All Blacks snatch victory 24 to 21 in controversial match against England

Originally published by NZNewsUK.

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The All Blacks snatched victory from England to win 24 to 21 at Twickenham, in a game that was too close to call at times – some would say even by the referee.

Playing the hosts on their home turf has never been an easy task for the New Zealanders, and this occasion proved no different. The boys in black had not only an England team in great form to contend with, but also the ever-increasing spirit of their fans. Predictably, the England faithful deployed their strategy of “making the All Blacks dance to Sweet Chariot” (sung loudly over the top of the haka) – but the world champions appeared unfazed and delivered a powerful performance that made up in physicality for what could not be heard over “Swing Low…”

England reminded New Zealand that they are a force to be reckoned with however, with an early try from Jonny May within minutes of kick off. Aaron Cruden rewarded the Kiwis with one to follow, however a number of missed kicks paired with penalty triumphs in England’s favour ensured that the hosts dominated the first half and secured a 3-point lead into the interval.

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The All Blacks were back with a vengeance in the second half, with tries from Richie McCaw and Charlie Faumuina. It was not an easy win, however – New Zealand survived both the sin-binning of Dane Coles in the second half, as well as a late penalty try for England.

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The game was not without controversy. Dane Coles’ yellow card in itself was controversial, with referee Nigel Owens seemingly going against the recommendation of the TMO. Owens then appeared flustered as he requested to watch several replays of Charlie Faumuina’s try – even though it had already been awarded. The Welsh referee was subject to criticism from both sides throughout the match as he made a number of other controversial calls which were met with roars of disproval from the stands and some of the men on the field. In his defence, he appeared to only be requesting multiple replays in response to spectator anger resulting from replays that were shown. The issue of a television producer calling the shots on which plays should be replayed on the big screens and which should not was back on the table.

When asked if he thought that TMOs were becoming too much of a problem, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen diplomatically responded: “My biggest concern isn’t the TMOs and the refs… My biggest concern is that TV producers are starting to have a big influence on games. We don’t need the TV producer to replay it 100 times – that’s not in the spirit of our game. Referees will make mistakes just like players. Some of those mistakes will cost you the game, but you live with it because another day you get the rub of the green.”

Captain Richie McCaw was named Man of the Match in front of a record Twickenham crowd of 82,223 spectators. The turnout and the excitement around this match bodes well as England heads towards hosting the World Cup next year.

Charlotte Everett is both London Editor and a freelance journalist for NZNewsUK. Article may only be re-used with permission.

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All Blacks “Remember Them” in London – WW100

New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team flew into London yesterday morning, and last night an intimate wreath-laying was conducted at Hyde Park Corner to remember the thirteen All Blacks who lost their lives in the First World War, as well as all soldiers who paid the ultimate price on the battlefields of Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Amidst jetlag and a hectic schedule having only just flown in from Chicago, current All Blacks Dane Coles, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano and Ben Smith attended and participated in the centenary commemorative ceremony, arranged by the New Zealand High Commission and New Zealand Defence. They were joined by New Zealand Rugby Chairman Brent Impey, as well as High Commissioner to New Zealand  HE the Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith, DA Brigadier Antony “Lofty” Hayward and a small number of New Zealanders and friends of New Zealand in England. I was also in attendance, as one of six representatives from the NZ Society UK committee.

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High Commissioner Sir Lockwood opened proceedings by welcoming everyone to the New Zealand Memorial at London’s Hyde Park Corner. He detailed the stories and brief biographies of several of the thirteen All Blacks who never made it home from the Great War, before listing the names of all thirteen. New Zealand Rugby Chairman Brent Impey then addressed the intimate gathering and personalised his remarks with the story of his own grandfather being wounded in the Battle of the Somme. Brigadier Hayward concluded spoken proceedings with a poem.

Following the wreath-laying and Last Post, London Maori Club Ngati Ranana led the gathering in Whakaaria Mai, and then performed the haka made famous by the All Blacks – Ka Mate.

