November 04, 2005

100 years of attitude. : All Black villainy has a dimension of its own, its ruthlessness more disconcerting, its practitioners more celebrated, in a chamber of horrors kind of way. And this, of course, is the truth that dare not speak its name. The All Blacks exert their grip on the sporting imagination not because they are better than everyone else, although that has clearly been the case for at least 50 of the last 100 years, but because they are never anything less than dangerous, in every sense of the word.

posted by the red terror to extreme at 11:23 AM - 8 comments

Thanks for the All Black education. Please be sure to post a link to the amateur video mentioned within.

posted by garfield at 01:51 PM on November 04, 2005

I was going to argue that South Africa are much dirtier, but then I read the article, which points that S.A has demonstrated a soft underbelly on occasion, which can't be said of the All Blacks. I haven't met many New Zealanders, but of the dozen or so I have met, all of them have been nutters; great blokes though, most of them, and that includes the women.

posted by Fat Buddha at 02:20 PM on November 04, 2005

Wow! A sports story that mentions Passchendaele, the Boer War, and coaches who might "eat their own children." Now THAT is sports writting! DO NOT TAUNT!

posted by bugsyduke at 02:57 PM on November 04, 2005

Good to see Graham Mourie named in the all time XV. A true man of honour, indeed.

posted by owlhouse at 05:15 PM on November 04, 2005

The All Blacks hold a special place in sport, even for those of us who know little about rugby. This is a great article and Fat Buddha's right about New Zealandars: crazy as a bunch of loons but you'd never want to miss the chance to have a pint!

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 05:48 PM on November 04, 2005

As far as some ABs pushing the edge, or living dangerously close to it, the writer misses a critical point that one of the most ruthless aspects of the team is its selection policy. If a player goes for a ball or a tackle half-heartedly, it's not unusual to see that player get benched and lose his position on the team, maybe never to return. The selectors are ruthless. If a player wants to stay on the team, he is expected to go for a ball with full commitment, and sometimes that means elbows and knees smash into opponents faces going for the loose ball. It's also true that there are many first-class former All Blacks that could still be on the team (Troy Flavell, I'm thinking of you) that haven't been in the selection process the past few years because of bad disciplinary record and reputation as a thug. (I actually met Flavell in Otttawa after a NZ Maori game, and he was seemed like the friendliest and most harmless player on the field.)

posted by the red terror at 06:30 PM on November 04, 2005

Although some players do get a second chance. I thought Leon Macdonald would never play for the ABs again after his pathetic defensive effort in the 2003 RWC semi final. Australia just walked through him. But, even after a season or two in Japan, he's back in.

posted by owlhouse at 03:24 PM on November 05, 2005

Indeed, Red Terror. In fact, any English scribbler wanting to lecture the world on the All Blacks' "reign of thuggery" would do well to explain why their lilly-white national side keeps selecting Danny Grewcock, or why they invested so much effort in defending Simon Shaw in 2004.

posted by rodgerd at 07:17 PM on November 06, 2005

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