Over the last few weeks – make that years – I have read several thousand articles, comments or commentaries accusing the All Blacks of cheating.
Many people have thrown up various instances during a game of blatant cheating by the All Blacks, and this has gone on for decades. I am not an analyst, commentator or journalist, just a passionate armchair critic.
Are the accusations warranted? No, however it would be impossible to ever accurately accuse a team of blatant cheating without looking at every single international team.
The reason this accusation is levelled at our New Zealand side is because the ABs are just so good at what they do – playing rugby.
Would we be labelled cheats if we were consistently ranked 10th in the world? More than likely not.
The reason we get the label is because we are so successful. The depth of our rugby goes beyond just the grassroots– to play the game and to play it well is an inherent part of our culture.
Every team and infringes every player infringes in the heat of the moment at some point. This is the nature of competition, it is pressure.
Would we really watch rugby if the ref blew his whistle at every technical foul in the book? If he did it would become the most boring waste of 80 minutes imaginable.
If any other team managed to gain the No. 1 rank and hold it for as long as the All Blacks have, would we all then turn our accusations on them?
The All Blacks don’t have a secret recipe. They are not in cahoots with the IRB or the referees, they don’t tamper with the rugby ball, they don’t have wings and they don’t become ethereal when gliding through space.
They are just good at what they do.
They constantly change the way they play the game, up-skilling all their players to play what they call ‘total rugby’. Have a good think about where the game would be without the All Blacks and their global brand.
Instead of flinging the accusations at the All Blacks, why not throw more of your energy and support to your home team in the hope that one day they will become the dominant team.
I like what England has set out to do by putting in place structures and goals to become the dominant rugby nation. They also understand that this will take years to accomplish, but they know where they want to finish.
I wonder if we will accuse them of some secret underhand tactics when they do.
The reality is the accusations will never go away. Players will always infringe or bend the rules, refs will always make mistakes.
It is the one downside of being human.