All Blacks, Springboks

Dan should’ve gone for the drop!

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.

All Blacks, Flag, Rugby, Silver fern, Sport, Wales

Welsh fern designer ruffles NZ feathers

Now, by way of balance, some ammo for those who say ignorant foreigners wouldn’t know a silver fern from a white feather.

Seems the Welsh artist who designed the programme for the All Blacks v Neath and Aberavon match in 1954 was not steeped in the icons of his country’s national game.

Perhaps things were busy in the studio that day. Perhaps his boss had given him a quick peek at an All Black jersey, and he’d  concluded, with somewhat curious logic, that the mighty All Blacks played under the  international symbol of cowardice.

Had he been a rugby fan, he’d have known that the only team that wears white feathers is Wales – as shown on this souvenir jersey from their last win over New Zealand earlier in the same tour.

The three white Prince of Wales feathers and the silver fern, memento of the Wales/NZ rugby test, Cardiff, 1953.

(Our feathered enemy won 13-8.)