@mariner4life all put in perspective when winning 3Ns and Bledisloe in 2003. When it actually meant something.
indeed. when we got a new team and a new plan. 2002 was deleted like a bad selfie. We just didn't go far enough in the end, more cantabores needed to be rissoled.
Was Wayne Smith in charge in 2002? Or did Bitchell take over then? All I can recall is him trying to lecture Cullen on the mechanics of holding and passing the ball, and trying to justify his non-selection in the 2003 cup side by saying he was not even the 4th or 5th best 15 in NZ that year. What a fucking carnt. I still haven't forgiven him for that
The worst thing he did was sending Jerry Collins out to face the media after that Oz loss. Jesus the system was broken back then - how on earth did that charlatan get the AB coach role?
In all seriousness, the big fear at the time was that NZ forward play was regressing badly and Mitchell was seen as someone with solid forward-coaching credentials, off the back of his work with England. I reckon that was a big driver and all of the other irritating details, such as a lack of head coaching experience, seemed to get swept to one side. And so began the Magical Mystery Tour .....