Foster confident the “bigger picture” of the year bodes well for the future.
— Jim Kayes (@JimKayes) November 22, 2021
OK then. The only problem is that the New Zealand rugby public actually knows their stuff. And they can smell top down spin really easily.
We can take the losses when we understand what’s going on. Right now, we can’t see what’s going on, and the whining avalanche of excuses are turning people away.
And the excuses are delivered by part owned SKY, and only by SKY. Numerous other media outlets are posing questions, but they get no access.
This is not a criticism of Jim Kayes the person. He knows his rugby, he is filling a role, and if he walked away from it there would be plenty of other people ready to slip into the void.
The rest of us can see all of this.
The thing about this tenure is that there is simply no progress. Players, such as Mo’unga and the locks are going backwards, and there is no talent being introduced. Four of the front five who played against France will be, at best, beyond their peak in 2023. Last weekend the New Zealand tight five included Moody, Coles, Retallick and Whitelock. That’s not development.
Progress in between World Cups is that French side that went down to Australia earlier in the year. They have so much talent coming through the ranks, and they are developing them.
But the worst thing is the snitching excuses given at the end of it. A tour like no other. Except it was pretty much identical to what Australia, South Africa and Argentina had to endure.
And the Boks had a grueling three test series against the British and Irish Lions, and the Wallabies had a whistle stop series against the World Champions in waiting. New Zealand played scratch teams from Tonga and Fiji.
And when Ian Foster used the intercept try over the weekend as an excuse? That remained unchallenged from the National Body Broadcaster. But also, how was the Bledisloe Cup retained again?
The drab, listless performances over the last two years aren’t really the main problem. It’s this new finger pointing blame culture that has really taken hold of the ship.
Remember when the All Blacks wouldn’t travel to Wellington for the second Bledisloe Cup test in Wellington when they didn’t get the exact same hotel access they were used to?
That resulted in another Bledisloe Test in Auckland, but highlighted that they really lived in their cocoon. They can’t hide behind the Fortress Eden Park forever. It worked in 2011, but it’s quite possible there will never be another World Cup in Aotearoa.
Then there was that game playing about when to travel to Perth. Tours like no other.
Also, ditch the Learnings unword. That’s a death by a thousand cuts.
It’s not so much the Foster rubber stamping that irks; it’s just the stubborn trench digging around it. Joseph, Rennie and Brown smelling a rat in 2019 said it all.