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Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Zealand tested by England but the World Champions remain unbeaten

England weren't able to repeat the heroics of a year ago but they did put up a good fight as New Zealand won yet another away match in 2013. The 30-22 victory extended the All Blacks' undefeated run on the occasion of flyhalf Dan Carter's 100th Test cap.

Julian Savea scored twice and Kieran Read once as the AB's outscored the hosts three tries to one. England lost at home for the first time in seven games, but will take heart from the effort, and what they have achived in their last three matches.

"We are deeply disappointed having put ourselves in position at 22-20 but I'm proud of the effort," England head coach Stuart Lancaster said post match.

"We had a lot of young players, some new combinations, a lot of experienced players missing, and we didn't get off to the best of starts. Being 17-3 down to the All Blacks is not where you want to be but we kept our composure, we kept building our score.

"But you know against New Zealand one error can present them an opportunity that they might take and that's what happened. We've had two wins over southern hemisphere teams and pushed another, who have won every game this year, very close.

"We are building a squad, building depth, which is what we want - but that doesn't mean we don't have a desperately disappointed dressing room," he added.

Carter limped off in the first quarter of his 100th Test match but Aaron Cruden came on to steer the ship and in the end they managed to edge ahead and hang on fairly comfortably.

"It was a hell of a Test match, you had two committed teams going at it. We're very happy to come away with the win," said All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

Read and Ma'a Nonu both provided outstanding offloads for Savea's two tries, while Israel Dagg set Read up beautifully for his. Owen Farrell kicked 17 points for England, who will be pleased with their overall Autumn International results after having beaten Australia and Argentina previously.

New Zealand head to Dublin next weekend to take on Ireland, who lost to the Wallabies yesterday. 

Posted at 9:21 am | 57 comments

Posted in All Blacks

Viewing 57 comments

Full Back November 17, 2013 10:43 am

I've a hard time believing that Ireland will be able to hold them off given yesterdays dismal performance at the Aviva. I think we're screwed next week and possibly screwed come 6ns time!

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matt November 17, 2013 1:02 pm

Similar things were being said about England at exactly this stage last year, you never know...

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Facepalm November 17, 2013 11:20 am

1-8 we have a pack to match anyone in the world. Get rid of Farrell, get rid of Tomkins put in Burns, put in Daly then wait for Manu to recover and we have a team with serious intent. Excitement and frustration seem to come in equal amounts at the moment.

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AJ_Capote November 17, 2013 11:21 am

The press spent all week talking down England, calling them slow, sleep-inducing, lateral and rubbish (off of 2 WINS I'll remind you) and talking up NZ, the 'greatest side the world has ever seen' and sent by God himself augmented by Skynet cybernetics to become the ultimate rugby playing machines...you get my point.

Luckily it seems SL doesn't let the media parasites get into England's heads. I was pleased as punch with the performance yesterday - that's about the closest anyone bar SA has got to NZ all year. And that makes sense if NZ are ranked 1st, SA 2nd and England 3rd. Guscott tried to claim yesterday Wales should be ranked 3rd - no chance.

On that point - as much as Wales fans crow on about it (and the english press), I think 30-3 was actually a good thing for this England's development. They were properly humiliated, and there's nothing like being able to say as captain 'bottle this feeling and make sure this never happens again'. For the first time in yonks we have a forward pack to fear, a scrum that no-one wants to go against, and a back row full of muscular jackals snarling and smashing. I love it - a return to proper English muscle and aggression. Great!

Lot of complaints about our backline. To be honest I am happy with it currently. It was a makeshift one for this series - ideally we'd have had at least 1 of our first choice centres available, but the rookie centre partnership did OK. Tomkins perhaps isn't ready for internationals just yet but at least he defended really well, and 12Ts is looking like the complete package. Ideally Wade and Yarde would've been our wings but for injuries, so we wound up with an FB on the wing again, and an out-of-form Ashton on the other. Considering who's to come back from injury, the young players ready to step up, and the quick ball we are now delivering consistently, I think the backline will sort itself out in due course.

