1.When is obstruction not obstruction?
Steve Hansen felt the need to point out that there is nothing in rugby’s law book on the subject of the referee running accidental obstruction. Maybe so, but why then did John Lacey opt to have a look at the replay via the big screen and TMO? And why then did he, after one glance, rule there was no case to answer when it was clear for all to see that he had accidentally obstructed French halfback Baptiste Serin, thus allowing Damian McKenzie to slice through unimpeded for a try?
2. The All Blacks have three world-class locks
Scott Barrett was a dominant force in Dunedin, pulling down three lineouts, making 17 tackles and executing two prime steals. And yet, if Brodie Retallick had been fit for the series, he would probably have started just one Test. He has now given the All Blacks selectors options. Might they consider him as a blindside flanker during the Rugby Championship if Liam Squire is hurt or they just want another strong lineout target? There are some bruising young locks running around in global rugby, among them the Springboks’ RG Snyman. Barrett is at home in that sort of company. ‘Smiley’ Barrett will be smiling.
3. Winning three halves is not enough
France will hang onto anything it can from this tour. How about the fact they probably had the better of the All Blacks for large periods of the first halves in Auckland and Dunedin and clearly won the second spell in Wellington? We won’t worry about the fact they finished up 87 points adrift in the head to head points during the series… so the work-ons for France are conditioning, the impact of its bench and more concerted prayers offered up to the rugby gods.
4. Rieko Ioane may one day surpass Doug Howlett
Most wings hit their peak relatively early and then tail off. Rare indeed are the Bryan Habanas of this world, who was still scoring test tries at the age of 33. Julian Savea is heading offshore at age 27 and it is doubtful whether he will add to his sterling record of 46 tries from 54 tests. Rieko Ioane is now 21 and has 16 tries from 16 tests – after his hat-trick in Dunedin. That is in the Joe Rokocoko class so early in his career. Barring injury and some major collapse in his career, Ioane should be heading Doug Howlett’s record of 49 tries in the next five or six years.
5. The French cannot buy a trick on this tour #2
Just to be clear: FRANCE WAS BEATEN 3-0 AND THAT IS A FAIR FINAL RESULT. That was for those who say you make your own luck and the All Blacks were far too good, overall, in the series. But as we have seen in No 1, the French copped another rotten call when referee John Lacey ruled he had not obstructed Baptiste Serin from tackling Damian McKenzie on the way to his first try. Who knows how the French may have reacted had that call gone in their favour. Dare we ask it, did France use up all that luck in Cardiff back in 2007?