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"All Blacks in crisis and losing their aura"

opinion

By Max Bania

Published: 8:00AM Monday August 25, 2014 Source: ONE News

The All Blacks are a team in crisis, and their aura of invincibility is fading faster than memories of the last time Richie McCaw played a good game.

That is the only conclusion to be drawn from the home side's egregious inability to beat the Wallabies by more than 35 points at Eden Park.

Richie McCaw is a spent force. I have no tactical analysis with which to back up this contention, but apparently he missed a tackle earlier this year or something, so it's true.

McCaw is the floundering captain of a sinking ship weighed down by busted flushes and has beens who never were. Everywhere you look, there are gaping cracks in this All Black team.

Ryan Crotty's beard is more Ponsonby Road than Eden Park; Ben Smith has a boring name; and as for Brodie Retallick - well, I can't find a single criticism of his game so let's just insert some generic comment about how he'll probably be injured or burnt out by the next world cup.

Speaking of which, the All Blacks may as well not even bother getting on the plane, such will be the quality of opposition on show in the UK.

The Springboks are fresh from two dazzling victories over Argentina; England will be chuckling away having deliberately lost their three-Test series here in an ingenious bid to lull the All Blacks into a false sense of security; something the French also did across the ditch.

Which brings us to the Wallabies, who, like some magical canary yellow soufflé, are a team on the rise yet again for the eighth year in a row.

Michael Hooper is ten times the player David Pocock was. And we all know from Greg Martin's deeply-insightful commentary before the 2011 semi-final that Pocock is ten times the player Richie McCaw is. Which makes Hooper somewhere in the region of 100 times better than McCaw. That's a scary but unavoidable fact.

It seems wholly inevitable that at some stage in the next 20 years the Wallabies will regain the Bledisloe; such is the rate of decline in this spluttering All Blacks machine. Their 19-match unbeaten streak also seems sure to come crashing to a halt at some point within the next thirty or so Tests.

One can't help but wonder how different things might have been had Robbie Deans been appointed coach in 2007.

These are worrying times indeed for Steve Hansen and his men.

Say it all enough times and people might start to believe it.

Max Bania is a ONE News reporter.

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