England rugby warned to take 'reality pill' in light of New Zealand's dominance

Charlie Ngatai's four try effort against the Western Force has shown that New Zealand's midfield is in good hands. Source / Getty Images
Charlie Ngatai's four try effort against the Western Force has shown that New Zealand's midfield is in good hands. Source / Getty Images

England rugby is doing a gold medal job of talking itself up since winning its Grand Slam since 2003 but one of the country's leading sports journalists has warned them to take a reality pill in light of what he is seeing in New Zealand rugby.

The Daily Mail's Chris Foy wrote that the blistering start to the Super Rugby season by Kiwi teams such as the Chiefs was already blowing the myth that the All Blacks would be in a rebuilding phase during 2016 after the retirements of Richie McCaw and Keven Mealamu and move to Europe of stalwarts Dan Carter, Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu.

"Those who value sport's unpredictable ebb and flow should look away now. The stark fact is that New Zealand are showing no signs at all of relaxing their rugby stranglehold," wrote Foy.

"The dominance could go on and on. Richie McCaw and Dan Carter and several other luminaries may never again grace a field clad in All Black, but the Kiwi production line remains in good health."

Foy pointed to the Chiefs putting Western Force to the sword - scoring nine tries in a 53-10 victory.

"There was Charlie Ngatai, touching down four times, to demonstrate his readiness for a place in New Zealand's new-look midfield," Foy wrote.

"There was fly-half Aaron Cruden with a dazzling pick-up and instinctive pass for a try, among countless examples of mesmerising skill from the hosts.

"There was full-back Damian McKenzie crossing the line twice and smiling his way through each goal-kicking routine.

"He's not the only smiling Kiwi. Steve Hansen, the world champions' head coach, is so enthused by what he is seeing that he is having second thoughts about stepping down after the Lions visit next summer. He can sense the hunger around him to extend the dynasty."

'We don't consider this to be a rebuilding phase,' said Hansen, ominously. 'We have this massive appetite to improve our game.

'We have managed to play in the past without Richie or Dan and it is time for us to find other champions. That will happen; someone will stand up. It doesn't matter who is coaching this team in 2019, they will have a shot at back-to-back-to-back (World Cup triumphs).'

Foy wrote that rugby fans should not be surprised by the form being shown by New Zealand players.

"Ambitions are sky-high because so are the standards set in New Zealand rugby from a young age.

"There is no mystery to their success, it is founded on the supreme execution of basic skills under pressure, awareness and honed instincts, allied to the geographical advantage of some tailor-made Polynesian genes.

"While the Kiwi focus is on catch and pass, a gym culture reigns in these parts. One experienced academy coach with a leading English club contacted this column to warn that skill levels among rookie English players are often 'pathetic' - leading to an abundance of 'meat-head Six Nations-type players'. He added: 'Grand Slam or not, the divide between the south and north continues to grow.'

"That scenario should be a matter of grave concern within Europe. Meanwhile, the Kiwis keep running amok; leaving the rest to chase their vapour trails."

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 23 Jan 2017 18:06:00 Processing Time: 381ms