Press go to town on Twickenham triumph
LIAM NAPIER AND DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
They say one swallow doesn't make a summer but try telling the English press that.
The 38-21 victory at Twickenham yesterday morning has emboldened Northern Hemisphere rugby, leading to predictions Warren Gatland's British and Irish Lions will torch Australia next season and that the All Blacks' mantle as the world's No 1 team will be shortlived.
Predictably, the United Kingdom's long suffering media were dining out on England's momentous victory over the jaded and tired All Blacks.
Long time Kiwi critic Stephen Jones, writing in the Sunday Times, led the charge, claiming the English had spiked the myth of All Blacks supremacy,
"It was one of the most astonishing matches seen at Twickenham and an almost unbelievable contrast to the dull and ineffective rugby that this England have been playing.
"Suddenly, they were beasting New Zealand in contact and in the other forward areas, playing it extremely well in terms of tactics and execution and bursting out with glorious movement to systematically extinguish any last embers of New Zealand's conviction.
"It was one of the most stirring sporting sights I can recall, and to see the joy on the field, in the box holding the England coaches and among 80,000 of sport's longest-suffering supporters, was akin to hearts melting like an ice cream in the tropics."
Jones wrote that England "had stunned the rugby world - and possibly themselves".
"And lo and behold, we found that New Zealand were not as indestructible as they always tell us," wrote Jones.
"If you were picking a team to play on your local park pitch on the form of yesterday (Saturday) then Dan Carter would be on the bench at best. We found that their wide game had disappeared, their strutting and posing had dissolved into panic and that the efforts of Richie McCaw to stem the tide were simply submerged."
Writing in the Daily Mail, Patrick Collins said: "This was a victory for the ages, a triumph far beyond England's most intemperate dreams. The Chariot was sung again; mildly at first, then with swelling fervour.
"And the All Blacks shook English hands and stumbled away into the night, awaiting the welcome which awaits them back home.
"Whisper it in Wanganui, speak it not in Silverdale ... your boys took one hell of a beating."
Former England and Lions lock Paul Ackford, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, was equally effusive about the home team's performance.
"Stunning, quite stunning," he wrote. "The best team in world rugby, the best in world sport some say, smashed by a tidal wave of white.
"Twickenham has known many great occasions in its long and distinguished history but there have been few to top this.
"It wasn't the feat of the victory that was so astonishing but the manner of it. New Zealand were butchered, hung, drawn and quartered by an English side who played with power, bite, style and at long, long last, accuracy.
"It was close to a humiliation for New Zealand."
Ackford predicted the loss would affect the All Blacks' psyche.
"The damage to the All Blacks is incalculable." he wrote. "Reputations, even those as gilt-edged as Dan Carter's, were shredded, and there will be little to salvage from a performance in which only Conrad Smith and the wonderful Richie McCaw could hold their heads high."
In The Guardian, Eddie Butler, said self-belief finally turned into reality for England.
"The promise of a grand performance just waiting to be delivered is often one of the first wafts of vagueness from a camp stuck in a rut. England were beaten by South Africa and Australia, and had shown no sign of an understanding of a game of passing, of thinking beyond collision, of marching on to the next level of development - that moment Stuart Lancaster saw clearly, but only inside his head," Butler wrote.
"And then it happened. The internal dream became a public demonstration of power and authority and imagination. The coach's personal philosophy was embraced by his squad and the good manager - the man dropped into the unholy mess of the aftermath of the Rugby World Cup 2011 - became in the space of 80 minutes the coach who might steer England to glory in 2015.
"This was an All Blacks team unbeaten this year, rated so highly that they were on the brink of being acclaimed the best ever. Untouchable. Until now."
- © Fairfax NZ News