Saturday, 29 November 2008

All Blacks Rugby 2008 Season Wrap-up

So the New Zealand All Blacks rugby season is over for 2008. Here's a brief run-down of the results for the season.

New Zealand beat Ireland and then England twice in the June test series held in New Zealand; they then won the Tri Nations series against Australia and South Africa; followed by winning a test match against Australia in Hong Kong and beating Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England in the November Test series held in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as a non Test match against Munster.

This means the All Blacks ended the season with the title Tri Nations Series champions for the ninth time, and accomplishing a Grand Slam Tour for the third time in a row. Additionally they contested and retained the Freedom Cup for a third year in a row, the Bledisloe Cup for a sixth year in a row, and became the first winner of the Hillary Shield. The All Blacks also finished the year ranked number one in the IRB World Rankings.

In addition to the on-field titles the International Rugby Board awarded the All Blacks International Team of the Year for the third time and International Coach of the Year to Graham Henry for the third time.

By most measures this would be heralded as an extreme accomplishment, as it should be. But read the press from a week ago and it'll be full off comments saying that the All Blacks aren't as good as they used be, that they are weak and sloppy and not much to rave about. Even All Black prop Tony Woodcock is quoted as saying the season deserves a "good" rating.

While it's true the season wasn't perfect, they lost 2 out of their 16 matches with both during the Tri Nations and having one win each for the two challenging nations, the season is well beyond what any other nation has ever accomplished. It'll be interesting to see what slant the news takes now that the season is over.

For those of you who will respond with some comment about last year's World Cup result, please take it up with the IRB review board who ruled that the incompetence of the referee Wayne Barnes determined the result of the match and that if the numerous errors by the referee had been called correctly that the All Blacks would have won the match. Anybody who claims otherwise is a troll or lacks the mental stamina to not realise that the All Blacks are so good that even after having a large portion of the team retire last year they can still accomplish the incredible.