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Aisle be Back: Good times with the All Blacks

  • By Kevin McCarthy

When sometime in the future Ukraine finally liberates its territory the stuff of legend will include a video done a few months ago called Plans Love Silence.

The cinematic style video featured a series of Ukrainian soldiers holding a single finger to their lips; the message of course a variation on the famous World War 2 slogan of loose lips sinks ships.

This sort of gold standard propaganda has a very serious purpose of course in the military where intelligence feeds off all sorts of details and anything, even quite innocently, can be of use to the opposition at the right time and the right place.

I’m just wondering if we could do with a poorly shot but still effective video to be circulated over the coming weeks by New Zealand rugby with the same message.

It’s now week two or three of the unceasing onslaught of good time vibes around the All Blacks in 2023. After a highly successful kicking off of the truncated Rugby Championship with a win in Argentina, the All Blacks turned in a very good 80 minutes against South Africa at Mt Smart.

That unfortunately has turned the expectation dial up to 11 maybe 12.

Suddenly the apex predator of world rugby is once again on the prowl. It’s ready to unleash a triple T that’s triple threat. Every team in the world is now quaking again.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing better than the All Blacks playing well and starting to find their mojo again.

But we still need to remember this is from two games. And that largely based on history, pre-World Cup encounters compare very little to when the real deal comes around.

There would of course be no sense in the All Blacks stumbling through these early matches either. Clearly a lot of what they’re working towards is starting to trend positively.

The danger is when the hyperbole becomes embedded. We don’t really know have good these All Blacks will be until that opening match against France in Paris. Or when they face whoever they face in the quarterfinal – almost certainly Ireland or South Africa.

All three of those teams in France know that they can beat the All Blacks and have done so in recent years.

There should be no suggestion that somehow the All Blacks have unlocked the key to an easy path of victory against any of them.

What should be acknowledged is that based on what we’re seeing now New Zealand won’t be easily bullied when those key games roll round. It’s interesting to see the South African reaction to losing to New Zealand with some naysayers bemoaning its teams has gone down a blind end.

Well in 2019 a similarly constructed South African side was comfortably beaten by the All Blacks in the opening game of the World Cup. The All Blacks did not make the final – South Africa did and won the title.

Only an extreme masochist would want to go through a repeat of last year and the All Blacks trials and tribulations. But nothing is achieved by over-egging the current squad and its prospects.

If indeed the All Blacks are going to be a new beast stalking the fields of France, it would have been much better if that were discovered by teams closer to the time. Of course, there was another famous military intelligence concept that came out of the Second World War in Russia, called Maskirovka.

That is, deception by another name. They made quite an art of it and the ideal form of it was when you fooled your enemy into thinking what was going to happen. Perhaps it’s all part of the cunning plan right now.

Anyways next weekend we get the miracle of Melbourne to look forward to. Eddie Jones will convince his team that they are in fact world beaters starting with a Bledisloe Cup triumph. You can’t blame Eddie since right now, talk seems to be his only weapon.

But the times that he has sprung genuine surprises it’s been because he’s kept his mouth zipped or at least zipped by Eddie Jones standards.

I think we can confidently say the All Blacks will not be taking anything for granted and are very keen to lock away the Bledisloe for another season by winning in Melbourne.

A win there will also open up a chance to give some of the wider squad a Test match hit out in Dunedin before the great adventure finally begins in Europe. ‘

But you didn’t hear that from me.

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