With the cunning plan of using Susie the toilet lady to nobble the star halfback having no effect whatsoever, this stupendous All Blacks team, ‘The Incredibles’ dined on grilled Springbok with a biltong crust on a still Saturday evening in Durban.
It is surely now becoming a lot less presumptuous to state that this 2016 All Blacks vintage are in the throes of becoming one the finest, or a bit more down the line, THE finest Rugby Union team ever, especially if (‘if’ just to cover the backside) the British and Irish Lions are ruthlessly swept aside next year and then England are flogged on Twickenham.
Legend may in fact dictate that Dave Gallaher’s 1905 ‘Originals’ will always remain as our greatest-ever All Black side for the way they completely revolutionised the way Rugby was played (many experts believing it took over sixty years for British teams to finally wake up to the innovations of Gallaher’s side- stubborn buggers those Brits). However, the way this present All Blacks team are cutting a swathe through their traditionally toughest rivals and doing it with such panache, skill, verve and downright audaciousness is superlative and quite uncharted in its manner.
If not quite tipping the whole sport on its head as Gallaher’s 1905 wonders did (and to a lesser, but still influential extent, Brian Lochore’s 1967 All Blacks), this team are taking the action to places that we haven’t quite experienced before.
Arising from the brilliance of this era is a fascinating question: Is the way the All Blacks have dominated with such style over the past four seasons been more as a result of Nature, as in possessing a crop of freakish athletes who have come through a great system and have superior all-round abilities; or is it more to do with Nurture- the continuous thread of Hansen, Smith, Enoka, the recently-departed Byrne, and now Foster and Fox moulding a talented group into an almost-invincible looking team? I’d go for a balance of 70% Nurture, 30% Nature. Love to know what you sportsfreakers think though…
To end, just a thought on the aftermath to the Aaron Smith incident. Have I been reading this completely wrongly, or are some of you almost condoning his wretched behaviour? Yes, the media reaction did lose perspective and yes, the couple who dobbed him in are quite possibly cretins, but let’s not forget Smith was in full All Blacks number one mode, blazer and all, when he did his deed. Some of the howls of indignation around the outing of Smith’s behaviour would be better directed on how he let his partner down so badly (and his team). Bear in mind if he had not transgressed in the first place there would be no story. Zip, zilch, zero.
And a footnote: Someone emailed and questioned why I ‘hide’ behind the byline of ‘The Spotter’. It’s not a question of hiding, it’s just a nickname given a long time ago on account of being able to recall lists of title winners across a whole range of sports. I’m accountable to what I write. My real name is Paul Montague and as that guy obviously noted, I put my email at the end of my articles. So no, no hiding mate. Far from it.