We Need to Talk: How the All Blacks compare to 2014

Radio Sport,
Publish Date
Thursday, 15 November 2018, 11:31AM

Definition of a coincidence: "A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent casual connection. Something that's not planned or arranged but seems like it is".

Bearing that in mind, let us look at where the All Blacks currently sit a year out from the RWC compared to how we were travelling this time in 2014.

Touring the Northern Hemisphere, and following a narrow win over England, our captain test centurion Richie McCaw spoke of the team being "sluggish to start with and needing to hold onto the ball longer before taking  our opportunities".

Sound at all similar to comments made last weekend from centurion captain Kieran Read? 

The parallels even more uncanny when you consider the post-match reports that explained how we "were playing two receivers with Beauden Barrett moving to fullback to accommodate Colin Slade as a second playmaker in case either was caught up in contact". 

So maybe this idea of Mo'unga being used in the same role isn't so new after all?

And like the stop-start nature of most matches played this year, we'd had a reasonably mixed  2014 playing well at times without any totally convincing 80-minute efforts.

Quoting the official team website the ABs were convincing for just "20 minutes of the 2nd June  test vs England, the 1st 1/2 of the 3rd test, most of the matches against Ozzie at EP & SA in Wellington, the middle stages of England at Twickers and the last 20 vs Wales". 

Compare that to 2018 where we performed well for most of the 3rd test vs France, turned it on when we needed to vs Argentina & Australia, the last 20 away in Africa and the middle stages of England at Twickenham - and that's also all!

Sound familiar?

The similarities even more coincidental when you consider we also split our 2 matches vs South Africa that year, a narrow win balancing a frustrating two point loss. Pretoria and Wellington this year a virtual mirror image of Wellington and Jo'berg from then.

And finally, to quote again from the 2014 AB archives, "it is apparent that Ireland will be a genuine, contender at next year's RWC and possibly our most major rival".

Statistically, mathematically, historically it's all just a coincidence.

Utterly unique and nothing but a quad-annual one-of-a-kind come from nowhere bullseye in the dark with a needle from a haystack.

Where we're sitting right now in 2018 eerily interchangeable with 2014. Are you superstitious? Because if not it's nothing but a bunch of coincidental statistics.



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