“Winners write the history” is an axiom. In war, losers disappear or lie low while they plot revenge. Losers don’t typically waste time helping the winners write the history – unless, of course, we are talking about Australian sports.
Australians, in particular, seem to see this ‘helping’ the winners write their version of history as both avocation and art form.
On Saturday, the Wallabies ran into the buzz-saw that is an on song All Blacks. The All Blacks had a point to prove – and did so rather well. Their local press, fans, staff, and the team are happy and largely positive with a little disingenuous modesty bedded in comments such as McCaw’s, “Yeah mate, it was good, but…”
Ever ready to assist in a bloody post-mortem, the Australia media and fans are immediately on the job with swords (and sharpened pens). Did the Wallabies even show? Was there even a match? Which elephant are the psychotic, drooling, blind men describing? What’s in those handbags they’re swinging?
To read the Australian edits of the New Zealand version of the game (did it even happen?), on the night the All Blacks made not one mistake or judgment error. Yes, not one mistake or judgment error – or so it would seem to readers who missed the match. By contrast, the Wallabies were utter rubbish.
The whole Wallabies effort was a continuum of mistakes – mistakes made in selection, strategy, attitude, etc, ad nauseam. Elsewhere at least one Roarer described the performance as sickening. Really?
The All Blacks won the match. The winning margin neither flattered nor did it represent a crushing blow to the Wallabies. If the All Blacks had played as they did last night against the Springboks, they’d have added another 50 points.
The rest of the world, they’d have been off to the shed after that impressively ‘sickening’ throat slitting that ended the Haka. Only the Wallabies were up to that game.
Don’t think so? Read the stats. Tick off a few critical boxes:
Possession: All Blacks 53 per cent; Wallabies 47 per cent.
Tries: All Blacks 3; Wallabies 2.
Scrums (won): All Blacks w-feed 7/7, a-feed 0; Wallabies w-feed 3/3, a-feed 0.
Lineouts (won): All Blacks on-throw 12/15, against 2; Wallabies on-throw 9/12, against 3.
Linebreaks: All Blacks 8 (created 2); Wallabies 6 (created 3).
Tackles (made/attempts-per cent): All Blacks 155/194 – 80 per cent; Wallabies 119/156 – 76 per cent.
Tackles (missed): All Blacks 22/194 – 11 per cent; Wallabies 19/156 – 12 per cent.
Tackles (ineffective): All Blacks 17/194 – 9 per cent; Wallabies 18/156 – 12 per cent.
Turnovers (general play): All Blacks 9; Wallabies 9.
Turnovers (ruck/maul): All Blacks 7; Wallabies 11.
Turnovers (lineout): All Blacks 3; Wallabies 2.
Turnovers (scrum): All Blacks 0; Wallabies 0.
Turnovers (restart): All Blacks 1; Wallabies 2.
The All Blacks are the best and the Wallabies aren’t – well, no, they are actually the worst, sickeningly bad, horrible, losers, hopeless… The only thing to do is clean out the lot and replace them all with players who never miss any tackles, always make good decisions, win all the scrums, line-outs, rucks, mauls and be perfect – just like the All Blacks.
All Blacks 30, Wallabies 14. The better team won. My/our (a few of you, I hope) Wallabies played 80 frenetic minutes against the very best.
They turned over the ball too much, didn’t make their penalty kicks, tactical kicks weren’t good, but they looked like they wanted to be there and made a fist of it, despite the monsters on their backs.
Yes, there was a fair amount of dismay evident on their faces on occasions when things well-intended went pear-shaped. However, dismay is a far cry from the despair and dejection on display 24 months ago.
We will win some games with them, but is it realistic to expect that we are ever going to dominate the All Blacks? No. Is it realistic to expect that we will beat them by playing their game? No. Was there something fundamentally wrong with the Wallabies on Saturday? No. Do they have to do it better to win? Absolutely.
So, why all of the angst and the mad rush to help the All Blacks write their history?