Are New Zealand All Blacks rugby fans too precious? I find it fascinating reading how defensive All Blacks fans are getting when an English newspaper as part of an article mentions that the All Blacks are not guaranteed of winning the Rugby World Cup, or when England newspapers name a World XV based on the Autumn Internationals and only include three All Blacks.
I am not sure whether the British media are simply baiting All Blacks fans because all of this leads to plenty of hits for their websites.
People are quick to forget that the All Blacks only just won their three European Tour matches yet any mention of the gap closing between themselves and the rest of the world is met by calls for a witch-hunt to get to the bottom of why this writer could write such poison.
We are quick to forget that since the Rugby World Cup in 1987, the All Blacks have been the best team in the world for most of the period, yet only won the William Webb Ellis trophy twice, both times at home.
The South Africans, Australians and even the English have won it away, yet the All Blacks have fallen.
Rugby World Cups are difficult tournaments to win, and a draw which would see the All Blacks potentially playing France or Ireland in the Quarter Finals and a Semi-Final against the Springboks before beating England on their home ground in front of a packed Twickenham crowd calling for Richie McCaw’s blood, is something that should be considered by All Blacks fans.
Sure, we are the best team in the world, but it counts for nothing, unless you win the silverware that counts!
So, next time anyone suggests that the All Blacks are mere mortals, don’t be so quick to bite their heads off! The Six Nations teams will be hard to beat in their backyard, while the Springboks, Wallabies and even the Pumas are all beatable, but the Rugby World Cup can come down to the day. Let’s not mention the refereeing decisions on the day. While the All Blacks would beat most of these teams nine times out of 10, there is always that chance of them not winning and that is why we have to play the tournament. It is also why we love it. That is why I don’t want to see too much rotation in the All Blacks for the Quarter Finals onwards, because as we discovered in 2007, the Quarter Finals could be our last game.
Are All Blacks rugby fans too precious? I say, yes, but it is because the All Blacks winning means so much to this great nation of New Zealand, and All Blacks fans have been scarred by previous Rugby World Cup failures.