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Oliver November 17, 2013 5:11 pm

about the closest anyone bar SA has got to NZ ?
I take it you didn't watch the France-NZ game then...

Really looking forward to "le crunch" this year! Hope les Bleus smash the "rosbifs".
(yeah I know it's not gonna be easy, but we REALLY have to improve after last year's dismal 6N campaign. Plus the new talent coming shows promise I think)

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AJ_Capote November 19, 2013 11:40 am

My apologies, you're of course correct! I almost don't count France as a ranking though...they can play like they're 11th in the world one week, then 1st the next!

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Oliver November 19, 2013 4:26 pm

oh don't get me started....we definitely could learn a thing or two about consistency from you guys.
anyways, you'll see, some of the young blood is really promising, especially guitoune and Dulin! see you in February ! ;-)

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andyr November 17, 2013 12:40 pm

New Zealand were the better team and deserved their win. But the difference was two superb off-loads and the fact Tom Youngs couldn't hit his jumpers when Hartley went. The forward platform went away at 22-20 and that was that.

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anonymous no7 November 17, 2013 12:52 pm

Strange match in many ways, England had 62% of possession and made only 87 tackles versus 152 by NZ in the match. This probably reflects the dominance of the English pack, but England still don't really seem to know what to do with ball in hand.

NZ in attack were mighty, even with such little possession they made 5 clean breaks and got 3 tries, England had 0 breaks and got 1 somewhat fortunate try.

Part of this is I imagine is to do with the backline still seeming to be a work in progress but I'm not actually sure who England can bring in aside from Tuilagi that I can say would be able to bring the required creative flair without sacrificing some of the defensive solidity.


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Guest November 17, 2013 12:55 pm

The only reason this game was even close was due to some pretty interesting refering at times. Seems like the old NH trying to ref NZ off the park. I wonder if SL been in the refs ear all week talking about gold watches.

Shocking cases of obstructions for example not picked up at the line by 12trees. McCaw taken out off the ball. Etc...

Shocking decision to send Read to the bin as another ruck had been formed and he was well within rights.

English pack not as dominant as I would have thought. Scrum was not at all dominant until Read went off. Lineout a shambles. England were competitive at the breakdown at least. But backs typically uninteresting. I guess no depth there.

Even with the bad calls NZ manged to dominate in all the ways that counted. Nice.

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Murina November 17, 2013 1:40 pm

What game were you watching Guest? With a couple of notable exceptions the AB tight 5 were second best and the England line-out was exceptional until Youngs came on and couldn't throw a cabbage into a cart (as per andyr above). I think the ABs deserved the win, but let's be clear that two bits of attacking brilliance won the game. I also think the depth of the bench was critical in the last quarter. England's replacements were poor (with the exception of Morgan) while there was no change to the ABs quality.

Read and Savea really are rather good aren't they....?

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Guy November 17, 2013 1:43 pm

My guess: Guest is South African and the margin with which the All Blacks won is nowhere near what anyone expected. So of course, it's the ref's fault (no disrepect meant towards all the proper SA fans on this site).

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getitout November 17, 2013 1:44 pm

ah there's always one isnt there

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jeppy89 November 17, 2013 5:36 pm

Read jumped full length on the top of a ruck....... about as off your feet as you can get. Ref had given final warning, yellow card simple. Muppet

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Kiwi In Germany November 17, 2013 6:11 pm

Actually the Muppet has a point about Read. The Referee penalised him for entering the ruck from the wrong side. When actually Messam stole the ball from the ruck and reset about two meters from where the original ruck was. Read was clearing out which he is entitled to do. Regardless of the angle as he was an arriving player to the new ruck.

It doesn't really matter though.

