In demonstration during the last match against Argentina (53-3 victory) but authors of a year 2022 with sawtooth, the Blacks are preparing to close the Rugby Championship with a decisive double confrontation against Australia.
What version of the Blacks will we see this Thursday (11:45 am French time) in Melbourne, for the first of two confrontations against Australia at the end of the Rugby Championship? The version we used to see in previous years, which rolled over its opponents and scared everyone? Or the version “ 2022 » who, 4e in the world rankings and defeat in half of its matches this year, is it really scary?
More than ever questioned after six defeats in eight games, coach Ian Foster reassured the New Zealand people a little ten days ago by crushing Argentina (53-3). But this victory only washed away the affront of the historic rout suffered a week earlier against these same Pumas (25-18), and it does nothing to repair the difficult year of the Blacks who also lost three times against Ireland, once against France and once against South Africa.
In the turmoil one year from the start of the World Cup, captain Sam Cane’s teammates are for the moment, thanks to the bonuses obtained, leaders of a very undecided Rugby Championship.
Australia also in doubt
The last team to appear on the road to the All Blacks in this 2022 edition of the Rugby Championship, Australia is also going through a zone of turbulence. Mixed results for a year, failed tests against England in July, Dave Rennie’s men are in the reconstruction phase and are struggling to string together victories.
The last Rugby Championship won by the Wallabies dates back to 2015, and they have just lost at home to South Africa for the first time since 2013.
Australia-New Zealand, a gala poster that looks like a match of fear. Will the Blacks confirm their renewed form or will they plunge back into doubt? Whatever happens this Thursday, let’s not sell New Zealand’s skin before killing it: in 2011, the Blacks were strongly criticized for their performances before their World Cup on home soil, but that did not stop them to win the trophy.