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Monday, July 04, 2005

The Lions sleep tonight 

The stars have realigned and here's a possible outcome as I see it after the latest round of unpredicatable results:

40 Broncos (28)
38 Eels (24)
38 Cowboys (22)
36 Sharks (22)
34 Roosters (20)
32 Storm (20)
32 Sea Eagles (22)
28 Dragons (20)

27 Bulldogs (17)
26 Warriors (16)
26 Raiders (20)
24 Panthers (12)
22 Tigers (18)
11 Rabbitohs (9)
6 Knights (6)

Warriors lose this weekend and their season is over. Forget the mathematical possibilities. In fact I'd go as far as to say that with the loss v the Cowboys it ended right there. I'll be shocked if they even finish in a tie for 8th spot.


Weren't the All Blacks sublime v the Lions?

Not only did they beat them easily on the scoreboard they actually made them look clueless on attack aside from the first 5 minutes. They were resorting to swinging the ball from one side of the field to the other. One of the visitng press has said that they needed to take the All Blacks on up the middle but they conveniently didn't notice that they were trying that and our forward pack were smashing them into the turf each and every time.

This looks like a very good All Black side with the core of it being fairly young and it should have a similar look to it in coming years.

Good on Henry for picking the best players in the best positions and not fucking around with the forward pack like Mitchell did.

New Zealand rugby teams have never needed to experiment with players and teams and tactics to be the best in the world. We just are and it's up to the coach to keep it simple, focus on the basics such as the set pieces and then let our skillful players take the opposition apart.

Throughtou history the only two teams that have matched us consistently have been the South Africans and in the last decade Australia (and periodically in the past).

Neither of those sides are boring to watch are they? They play at a higher skill level and with more physicality than the competition in the Northern Hemisphere and that's why they can beat us plenty of the time.

Statistics can be misleading at times but these speak volumes:
v Australia
79 wins, 5 draws, 37 losses

v South Africa

TOTAL: 113 wins, 8 draws, 64 losses

v Lions

v England

v Wales

v Ireland

v Scotland

v France

TOTAL: 134 wins, 8 draws, 25 losses

The stats v the Lions is particularly telling. They have never done very well in NZ apart from the odd occasion. Much get's made of the wins they have had and the close losses but the game has changed and so have the scorelines to reflect that. The tour has been overhyped as a contest and maybe we should have looked at history more to see that a collection of the best from 4 teams playing the best side in the world away from home is always on a hiding to nothing.

Ain't our fault for being so god damn good though!!!


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