Thursday, June 28, 2007

News of the week

All Blacks re-jig side

All Blacks ready for Wallabies
2007 All Blacks : best class ever?

Compelling statistics reveal the Wallabies will be up against the most dominant All Blacks team in history in Saturday night's Bledisloe Cup blockbuster at the MCG.
And arguably the most dominant team ever.
Last Saturday's 26-21 victory over South Africa in Durban, on top of big wins over France and Canada to kick off their 2007 international campaign, has improved the All Blacks' record to an imposing 37 wins from 41 tests since their heartbreaking 22-10 semi-final loss to Australia at the 2003 World Cup in Sydney.
In more than a century of test match rugby, no other All Blacks team has managed to sustain such a consistent level of excellence over such an extensive period.
Only the champion England side - who won 33 of 36 Tests between the 1999 and 2003 World Cups, including 21 straight before arriving in Australia and winning another seven in a row to run off with the William Webb Ellis Cup - can challenge the All Blacks' record.
Twice before, from 1961-69 and again between 1987-91, All Blacks teams boasted 32 victories from 37 Tests, but the current class - led by international player of the year Richie McCaw and influential first-five Dan Carter - have now surpassed both those supreme outfits.
During their golden run, the All Blacks have beaten every major test-playing nation - most both home and away - and are undefeated against all northern hemisphere opposition.
In 2005 alone, the All Blacks completed a 3-0 sweep over the British Lions before heading to the UK and achieving the coveted "grand slam" with victories over England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Eighteen months on and they are riding a 24-test winning streak in New Zealand and are odds-on favourites to retain both the Tri-Nations trophy and Bledisloe Cup with further series triumphs over Australia and South Africa.
Their only defeat in 24 tests over the last 22 months was a one-point loss to the Springboks in South Africa in September last year.
Yes, the new-age All Blacks, with a rare mix of power and panache, are enjoying unprecedented levels of success.
And coach Henry is doing everything in his power to make them bullet-proof, winning all but one of their tests over the past two seasons despite rotating 49 players to ensure injuries won't derail the All Blacks in their quest for a first World Cup in 20 years.
Indeed, the World Cup looms as their final frontier and, with glory in France in October, McCaw, Carter and co can stake an irresistible claim to being the greatest team rugby has ever known.


Rugby: Dramatic changes to AB line-up
Wed, 27 Jun 2007 6:42p.m.
The All Black selectors have made sweeping changes to the backline for Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup match in Melbourne. Leon MacDonald slots into fullback with Mils Muliaina moving into centre. He will partner Luke McAlister while Rico Gear is on the wing. Both Isaia Toeava and Sitiveni Sivivatu were not considered due to injury. And it forwards the big daddy, Chris Jack returns after paternity leave. And In the reserves Aaron Mauger moves to the bench.

Rugby: Carter should be back on form for Saturday
Thu, 28 Jun 2007 6:16p.m.

The All Blacks are confident that Daniel Carter will be back to his best against the Wallabies in Melbourne on Saturday night.

As 3 News reporter Hamish McKay tells us from Melbourne, so is Carter himself.

Rugby: Conference called after dodgy Springbok decision
Tue, 26 Jun 2007 6:45p.m.

Sanzar has scheduled an emergency phone conference to discuss the Springbok’s decision to rest twenty players for the Australasian leg of the tri-nations.
If the decision is not reversed, the All Blacks will face a virtual Boks B team in Christchurch on July 14.

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Photo by our friend Nuraan S.
Richie, last Sunday in South Africa.

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