The All Blacks are in trouble!

2014-06-09 12:26
Richie McCaw (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The All Blacks won't win this year's Rugby Championship - nor will the finish the year as the world's No 1-ranked side.

There, I said it.

The All Blacks were woeful at best in beating an England 'B' side 20-15 in the first of their three-Test series in Auckland on Saturday.

This England side only arrived in New Zealand during the week and were without players from the top 2 English clubs - Saracens and Northampton - who had contested the Aviva Premiership final the weekend prior.

In addition, the were playing at fortress Eden Park where the All Blacks haven't lost in 31 matches stretching back decades.

While the five New Zealand franchises have been impressive in Super Rugby this year, it's clear that for all their standout performances across the board, that doesn't translate into a formidable starting XV.

It's been belief of mine for some time now that the New Zealand teams like 'size'.

The Under-20 Baby Blacks have been monstered of late at the Junior World Cup, while the current All Blacks team lacks bulk. Think flanks Liam Messam and Richie McCaw, scrumhalf Aaron Smith, flyhalf Aaron Cruden, wings Cory Jane and Ben Smith and fullback Israel Dagg.

Sure, they are all talented individuals, but 'size matters' as we all know...

Despite having at least 12 senior players unavailable, the England second-stringers finished ahead in the territory and possession stakes as well as the number of line-breaks and tackles broken. They also took the only clean lineout steal and only tighthead of the match.

Contrast New Zealand performance with that of Australia's and the Springboks against France and a World XV, respectively, and it's clear the once mighty All Blacks are a team on a downward spiral, which, from a SA point of view, is fantastic news with the 2015 Rugby World Cup a matter of 15 months away...

Are the All Blacks still favourites for the upcoming Rugby Championship and next year's Rugby World Cup? Send your thoughts to Sport24.

Read more on:    springboks  |  rugby

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