I watched the Rugby test on Saturday night. One side played with passion and vigour. Their forward pack dominated and the defensive effort from the backs was superb. The four tries they scored were the direct results of unrelenting and sustained pressure.
The other side was the All Blacks who displayed all the passion and vigour of a National Party conference.
The All Black coach Ian Foster is getting a lot of stick. When you earn the big bucks you live and die by the results.
For me however the thing that was evident was the lack of passion showed by the All Blacks.
And this is not a one off . The results over the past couple of years have been decidedly ordinary.
What else has been happening during this time? Agreed that Foster has been coach.
But during this time New Zealand Rugby has been engaged in a process to sell its soul and a stake in its assets to US Investment Firm Silver Lake.
I analysed this deal in April last year and said this:
We are left with the situation where something born of our communities and nurtured and supported by our local and central governments is potentially being sold off to a US private equity firm. Just so that television audiences can be entertained and profits made.
If the sale happens it will be a very dark day for New Zealand rugby. The word “grassroots” will no longer be able to be applied to the national game.
There are other theories about what has happened. Texters to Morning Report thought it was the result of a rampant woke culture. The funny thing is that most people claim wokeism is a worldwide phenomenon. If so then I would be keen to understand how Irish wokeness has had less impact than New Zealand wokeness.
New Zealand Rugby’s major problem is that it is now a made for TV commodity played by well played gladiators where the dollar is the driving force. And as it has evolved it has lost some of the passion that used to be such an integral part of every All Black performance.