There was an interesting article in the New Zealand Herald this morning written by their rugby correspondent Gregor Paul –
Don’t be fooled by the headline (‘The World wants England to lose’) – whilst it is almost certainly accurate, the article is well balanced and informed.
And then there is the simple business of not wanting another side to be seen to be as good as the All Blacks. It will feel, while it’s not really the case at all, that if England win their 18th consecutive test it will be them and not the All Blacks who will be seen as the most dominant force in the game.
But an England victory – if it comes – should be embraced. Their stunning revival under coach Eddie Jones is the best thing to happen to international rugby for years. They are making life interesting on multiple fronts.
The All Blacks need a genuine threat – an external force that gives their intrinsic desire to be constantly better a tangible focus. What better motivation to keep evolving and developing than to see England scorch past their 18-test landmark?
If England go on to win 19 in a row, the challenge for the All Blacks becomes to win 20. England, obviously, are a threat to the All Blacks’ number one standing, but that, in a curious way, also make them an opportunity, too.
I personally think we are still some way behind the All Blacks – and the loss that is inevitable may come before the end of the 6 Nations. But whilst that would be regrettable – it has to be remembered – this is just a journey – the destination has to be Japan 2019