This thread has given me some serious PTSD and I’m having flashbacks to 2003!
But seriously, and putting aside the hyperbole (eg Hansen = Satan / Hansen = Jesus), I will look very favourably upon the Hansen era and I do think he has taken the All Blacks to another level, enhanced the legacy and all that other jazz. Simply put, the rugby we played between 2012 to Chicago 2016 was revolutionary and we may never see any team play with such skill consistently ever again. Yes, he’s had the cattle to do it, but his time steering the ship made much better use of the cattle, IMO, than anyone before him (I still think Henry didn’t get as much out of his team as he should have).
That being said, I think Hansen held on too long - he should have gone after the Lions as planned. Since we won in 2015, we’ve obviously had a lot of bad milestones - losses to Ireland, drawn Lions series etc - but we’ve also seen a drop off in skill levels, consistency, muddled selections, poor game plans, lack of calm under pressure and - more worrying than anything - a resignation or “c’est la vie” attitude in defeat. To me, it just looked like Shag had lost that absolute hunger to win and it seems to have rubbed off on his players.
Similarly, I’d argue he’s become a bit bored and overconfident with all the easy wins and has fallen into the habit of tinkering unnecessarily.
Every team at this Cup has a very clear style of how they play. Except for last week, we on the other hand have looked confused and unclear about which plan or style we are playing with in any given match.
I know this isn’t the match thread, but I’d like to make a couple of observations about the match today, which are demonstrative of the issues since 2016 that can be firmly directed at the coaching:
- We looked completely surprised that England started so well and made life very difficult for us - this was evident in the poor decision making and option taking from the start to the end of the match.
- We played with a game plan last week that would have beaten any team in the world if executed well. Yet, we shelved it completely today and went with the side to side shit from the opening whistle, together with stupid options like putting up bombs in their 22. The only time we put together some pods and ran at their forwards, Reece had acres of space, ran into the corner and we scored an easy try from the ensuing lineout. In short, we played into their hands, throughout that match.