No such thing as a dead rubber

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:01 pm

A dead rubber is often used to explain a match like today where SA could not win the RC even if they won. But if you're interested in being at the top, you have to realise any advantage you give your opposition works against you the next time you face. SA won last week and you could see the confidence of their players as well as the fans. If they won here today, they would've felt they had the team to beat the ABs and gone into the following match with that mindset. Unfortunately they were beaten in the end quite convincingly today and that creates important doubt in their minds.

The SA forwards are definitely the real deal. Louw is the find for SA this season and they looked impressive. SA started with all the focus and determination this match. The NZ lineout and scrum looked shaky and even though there was some fortune in the first SA try, they had important territory and possession and put points on the board. 10 points up with half an hour into the game and they got the perfect start.

Unfortunately where SA are not the finished article by any stretch quite yet is in the backline. There are some players who will learn much from the experience today but in particular on defence they were exposed time and time again out wide. NZ had precious little possession but with two opportunities spreading the ball out wide, they created an overlap situation and scored. SA encouragingly got over those disappointments and got into the match leading 16 12 at half time.

But this NZ side is expert at sniffing out weakness. Just as they capitalised on the strange decision not to take Goosen off when he was evidently limping, the ABs came out after the break and scored from the kickoff. Again it was poor defending from SA and things didn't get better for them. You simply must make first up tackles against NZ and hold your defensive line.

SA came back into the match but again did so with their forwards. You could see they lacked the confidence to go out wide when they had a man advantage with Dagg off. But they kept it in the forwards and though McCaw was lucky to escape with a hand on the ground, they simply couldn't get the territory or possession they got in the first half and their backs didn't hold any trouble despite Habana desperately trying to spark something a few times.

So Meyer will have to go back to the drawing board now and refine the Bok game. The makeup of the side is there but whilst the youth or inexperience in the forwards is not a problem at all for SA, it is evidently a problem in the backs. NZ get another rare win at altitude and go through the competition unbeaten having gone up a gear in the two last games. Australia awaits now in October and of course the dead rubber remarks will come out again because Australia cannot win the Bledisloe. But it doesn't matter the world record for consecutive victories by top tier sides can be equalled by NZ with a tour up north potentially to extend that number. It is important to win not to allow Australia to take anything positive out of this winter schedule before they embark on a northern tour. A dead rubber is just another name for a used condom. In rugby there is no such thing. Every game counts and what you achieve in this game sets you up for the following game.

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Post by disneychilly on Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:10 pm

I'll be just as nervous about the Aussie game. They are masters at being party poopers for the Kiwis no matter the occasion.

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:17 pm

That's for sure chilly. NZ won't be underestimating them. Replays of Hong Kong will be played. That match is a classic example of why winning is so important though. The match meant nothing? Not to Australia it didn't. Their confidence skyrocketed after that game. When Australia are on the ropes though, you don't back off and give them a breather.

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Post by disneychilly on Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:25 pm

Foot on throat stuff. Expect DC to play the 80.

Again not to get ahead of ourselves but should that happen and should we beat Scotland I'll get to see a bit of history at the Italy game Very Happy

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:28 pm

Like the ABs, one game at a time. Very Happy

The ABs take a well deserved break and will regroup to take on the Wallabies. If Argentina beat them tonight they might have a new coach...

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:59 pm

JDV was aware of the significance of this match before kickoff: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/7778911/Sky-the-limit-for-All-Blacks-says-Boks-skipper

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Post by Taylorman on Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:29 pm

I watched the Wellington vs Otago match and still cannot get over the high level of passing, linking and running at pace these guys have at this leve l.

This is the game that other countries just refuse to play, but looking at the sheer ease at which the ABs coasted in several times, it illustrates what can be done even when everything is running against you.

And forget the altitude thing. The ABs fitness showed in the second half and if anything, it hurt the Boks more, and the ABs knew it.

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