For some peculiar reason, laughter was conspicuous by its absence. The only noise detectable across the airwaves was the dull splat of a failed punchline landing on stony ground.
New Zealand rugby folk, who make up 99.999 per cent recurring of the population, are not accustomed to finishing second more than once in a blue moon and regard consecutive defeats as an assault on the natural order of things.
Before last weekend’s startling loss to Argentina in Sydney, they had not suffered such an affront to their dignity in almost a decade.
Given the level of expectation and assumption, 1998 came as a terrible shock. It may be remembered up here in Blighty as the year of England’s “tour of hell”, but it was the All Blacks who found themselves in the foulest smelling circle of Hades.
Between mid-July and late August, they lost two games to the Springboks, the first of them in Wellington, and three times to the Wallabies, the second of them in Christchurch. Talk about the Grim Reaper wielding his scythe.
Even those ageing souls who had lived through a six-match run of reverses half a century earlier agreed that the events of ’98 were worse.
Back in 1949, the New Zealanders lost four Tests against the Boks in South Africa and two against the Australians at home. But as those series were played simultaneously, the outcome was not entirely surprising.
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‘Tinners' always made me man of the match
JON SKURR - THE FORMER WAKEFIELD, SEDGLEY PARK AND ROTHERHAM No.8 AND IRELAND SEVENS HEAD COACH
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I see echoes of my great Bath side in Baxter's Chiefs
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UNA SECCIÓN PARA NOSOTRAS con lo que nos importa, nos ayuda y nos motiva.
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I LOST MY IDENTITY. BUT I FOUND THEIRS!
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Rod Coleman (1926-2019)
The talented Kiwi who was the 1954 Junior TT winner, as well as a successful businessman and motorcycle restorer, recently died in his local Whanganui Hospital, New Zealand, aged 93.
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