25 reasons why the All Blacks are the best (except at World Cups)

Want to match or even beat the All Blacks at rugby? It's a cherished wish among all playing nations but few achieve it.









Neither Scotland, who were trounced by their 2nd XV team last Saturday or Ireland, who meet them at Croke Park this Saturday, have ever beaten them. Wales haven't done so for decades and England accept they provide the ultimate test.



There is a reason for this. New Zealanders consistently set the highest standards in world rugby. Over the years, with the notable exception of World Cups, they have been the best in the business for sustained excellence and achievement. They have been Tri-Nations champions for the last four years and offer Declan Kidney's men a formidable challenge in Dublin this Saturday.



Peter Bills, who has been watching them since 1964, offers some reasons for this state of affairs...



1) They're smarter and have far more street-cred on the rugby field than any other nation.

2) They're like sharks sniffing blood in the water. Show any weakness and they'll pounce on it.

3) Other teams look for options on what to do during play. New Zealanders don't need to look and think – they just act instinctively.

4) Just when you think they might be predictable, they'll do the unexpected.

5) When an opponent gets isolated even for a moment, they'll strike.

6) When they strike, they do so with lethal speed and commitment.

7) They scavenge ferociously for the loose ball.

8) They're physically intense and fearsome. If you don't match them in this respect, you have little chance.

9) The levels of expectation within New Zealand rugby circles are absolutely frightening, the highest in the world. When I asked coach Graham Henry, after he had led his team to another Tri-Nations triumph in September, (their fourth in a row) whether that meant the knives were now out of his back, he replied ‘No, but they might have been blunted for a while.'

10) Youngsters growing up in New Zealand dream of playing for the All Blacks. That remains the case today.

11) Their powers of concentration are much greater than most opponents.

12) Their support for the ball carrier is phenomenal, consistently the best.

13) They're utterly ruthless in winning the ball, especially loose phase possession. Because they do it with such ferocity and intent, they secure it faster which means better quality possession for their backs.

14) They do the basics better than anyone else. These are inculcated from an early age.

15) There is an altogether greater physicality and intensity about the game in New Zealand. Their rugby men define them as a nation.

16) Their speed of recovery when they are in trouble is lightning fast.

17) To beat them, a side has to kick its goals and convert pressure and try scoring positions into points. Fail to do that, as Scotland were guilty of last weekend, and you have no chance.

18) They do what they have to do to stop any danger. That includes illegal play where needed.

19) The speed at which they do things on the field is usually so much greater than northern hemisphere teams manage.

20) There is a precision about their play which is the envy of most others.

21) They're the best in the world at playing referees cleverly.

22) They push laws to the limit and never stop testing match officials. If they're not picked up on them, they cheerfully transgress with regularity, a la their collapsed scrums against Scotland at Murrayfield last Saturday.

23) In Graham Henry, Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith they have a highly experienced, smart coaching team. It is a trinity of talent.

24) A fear of failure is forever with them. It drives them on relentlessly.

25) The allure and value of the New Zealand jersey is priceless as a motivational tool. As former All Blacks hooker Anton Oliver says "If they ever sold part of that jersey to a commercial organisation and thereby diluted the uniqueness of the shirt, it would be the beginning of the end for the All Black legend, in my view."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain