If Ian Foster's All Blacks – still sounds a bit odd, doesn't it? – have need of added focus when they meet England again next year, all they have to do is read Chris Foy's lurid account of the World Cup semifinal.
Foy, a rugby writer for the Daily Mail , is normally among the less verbally overblown of English rugby scribes; less inclined to do the usual dance of rugby writers there – you know, "Best Team On The Planet" when they win; "Brainless Collection Of Talentless Prats" when they lose.
But his piece headlined: "The day the All Blacks lost their aura" has all the elements Kiwis love to hate when they lose to England, especially at rugby.
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Fair play – the All Blacks are a considerable scalp and, as has been conceded by just about everybody, England thoroughly deserved to win that day.
But in inimitable English style, the triumph of the semifinal is listed in loving, high-definition, detail – even all that unmitigated guff about the V-formation addressing the haka and Owen Farrell's smirk which, listen to me, had about as much effect on the All Blacks as if they had been kicked by a butterfly.
Foy's piece cruises through all coach Eddie Jones' little mind games and bon mots (more butterflies, kicks etc) but the biggest joke is that, out of 1500 gushing words, less than 100 are devoted to explaining how England failed dismally in the next assignment – the World Cup final.
Foy wrote (and it has to be said there's some truth in this passage, even if it is a bit florid): "It was more of a mis-match than the scoreline suggests. It was a rout. The team who had spent 10 years at the top of the world rankings were reduced to running round in circles, in full headless-chicken mode, throwing hopeful, wild passes to no one in particular. England's defence locked them up and threw away the key."
As for that other inconvenient detail (losing the World Cup), he wrote: "They downplayed what they had done, knowing there was a World Cup final ahead. That proved to be a game too far, as England slumped to a 32-12 defeat against South Africa. In hindsight, perhaps too much had gone into taming the All Blacks. Emotionally and physically, they lacked in the final what they had shown in such abundance seven days earlier - a furious intensity and clarity which the vaunted opposition simply couldn't live with."
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Equally, here's what could also have been written after that loss to South Africa: "It was more of a mis-match than the scoreline suggests. It was a rout. The team who beat the team who'd spent 10 years at the top of the world rankings were reduced to losing the scrums, making schoolboy errors and conceding penalties. They couldn't even run round like headless chickens; they were more like rabbits in the headlights – and South Africa's defence locked them up and threw away the key."
All the gloating about the haka response was not accompanied, oddly enough, by the tale of how the Springboks conned England, practising their kicking game in the warm-up to suggest they would use aerial tactics and then surprising England by, as former All Black coach Wayne Smith put it, "playing some footy".
Anyone else feel a smirk coming on?
Okay, it's the end of the year and "wrap" pieces like Foy's are not uncommon in the media - but you'd never see a piece saying "How we had a wonderful quarter-final and beat the Irish" in a New Zealand media landscape. If anything, there'd be a painstaking analysis of why we lost to the English.
The glorifying of the All Black defeat – and overlooking of the limp final performance – calls to mind that weird 1997 moment when England lost 25-8 to the All Blacks at Old Trafford and promptly surprised both sets of fans by doing a victory lap. Great stuff – and it explains why articles like Foy's are so eagerly consumed in Brexitland. Real triumphs are few and far between.
However, it also underlines what dangerous foes England are becoming – even if they have yet to add consistency to undoubted talent.
Foster will, rightly or wrongly, be judged on how his rebuilding All Blacks perform in the next meeting with England in November. Yet it may not be quite the mountain to climb we think.
Smith's analysis of the semifinal defeat was that England's defence defused the All Blacks' tactic of using a small group of forwards to send the ball deeper, to a first five who then had more space to try to work his outsides clear. Among other measures, England targeted that, meaning the forwards involved were often late to breakdowns, contributing to the All Blacks' slow ball.
That defence can be unlocked by more driving work and pick-and-go spearheads by the forwards, as this column maintained before the World Cup.
None of that, however, explains England's attacking prowess in their fine first half display. So the next clash still shapes as a tough assignment. A win is a must – for Foster and for wider reasons.
If, one day, the England rugby team stop irritating us by doing victory laps after losing; if the English media stop writing pieces like Foy's; if they don't tell lurid, self-inflating tales of the defeat of the All Blacks as if they had just singlehandedly saved the universe, it will mean only one thing: England victories over the All Blacks have stopped being a rarity.
No thanks very much.