Normally I get excited on Friday that it’s time to make my SportGuru picks, but the prospect of predicting England to lose heavily is not much fun.
I wonder if Johnno is playing SportGuru as well, and picked New Zealand to win by fewer than 10 points. Perhaps he looked at the players he had available and chose the biggest, oldest lumps he could find to ensure that his prediction was as close as possible.
Predictions game or not, that’s what he has done – everyone seems to agree that this is a ‘damage limitation’ selection, and not a side that will create space, play some rugby and win the game. How disappointing.
The All Blacks, on the other hand, are pretty much at full-strength. Richie McCaw and Dan Carter will be running the show, but players like rookie Zac Guildford, Number 8 Kieran Read and old favourites Mils Muliaina, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Sitiveni Sivivatu will give England a torrid time.
In a strange sort of way, I’m looking forward to seeing these players in full flight. We will hopefully see some creative rugby, some attacking flair and a passion for the game that isn’t always obvious when watching England.
I don’t think they’ll be too worried about England’s defensive approach – performing the Haka and seeing backs like Ayoola Erinle, Matt Banahan and Dan Hipkiss watching them is going to make them lick their lips, and as much as England will try to slow them down, they will probably run riot.
My SportGuru prediction: New Zealand by 23
What do you think? Am I being too negative about our chances? Does anyone think that we’ll turn them over and finish the Autumn on a high?