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Rugby was played at various points during the First World War, including an ANZAC match on the island of Lemnos during a respite from Gallipoli. The soldiers were forced to play with a football in place of a rugby ball, with New Zealand thrashing their counterparts 13 tries to 1. New Zealand also won 40-0 in another game played against France in April 1917 for the Somme Cup. 60,000 watched the match in Paris.

The world champions are in London to face England at Twickenham this coming Saturday, 8 November. They will take to the field wearing specially developed remembrance poppies. Impey stated, “World War One took a massive toil on our nation and our All Blacks were a part of that story. Over the next four years, New Zealand Rugby will play a role in sharing rugby’s contribution to the period and it’s an honour to be in London to mark Kiwis contribution to the Allied efforts”.

The thirteen All Blacks who lost their lives in the First World War were Albert Downing, Henry Dewar, Frank Wilson, Robert Black, George Sellars, James Baird, Reginald Taylor, James McNeece, Dave Gallaher, “Jum” Turtill, Eric Harper, Ernest Dodd and Alex Ridland.

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Article by Charlotte Everett; may only be used with permission.

Photo credit: Getty Images.

“Legacy”… James Kerr talks to me about lessons in life learnt from the All Blacks – and you can WIN a copy of the book!

On Saturday I had the privilege of having a natter with James Kerr – an award-winning creative director, brand consultant and values implementation professional. He also happens to be a bestselling author, and the storyteller behind a remarkable book – “Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life.”

This article was first published on NZ News UK – and if you visit their competitions page this week, you can be in with a chance to win one of five copies of “Legacy”.

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In 2010, James was given an unbelievable opportunity – to go inside the All Blacks camp for 5 weeks, in their run up to the World Cup. The task immediately at hand for him and photo journalist Nick Danziger was to create “Mana”, a book that for the first time gave New Zealanders an inside look at the All Blacks in their journey towards reclaiming rugby’s grandest prize. But during his time there, living in close quarters, it’s no surprise that James became close to the team, befriended management, and quickly grasped how Sir Graham Henry was managing to reinvent what was already the world’s most statistically successful sports team. The result is “Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life.”

We can learn a lot from the All Blacks. Their approach to the game can be successfully implemented in our own lives and businesses. This is because ultimately, James says, we all work in teams. Whether we’re a multinational team, a small business team, or a rugby team. This isn’t really a book about rugby, James insists. We’re not going to learn any rugby secrets here. This is a book about running a successful team – using one of the world’s most successful teams as a case study. It’s also the story of New Zealand, our people, and what makes us exceptional in many ways. It’s our “collective” approach to life, James says. He cites examples – things like Working Bees, and always bringing a slab to the BBQ. It could in part hark back to that pioneering spirit of travelling so far together on ships; in could in part be a rural thing. And importantly, it is an intrinsic part of our Maori and Pasifika cultural identity. The teachings of “Legacy” in many ways are our gift to the world.

“Legacy” offers us 15 lessons in leadership – straight from a team where there may be only one captain on the field, but there are fifteen leaders. One of the important factors in Sir Graham Henry’s strategy is about developing leaders off the field first and foremost. It’s about that sense of heritage and whakapapa; of “leaving the black jersey in a better place”, by paying respect and tribute to the ancestors (those All Blacks who have come before), and also being a great leader and role model for young rugby players, and those All Blacks yet to be born. All Blacks are never selected on form alone – they are selected as much on character, as anything else. And they have to fit in with the rest of the team. It’s all about the “We”, rather than the “Me”. Henry’s philosophy was that “better people make better All Blacks.” For this reason, it is possible that some New Zealand’s greatest rugby players on a practical level may never wear the black jersey, because form alone is not enough to make you an All Black. The All Blacks philosophy is that if you mix great form with great character, then over time you will develop and become the greatest and most successful kind of rugby player. Anyone can have a great season, but they won’t necessarily grow into the role of an All Black. How does this relate to business teams? We can hire the candidate with the best CV, but if they are not of the right character, and do not fit in, the team will crumble from within. People will leave. It’s about creating an environment where people are happy and you can subsequently get the best out of them.

Humility is another great lesson. In the All Blacks, this is indicative in “sweeping the sheds” – every player, Richie McCaw included – sweeps out the sheds and cleans up after themselves completely after the game.

Arguably the greatest lesson that All Blacks fans in particular are eager to learn, is how did Sir Graham Henry succeed in transforming the team from one that would often “choke” during the crucial final, to one that has just (on top of all else) completed the perfect year. James tells me that this can be credited to the “red head/blue head” approach, which addresses the mental aspect of the game, and was implemented during Henry’s reign. To avoid their minds getting into that dangerous “red” area, players each have strategies to keep a cool blue head, shut everything else out and focus on the process and on the moment entirely. Richie McCaw for example, stamps his feet to re-ground himself. The red-blue approach could also be successfully applied to business deadlines. James recalls how during that nail-biting World Cup final against France in 2011, most of New Zealand would have been in the red – there were only a few in the blue, and they were the guys dressed all in black.

Another key to overcoming the tendency to “choke”, is the importance of playing for something bigger than yourself. Henry believes that a team with a higher purpose creates a higher performance.

Whatever some may think, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. When Sir Graham Henry came to the All Blacks, despite their reputation of “choking” during World Cups, they were already statistically the world’s most successful team, with more than 75% wins over the past 100-year period. During his time with the team, Henry managed an 11% uplift on that. After the perfect season they’ve just had, the boys in black must now be over 90%.

“Legacy” is available in the United Kingdom to purchase online at Amazon, and in-store at some Waterstones, WH Smith and Foyles book stores. It will be released in New Zealand next year.

NZ’s All Blacks leave England “desperately disappointed” after 30-22 victory

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have a press pass for the All Blacks vs England at Twickenham. What a game it was! Following is my match report / run-down of the big game – published on NZ News UK

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Photo by Getty Images

Article written by Charlotte Everett

The All Blacks remain undefeated after snatching victory from England at Twickenham.

In a match that at times was too close to call, Stuart Lancaster’s team were left “desperately disappointed” by an All Blacks win – despite high hopes after defeating NZ at Twickenham last year, and an overwhelmingly optimistic fan base who were determined to see England triumph.

Twickenham was a sea of black – however this seemed largely attributed to winter coats, rather than the All Blacks loyal. The stands were dominated by a loud chorus of England fans who were determined to throw New Zealand off their game from the get-go – going so far as to drown out the haka with their own calls of “Swing Low…”

Despite their best efforts however, the All Blacks were quick to demonstrate why they are the world’s 1st, with Julian Savea scoring a try within the first two minutes of the match. Savea was also deservedly the day’s Man of the Match – a massive turnaround from being in a French hospital only a week ago. Steve Hansen remarked on his team’s focus on making the most of every opportunity – demonstrated well by Savea – with the All Blacks controlling the first 20 minutes of the game; England dominating the next 20; and the next 20 being shared. Kieran Read scored the second try of the game soon after Savea’s – however being slapped with a yellow card gave England a 10 minute advantage to gain momentum and bring the score dangerously close; half-time seeing England with 16, New Zealand with 20.

The match wasn’t without its injuries, either. Dan Carter – celebrating his 100th cap – had to leave the game after 26 minutes, having injured his Achilles (not the one previously ruptured). Hansen reported post-match that it’s probably not ruptured, but the seriousness of the injury cannot be gauged until scans are done. Tony Woodcock also pulled a hamstring just before half-time, and is subsequently unlikely to play in Dublin next week.

Andy Farrell is “gutted for the boys”, after England “worked their absolute socks off” – but felt that two exits went wrong for the hosts, resulting in a “dejected changing room”. Nonetheless England remain optimistic for the World Cup next year, though they “talk more about belief and building a team” rather than purely looking towards the World Cup as an end game. England’s coaches are grateful that England – and the Twickenham crowd in particular – are 100% behind the team, and are celebrating moving from 6th in the world to 3rd, while inching ever-closer to 2nd.

Richie McCaw’s boys knew today’s match “was always going to be a battle”, but nonetheless have savoured victory yet again with a defeat over England 30-22 – and are now only 80 minutes away from the perfect year.