I don't think this or Twelvetrees weird shadowplay on the English line had a huge impact on the game. England deserved their scoreline. They fought hard in the middle quarters. Put some really good pressure on. I think like someone else said, the difference between the sides in this game came down to a few moments of brilliance by the AB's particularly Read's and Nonu's offloads.

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DanKnapp November 17, 2013 7:46 pm

Agreed. England can be proud of our team's improvement over the past 18 months, but New Zealand are ranked #1 in the world for a reason. They were clinical in attack. If England want to get to #1 then we've got to offer more in the backs. I know injuries have taken a toll, but we don't have the depth at the moment.

I think Lancaster is doing everything right at the moment in terms of encouraging younger players, and it sounds like the atmosphere in the camp is really good. I just hope the players can step up and deliver. It was a real shame that Wade wasn't fit for these internationals, but hopefully Yarde and Wade can both make appearances in the 6 Nations.

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TotesMcGoates November 17, 2013 11:01 pm

It didn't feature in the above clip so I may be wrong about this but wasn't Read penalised for going off his feet at the ruck?

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45678 November 17, 2013 7:04 pm

So the 2 disallowed England tries were bias from the ref? The intercept from Foden was absolutely fine + the only thing wrong with vunipolas effort was the camera angle

I think England's back line is struggling because of Farrell. Standing to receive a pass is not the way to get the back line flowing. 36 was better yesterday. I'm a bit worried that he only seems to be able to step off his left foot a la Robbie fleck and will soon be found out. Tomlinson was solid if not flash. Ashton has played his last game I hope (we've heard that before)

Tom wood and Dylan Hartley were immense

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jimmy23 November 17, 2013 1:43 pm

Of course a win would have been ideal but am pretty proud of our performance. For a good majority of the game a team that boasted about 300 caps pushed a team with 800+ too the limit. However a team with so many quality players and that amount of experience, it's no surprise the found a way to turn it around.

Our pack is immense, consistently perform like that and they will be one of the best. The back line just needs sorting. While all of them are solid (bar Ashton), we need players with real line breaking ability, Mike Brown's the only one who really has that at the moment. We really could have done with Tuilagi and Yarde in this game. But as AJ said, it should sort itself out, hopefully during the 6 Nations though, because the real test comes when we tour NZ next year.

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Andrew November 17, 2013 3:01 pm

I think the All Blacks bad discipline really kept England in the game and even though they had more possession, they didn't really look like scoring a try. Not a fan of Farrell, good goal kicker but that's about it.

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oldflyhalf November 17, 2013 4:17 pm

Dear English, with a referees team honest and decent -wonder what could determinate on the officials to give up for 2:00 hours to the honesty and decency?-, never, but never ever, you would not be able to score 22 points in last night's. Your best compartment/player was, again, comme d`habitude, the Officials. ...good luke!

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oldflyhalf November 18, 2013 11:36 am

Ah, touché! :) ...back to arguments!

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Facepalm November 17, 2013 7:23 pm

Had a glance at your comment history. Has a rosbif been sleeping with your wife lately or something?

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jeppy89 November 17, 2013 5:38 pm

An eloquent one at that.

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FatProp November 17, 2013 5:45 pm

Pretty happy with the game. Would of loved the win but I am realistic, but with Tuilagi what would have happened ? He was responsible for 2.5 tries last year and we should have had May or Eastmond on the wing bloody hell even BANAHAN !

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Guest November 17, 2013 6:15 pm

I think the comments share some themes which are probably worth addressing:

1) The Referee

Joubert remains top class and, even having an off day as he was at times yesterday, managed to referee a reasonably balanced match that was great to watch. Owens deserves a mention for his excellent record recently as a touch judge as well.

2) The All Blacks

As ever, in attack they were superlative and in defense they had enough wherewithal to keep England contained. Their centre partnership was such a threat that they sucked in extra players at all times and in Cruden they have found a fly-half that can really capitalise on the flow of the match at all times. Finally, from 1 to 15, all of them are dangerous in the contact areas and rucks, which is something England need to learn from them quickly.

