Not surprisingly perhaps in this rugby mad country, John Mitchell’s All Blacks came in for strong criticism after their performance against Ireland in Carisbrook.
In todays Sunday News, Neil Reid said that “The All Blacks have gone from bumbling to awful. The John Mitchell coached team was lucky to escape with an ugly 15-6 win over Ireland. Poor ball retention, wrong options and a lack of cohesion and teamwork put the All Blacks on the backfoot throughout the second test of the season.”
Duncan Johnstone writing in the The Sunday Star & Times said Ireland could have been celebrating a famous victory after “Keith Wood’s side put the heat on the All Blacks who were able to sneak away with their unbeaten record intact but their pride badly dented.”
He continued, “Mitchell’s men were never allowed stamp any authority on this game. The Irish showed that there is much more to their game than Keith Wood and outstanding centre Brian O’Driscoll.”
In the same paper former All Black Frank Bunce felt the side needed “to toughen up a bit. With Ireland in our faces there were a lot of unforced errors. We looked a bit flustered. It was a game that needed someone to grab it by the scruff of the neck and shake some performance into it.”
And again in the same paper, Phil Gifford wondered “how an All Black team packed with Crusaders, who know each other so well, could struggle to find the sort of rhythm they displayed so brilliantly in the Super 12.”