One year before the World Cup in France, New Zealand rugby is sinking into crisis. Beaten by South Africa Saturday August 6 (26-10), the All Blacks must imperatively win this Saturday 13 in Johannesburg as part of the 2nd day of the Championship, the tournament bringing together the best nations of the southern hemisphere. Because the flagship nation of rugby has lost five of its last six meetings.
New Zealand even fell to fifth place in the World Rugby world rankings. Nothing is going well in the country of rugby. “This is explained first by a kind of fatigue, I think they have lost the culture of winning and also a bit of the soul of their game“, points out Ian Borthwick, New Zealand journalist.
“We have rarely seen the Blacks so devoid of ideas and strategically lost on the pitch as they have been”.Ian Borthwick, New Zealand journalist
For the one who is presented as the most French of New Zealand journalists, since he has spent a large part of his career in France”IThe damage is done, the worm is in the fruit. We have to find something that brings this New Zealand team back to life“.
The All Blacks steamroller showed its first signs of fatigue in the fall of 2021. A defeat in Ireland first, then in France on November 20, 2021. Again defeated by these same Irish but this time at home, at Dunedin, and finally by the Springboks last Saturdaythe biggest defeat against the South Africans since 1928.
The fern fifteen seems to be hitting rock bottom. “This is a generation that is a bit at the end of its course. The staff insists on sticking with players who are now well over 30“, explains Guy Accoceberry, rugby consultant for franceinfo. And the future is not very encouraging: “behind this great lack of renewal, they used to bring out new players, often some extraordinary players. There, on the next generation, they haven’t, or at least for now, haven’t shown them.“.
In a country where rugby is king, “the press is very virulent” recognizes Ian Borthwick. But for him “it is the price to pay. When all is well, everyone is happy. But when it’s all bad, people can be very tough“. New Zealand coach Ian Foster is in turmoil. Appointed the day after the defeat against England in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, his contract normally runs until the World Cup in France in 2023. But this series of defeats weighs on his record. On Monday 8 August, the “New Zeeland Herald”, the country’s leading daily, headlined “It’s time to change” [il est temps de changer], with a photo of the coach below. Behind the scenes names are already circulating to replace him. Tonight, against South Africa, an additional defeat would bring Ian Foster a little closer to the exit.
Often criticized for his lack of leadership, the captain, Sam Cane, is also in the eye of the storm. “He lacks the charisma of Richie McCaw or Kieran Read who led this team to the field“, slice Ian Borthwick.