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To answer the above question, no… not any time soon, anyway.

Since that would be a really short column, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do about it. No, I don’t think I have the answers to the Wallabies woes.

I mean, what do you do when your team’s so self-destructive that they suck to watch, but you need an excuse to go to the pub before lunch?

The best I’ve got is to give the Kiwis their dues and support them as you would a band you didn’t want to like, but if really honest, you listen to them all the time.

This won’t change my opinion that Dan Carter’s a pretty boy (but good) and Richie McCaw’s a cheat (but really good).

But the All Blacks side that won the World Cup (finally) and have just made the Rugby Championship against Australia, South Africa and Argentina look like a training run may be a once-in-a-generation team.

The All Blacks don’t dominate teams, they dismantle them, with skill around the park and discipline – as score lines such as last week’s 54-15 thrashing of a spirited Argentina suggests. It’s rugby cliche 101, but it’s true.

The forwards live up to their name, they bring forward momentum.

Richie McCaw’s almost always offside, but whatever, he gets away with it – if someone ever says they wouldn’t take him in their team, they’re full of it.

Dan Carter’s backs make it look like touch footy. And when they create chances, they take them.

Simple, right? It can’t be or the so-called powerhouses they’ve brushed aside over the past couple of months would have half a clue how to handle them.

The weekend’s games were irrelevant as the All Blacks had already taken the trophy with 21 points and 95+ points difference, ahead of South Africa (12 points and 27+) and Australia (8 points and -42). With their likely win over the Saffas on Saturday they would have also matched the 17 wins on the trot of Fred Allen’s mid-Sixties ABs and the late-Nineties Springboks.

The All Blacks come to the UK for tour Tests in November. The Kiwis will be out in force, and I reckon Aussies and Saffas should suck up our pride and find a way to see them.

Give the rules: A helping hand

When was the last time you saw a hand ball, a proper one that FIFA’s laws would actually recognise as a free kick?

They’re very rare, not that Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic would believe it after having the ball drilled into his outstretched arm by Sergio Aguero, gifting Manchester City a penalty last week.

‘Deliberately’ is in there somewhere, not that anyone takes notice of it, especially every freaking referee in the world. Handball has become the thing refs blow up to minimise complaints, not a rule.

There are clues to telling if the handling of a ball is deliberate – the arm moves to it, catching it. Or it’s Maradonna. But refs have given up on the rule and decide based on expectations.

If they must blow the whistle every time the ball touches the arm, the rule has to change. Indirect free kicks for any arm contact and a direct one if it’s clearly blatant, yellow cards for breaking up attack and red for stopping a goal if it’s deliberate.

 

Are the All Blacks as good as the Aussies and ’Boks make them look? letters@tntmagazine.com

Photo: Getty


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