Larkham... Is he the most inspired player on the rugby planet? Or just a complete loopy? Who else, down by two points on the scoreboard and two minutes on the clock would kick the ball out? Not once, but twice! The guy has got some balls doing that really. If New Zealand hadn't bollcksed the lineouts like they did, he could have been lynched when he stepped off the plane in Sydney. But instead he turned an extremely difficult situation for the Aussies, with 75 metres hard graft required to reach the posts, into a winning one. Bastard!
Cullen's try under the posts was damn near the best try I have ever seen by the All Blacks. What a move! The timing of the passes was superb, the runners hit the ball at pace and Umaga was sensational coming in on the angle. It was so quick and so deceptive that the nearest Aussie to Cullen when he took the ball was probably sitting in the stand! Bring on more tries like that one - I was nearly crying when I watched the replays, it was so sublime.
Herbert had a blistering first half. Maybe it's the new facial fuzz, but he was so dangerous every time he got the ball. Definitely some old Super12 form returning there - I was pretty glad he settled down in the second half.
It was kind of fitting that Eales slotted that last penalty. Much as I would have preferred that he didn't get the opportunity - it was appropriate! He's such a great ambassador for the game both in how he plays it and in his comments to the media afterwards. In victory he was obviously a happy man, but his comments are always spot on. His pride at being part of such a great series was obvious. His disappointment at losing a few weeks ago was also obvious - but he didn't blame anyone, instead acknowledging what a privilege it was to have played in such a tremendous game. You'd have to say he's one of the most talented locks the game has ever seen. If not the best. Give the man a beer.
Finally - a huge pat on the back to Wayne Smith, Tony Gilbert and the All Blacks. They have given me back my passion for rugby and pride in the Black jersey. The team is playing great rugby. Not without it's flaws and not without it's disappointments that's for sure. But what they are doing is playing with passion, guts and flair. And aside from winning, that is all we ask of them. I heard a radio commentator saying the All Blacks were devastated at losing on Saturday. He said they looked more disconsolate than after the five straight losses. Even more upset than when they lost to France at the World Cup. That speaks volumes to me about the newfound passion in the All Black camp. I believe it is that passion which will turn this team into one of the greatest we have seen!
Go the All Blacks!