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All Blacks vs Italy

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Author Topic: All Blacks vs Italy  (Read 751 times)
« on: June 26, 2009, 12:24:56 pm »

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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2009, 09:03:14 am »

This is Canterbury's way of telling the NZRFU they got it wrong with not appointing Robbie Deans as coach.
You put an Aussie test in AMI Stadium and it would be a sell out.
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2009, 12:43:51 pm »

Ah....the good old “one-eyed Cantabrian” syndrome, aye? 
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2009, 10:16:39 pm »

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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2009, 10:18:11 pm »

All Blacks overcome Italy

By MARC HINTON at AMI Stadium - Stuff.co.nz | 9:37PM - Saturday, 27 June 2009

Mils Muliaina breaks past Italy's Mauro Bergamasco, Salvatore Perugini, and Gonzalo Garcia, with support from teammates Jerome Kaino and Brendon Leonard.

Mils Muliaina breaks past Italy's Mauro Bergamasco, Salvatore Perugini, and Gonzalo Garcia, with support from teammates Jerome Kaino and Brendon Leonard.

On the strength of this Graham Henry has mountains to move ahead of the Tri-Nations. Even with his young lock Isaac Ross turning in a timely virtuoso performance to show there just may be life after Ali Williams.

Surely once they review this mess, the Springboks and Wallabies will be licking their lips in anticipation. The All Blacks managed just three tries in 80 minutes against an Italian side who never looked like breaking an 11-test losing streak. Yawn.

Let's face it these All Blacks aren't exactly scaring anyone at the moment — save their own fans — and a third straight shaky performance last night against the outmatched Italians brought an inglorious end to the aptly-sponsored Iveco Series.

The All Blacks right now are trundling along like an over-laden lorry, rather than something sleek and eye-catching that might come out of, say, the Ferrari stable...

Some key figures returning off the injury-list may help — may — but somehow Henry has to find the on-switch for this group who are struggling to get out of second gear.

Thank goodness, then, for Ross, the young Cantab turning in another impressive performance, that included his first test try, to provide a rare individual highlight for the men in black... He couldn't keep out of the play and one second-half run where he put in two steps and beat about five tackles was almost worth the over-priced admission for the 19,000 who made it along..

But other than that it was pretty damn unimpressive in a match that probably raised more questions than it answered.

New Zealand's Josevata Rokocoko dives over to score a try in the tackle of Italy's Kaine Robertson.

New Zealand's Josevata Rokocoko dives over to score a try in the tackle of Italy's Kaine Robertson.

The early signs were certainly inauspicious. Especially for Luke McAlister, who was making his first test start since that fateful World Cup quarterfinal exit in Cardiff and was being trialled very much as an alternative to Stephen Donald at No 10.

But after the first quarter last night Piri Weepu was looking a tempting option on the bench as McAlister, anything but Cool-Head Luke, made a horror start. His error count alone must have been near double-figures in the first 20.

There had been an early penalty to settle his nerves; but between dropped pill, kicks spraying places they shouldn't and loose passes, he must have wondered what was going on. The Italians were feasting on the unexpected gifts.

In fact, only a desperate Brendon Leonard tackle saved a try after a quarter of an hour when flanker Alessandro Zanni was all but through.

Then the worm turned. For McAlister, and for the All Blacks.

Finally, as the second quarter ticked over, something went right. McAlister found a nice touch from his own 22 and when lineout kingpin Isaac Ross rose high to pluck an Italian throw out of the air, the first five put in a pinpoint crosskick that found Joe Rokocoko alone on the left. The Rocket Man collected safely, then burst through a couple of late-arriving Italians for a drought-breaking try.

You could almost sense Rokocoko's relief all the way up in the stands as the score broke a seven-test stretch without a touchdown and was timely to say the least, after his midweek rark-up from Henry. Still, it didn't exactly open the floodgates, with just one more McAlister penalty to show for a shoddy first 40 minutes' work as the All Blacks took an unsatisfying 13-3 lead into the sheds. Only to receive a pretty stern lecture from their irate coach.

