Hamish McKay: Thank you Ireland
Sat, 16 Jun 2012 8:29p.m.
Opinion by rugby editor Hamish McKay
We'll take the win. But a massive thank you Ireland for giving the All Blacks - especially its new lads - the kind of contest that showed just what test rugby, at its ugly combative best, is really like.
For the last week there's been this dangerous feeling this World champion All Black side - with an infusion of new blood - was about to walk on water.
Now I'd watched closely, the Springboks beat England last weekend. And I watched it twice more during the week on replay. Call it research. And the more I watched the Boks, the more concerned I became. Clearly there was daylight between them and what Ireland offered up at Eden Park in the first test.
Hence tonight’s robust events at AMI stadium in Christchurch can only be of benefit to the All Blacks.
I liked the way they struck back through Aaron Smith straight after halftime.
But there were plenty of alarm bells. I'm not convinced we're anywhere near solving the massive problem of replacing Brad Thorn and Jerome Kaino.
Okay lock is less of a problem - young Brodie Retallick is making sound progress, he's a big slab but athletic with it. He has a mountain of potential. But hell that scrum misses big Brad.
And I'm concerned we're going to really feel the pain of no Jerome Kaino - especially when we take on South Africa etc in the new four nations Rugby Championship.
It's not that Adam Thomson isn't a hell of a good player - he is. It's just that he's a blindside in opensides clothes, and let's face it we were spoilt rotten by having Kaino. He was a once in a generation player. Jerry Collins on speed you might say. A serious contender to be judged with our best ever tight loosies. Right up there with Whetton, Kirkpatrick, Jones and Tremain.
Blindside - still a problem, and plenty to work on for Steve Hansen and co.
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16/06/2012 11:32:13 p.m.
Quite agree, I think Kaino is a much bigger loss than Thorn especialy as Retallick probably goes ok in the scrums. Thomson is a skilful smart player but too much of a beanpole for test matches. The Boks will do well against NZ just with 10-man rugby and England are finally learning from NZ and even have a proper no7 now!
Nonu back for Sonny Bill too, hes a far better test player despite Sonny's stellar S15 form.
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