The end of last night’s test against the pretend-Springboks was a case of deja vu all over again.
The dreaded 2007 quarter-final against France, I mean.
Did you notice?
80th minute. Scrum inside the Springboks 22. Right in front. All Blacks put-in.
Try or drop goal?
Answer: both, actually. They should have tried for a drop goal.
It would have been the perfect chance for Dan Carter to test his drop kicking in a live test pressure situation, as he’s apparently been doing in practice. Maybe one of his last before the World Cup.
(Dan may have a record 1200 test points, but only 6 of those have come from drop goals.)
And of course, it was the ABs’ failure to go for the three pointer when down by two against France in 2007 that made us fans despair about the state of our boys’ top two inches.
Last night’s failure to do the same was not exactly reassuring.
Now I know what you’re thinking. What pressure? Last night they were up 40-7. Not down 18-20. What difference would another 3 make?
Well, a bit, actually. In fact, it would have made history. If they’d known their history.
You see, the record winning margin in the 90 years of tests between the two countries is 36 points. (NZ 52, SA 16 in 2003.)
And 40-7 is a margin of 33 points.
See what I mean?
If the All Blacks staff had studied their history — and going into a test against the weakest Springboks team in history they should have — they could have used the goal of matching the record to simulate the pressure of a tight World Cup match.
But no. They did what they did in 2007. They tried for a try. And failed.
It doesn’t augur well for what they might do in a tight final in November.
Am I being too grumpy after such a massive win?
Probably. It’s late.
But Aussie next week will be a whole nother story.
UPDATE: It’s now next week, and Dan’s just dropped a goal! — his first in five years. Good to know he can take expert advice.