The agony of perfection for 2013 All Blacks

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 26/11/2013

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Sabbatical could keep Jerome Kaino on NZ Rugby books English club Wasps confirm the signing of one-test All Black Frank Halai Faumuina wants to be top of the props for All Blacks All Blacks prop Charlie Faumuina re-signs with New Zealand rugby and rebuffs French cash Victory in the ring crucial for Sonny Bill Williams' sporting master plan Ben Franks confirms London Irish deal New Zealand rugby wages put into perspective as rich list revealed Jerome Kaino targeted by French and British clubs One-test All Black Frank Halai set to leave New Zealand and sign with Wasps Gifford: Former All Blacks lock Ali Williams' clowning masked rugby skills

If is perfection, how come it feels so painful? The All Blacks of 2013 are unbeaten, unbowed and now truly undisputed as the best rugby team in the professional era. 

But they so nearly fell at the last hurdle, against an Irish team that has never beaten the All Blacks despite 108 years of trying. 

Bloodied captain Richie McCaw knew that his side hadn't played beautiful rugby in the Irish capital of Dublin as they clawed their way back from 19-0 down to win 24-22 with a last-minute try and conversion. 

However, coach Steve Hansen, when asked about the quality of the performance, simply said that he didn't really care. 

It was a win, in fact a tour, that encompassed all of the things New Zealand rugby and its fans hold dearest: work hard, play to the whistle, believe in yourself, believe in your team-mates and, as McCaw said, "never, ever, give up". 

Ryan Crotty didn't; Dane Coles didn't; and Aaron Cruden certainly didn't. The caption under this year's team photo will read: Played 14, Won 14 - the only side to win every match since the game turned professional in 1996. 

The class of 1997 went close, the 2005 vintage did too. Graham Henry's squad won the ultimate prize in 2011. None of them won every match, though. None of them got this close to perfect.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content