3) England

I'll admit I may be a one-eyed Englishman, but I was delighted with the way the team performed. Some of the combinations obviously aren't there yet and there are plenty of rough edges, but there's a kind of spine to the team we've not seen in a while. Woods and Robshaw are excellent leaders and the team is growing in stature.

With regards to the backs, I think Farrell is developing the more dangerous sides to his game with some of the plays that were used, but the centre partnership wasn't working well enough to capitalise on it. 12T is turning into a handful, but I saw a lot of times where the centres were not supporting each other and providing a complex threat to deal with. Tomkins is not setting the world alight at the minute, but I think that will come with time and practice and a sense of comfort at International level.

Still, it was good to see some viciousness and grit from England that has been missing in recent years; they seem to be getting streetwise again and hopefully some of Dickson's attacking nous can rub off on the other two 9s. Youngs looked a bit subdued when he came on.

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Jeri November 19, 2013 5:23 am

I reckon your comments are spot on. While I'm not a fan of England's style of play it's quite exciting to see England's form as of late. Would love to see how this English team fares against the Springboks

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marboy01 November 17, 2013 9:16 pm

I can't wait until the 3 test match series in NZ 2014 kick off this will really show how good this England team are and not rely on winning at home, or having a ref side with them being the home team, I would have loved to see if they could beat the Boks this year oh well I guess you can never really know because NZ has knocked over everyone I cannot see the Irish beating the All Blacks but I guess if the team plays the best ever and have a ref who monitors the All Blacks more for indiscretions on the field and ignore the home sides infringements then you just never know the luck of the Irish!!!!!!!

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Guest November 18, 2013 12:39 am

@ 45678 "The intercept from Foden was absolutely fine".
Except that the ref was playing an advantage called only seconds before. I understand your keenness to claim another try but let's not get carried away.

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Pedro November 18, 2013 7:09 am

Anyone got an issue with the England try? Player (7) in an offside position touching the ball?

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DanKnapp November 18, 2013 10:03 am

The reply is pretty clear, he doesn't touch it. From the first angle it appears he does, but the TMO looked again and you can see that Launchbury gets to it first and takes it away from his fingertips, thankfully.

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oldflyhalf November 18, 2013 1:23 pm

In my opinion, no. 7 is in obvious offside position and he clearly intends to play the ball. Offside, enough, or ..."not enough", that`s my question ? :) Does not matter if touch, or not, the ball.
By the way, the no. 7 prevents, involuntarily, on defender to play the ball/ to defend ?

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whiteafrican November 19, 2013 11:17 am

Got to agree with oldflyhalf. In any other situation, a player who is in front of the kicker and who attempts to play the ball gets a penalty awarded against him for offside, even if he fails to actually make contact with the ball.

Law 11.1(a) clearly states that a player who "Moves forward, towards the ball" in an offside position is guilty of an offence, for which the sanction is a penalty. Robshaw is facing the ball (i.e., it is in front of him) and he moves toward it. Accordingly the correct decision would have been a penalty to Black.

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Phil mc avity November 18, 2013 8:09 am

If England loose next year in New Zealand we could blame it on food poisoning?

All joking aside England were good, centres were ok, but not good enough, with need tuiliagi back to create a threat, tomkins isnt ready for internationnals yet, but fair play he done alright, farrell was good, and is getting better, he is growing into a leader also. Ashton is shite, foden goog, brown brill.
Pack were good, and people can say that it was a bad try from them, but englands pack were going to score a try, they deserved to,and i thought vunipola grouned it the first maul but good refereeing we couldnt quite see so it became an attacking scrum, and they finally scored. Well deserved try.

