Rugby World Cup 2019: Is the All Blacks’ era of dominance coming to an end?

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From Mike Henson
BBC Sport
Sportswriters claim the headline,” composed by someone else on the newspaper, has mis-sold their phrases.
New Zealand journalist Chris Rattue may have no complaint.
“Just give us the World Cup today” ran a front-page plug in for his part in the New Zealand Herald.
Turn inside to the game section and also his opening line told readers”it’s time to jump the gun”.
He added:”They may as well deliver the Webb Ellis Cup now, using the All Blacks looking this good”
And on this day – Sunday, 26 August 2018 – no-one could have had several complaints about it .
Mercurial fly-half Beauden Barrett had only scored four tries at a pounding 40-12 triumph over Australia.
The victory meant that, because winning their second successive Rugby World Cup New Zealand had lost only a few of the 33 Tests.
The domination of world rugby showed no indication of ending and there was no reason to believe it would not extend to Japan 2019 and a straight world summit.
However, with their pool game and a potential final dress rehearsal against South Africa looming, matters aren’t so confident.
In August this year the following article appeared, this time on the other side of the Tasman Sea following a Bledisloe Cup outcome.
Paper The Australian fed pictures of Blacks Sonny Bill Williams, Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read to the viral Faceapp tool, setting yet another 40 years on the 30-plus All Dark mainstays.
The dig in the’Old Blacks’ sprung from the Wallabies’ album 47-26 win over a 14-man New Zealand at Perth a couple of days earlier.
The match New Zealand, before that was held into a 16-16 draw on home turf with a South Africa. Nine months they had been squeezed out with a Ireland facet in Dublin, going 16-9 down.
As a result of these beats, for what they are worth, World Rugby’s own ranks rate Ireland since the world’s greatest team heading to the tournament, as first Wales and now Joe Schmidt’s negative stopped that the Blacks’ near-decade long hold on top position.
So is this the end of an age? Or a false dawn for their pursuing rivals?
Ominously Colin Slade, a part of the successful squads in 2015 and 2011 who plays his club rugby with French side Pau, considers the recent taste of hardship could sharpen the All Blacks’ desire for more World Cup glory.
“I think that defeat in Perth, especially, might be a good thing for a small wake-up telephone , a reminder that everyone is beatable in their day,” he told BBC Sport.
“I think a good deal of people are inclined to push the panic button very early and then see a lot into matters, especially with the All Blacks.
“One bad functionality and everybody is led to believe the wheels are off the wagon.
“Heading into 2015, we weren’t beating everyone comfortably but we’d experience and impression on the psychological side of this game.
“That is something head coach Steve Hansen has escalated since earlier 2011 and contains installed in every new player who comes into the squad – when times get hard, you need to change up emotionally, remain calm and focus on performing your job for the team.”
There are lots of things they are currently missing when compared to four years past Dan Carter and Richie McCaw for a start.
The adorned trio all bowed at Twickenham with the last win over Australia.
The vacuum has been filled with discussion.
Though itself was named by the 2015 side, head trainer Hansen’s options in Japan are more tricky.
“I really don’t think they’re as secure as they were at 2011 or 2015,” Northampton director of rugby, former Hurricanes coach and New Zealander Chris Boyd told BBC Sport.
“Those two groups were in concrete two decades out.
“They knew the game they were playing, the players who had been playing 1-15 understood that they werethe gamers 16-23 understood who they were and the guys outside the 23 knew that they were and they all had their roles.
“I believe in the current side they’re still’fishing’ because of trauma, loss of type, unavailability and a number of men putting up their hands.”
Barrett is the first name to the team-sheet. However, with Hansen the issue is where he fits in.
In the autumn, livewire Damian McKenzie shared the responsibility out of full-back.
But his knee injury has forced a re-jig and a rethink, with Crusaders’ Richie Mo’unga caused at Barrett and fly-half shifting to full-back.
“I like and know the logic of having 2 playmakers on the field, which may help a good deal,” said Slade.
“‘Beaudie’ is really a class act, must be about the field, and will probably be.
“Damian McKenzie is potentially a significant loss, but the way Richie is moving, he could have pushed his way in there somehow.
“What Steve is going to do now is balance the make-up of the remainder of the team and he’ll have some matches in the swimming pool to work out his best combination.”
Since Hansen tinkers with all the chemistry within his line-up at the early stages, New Zealand expect to be handing out lessons recent history at the close of the tournament.
Their relationship with the match’s showpiece is complicated on tortuous while they’ve mastered the last two variations of this Rugby World Cup.
It took another 24 years until they got their hands for a second time on the William Webb Ellis trophy after winning the 1987 event.
Until that 2011 victory, the All Blacks turning from successive champions to chokers had become a thing of a World Cup tradition.
Do you have the ghosts of this semi-final defeat by France in 1999 or in the last eight to the opponent in 2007 been exorcised? In case things get at the knockout stages, or, might they’re exhumed?
“In 2011 that the pressure was nearly claustrophobic,” recalls Patrick McKendry, senior author in the NZ Herald.
“The last that year was painful for many New Zealanders to watch. They had to get it done and they got it done along with a monkey off their backs.
“The mood of the nation required a bit of success after being defeated by Australia at Perth, however the response, beating the Wallabies 36-0 a week afterwards, was fairly impressive.
“I would say the collective disposition in New Zealand is silent assurance. Three in a row will be hard, but they’re pretty certain they could get it done.”
South Africa on Saturday will be a test of the assurance, the winners’ credentials and and whether the All Blacks’ age of dominance is ending.
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