Here it is. The final preview. The ultimate preview. The only preview that matters…
We, as a nation, stand behind one of the greatest teams to ever grace the sport of rugby. With arguably the best captain, nay! the best New Zealander! to ever lead us on such a triumphant quest.
As we crowd around TV screens at 3am in the morning, hearts on our sleeves, shouting with every try, every breakaway, every big hit and every win, we will make every memory last and will never forget the time the All Blacks won back-to-back World Cup titles.
Yes, the Rugby World Cup has come around again and it’s my pleasure to give the three things you need to know about the All Blacks for this World Cup, and why our beloved team will be victorious on the 31st of October.
1. We’re Bloody Good
Under Hansen’s firm rule the boys in black have only lost a grand total of three test matches!
Three test matches. Four years. Take a bow.
Without a doubt the All Blacks are the strongest team in world rugby and it’s not a question of whether they can win it, or whether the French will spoil the fun again.
2. Calculated Risk
I’m not sure whether to be worried or comforted by Graham Henry’s praise of Steve Hansen’s World Cup Squad selection.
Either way his 31-man squad will be dominant in every area of the game.
There were a few surprises for sure, especially in the back three selection with Israel Dagg in particular being especially unlucky to miss out on selection.
On the whole I think the risk of Naholo and Milner-Skudder will bring dynamic wing options and the opportunity to catch opponents out.
Still, I pine for Rene Ranger.
3. The Media
The English have always hated the All Blacks. Why? Amongst other reasons it’s probably because we’re better than them at their own sport; like the Aussies are at Cricket, and like how everyone is at Football.
The English have always targeted the All Blacks and rarely write any articles other than how they cheat at any given opportunity, with particular focus on Sir Ritchie McCaw.
Whether they genuinely believe their claims, or whether they just can’t believe how dominant the All Blacks are, it’s not pretty.
My bet is that the All Blacks paid special attention to the Blackcaps and their efforts in the ODI World Cup this year.
Although it’s true that no one really expected them to do as well as they did, the whole nation got behind the team, a team that only a few months before went relatively unnoticed to the general population. They lost, they came home, they were treated as kings.
Perhaps they also paid attention to the way New Zealand treated Team New Zealand in the America’s cup last year. After losing out to one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time they then came home to Shed 10, to one of warmest welcomes I’ve ever seen.
With this in the back of their minds the All Blacks will be encouraged by the fact that they have an entire country behind them.
A country that loves our sport. A country that gets in behind all the blokes who put on a New Zealand jersey. A country that will love the All Blacks, win, draw or lose.
C’mon………………C’MON! We are going to win this thing, and there is no one who can stop us!
The All Blacks are the most professional, most well-rounded, tactically, skilfully and experienced rugby team at the World Cup and its time to keep the Webb Ellis where it belongs!
With them is hope and aspirations of a tiny archipelago with a population just over that of Los Angeles. And even if its Kiwi’s jumping on the bandwagon, we’ll be united behind the lads every step of the way.
They’re the national representatives for our national sport, they’re bloody good at it, and don’t we all know it.
Go the Mighty All Blacks!