When the All Blacks held a sense of Invincibility

All Blacks invincibility

Long before the Coronavirus outbreak, long before the last Rugby World Cup, in fact, there was a time of infallibility. When a team like the All Blacks invincibility. Not as much unbeatable [yet], a side that had one of the highest ever winning percentages. Both figuratively and, in actuality.

In the years after the 2011 Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand, that national team held a steady upward trajectory that surpassed the performance measures of many other sports. Be it Basketball, Ice Hockey, or any of the other popular North American sports. That they performed this on a global level, is what is so memorable about it. Although matching teams of this era may be an unfair proposition today. It would make for the $5 deposit casino nz bet an easy one. Because ‘you always bet on black!’ 

For those not as familiar with the period in question, filtering matches or seasons could offer a wealth of selected classic examples. So looking to identify one game could both reinforce that premise and, exemplify just how this side competed to its maximum potential.

Under the emboldened leadership of Richie McCaw, this season saw the group assembled around him prove a sense of All Blacks invincibility not seen since the late 1980’s.

It would be capped exceptionally by the undefeated 2013 season – the first in modern professional rugby – yet the start of that run, came in 2012 and epitomised best when ever they faced one of their greatest rivals.

Identifying greatness in one clash: RSAvNZL 2012

Like the Chicago Bulls vs the Boston Celtics, Manchester United vs Liverpool, or Australia vs India in Cricket, great rivalries are heralded as some of the best. When the event happens, people stop, set their alarms and DVR to record something memorable.

If you could pick an example, you would not be depressed by choosing 2012.

A year after recording their second World Championship, this All Blacks team appeared to just hit the reset button. This allowed them to carry on with their International test match dominance. In the first year of an expanded Rugby Championship would see the age-old battle between the Springboks and the All Blacks played out on Ellis Park. After another epic performance of the Haka inspired Richie McCaw’s men, they stepped-up another level.

The above YouTube footage will help to illustrate for the uninitiated, how colossal a challenge the hosts South Africa demand from any visiting New Zealand side. A full house, they gave everything they could. However, still had to watch as the 2012 All Blacks edition brought their A-game.

And in this fixture, the old rivalry did not disappoint.  

All Blacks invincibility: South Africa 16 New Zealand 32

Analysis of this match shows the proverbial game of two halves. One where the sides were relatively even yet, in the next 40 minutes, it appeared that the 2012 version simply pushed into overdrive.

Evident from the opening attack of the second stanza. Collecting a restart kick, they immediately ran the ball wide. And with good results too. Ma’a Nonu scored from the very first attacking play. It had coach Steve Hansen punching the air in delight. And for the remaining 39 minutes, the hosts could not respond.

The All Blacks Aura at its Best

From 16-12 ahead, over the course of one half, the aura of the 2012 All Blacks reinforced that side’s reputation…..and then some. They scored 20 points although, it appeared to be much more impressive in their display rather than in points tally alone. Commentators were overawed, the reaction from fans back in New Zealand was one of elation. While observers in the Northern Hemisphere could only imagine how to defeat such a team stacked full attacking strengths.

Hosea Gear of the All Blacks moves past Bryan Habana during the match between the Springboks and the All Blacks at FNB Stadium on October 6, 2012. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

From the world’s best first five in Dan Carter, to a pair of locks who – as shown in the footage – can collect lineout ball as easily as they can run 20 meters to finish an attacking drive. The breadth of talent was what made this group all-powerful. Nonu, alongside Conrad Smith, Hosea Gear, Israel Dagg, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (see main photo) beside his skipper McCaw; the individuals were magnificent. 

The collective effort from the team was awesome, exhibiting a shear All Blacks invincibility and they walked away with the Championship in hand. Applause resounding right across the globe. Yes, the three-peat of the Chicago Bulls was achieved over longer, more intensive seasons. As were the back-to-back titles of Manchester Uniter circa 2000/2001. Monumental efforts, on a par with this team’s season in full: played 14, won 12, drawn one, lost one.

The next year, a perfect 13 out of 13 record was a Zenith seldom equalled though it all began in that formative, post-RWC season. One of where that sense of Invincibility surfaced.

Comparisons can be made yet, matching and bettering all but one of your fiercest International rival teams [England]. That era proved how this side had gone from ‘peaking once every four years’ to reinventing how well they could play anytime. On home soil, away from home, every time for a long period leading to the achievement of a new goal: back-to-back World Cup titles (2011/2015).

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images


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