking moaning from everyone. Pearce has the patience of a saint. I’d have been carding people left, right, and centre for some of that shit. Sexton was the worst (and yes Dane, he is a mouthy cunt, you mouthy cunt) but several on both sides weren’t far behind.
The Ref: I saw a few things that went against the ABs early I thought were a bit rough but they didn’t make a difference to the result IMHO; none of them were unrecoverable.
The game: Ireland won through intensity, accuracy, and cohesion. A lot of these guys have spent a lot of time together, and it shows.
The All Blacks’ constant rotation shows in the lack of connection between a lot of players. Losing Beaugan early was a bit of a blow but all he’d done to that point was kick badly. Mo’unga continued the trend.
That was the story of the AB possession stats: kicking what little ball they had without purpose. The worst part was they’d do that around halfway, but inside their 22 they’re taking dumb shit taps. Looked panicked and rudderless.
Some genuine stupidity in hitting Sexton late a couple of times, and TBH Blackadder was lucky not to escape harsher sanction; the ref was well within his right to explain to Whitelock that it was a clear professional foul and it had to stop, therefore yellow card was the lesson. There was a later one from Lomax on an Irish reserve which was just petty and stupid. Again: ref would have been well within his rights to go harder on that given repeat offences.
Foster must have a fucking airtight keg of powder in a secret volcano lair, that he’s keeping dry for RWC2023, because the same basic, through-the-hands attack line happens again and again and again. No subtlety. No work off the ball. It is great when it is Aussie falling off tackles, making Akira Ioane look like a superstar, but looks utterly amateur when it is someone who doesn’t miss very much.
The AB defence is built off waiting for a turnover (big de ja vu moment here as I type this), but they got fuck all in that department and so the rest of the plan - just score more points when the other side fuck up - fell to shit.
AB defence was outstanding in terms of tackle percentage BUT it was all down the wrong end. And add in that Ireland pick and choose their moment to go into contact that stands out, using their hands to create yards post-breakdown. The ruck is accurate and quick. The backline has bodies in motion, all players across the squad, with hands dropping the ball short and/or in behind to sweeping backline moves with varying depth, pace, and angle. Beautiful to watch, and similar to Scotland.
This isn’t just the Wales-under-Gatland 2 dummy runners with a ball out the back that won a couple of 6N because NH sides didn’t do back play back then. It is ambition and shows the work and planning to get that execution right when they’re in their green zone - centre field - with what looks like no set ruck count like some over-engineered plans.
The Kiwi imports helped turn the screws. Lowe was great. The halfback was awesome. It shows the depth NZ is gifting to the world, but these guys played far better than their opposites.
Ringrose was the best on ground for me - always threatened, always hard to put away. Made the right decisions, stretched the defence.
But fucking hell their forwards put in some work. Utterly bitched the AB pack who looked like they’d just met in the carpark, and forgot to tell their backrow they were required for 80 minutes besides.
I’m not saying Whitelock and Retallick are a spent force, but you look at their effect on a game and think their best years are behind them besides pushing at scrum. Laulala is so hit and miss. Taylor is the guy you want to grind out the first 60 and then bring Coles on to be a niggly cunt for 20. Moody needs to improve.
To me it was a great game to watch, and the right team won by at least the correct margin.