Rugby Neil Francis: ‘Refs letting All Blacks cheat with impunity makes them even more difficult to overcome’

Rugby I be wild about constituents, because they are nice!

Rugby New Zealand will do absolutely anything to avoid conceding. Where are Ireland with this concept?


Rugby Sonny Bill Williams shrugs off a Canadian tackle at Oita Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
Sonny Bill Williams shrugs off a Canadian tackle at Oita Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

The All Blacks played Canada at Oita Stadium on the island of Kyushu last Wednesday. They gave a performance of practiced functionality on their way to a 63-0 victory. They didn’t hold back any of their ‘special moves’ because, well, they don’t have any.

They play what is in front of them and then superior instinct takes over and with relentless pressure they eventually overcome you.

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Rugby Keith Earls. Photo: Sportsfile

Keith Earls. Photo: Sportsfile

It was another night of oppressive heat and humidity and even the remorseless Kiwis made mistakes, including two by the Barrett Brothers, Jordie and Beauden, both dropping the ball with a clear run-in to the try line. In truth 63-0 translates to about 100-0 given the conditions. It has, to an extent, saved the Tier 2 nations from some thrashings.

The game was over after 20 minutes as the All Blacks led 21-0. Somebody should sound the hooter and everyone can go and have a few extra-cold beers.

The All Blacks have picked a new, fresh crop of Polynesian front row forwards with younger legs and a bit more Duracell in them than the ageing Owen Franks, who was left at home. We are not quite sure how good these props are. Maybe they will be tested by Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong in the next fortnight or so.

In a typically good attacking position near the Canadian 22, Moli Atunaisa, the All Black loosehead, threw a pass in the general direction of Sonny Bill Williams. The ball with no name on it went loose and Canada’s scrumhalf Gordon McRorie latched onto it and scampered downfield. A tackle went in and the ball was offloaded to number 8 Tyler Ardron. Canada know how to play the offload game because they have been watching Ireland in this year’s World Cup. Ah sure begorrah and bejaysus we’ve been doing it for fun in Japan.

Anyway, Ardron is tackled and flips it out to outhalf Peter Nelson who has a bit of gas and is in daylight with only Beauden Barrett to beat. Barrett has to turn on the soles of his feet as Nelson changes direction twice. The crowd gorge themselves on the thrill of the chase as the red-headed Nelson heads for the line.

Whatever about letting Canada score, they couldn’t let a ‘Ginger’ score! That did not come to pass. Nelson stepped to his left and cut right and accelerated, which meant Barrett had to turn and catch Nelson with a 10-metre deficit. Barrett showed impressive acceleration and he nailed the Canadian on the five-metre line with a decisive tackle. The Canadian outhalf’s momentum and the evening dew meant that tackle scene slid another four metres to end up a metre from the All Blacks’ try line.

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