AN­TON SHAKES HIS HEAD

NZ Rugby World - - Editor's Top 10 -

The All Blacks were go­ing through a re­build­ing phase in 2004 when they toured Europe at the end of the year.

They were work­ing on a new con­ti­nu­ity game and were also see­ing whether Daniel Carter could make the tran­si­tion from sec­ond-five to first-five.

In ad­di­tion, they were also see­ing how Tony Wood­cock, An­ton Oliver and Carl Hay­man gelled as a front-row.

Those changes had come around af­ter the All Blacks had lost their two away Tri Na­tions games and came home with an idea to try a new way of do­ing things which in­cluded the play­ers be­ing more in­volved in the run­ning of the team.

By the time they played France in their third test of the tour they had found their con­fi­dence and that was shown in two iconic events. The first was the ren­di­tion of the haka led, for the first time, by cap­tain Tana Umaga.

His per­for­mance was un­for­get­table. Un­be­liev­ably pas­sion­ate and fe­ro­cious. The other mo­ment came late in the sec­ond half when the French, hav­ing been de­stroyed in all as­pects of the game, but par­tic­u­larly the scrum, quite clearly pre­tended to have an in­jury to Peter de Vil­liers so they could re­vert to golden oldie scrums. As de Vil­liers walked o , ob­vi­ously not in­jured, All Blacks hooker Oliver just shook his head with pity and said it all.

The All Blacks had the scrum power they fi­nally wanted.

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