Objectively, it would seem that the talk of the All Blacks coming back to the pack was simply blather for its own sake, perhaps just a desire to say something different, but the results from 2017 rather clearly demonstrate that the Kiwis are on the rugby thrown for the time being and the near future.
Ireland and Scotland may be on the rise, but before they even begin to dream of catching the ABs, they will need to take care of the power in their own back yard, England.
France and Italy? It is far too pleasant in those climes to produce the sort of players needed to dominate. Not that the weather in New Zealand is all that bad, but the proximity to Antarctica has a way of showing one that things could always be worse.
The Kiwis went to north and well before they reached Winterfell, they deployed some unbloodied freshies and won five games as tourists, showing all who cared to watch that they are stocked with proficient internationals for at least the next decade.
At times, it seems as though Steve Hansen’s men are toying with the opposition. They gave the appearance of being vulnerable to the Welsh, but Wales will have to wait for the 64-year Test drought to end some other time, as the final outcome of 33 – 18 showed everyone that one half does not matter, when it is the first half.
Reality did not get in the way of Wales Coach Warren Gatland, who led the British and Irish Lions to a drawn series.
“There’s still a gap but I’d like to think it’s closing a little bit,” Gatland said.
Yes, and we are finally going to get that Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time, provided we can assure Mum that we will not shoot our eyes out, for Christmas.