Shades of Black: Where New Zealand held sway

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The Independent Online


England's eight-man demolition of the Australian pack led to confident predictions of a similar romp against the All Blacks, all of them wrong. Steve Hansen, the tourists' assistant coach, remarked before the game that Tony Woodcock and Carl Hayman were "ready for a big day out", and he was not spinning a yarn. Hayman, an absolute bear of a man and probably the best tight-head prop operating in the world, played the crucial role in seeing off the heavyweight Andrew Sheridan.


When the going gets tough, the tough leave it to the magician in the No 10 shirt. Daniel Carter, tamer-in-chief of the Lions and possibly the most gifted outside-half in the post-war annals of New Zealand rugby, made two beautiful midfield breaks, both of which resulted in tries. Charlie Hodgson played seriously well, but Carter is something else. "He's the world's best," said Andy Robinson.


If the Thatcher government considered unemployment to be a price worth paying, the New Zealanders see yellow cards in the same light. Tony Woodcock, Neemia Tialata and Chris Masoe all spent time in the sin bin for committing technical offences, at least one of which restricted England to three points when they might have had seven. Cynical? Definitely. There again, the tourists were equally single-minded in defending their line while down on numbers.