(crossposted at sidelined)
I am almost too disappointed to write this. Frankly, what a waste of a game. I suggested before that the backline selection was illogical, and indeed two people who had never played together in the centres before turned out, against arguably the best centre pairing in the world, to be a liability not a magical superstar act. It did not need to be rocket science for Pete’s sake Larkham can play inside, or indeed anywhere, Gerrard had just had a really creative game at five-eighth and is a great kick in a game that was always going to involve lots of kicking, Mortlock is amongst the world’s best outsides, Tuquiri amongst the best wingers, Latham arguably the best fullback. Why didn’t they all play in those spots then?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I am driven to profanity, although I will spare you it.
And the only thing that they have learned from that debacle is that playing Mortlock at inside is a dumb idea if nothing else, at least they learned the most obvious lesson. It is just a pity that, like a child burning himself on the stove, they actually had to learn it rather than merely understand it. Bringing Staniforth into inside is not in itself a bad idea, since he actually plays there, but begs the question why they bothered playing him on the wing when a) we have any number of wingers and b) he is clearly not a star international winger!
Of course our forwards were hammered as well, because the other pack was faster and much better organised we should have had George Smith on, since we really needed his intelligence if nothing else.
Well, you would have to be mad to back us for the World Cup now you might indeed fancy a flutter on the Irish, and the smart money is on the All Blacks, but even I do not rationally think we can win it now. If we do it will be a miracle.
On the other hand, we should still beat Scotland this weekend it will be a calamity if we do not. I will not be writing any more detailed a review than that, I am afraid.