The all blacks were brill, 4 out of their 5 100 capped players played so they cant say it was a b team. First try was good, read ran at ashton seen as everyone knows he cant tackle, read took 3 players (dickson should have stayed inside and just let vunipola help ashton) and offloaded to salvea, brill. And Nonu to Salvea was...propper top class rugby. Always great to see the all blacks play that kind of rugby. England are getting better, and no way should Lancaster have "blooded" Wade agaisnt such a great team, it could have ruined his career. I would like to see wade, burrell, and maybe watson in the 6 nations though! Yarde is a worse defender than ashton! (Look at the ausralia match if you dissagree, just watch yarde all match).

Some good points by other people here, but also some stupid rascist ones, grow up ("rosbif" what nonsense).

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Phil mc avity November 18, 2013 8:10 am

Pedro Robshaw (7) didnt put his left hand on the ball until launchbry (try scorer) placed his on the ball. No offside.

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Pedro November 18, 2013 8:46 am

Maybe I'm thinking too much- but he is in front of his team mate, and touches the ball. Accidental offside at least? Rather odd situation but was wondering if I was the only one a little perplexed...

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whiteafrican November 19, 2013 11:20 am

@ Phil mc avity - the question of whether (or when) Robshaw's hand makes contact with the ball is irrelevant. He is in an offside position when the ball is kicked (nothing wrong with that necessarily) but he then moves toward the ball before he is played onside, which Law 11.1(a) states is an offence for which the sanction is a penalty. As noted above, the correct decision would have been a penalty to Black.

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Phil mc avity November 18, 2013 9:33 am

No i was gutted when i saw him touch the ball, but i dont think he actually did. We will never know anyway, but the forwards deserved a try, and were going to get one anyway, and they had just been refused one, im suprised no one got yellow carded for pulling down the mauls. You see mealamu pulling someone down at one point. But england got a try and the all blacks were the better team who deserved to win anyway. I dont think theres any point in talking about a ref or whatever, the main thing is the performance of the players. And how the teams get better from here on. I would like to know what other people think on how the new zealand team can up their game, ok theyre #1 but they we're great through the whole game.

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whiteafrican November 19, 2013 11:35 am

As above, it doesn't matter whether Robshaw actually touched the ball. Applying Law 11.1(a), the question is whether he moved forward, toward the ball from am offside position.
- There is no serious debate that he was offside when the ball was kicked and was not placed onside by the time it arrived at his feet.
- There is also no question that he was facing the ball and moved his hands toward it.

Accordingly, the only correct decision is a penalty to Black.

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DR93 November 18, 2013 11:10 am

Someone can correct me if im wrong, however i remember for the first 30 mins of the game NZ scrum (to me anyway) seemed much more dominant. I thought that franks was putting a lot of pressure on marler. At every scrum marlers ass was shooting out the side straight away while franks position was driving straight. So i dont think england deserved half the penalties they got there. And that forced franks to be replaced my famuina which then allowed marler to get upper hand.
In saying all this however i think its still one of the best england performances ive seen in a long time. If they had full strength backline they will be a good shout for 6n

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Pablito November 18, 2013 1:19 pm

If you watch it again, you can see that Franks bores in on the England hooker, which forces Marler to turn inwards and follow him, hence his arse sticking out. If he hadn't, he'd have had nothing to push against.

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dave November 18, 2013 11:15 pm

I think andy farrell should relinquish his role as attack coach and just focus on defense
rugby league style attack doesn't work in union but league style defense is very effective
mike catt would help the team a lot more as attack coach then what his current role is as the "skill coach"
and each aspect of rugby requires a huge amount of attention so england would be superior for having more specialized attention on different areas

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AJ_Capote November 19, 2013 11:45 am

I would love that. Catt is one of the most skillful backs England has ever had (big claim I know) and was a supreme centre at his time. He knew which passes to deliver to unlock a defence. He was the unsung hero behind our 2003 and 07 WC campaigns - in both cases his intelligent passing got us picking holes and away from the big-tackling Pacific Islander midfields of Samoa (x2) and Tonga (07). So totally agree, he should be backs coach - get Farrell and 12Ts throwing incisive passes and plays to put the back 3 into holes. It's coming together slowly, and I'm happy with Farrell and 12Ts as 10/12, both are developing their game. Bring Tuilagi back in, plus Wade and Yarde, and this backline has the potential to really fire.

