England is proving exactly why everyone loves beating them so much. Judging from the reaction in the media England must have become the number one rugby nation in the world instead of just fitting in at fifth. Some of my favourite claims:
- The All Blacks' defeat means they are on their way out as the top rugby team.
This defeat was their first this year, their first in 21 international matches against other top rugby playing nations, most frequently the #2 and #3 teams. Players like Dan carter and Richie McCaw may be on the other side of their peak but remember that we won the World Cup while Carter was out injured, McCaw was on one foot and were were down to our fourth-choice flyhalf. We have depth and a mindset that fosters rugby talent, (often at the expense of everything else.) It takes more than one loss in 21 matches to mark the 'end' of the All Blacks.
- England has shown that there is no gap between northern and southern hemisphere teams.
They might have to remind me who their most recent two matches were against and what the results were. To save anyone looking them up they were against South Africa and Australia and England lost both times.
- England has shown that they are contenders for the number one ranked spot.
They're not even the number one northern hemisphere spot. They sit more than ten ranking points behind NZ on the IRB rankings and there's only a .85 point gap between them and the #6 ranked team, Ireland.
- The All Blacks aren't all that despite them saying they are invincible.
This gem comes from that Welsh prick Stephen Jones. New Zealand knows its rugby team is good, the results speak for themselves. However you will find very very few of us willing to say they are invincible or indeed anything other than a team of competent rugby players. All the 'invincible' talk comes from the other side, anyone suggesting that around these parts are immediately shot down because arrogance in the past, (see 2007, 2003 Rugby World Cups,) has cost us greatly. This is no more than talking up an accomplishment and it's annoying that it comes amid accusations of arrogance towards New Zealand, (Stephen Jones has a habit of insulting the whole country rather than just the team.)
One swallow does not make a summer and one win doesn't mean you're consistent. That's why the All Blacks are the best in the world, not because they can down bigger teams, (because there are no bigger teams,) but because they consistently win. England has lost twice in its last three matches. New Zealand has lost twice in its last 22 matches.
If England has a strong showing in the next Six Nations and its players perform in the Lions tour to Australia then maybe they can start saying they're in contention to be a powerhouse in the same league of the southern hemisphere big three. But this was one win. Fully commend England for their game, they played good rugby and came away deserved winners. But if you think that's all there is to being the best then I have news for you.