me example.Youve got like for like and standards wont drop in the Lions team because theyll all be pushing for starting positio | Forum

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One thing that emerged from the November Test Series was the levelling out that has occurred in the world rankings between the southern and northern hemisphere.Cheap Houston Astros Jerseys .The southern hemisphere is not that far ahead now; its a wide-open race. The northern hemisphere have clearly caught up and surpassed some of our neighbours, and even gave the All Blacks a hurry-up.Most New Zealanders were looking at the All Blacks going into this tour and coming away with a convincing clean sweep, but that certainly wasnt the case. And thats a great thing for rugby because people want to see even competition and the beauty of the theatre of sport is that you never know what the outcome will be.The All Blacks looked a little tired in Paris but France were certainly up for it. Les Bleus played a good brand of rugby and they have obviously learned from the way Ireland took the All Blacks on. If youre going to beat the All Blacks you are going to have to play rugby.I think thats what people have realised now, you cant play the conservative game and hope to beat New Zealand. Youre going to have to chance your arm, youre going to have to keep the ball alive and play that style. That is the key because that is what the All Blacks will be looking to do and how they play.But the All Blacks certainly showed their capabilities on defence, too. That second Test against Ireland and the Test against France saw the All Blacks make an awful lot of tackles, but they only conceded one try in 180 minutes. That is impressive, especially when they were tired in Paris.Defence is much harder. It is harder to defend than it is to attack. But when the All Blacks do that they still have the physical fitness to pluck a loose pass out of the air then run 100m down the other end of the field just as Beauden Barrett did. They dont button off, they work extremely hard - every one of them does.But that fitness doesnt just happen. It is built up over time; quite a length of time. Steve Hansen doesnt pick All Blacks who havent got a record of fitness testing that is probably three or four years long. You dont just pull someone out of Super Rugby or Mitre 10 Cup and not know what their fitness levels are and whether or not he would cope inside that environment.Its really important. Its part of what New Zealand rugby is about with the sharing of knowledge. He can pull out anyones file and see not just what he can do on the field through video, but its also about what hes done off the field as well -- his fitness and strength levels, nutrition and all those different pillars of a players profile.New Zealand Rugby has been criticised for not having a lot of things right but the on-field performance and the talent identification is something that is a real asset and it is going well.Youve got to be happy with the season overall. Breaking the Test record was impressive and reaching 18 Test wins means everyone is going to watch Englands progress with interest.But backing up from the World Cup this time last year I was expecting a rebuilding phase during 2016. Instead, the All Blacks have kept their stride and not missed a beat while continuing to grow. From inside the camp it has been impressive to see the emergence of new talent getting a taste of Test rugby and seeing if theyve got the skills to adapt.It is a really good thing for New Zealand rugby when you can introduce a brand new first five-eighth who didnt go into the season as the incumbent -- Beauden Barretts emergence has been brilliant.There could have been a problem with all the superstars who left us last year, but our newbies have come in, have put their hands up and grown into really solid players. Sam Cane has had a good year but Ardie Savea is on his tail and so is Matt Todd. Its not a case that anyone has got that No.7 position locked down.Kieran Read has been fantastic as a captain, hes led and done his job well and his performances on the field have been solid. TJ Perenara has really put pressure on. Hes emerged as an incumbent and finished the season as a starting half-back. But its wide open again for next year because things change.The midfield is another area of growth. Anton Lienert-Brown has been a revelation while Ryan Crotty has been the glue in the backline and a genuine Mr Consistent.Crotty has stepped up and you can see the passion in the way he plays. Hes everywhere, and doesnt make mistakes. Hes completely reliable and if theres a tackle needs to be made or something needs to be done, hes there. Hes got the same qualities Conrad Smith had.But theres clear pressure there with Sonny Bill Williams looking to come back next year and its good for the All Blacks because there is pressure on everyone.Israel Dagg has been absolutely sensational this year. He had a tough time last year not going to the World Cup but hes really come back into that environment and not just captured a few Test matches and played well, hes actually been a stand-out which is hard to do when you have got someone in the back three like Ben Smith who is just so good.Thats another area of strength for the All Blacks with Nehe Milner-Skudder to come back and Rieko Ioane putting pressure for consideration on as well.Looking at the squad, youve got to say things are in good shape.I dont think there was anyone who looked at the loss to Ireland in Chicago as a negative for New Zealand. It was good for world rugby and Ireland played so well.It was a blemish on the record, but not a dark day for the All Blacks. It was a day for Ireland to celebrate and they certainly did just that. New Zealand was always going to lose to Ireland at some point and I think the game is in a better place for it happening.But some of the players wont forget the loss and will be doing their best to make sure they dont lose to Ireland again for another 28 Test matches.It was a challenging year off the field. The right people have got to realise that young men are going to be young men. With players coming straight out of school and going into that environment, sports must realised they have a social responsibility to educate those players in more ways than their studies or what they are going to do in their life after rugby.Its about being a good citizen, having good manners and knowing what a good role model is in that environment. Ultimately, it is the role of all sports but it is also a parenting issue too. First and foremost it is a parent and community issue because it is such a big reflection on New Zealand society which touches everyone at some point whether it is a father, uncle, neighbour or friend.Then there is the challenge of next year with the British & Irish Lions tour which is already hugely anticipated. Having spent many years in London I am being besieged by friends wanting a place to stay. Lions fans will be coming down in droves and it is going to be an amazing time for New Zealand and for Lions supporters with the incredible atmosphere they help create.The way all four Home Nations are playing now means it is going to be a terrific Lions squad that turns up. We shouldnt forget that the Lions are different to other teams because their first-choice player is not that much better than their second choice. Some teams lose a key player and that creates a weakness, but with the Lions they have a player just about as good -- Brian ODriscoll being dropped for Jamie Roberts in Australia on their last tour is a prime example.Youve got like for like and standards wont drop in the Lions team because theyll all be pushing for starting positions against the All Blacks. I cant wait. Cheap Astros Jerseys Authentic . The quest begins with what is supposed to be an easy one, although Germany has traditionally been a stubborn opponent to Canadian teams at international tournaments.Wholesale Astros Jerseys . Brandon Morrow allowed five runs on six hits over three innings. He struck out two, walked one and hit a batter. 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