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She's a Kiwi so anything less than a glowing review may mean a night on the sofa and a kick in the scrummage! Especially as I write this in the week between a shaky victory against Argentina in the 2011 world cup quarter final and either heroic victory in the semis against Australia, or disaster for 4.1 million New Zealanders as they 'choke' for a sixth straight World Cup. Although any other nation would probably consider one winners cup and a losing finalist in that time not such a shabby record. (I imagine the English FA would certainly take it).
I personally quite like the All Blacks but they do seem to inspire strong negative feelings from a lot of other Rugby playing nations, I think for a number of reasons. Firstly the expectation of victory, every time they take to the field the New Zealand public expects nothing less than try scoring free running rugby, just a win is not really enough. It's almost as if the opposing team should just turn up happy to be in the company of the All Blacks. Secondly The Haka, again I think it's impressive and intimidating but it does seem that if anybody stands up and tries to respond to it the team and the New Zealand public are in uproar at this supposed snub of tradition and culture. I used to live in New Zealand and remember one occasion when an England player stood as close to the centre line as possible and eyeballed the team as they performed the Haka. It wasn't a great day to be English in New Zealand, I think everybody I met for the next week had an opinion on the matter. I have attached the English translation below so you can make your own judgement on the haka.
Tis death! 'tis death! (or: I may die) 'Tis life! 'tis life! (or: I may live)
'Tis death! 'tis death! 'Tis life! 'tis life!
This is the hairy man
Who brought the sun and caused it to shine
A step upward, another step upward!
A step upward, another... the Sun shines!
Emotional stuff I think you'll agree!
Okay so that's what the critics would tell you. In my opinion the New Zealand public have every right to expect the team to play some great Rugby, they are idolised and rewarded in similar measure to English footballers. In general the team do 'respect the jersey' and it is still a proud moment to be capped as an All Black for any player. The Rugby they have played in the past and continue to do so marks them out as the Rugby equivalent of Footballs Brazil international team. A team that the neutral should enjoy watching (if not actively support). It certainly beats watching England and Scotland trying to rack up a record for the number of end to end kicks in a match.
If they win the world cup this year the whole country will celebrate for a good few days and it would be a great time to be in New Zealand. If they go out to Australia this weekend it'll be beer for breakfast and tears by lunchtime, certainly in my house!
yes they still play the best style fastest running and most artistic rugby of all. Thet are still a force in world rugby and will come back to be number 1 in the near future. The new coach has let the talent flow again and the likes of Christain Cullen and Jonah Lomu have been freed up and will start, as they have started to do so, to rise in the top try scorers tables again. At present they have won 72% of games even Australia cannot match that statistic. Watch out the blacks are coming back
Living in England and its obsession with football how good was it to see NZ vs. AUS in the first Tri Nations games this century. All you football fans out there should take a moment to watch 80 minutes of pure excitement. These rugby teams make footballers look like wimps. The hits the the big teams take in tackles would make a footballer really grab their shins I am sure. The All Blacks are just pure class full of amazing athletes. Did you know that Jonah Lomu at 118kg can run 100 metres in Olympic Qualifying time. The All Blacks will win the Tri Nations hands down.
The All Blacks, love them or hate them, have been one of the dominant forces in international rugby over recent years. However perhaps even more famous than their success on the field is their traditional pre-match performance of the Maori Haka.