I've read around the traps on various websites and various newspapers that the All Blacks B side that ran out against Scotland under performed. They didn't live up to the lofty standard of the All Black jersey and rugby fans throughout Aotearoa. Such people obviously don't have many positive thoughts about world rugby and to expect things to run smoothly, to expect crispness to dribble all over Murrayfield against a Scottish side full of confidence is slightly silly.
Scotland came very close, but their performance was what must be admired. Getting up in the grill of the All Blacks, limiting their time and space which is precious when you have your top shelf lads out on the park, let alone a group of guys who were lining up as a combination for the first time in international rugby. We've all seen Dan Carter just slide his way around defenders, displaying the sort of slow-motion-in-the-zone ability that only the very best sportsmen have. But Carter's performance reflected the game as Scotland were near their peak, brimming with enthusiasm as you would expect of any team playing against the All Blacks, while the All Blacks were much like Dan Carter - trying to get in to the mix of international rugby.
Carter got there eventually, by that I mean he got better. The All Blacks? Well they won, this group of B men who were off the pace and didn't ooze the clinical All Black spirit clinched the game in the last few minutes.
The All Blacks are a side built upon consistency - they are an exclusive club who has spent so much time together, it's stupid. Their up-tempo style, being crazy physical and unmatched execution with ball in hand has been built in to the players. No matter what you think, there's a gap between the top tier All Blacks and the 2nd tier, sure we have a shit load of depth but the cohesion of the top tier is what makes the All Blacks great.
At the end of the day, when the game was in the balance the All Blacks reverted to type and got the ball, got down the other end and won the game. Classic All Blacks play.
It's hard to see Victor Vito making much of an impact in the black jersey from this point on. He's stuck behind Jerome Kaino and Liam Messam and Kieran Read, etc. so he may fall victim to the joys of New Zealand rugby.
Carter? It was good to see him back but he needs plenty of game time. Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett are ahead of him and will be keen to keep it that way. However there's nothing wrong with having 3 great number 10's, competition blah blah.
Wales, I'm excited. There's as much joy solely concentrating on the All Blacks in this tour as they try to juggle winning, building depth and just continuing to dominate world rugby. So far against the All Blacks we've see England step up a gear but fall short, same with Scotland so will Wales make much of a dent? Hard to see it happening but either way the great All Blacks story will roll on.
Lastly, I need to touch on this drama involving Samoa. Everyone who is in a position to make judgements (IRB officials, etc.) about the scenario doesn't really understand what's going on. The Samoan players know what's going hence they're taking drastic action to ensure that something changes. For the IRB and others to threaten the Samoan players is incredibly dumb, how about you look at what the Samoan Union are doing? Why don't you take action against them? Look back to the World Cup where Samoan management had a jolly old time while the players were left to fend for themselves, hardly the way to lead an international rugby team. The players shouldn't be punished for getting screwed over, that makes zero sense. I'm all in with the players, so whether they choose to play or not is what I will support. Hopefully someone opens their ears and listens to those who have experienced such stupidity at the hands of those who really have the opinions of greedy little kids.