The All Blacks absolutely pulverised the Wallabies over the weekend, as the age-old saying of ‘don’t poke the bear’ came emphatically to fruition.
Yet somehow we wake up to news over the last day or so that Wales have displaced the All Blacks from number one spot, bringing a decade of dominance to an end.
If you’re like me you might be wondering how do you win 36-0 against one of the best rugby teams in the world and lose top spot? Or a better question is how do you lose top spot to a team that last tasted victory over you in 1953?
To put that into perspective, the retirement age is 65 and if you hit that this year you would have never witnessed a Welsh victory over the All Blacks in your lifetime.
I guess you could say “but the All Blacks only beat the Wallabies” who, disregarding their victory over the All Blacks last week where the majority of the game was played against 14 men, haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire. But looking into the history books, Wales has only beaten the Wallabies once in their last 14 attempts – a 9-6 victory in November last year.
Not to take away the achievements of this current Welsh squad, they have been brilliant, beating South Africa and the Wallabies late last year and then going through the 2019 Six Nations undefeated is quite exceptional. But don’t you have to beat the best to become the best?
I would understand if the All Blacks had lost over the weekend that there may have been arguments for the Welsh to overtake them in the rankings, given their form of late. But the All Blacks embarrassed the Wallabies, whereas Wales only barely beat England, with their only try coming with a fair bit of controversy attached, as it came when the Poms were two men down – Anthony Watson, having just been sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and Willi Heinz heading to the sheds for an HIA assessment.
In fact, Watson was still making his way off the field when Wales took a quick penalty where they kicked the ball cross-field, over the top of Watson, to the unmarked man on the edge and seconds later a try was scored. How play was allowed to continue no-one bar the man with the whistle and a few bias Welsh supporters will ever understand.
There is no question that Wales are at the top of their game right now, but for world rugby to rank them above the All Blacks is a bit of a joke, considering the All Blacks are on a current streak against them of 30 consecutive wins.
Does this now mean Wales go into the World Cup as favourites? Making the All Blacks the underdogs? If Wales continues this form going into the World Cup and they and the All Blacks top their pools, this could mean their next meeting would be in the World Cup final.
So the number one team would be in the World Cup final and for the first time in a decade, we’re not referring to the All Blacks.