The Ab's look for the Slam Dunk
With the season coming to an end after the next 80 mins Mr Henry and his rampaging All blacks are looking for the Grand Slam and the Slam Dunk on the season of change.
This change or evolution needs to be saluted. Flashing back just over 1 year ago the unthinkable happened as the AB’s were roasted by the French and bailed out in the quarters of the RWC. Now out came the knives, the critics lapped up the service of cold slapping articles and a lot forgot that this is the very thing that is so great about rugby, everyone is beatable.
Now with a good flogging, you get bullets and testing times. This is when character is tested, the weak fire away with excuses for this and that, saying the moon was too bright and my full back could not see the high ball in the glare and this is why we lost. The great take it smack on the chin, they man up to the situation, have a good long hard challenging look at themselves in the mirror of reality and adjust and change.
In 2008 Graham CHANGE Henry has come to the fore, he has totally thrown caution to the wind and instilled a new direction and confidence in his men in black. This journey though started with the hardest walk of his life -heading straight into the French dressing room to offer a handshake and congratulations for a fine win, the very win that shattered his own dreams and aspirations.
Since that day change has rippled on, most notably with the player rotation policy of 06 and 07 seasons. He lost a lot of talent stock to wealthy European clubs this season and has adapted sensationally to blood some new and fine tune his veterans. 27-year-old lock Ali Williams starts his 15 Test this season with tomorrows run-out against England, this is a drastic contrast on last years tack & it has provided rhythm and confidence in the squad.
This thing called Change is a very very hard habit to do, we are all creatures of nature and tend to rely on the past ways and slip back to them. In the sports front we are no different and this very subject is the difference between the great’s and the not so great. This ability to change & adjust to a situation and overcome the opposition, as well as control their own minds doubts to win is crucial in any champion.
The AB’s have convincingly swept aside Scotland, Ireland and Wales, not a try has been scored against then and the Slam is in their sights. England is the only potential roadblock, last weekend the English were torn apart by the Springboks, but as we saw in the RWC they do bounce back and fast. So any complacency from NZ will see another sad end to their fairytale.
The All Blacks will be feeling tired, they will be missing their families and the will be daydreaming about BBQs and endless beaches of summer. This mirage can be dangerous and they have one last mountain to climb, the power and drive for this achievement just got boosted with the introduction of the Hillary Shield. The elaborate silver shield has been crafted to commemorate the achievements of the legendary conqueror of Mt Everest, New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary- Sir Ed to any Kiwi.
This extra incentive will ensure the All Blacks do not give up on the dream, "The shield is the thing for us," insisted All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith. "This is the prize." Captain Ritchie went on to say "You can't guarantee anything but you want to go out there and honour him, that's what everyone is trying to do."
Sir Ed is a legend to all New Zealanders, he is 1 man that inspired a nation and the All Blacks will play out of their skins to uphold him. One thing that has not changed is that the All Blacks will be hard to beat, having the Hillary Shield on the line will just cement the resiliency and ensure Graham Henry and his boys eye 09 with the same open mind for change and welcoming all challenges.