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DrG November 19, 2013 11:56 am

See my post below which is somewhat related to what you have said, England as a team (but far from the only team) seems sadly reliant on a few key players, NZ however could have 2 injuries in one position and still fill it with a world class player.

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DrG November 19, 2013 11:50 am

To be totally honest and neutral, I thought the refereeing was pretty abysmal, but fairly even... Things that stuck in my mind were 12Tree's running into his own player (penalty to AB's), McCaw at one point leaping over/into a ruck/england player and dragging him down; in other words Saint McCaw going off his feet *gasps*, (Penalty to England) etc etc. It was all pretty bad, however the right team came out on top.

One thing that strikes me time and time again is NZ's depth. I suspect the game may have been very different had England had Tuilagi etc, but they didn't and they suffered. NZ however could put a 4th pick player in any position and no one could really tell the difference... which amazes me. On the other hand England are still playing out of form Ashton, who looks like he's panicking in every situation.

Congratulations to NZ, hard fought but deserved victory. Commiserations to England, hard fought and did well to fight back.

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whiteafrican November 19, 2013 11:54 am

@DrG - you left out the part where the Ref saw a replay of Robshaw attempting to play the ball in an offside position (in breach of Law 11.1(a)) but awarded the try anyway. Easily the worst decision in the entire match, since there was no question that Joubert AND the 4th official saw what happened, but they either didn't know the Laws or chose not to apply them.

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DrG November 19, 2013 11:57 am

Nope that was covered by the "etcetc" part of my comment..

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whiteafrican November 19, 2013 12:16 pm

So the list of odd reffing decisions that stuck in your mind didn't include the oddest decision in the whole game? That's, erm, odd...

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DrG November 19, 2013 12:27 pm

It's been done to death up there, why continue to flog a dead horse? The list was not "odd reffing decisions", odd implies strange, out of character, many of the decisions were just plain awful, this was always intended to be a demonstration of awful decisions, so I picked a couple out, if I were to write out an entire list, I'd be typing until the next full moon.

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DrG November 19, 2013 12:29 pm

p.s like I said, it was included in the etcetc part. If you don't understand what et cetera means I'd be happy to explain.

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whiteafrican November 19, 2013 1:56 pm

Sorry - I was mostly just joking. No offence intended.

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memberbenefits November 19, 2013 5:05 pm

Don't know if it's been said before but at the very end of the video the commentator says if the beat Ireland next week they'll be the first team to go a calendar year unbeaten.

This is incorrect, Ireland did it in 2009.

Although that'll seem like a very distant memory come Sunday evening.

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Kiwi In Germany November 19, 2013 5:24 pm

I guess he meant the only team to win all their games in a calendar year. Ireland drew with Australia 20-20 in 2009.

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whiteafrican November 20, 2013 11:55 am

Yeah, he probably should have tacked on "in the professional era". Buck Shelford's All Blacks won all their tests in a calendar year in the late 80s (89 I think?) but of course they only played about 9 tests a year, so it was comparatively easier to do back then...

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Kiwi In Germany November 19, 2013 9:01 pm

Interesting Stat.

If NZ win this weekend against the Irish they will have not just gone undefeated this season. They will have won 54 of their last 60 test matches. Having lost 2 to Aus, 1 to SA, 1 to Eng, 1 to the Barbarians and drawn one against Aus since 19th September 2009. Thats a 90% success rate!!!

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paimoe November 20, 2013 11:20 am

Heh yeah I don't think NZ were too happy about going 0-3 against SA in 2009.

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