All Blacks: Remember the ambushes

12:52 pm on 7 October 2017

Opinion - The All Blacks' journey around the globe has landed them in Cape Town this weekend, for another battle with the Springboks.

Sonny Bill Williams shadow sparring with Anton Lienert Brown at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town,on Friday.

Sonny Bill Williams shadow-sparring with Anton Lienert Brown at Newlands stadium, during training ahead of Sunday's match. Photo: Photosport

They've been bolstered by some fresh legs to help them get through the latest clash with the old enemy, at Newlands early tomorrow.

However the way things have been going, the common consensus is that it's unlikely that they even need the help of Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Liam Squire and Ryan Crotty.

After the most regulation of wins over Los Pumas last weekend in Buenos Aires - where the gas pedal was well and truly eased off during the second half - it's pretty hard to see the All Blacks being troubled this weekend by a Springbok side with more issues than Winston Peters has with Stephen Joyce.

Check out Jamie Wall's live blog of the match here from 3.45am Sunday.

Manu Tuilagi celebrates scoring the 3rd England Try. England v New Zealand, QBE Autumn International, Twickenham, Rugby Union, 01/12/2012 
Photo: Matthew Impey/

Manu Tuilagi celebrates scoring during England commanding 38-21 win over the All Blacks at Twickenham in 2012. Photo: Photosport

Yes, this is more than just a normal test match. The support that the All Blacks will get in Cape Town will be massive, and means that at times it'll feel like a home game. If anything, the passion shown by the locals completely outstrips anything they experience in New Zealand.

2012 Air New Zealand European Tour, Twickenham, London 1/12/2012
England vs New Zealand
New Zealand's Richie McCaw after the match

All Black captain Richie McCaw after the shock loss to England in 2012. Photo: Photosport

However, it doesn't do anything to banish that miniscule thought that the All Blacks might be heading into an ambush. It makes no sense at all - they've put a combined 114 points on the Springboks in their last two games. But that's just part of what being an All Black fan is about, unfortunately.

Just to make it even worse, here's a few times the All Blacks have been ambushed after heading into a game as heavy favourites:

1993 - England

After massacring Scotland 51-15 the week before, the All Blacks went to Twickenham looking to put England to the sword on their UK tour.

Unfortunately, they ran into a fired up home side who bludgeoned and kicked the All Blacks into submission in a tryless game that ended 15-9.

1998 - Australia

This time England were on the other side of the ledger, losing two massively one sided tests 64-22 and 40-10. The Wallabies were next on the list, but the match at the MCG ended up being a 24-16 loss. Things got steadily worse after that, with the All Blacks going on to lose their next four tests in a row.


Nice bit of symmetry here. The All Blacks laid waste to the British & Irish Lions in three tests, then went to Cape Town and promptly lost to the Springboks.

2007 - Rugby World Cup

Possibly the biggest letdown in All Black history, the 20-18 quarterfinal loss to France in Cardiff came after they'd gone 10 from 11 so far that year. Included in that run were a big win over the Springboks, the retention of the Bledisloe Cup, and a 100-point game. Okay, so the 100 points was against Portugal, but still.

2012 - England again

The newly crowned World Champion All Blacks certainly let everyone know why they earned that right the year after they lifted the Webb Ellis trophy, with 11 wins and a draw. However, they strolled into Twickenham and found themselves on the end of a 12-0 deficit at half time, which ended up being a commanding 38-21 win to the English.

* Jamie Wall grew up in Wellington and enjoyed a stunningly mediocre rugby career in which the single highlight was a seat on the bench for his club's premier side. He's enjoyed far more success spouting his viewpoints on the game, and other topics, to anyone who'll care to listen.

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