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Plenty To Ponder For The All Blacks

Plenty To Ponder For The All Blacks

Plenty To Ponder For The All Blacks

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Ten Questions after week one of the northern internationals:
 
1) Do we really need to be concerned about a stuttering performance at Twickenham?
The game was a festival match, a money spinner and a chance to run out a relatively inexperienced team.
There were similarities to a match played in Tokyo about 17 years ago, when a Pacific Barbarians side made up of canny New Zealand pros playing in Japan took great delight in making life difficult for an All Black side en-route to France.
Performances over the next few weeks are what this team will be judged on.
 
2) Did Beauden Barrett sound just a little relieved to put his debut as captain behind him?
He’s a key man in the leadership group, but it might not be best to burden him with the actual captaincy in future. He’s got enough on his plate.
 
3) And who is going to be his understudy?
This All Black coaching staff firmly believes in succession and Lima Sopoaga has been groomed as their next in line, but Richie Mo’unga is starting to build a strong case. He’s still prone to the odd mistake, but his current form is pretty hard to ignore.
 
4) Has Jerome Kaino played his last game in the black jersey he has performed such great deeds in?
 
5) And what about Julian Savea?
 
6) Other than the location, was there any reason why they needed to play God Save the Queen before the game? I don’t recall them playing it before World Cup matches between teams of visitors to the UK?
 
7) How envious did you feel watching the Maori All Blacks play inside that fantastic BC Place Stadium?
It must be fun to live somewhere where the city leaders recognise just what an asset a fan friendly sports arena can be.
There’s a reason why Vancouver, a metropolis only slightly bigger than Auckland, is rated one of the most liveable cities in the world.
Oh, for some of that big picture thinking in New Zealand. Perhaps when they’ve finished building all those cycle lanes?
 
8) How much more interest is there in the Wallaby tour following their win over the All Blacks?
They must stand a pretty decent chance of halting England’s progress in two weeks’ time.
Their all Fijian midfield/three quarter line had a field day against Japan, but the interesting move was seeing Reece Hodge at first-five. He turned in an eye catching performance.
 
9) Do you really believe what you are hearing from Rugby World Cup’s report and recommendation for the 2023 tournament? It reads like something that might have been written before the process even started. 
 
10) Do you think Stephen Jones chuckles when everything he ever writes about New Zealand rugby becomes a banner headline on the major Kiwi websites?