A Crushing Defeat For New Zealand Rugby
Image Credit: Flickr (the*roving*sheep)

A Crushing Defeat For New Zealand Rugby


New Zealand doesn’t lose very often at rugby, so when it does, it really hurts.

As the All Blacks were crushed 38-21 by England in London, the post-mortems down under were starting almost as quickly as the partying in pubs around Twickenham.

New Zealand is rightly proud of its rugby team. It is respected around the world and feared in much of it. After the All Blacks won the first World Cup back in 1987, it had to endure growing taunts that it choked on the global stage by failing to win the next five tournaments. It put that to right in 2011 by winning on home soil.

It continued winning.  Going into the weekend, the team had been unbeaten for 20 games and discussions were starting as to whether this was the best rugby team of all time.

Well, England ended that unbeaten run in fine style and whether the debate will continue remains to be seen. 

It was a fine performance by the team in white. The hosts started well and were 15-0 ahead early in the second half. The All Blacks rallied and almost leveled the scoreline by taking the next 14 points. England fans had been in that position before and fully expected that a defeat was coming.

But it wasn’t. England reapplied the pressure to end up recording their record win against their fearsome opponent.

"I would just like to congratulate England on a tremendous performance," said All Black coach Steve Hansen. "They thoroughly enjoyed their victory today and they should be very proud of what they achieved. They played some magnificent football. At 15-14 we certainly asked questions of them and they responded as a good team. We don't have an excuse — we just got beaten by a better side."

The English media, which had seen its team recently defeated by South Africa and Australia and was expecting a third Southern Hemisphere triumph, was as elated as the vast majority of the 82,000 fans present.

"The best team in world rugby, the best in world sport, some say, smashed by a tidal wave of white,” gushed the Daily Telegraph. “Twickenham has known many great occasions in its long and distinguished history but there have been few to top this."

"It wasn't the fact of the victory which was so astonishing, but the manner of it…There was nothing remotely fortuitous about this triumph. It was close to a humiliation for New Zealand."

The Observer said something similar. "This was an All Blacks team unbeaten this year, rated so highly that they were on the brink of being acclaimed the best ever. Untouchable. Until now. This should be a moment to savour, the precious unveiling of a priceless piece of rugby."

The New Zealand Herald could barely register what had just happened. “The unbeaten record has gone. The season has ended in stunningly bad fashion with England bursting into astonishing life at Twickenham to not only beat the All Blacks – but to beat them well and to beat them playing inspired rugby.”

For New Zealand, it is time for a break. The team doesn’t play much in the first half of 2013 but has a series against France at home in June and then the southern hemisphere championship against South Africa, Australia and Argentina shortly after. There will be plenty of chances for this team to reassert its dominance. Oh, and there is a return to England next November.

Alan Carter
January 13, 2013 at 01:10

Well played England and the All Blacks did not use their over long season as an excuse. But they are Number 1 and   in comparison with previous World Cup winners had an excellent post World Cup 2012 year. Let's face it: one win and English national teams often strut their stuff as World beaters/Numero Uno and the hype, drums and celebratory fireworks from fans and press alike keep sounding for months and months afterwards. 

slayer 1
January 3, 2013 at 22:16

Bloody guttered that werent hit harder by the virus when they played Wales. Faletau and co. mite have got one over them and all hell would have brokoen loose up here. All I got to say that they started to tinker offtowards the end of the game with Wales. England aren't that good to be able to put points on the score board over a healthy ABs team and I suspect the virus had something to do with it. England think they are world beaters now with their going ons but we will see come 6 nations.

December 31, 2012 at 00:48

Well if the numbers are true about the Novovirus and considering the team had come down with it then its no surprise that England beat them. The ABs won't make excuses but come on… The fact that the ABs managed to stay in the game for as long as they did speaks volumes about their committment. England aren't that good that they can destroy the ABs… The ABs look positively out on their feet during the game…… And the fact that England never put such a score on the board speaks more about the virus than their performance…..

December 27, 2012 at 00:13

Crushing is an understatement. We will take it on the chin and move on. Good on England for playing the prefect game. We will not linger on the loss and excuses or positive spins will not be thrown around as the ABs were beaten by the better team on the day. The ABs will look to have another good game with England come next year.

December 27, 2012 at 00:06

Good on England for taking their chances when presented because against the ABs it doesn't come often ,especially a  fit ABs team

December 6, 2012 at 06:46

Errrr why is a sport article on the Diplomat? Just weird. Im an AB fan but I dont come here for sport.

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