The only surprise with Jonathan Trott’s decision to withdraw from England’s Ashes tour of Australia with a stress-related illness is that instances like this do not occur more often. The scrutiny top sportsmen and women are now exposed to and the expectation that is placed on their sometimes fragile bodies is immense. It should, therefore, come as no surprise when an individual is forced to remove themselves from the limelight because they are unable to cope.
All season the All Blacks have left carnage and deflation in their wake but nothing could compare to the devastation they left here in Dublin last night when they completed the perfect season in the most dramatic fashion imaginable.
Enjoyable as it has been to wallow in Jonny Wilkinson’s World Cup-winning dropped goal from 10 years ago, the seminal moment on the minds of current players and coaches in recent days was an offload by an All Black last weekend.
New Zealand within 80 minutes of finishing 2013 in the unbeaten
His eye an egg, Chris Robshaw convinced as the vanquished captain, but looking around the pitch at the close, having briefly led the best team in the world, there was vindication as well as the scars.
Where do you consider England's traditional strengths lie? That's right, the set-piece, the less than glamorous areas on which success is founded. Where did it go wrong for England yesterday when the outcome hung in the balance, midway through the second half? That's right, the set-piece or, with regard to the scrum, the lack of it.
Hosts fought back from a 14 point deficit to lead but wing Savea bagged two tries to earn gruelling victory
The Independent reveals some of their training secrets
A look at the side which will line-up against the 2011 World Cup winners at Twickenham on Saturday
England's young fly-half will have to nail his kicks and cramp the style of his opposite number Dan Carter
The humbling turn of events played out for the men in black before a disbelieving Twickenham a year ago will play no part in their preparations
The England head coach also hopes that the capacity Twickenham crowd will carry his team to victory against the world champions
England's coach needs a settled spine to his team for the coming challenge but questions remain over the No 9
Who stepped up and who underachieved against Argentina at Twickenham
Argentina are exploring the four corners of the earth. Since late summer the Pumas have roamed the southern hemisphere, to South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Now it is time for the northern hemisphere, the air miles ticking ever upwards.
Injuries force coach to retain winger for Argentina match despite his lack of form