I have been a fan of All Blacks ever since I started supporting rugby as a sport. I may be an amateur fan, but slowly my passion for the sport is getting the better of me as I continue to delve deeper into the scrams, penalties and tries. Seeing well-muscled beasts of men huff and puff the field, slide into tackles and make dashing sprint as others line out to defend or attack would make anyone be intrigued by the sport. All Blacks, Springboks, Fiji and Wallabies are some of the rugby teams that would make anyone pose for a second and eagerly follow the action. The way All Blacks play the game however is like Brazil in soccer. They are so effortless and easy, but for a tactically trained eye, the talent, ruthlessness and technical discipline make them the favourites anytime, anywhere.
As the Lions of England tackle New Zealand’s All Blacks, it makes sense to speculate and try to see which side will emerge tops in the much awaited semi-final clash at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. The two titans have faced each other since 1905. A total of 41games have been played between them up to date, with All Blacks winning 33 to 7 won by England, 1 game was drawn. The All Blacks have been dominating and have managed to always get a good result over their bitter rivals. In the last 5 matches played, and this is are how they fared on:
- Auckland in June, 2014: NZ 20-15 ENG
- Dunedin in June 2014: 28-27
- Hamilton in June 2014: 36-13
- London in Nov. 2014: 24-21
- London in Nov. 2018: 16-15
New Zealand is top in the Rugby Men’s Ranking with 92.47 points against 2nd placed England who have 89.74 points. Springboks are a distant 4th after Wales, who stick in 3rd with 89. 37points. In the current World Cup competition, All Blacks have been at their indomitable best, beating the Springboks in the 1st group match which was by far their biggest test. The much fancied clash with Ireland seemed almost like training for the reigning champions, as they may toast of Ireland and dumped them mercilessly out of the tournament in the QF. England, who have been growing from strength to strength since the WC began in Japan, pose the biggest barrier to the marauding All Black who seem destined to the finals.
Verdict: It will be close, but I see the Haka beasts in black beating the gentlemen in white and book a place in the finals where they will face the Springboks in another tantalizing finals clash. The depth the squad, discipline and hunger to prove they are winners and not a fluke will be good enough against a strong England side.