With the 2022 rugby championship upon us, let’s take a look at the form of the four teams involved, focusing here on the All Blacks.
What they did in the July tests
All Blacks manager Ian Foster is under tremendous pressure to very quickly reverse the poor results that have seen New Zealand set all sorts of unwanted benchmarks by going down 2-1 against Ireland.
They were Ireland’s first-ever wins in New Zealand, the first time they have suffered consecutive home losses since 1998 and became only the third All Blacks team to lose a three-test streak at home.
Losing four of their last five races has seen New Zealand drop to fourth in the world rankings, the lowest place ever since the ranking began.
The All Blacks won 42-19 in the first test at Fortress Eden Park, but the score was inflated by their ability to seize their chances better than Ireland and 42% ball possession and 40% territory were signs of warning.
A determined defensive effort from Ireland allowed them to win the second Test 23-12 in Dunedin, and the speed and complexity of their offensive play, as well as monumental defense, saw them beat the All Blacks 32-22 in the final. by Wellington.
What they did in the 2021 rugby championship
The All Blacks showed no hint of their declining fortunes in the 2021 rugby league, winning five of six games to claim the title with a seven-point lead in the final standings over Australia.
New Zealand had already taken the crown with a game to spare by beating the Springboks 19-17 at Townsville, the 100thth Test between the two big rivals.
The All Blacks’ only defeat came in their last game when the Springboks rebounded to beat them 31-29 with the last kick of the match, the following weekend.
The campaign got off to a great start for New Zealand who beat Australia 57-22 at Eden Park, keeping the Bledisloe Cup and scoring the most points they have ever scored over the Wallabies.
Australia were tougher opponents in the next game, dropping 21-38 when the All Blacks discipline folded to a red card. They were also troubled by a couple of key injuries, but two interception attempts sealed the win.
New Zealand used a lot of fringe players in the two tests against Argentina, but saw the Pumas come off comfortably: 39-0 on the Gold Coast and 36-13 in Brisbane.
August 6: Mbombela, v South Africa
August 13: Johannesburg, v South Africa
August 27: Christchurch, v Argentina
September 3: Hamilton, v Argentina
September 15: Melbourne, v Australia
24 September: Auckland, v Australia