That was really hard to take. Quite a few of the players did not perform to the required level, at least in some aspects of their games. In particular,
i) all three wingers (Koroibete, Wright and Petaia) were so far off the pace as to be liabilities. MK due to injury (I believe), and both Wright and Petaia just because they don't have what it takes. But who are their replacements?
ii) Bernard Foley tonight was back to his worst level, failing to make his tackles, poor handling and little game management.
iii) Jake Gordon just doesn't cut it at test level. Has the most inaccurate kicking game of all the No 9s.
iv) Harry Wilson is not a test level No 8. I believe he could make it at No 6 with instruction to hit the blind side in attack, but he does not have impact through the middle. The experiment with Valetini at No 6 was an out and out failure.
v) Neither Neville nor Holloway had sufficient impact in the second row.
vi) Porecki is no better, maybe not as good as FF (Folau Fainga'a). Has issues with his lineout throwing and not the impact in general play.
vii) Angus Bell still has issues at scrum time. Some excellent touches in general play but conceding multiple penalties in scrums places the team under a lot of pressure.
viii) James Slipper looks like he needs a fairly long rest - like Koroibete.
The good were :
Pete Samu again had a rousing game at No 7.
Reece Hodge was good off the bench (apart from one penalty that failed to find touch). Ran hard and kicked long, threatened the defensive line.
Valetini was better than most but not as effective as in previous games. AAA was solid.
The rest were fair to adequate.
As a team, completely outplayed, outmuscled and outthought by the ABs.
As for the officiating. I am at the point of not bothering about any games we play the All Blacks. When out and out dangerous play by the ABs is allowed without any action by the officials, there is ample reason to question why they continually get away with it. What I now suspect is that playing NZ as often as we do is the main reason we are sliding down the world rankings. Wouldn't mind that so much if we were being beaten consistently by fair play, but it is blindingly obvious that those in black are not held to the same level of accountability as the unfortunate sides opposing them. I have to say I would be more than pleased if we didn't face NZ at all between RWCs. Let some other poor foolish teams have that privilege. Like Ireland and France, if we play them less we are more likely to start climbing back up the world ladder and maybe even reach a level that we could do them over in out infrequent meetings.
Now looking forward to the EOYT and wondering where the coaches go in respect of team changes.