COMMENT:

No one likes to see the All Blacks lose - but if you're going to lose, one: you want to lose in a game to remember.

Two: You want to lose to a side that most would argue were the better team.

Three: You want to lose to a side that were seen as genuine respectable contenders going in.

Advertisement

Four: You want to lose to a side that represents a region that is closing what has been regarded as a chasm, in terms of talent.

Five: You want to lose because globally it's good for the game, especially going into a World Cup year.

What you don't want to do when you lose is panic or overanalyse it. It is not the end of the world.

I suppose you could argue it's not been the best of years for the All Blacks, they lost twice. But at the risk of overanalysing all this, there are losses, and there are losses.

The South African loss this year wasn't a proper loss. The South Africans are not a team we may lose to again for many years.

It's the same as our 2016 loss to the Irish in Chicago. That was an odd venue on the way to a proper tour of the northern hemisphere. It had the feel of a one-off as opposed to what we saw yesterday morning, which was a proper game, in proper circumstances, with appropriate build-up and expectation.

We were properly beaten, it was a genuine loss as opposed to a ropey fluke.

Now, such is the way of things these days, when defeat befalls us too many tend to lose perspective. You only need to look at Australia or England to know this, and England and Australia have had real troubles.

And people like Eddie Jones, who was a hero and great redeemer, needed to be sacked until he seemed to improve England to the level we saw last week. Michael Cheika, who's in charge of a genuinely troubled side, barely holds on to his job on a weekly basis.

Advertisement

So for the All Blacks let's be sensible about this. No it's not the way you want to end the year, and no, two losses isn't a great season.

But we are still, game in, game out, the best side in the world. I'd still back us to win the World Cup.

And I would not be, beyond the bounds of some regular retrospective investigation as to what we need to work on to improve, remotely worried about next year.