I'm a writer blogger who has been resident in the Hutt Valley since the late 1960's. I'm a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I have seen many people come and go over the years, seen many things good and bad. Now it's time to remember...
Part 2 this Saturday
The All Blacks would have presumed they would have locked up the final of the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe Cup by beating the Michael Cheika-coached Australian Wallabies last Saturday night in Sydney. History will tell us they didn't. The Bledisloe Cup is still live with the Wallabies leading 1-0 after winning 27-19. The holders, New Zealand, only need to win this week, as the challenger must win 2-0, and the holder needs only to draw at the worst.
It wasn't a very good first half from both teams, but the Wallabies really ambushed the All Blacks with their physicality, the break-down and by playing for a full 80 minutes. They also had a very good bench to call on as well. That is normally how the All Blacks grind down the opposition right to full time. There were a number of unexpected poor performances from a number of leading All Blacks, excepting super star Richie McCaw, the perpetual motion man who played his heart out all day. Cliches like it was good for rugby and for the All Blacks chances in the Rugby World Cup in just over a month, went down like a lead balloon to the men in black.
Post mortems went on all week, in the All Blacks camp, the media, radio talk-back shows and in most homes in the nation. What the hell went wrong? The AB's management have answered that by making only three starting changes. Ma'a Nonu replaces an injured SBW who was literally put on his backside last week - he has a badly bruised tailbone. Sam Whitelock will start this week, and the only new player to the playing squad is Victor Vito replacing Jerome Kaino on the blindside flank. An energetic and skilful performance from this talented loosie will book him a place on the plane to London.
You can see some other points of view about the upcoming game here, here and here
The All Blacks have announced their team to play the Wallabies in the final Bledisloe test this Saturday. The Selectors have Made 3 changes, bringing in Ma'a Nonu, Victor Vito, and Sam Whitelock.
1. Tony Woodcock (114) 2. Dane Coles (29) 3. Owen Franks (71) 4. Brodie Retallick (20)
5. Samuel Whitelock (65)
6. Victor Vito (27)
7. Richie McCaw - captain (141)
8. Kieran Read (76)
9. Aaron Smith (40)
10. Daniel Carter (105)
11. Julian Savea (34)
12. Ma'a Nonu (96)
13. Conrad Smith (87)
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (1)
15. Ben Smith (40)