Richard Loe 's Opinion

Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Loe: McKenzie was left smarting at loss

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Ewen McKenzie. Photo / Getty Images
Ewen McKenzie. Photo / Getty Images

This was a nasty reality check for Ewen McKenzie and his supporters. I've heard over the past few weeks how McKenzie is a great thinker of the game, how the man nicknamed 'Link' will provide the recipe for the Wallabies. But as Reds coach he was completely outsmarted by the Crusaders in Christchurch and it was just as bad last night.

It's early days but I can't see anything that McKenzie has brought to the green and gold; they weren't given any new direction, there was no insight into how they might combat the All Blacks.

The All Blacks coaching panel will be delighted with many aspects of this match. After all, it was only their mistakes that kept the Wallabies in the game and that will be addressed in the coming days. All things considered, Richie McCaw showed incredible endurance to last over 70 minutes after his long break; a credit to his preparation coming into this game.

Beside him, Steven Luatua offered aggression and presence. With players like him emerging, it will be hard for someone like Jerome Kaino to find a way back into the international arena.

Aaron Cruden again showed how much he has matured over the past two seasons and Beauden Barrett gives glimpses of true class. Maybe Daniel Carter's sabbatical can start earlier than we think.

The new scrum protocol probably evened things up for a while, before the All Blacks got on top. To be fair, Andrew Hore and Tony Woodcock played better than they have for some time and, overall, the All Black forwards were dominant. The Wallabies pack was adequate but you always sensed as the game went on that they would get gradually overwhelmed.

As for Quade Cooper, although it was a brief display, I didn't see anything to suggest that Robbie Deans had made the wrong call during the Lions series. It's hard to see him regaining the form of 2011.

Overall, it wasn't perfect from the All Blacks but there was a lot to like and I am already looking forward to next week.

- Herald on Sunday

Richard Loe

Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Wyllie Loe was a renowned All Black forward prop who plied his trade for the New Zealand national team between 1987 and 1995. Loe was well known by fans and team mates alike as an ‘enforcer’ on the pitch, a player who balanced his abilities with the ball with a tough-tackling prowess and a penchant for physicality. During an outstanding career Richard Loe represented his country of birth in no less than three World Cups, assisting the All Blacks to a famous victory in 1987. Along with fellow team mate and captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Loe formed one of the most formidable forward lines ever to lead the All Blacks. Despite his sometimes overly physical dominance on the pitch, Loe is regarded by former team mates as being an exceptional character and professional. Following retirement from rugby Loe became a sport columnist for the New Zealand Herald, a position he still holds today.

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