The words didn't exactly spur his men. Kieran Read went close after nine minutes when he almost forced Lelia Masaga's kick-through as the All Blacks finally built some pressure.

But it didn't matter. As had been the case just prior to halftime — when Masaga looked through for a try on debut — an All Black infringement would have rubbed the score out anyway. This time it was Masaga who was the culprit, pushing an Italian defender illegally.

Ross' popular try got the All Blacks out to 20-6 just past the quarter-hour mark, the big-striding lock featuring twice as his side finally strung a complete move together. Isaia Toeava did well to break a tackle and offload for his long-striding support man.

Ross featured again — of course — in George Whitelock's try on debut off the bench, the flanker managing to snaffle Ma'a Nonu's offload at the second attempt for score No 3 a dozen minutes from time. Ross' dazzling run up the middle had sparked the attack.

And that was that.

New Zealand's Josevata Rokocoko is congratulated by teammate Mils Muliaina.

New Zealand's Josevata Rokocoko is congratulated by teammate Mils Muliaina.

There were a fair smattering of All Blacks playing for plenty too.

Aside from the debutants there was Brendon Leonard making a welcome return to test rugby after nearly two years out; Isaia Toeava and Joe Rokocoko had plenty to prove; McAlister had his mission at No 10; and, of course, Ross has suddenly become a key man in the tight five thanks to old You-Know-Who's latest turn for the worse.

The loose trio, too, remain a work in progress given two-thirds of them are still finding their feet at this level. So, how did they fare?

Ross, as mentioned, was sensational. Rokocoko had his best match of the year, though that's not necessarily saying a lot. Leonard showed glimpses, and will be better for the run. Toeava, too, had some nice moments, though not enough to suggest Conrad Smith should be breaking out in a sweat.

McAlister, on the balance, was short of the mark, meaning No 10 remains a big worry for the All Blacks. And Kieran Read probably took another step in the right direction.

All told, though, none too impressive. Plus another pretty pathetic effort singing the anthem. Perhaps all those Cantabs who stayed away were the smart ones, after all.

New Zealand: 27 (Joe Rokocoko, Isaac Ross, George Whitelock tries; Luke McAlister 2 pen, 3 con).

Italy: 6 (Luke McLean 2 pen).

Halftime: 13-3.

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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2009, 12:57:17 am »

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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2009, 05:04:13 pm »

I posted this on another thread and was aboultley chewed out crucified for even mentioning it.

Lets be honest, this All Black side was a second string side because so many key players were ridden with injuries. There were a heap of dubutants in that game that have never played test rugby before. There is no way the All Blacks would have played that poor if key players like Ritchie McCaw, Alli Williams, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Sitiveni Sitivatu were playing.
All this was, was a perfect opportunity for new players to be blooded into test footy so later on down the track (say the world cup time) if we have a number of injuries like we do now, our stand in players will have a little bit more experience and we won't be caught with our pants down against a much tougher opposition. I bet the Tri Nations will be a different story with the return of all those top level players. At least we won, so take the win you miserable lot.

It was mentioned to me that they are professionals and that is no excuse to the way they played. To which I replied:

Say for example you work in a second hand car sales yard, your top sales people with a heap of experience fall sick for a few weeks and you bring in some up and coming sales people that don't really have much experience at all. Do you think your sales would be down? Would you accept no excuses in that situation? I bet you would. News flash, the All Blacks are not gods, they are mere mortals. It is a proven fact that mortals are not perfect. I don't see you getting out on the rugby field and putting in a better effort.

I still think Robbie Deans makes a better coach than Graham Henry and we made a mistake in re-appointing Henry and letting Deans slip over to Aussie, but we have Henry and lets face it, I don't think he could do much more than he has with all the injuries he has had.
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