Rebuild Or Stop Kidding Yourselves
Yesterday we saw the All Black Rugby team get walloped by the Springboks with a final score of 26-10. The score line didn't tell the true story as New Zealand scored within the last 5 minutes and could easily have been 26-3. This is their third defeat in a row (last time was 1998) and something the ex number 1 team is struggling to come to terms with. The All Blacks are now ranked number 5 in the latest world rankings which is unheard of. The team is on a slow decline as this would never have been acceptable a few years ago.
Coaches were fired for losing 1 game in the past as they only expect victory. John Mitchell's All Blacks lost in the World Cup semi final and he was replaced. This was his only loss and seems harsh, but they lost to France which was seen as unacceptable.
Any team can lose 3 games in a row, but 2 were against Ireland on home soil
which to be honest should never happen. Losing one can happen, but twice in a row to a side who play decent rugby, but also should never be seen in the same class as New Zealand. The expectations are just that high and losing is not expected against sides from the Northern Hemisphere. Playing South Africa and losing is no shame, but the way they lost highlights problems.
South Africa 4 years ago was in the same position as what the New Zealand team is currently and made some drastic changes. One year out from the World Cup which they won they started a rebuilding phase and it worked. New coach, new players and a different mindset was all part of the pain teams have to go through in order to achieve success. Teams have to hit rock bottom before change has to happen and it is all part of the cycle.
Staying on top will at some point always come to an end and it is how you deal with that which will determine how quickly you bounce back. A perfect example of how not to do things is Manchester United as look at what they have achieved over the last 10 years and nothing will change until the club changes.
Same players different coach and maybe one or two signings is not going to fix the problem until they have a clean sweep starting from scratch. What the Springboks did was identify the core players and then build around those making an entirely new squad for the future. The All Blacks and Manchester United need to feel the pain before success is earned again.
The All Blacks have been the most dominant team over the last 20 or so years so this is all new to the players and the public to wrap their heads around. When South Africa was banned from international sport the fans and players thought their home competition was super strong and the teams they had were world class. This was not the case and there was a rude awakening when they finally entered back into the international arena. It took them 3-4 years to raise the standards to what was required and won the World Cup in 1995.
The All Blacks and Australia have been playing in the what was the Super 15 with their franchise teams excluding South Africa for the last 2 seasons. Covid made SA pull out and look for another competition which has benefited the players. Competitions can become stale very quickly and I believe that competition had run it's course long ago.
The last test series against Wales was seen by South Africa as another opportunity to test and experiment with new players and fielded a brand new team giving others a chance to shine. They lost that game but discovered a number of players who are now permanent members of the squad. Other teams touring at the time stuck to what they new and have wasted this opportunity as they have not developed like they should have.
Going back to Manchester United they have had numerous opportunities to keep 304 players and rebuild from scratch yet they haven't. The team is no further along than when they were 5 years ago and we are only seeing a band aid applied with no pain involved. Identify your strengths along with your weaknesses and be ruthless or you will always be mediocre and that is what we are seeing today. The team is average at best and not one player would make a United starting 11 from 20 years ago. Funny how things work out as this is just a repeat of what we have seen over the years and the rebuild word will be banded around again. We all know what will happen against what should happen as this is the same old same old playing out again.
New Zealand need to lose the next game this weekend in order to move forward as a win would be catastrophic as no changes will happen. Change has to happen with the entire structure being looked at in depth. The junior players are not good enough and that is where the next generation is going to come from. These are not quick fixes and a long term approach is now required with fresh ideas.
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I don’t follow the All Blacks closely, in fact the first I knew about this latest defeat was when Kevin Pietersen kept laying into the Kiwi commentators during the cricket, but presumably they’ll let Rugby people lead the rebuild? The problem with United is there aren’t enough footballing minds calling the shots. They need a complete rebuild on the pitch but they also need an off field structure that supports that sporting vision to succeed. I honestly don’t know how they’ll do that.
Yes. Rugby people will fix this and it is a total restructure that is required. They used to be competitive with the U20's and have gone backwards so that has to be addressed. If the youngsters aren't feeding the main team you will have problems. United have years of change ahead of them and the sooner they realise that the better.
I think the Super-12/15/18/whatever competition made less and less sense after the original Super 12 format where each South African team played all of the Aussie and Kiwi teams, either at home or on one trip over to that side. By the time it was the Super 18 they were playing against mostly the other SA teams about 3 or 4 times in a glorified local Currie Cup instead of getting to play the overseas teams, which totally defeated the purpose. It also lasted forever and a casual rugby fan like me got bored and zoned out. I get these rugby players have short careers and should play as much as they can in the years that they have, but seriously it just started to feel like more boring opportunities to get injured playing against other local teams rather than getting the experience of playing the overseas teams!
So I'm very glad we changed over to playing the Northern Hemisphere teams in our own time zone. I don't know how much it has to do with the Springboks, and some of the Northern Hemisphere teams, playing well while New Zealand struggles... but I'd imagine it's at least part of the story?
Totally agree as they played the local teams twice to cut down on the travel which kind of defeated the purpose of playing different teams. I stopped watching as it was boring and only watched the big matches. SA Rugby lost their way and the last World Cup I went to was in 2015 and I may be tempted to pop over to France next year. A good excuse to combine some sports and travel.
Oh dear I remember 2015 was the year we even lost to Japan! But it means that you missed 2019 where we landed up winning?
I think the World Cup in France is a perfect excuse to travel! Perhaps you can even watch matches at a couple of locations that you enjoy for a few days each? I always tease that all of France is beautiful (you watch the Tour de France!)... except Paris - but maybe that's just me and big cities! hahaha
Alot of pressure on Foster. Takes the shine off IReland winning the tour now because everyone is beating them,
I disagree as what Ireland achieved was huge and will never happen again. The All Blacks will bounce back whether with this coach or another as they always do. Rugby is a religion for New Zealand so this isn't normal. I watched an interview with Steve Hansen (ex All Blacks coach) and he stated the structures are all wrong from junior level up. The young players are not good enough as they are not dominating junior rugby and it may be as simple as them not recruiting the Samoans and Tongans like they have in the past. South Africa was in a bad way only 5 years ago and they have turned things around by having the right people in charge. Some of the coaches before were mainly there for window dressing as the sport became too political which it still is. We are the only country in the world that has to have so many players of color even if hey are not good enough. Thankfully their standards have risen and it is not a big issue any more but it was a handicap the team had for the last 25 years.