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‘All Blacks are cheats’


The All Blacks no longer even bother to bend the laws. They set out to deliberately cheat.

Mark Reason, The Dominion Post

If New Zealand go out of a consecutive World Cup because of another dodgy refereeing decision, they will have no one to blame but themselves. The All Blacks no longer even bother to bend the laws. They set out to deliberately cheat.

For only one piffling syllable, CHEAT is an awfully big word. “Who are you calling a cheat?” demands the card-playing gunslinger, just before the mandatory murder and the five aces sliding from the sleeve.

The All Blacks cheat in spades. Half of their tries in the Tri- Nations have been set up by blatant cheating.

Go back to the first South Africa game just before Wyatt Crockett scored in the corner. It is hard to believe that Richie McCaw could be four yards offside and get away with it, but there he is holding back the South African lock.

In the first game against Australia they are at it again. Piri Weepu set up the first try by going through a hole created by Ali Williams holding Quade Cooper to the ground.

In the buildup to the second try Ma’a Nonu sets a screen (much as they might do in basketball) for Kieran Read.

Every week Paddy O’Brien, the International Rugby Board head of referees, sends out a directive to the coaches about issues that have arisen from the weekend games. At this point O’Brien warned coaches about all the holding back and obstruction that was going on. He might as well have told the All Blacks to stop doing the haka for all the notice they took.

New Zealand were at it again on Saturday. There were just three incidents in the leadup to their first try, but the second try was exceptional. As Nonu was running through another black hole, a prone David Pocock was waving his arms in frustration. McCaw and Keven Mealamu had held him pinned to the ground for 14 seconds.

Even by the very high standards of the All Blacks, 14 seconds must have constituted a personal best. Does McCaw have an invisibility cloak that only television cameras can penetrate? Even Robbie Deans called him “a bloody menace” and that’s when he was coach of the Crusaders.

Perhaps the funniest moment in Saturday’s game was when the commentator opined that Brad Thorn had been “unfortunate” to bump into Williams. The ref was gullible enough to award an accidental offside.

Accidental? Don’t make me laugh. The next time the All Blacks play a big game, watch what they do around the breakdown. They deliberately splinter off into offside positions to block the defence. It’s about as accidental as the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior.

Ad Feedback O’Brien told me while he was in Italy for the Junior World Cup that no World Cup has yet been decided by a bad refereeing decision.

A couple of weeks later, Paddy was overtaken by events. The refereeing of the final of that Junior World Cup was one of the most unfortunate performances I have ever seen and certainly determined the outcome. I suspect this coming World Cup is an injustice waiting to happen, but don’t blame the refs, blame the players and coaches.

One of the joys of that Junior World Cup, as O’Brien observed, was that the players haven’t learned (fully) yet to cheat. O’Brien also knows that one of the biggest challenges senior rugby faces going forwards is to stop the culture of cheating.

Is the batsman who knows he nicked the ball and refuses to walk a cheat? Is the footballer who dives in the penalty area a cheat? Is the rugby player who holds back an opponent a cheat? You bet they are. People call it “the professional foul”.

No, it’s just cheating.

Yes, I know other teams cheat, although none of them are as accomplished at it as New Zealand.

On Saturday Will Genia was the first to take up a blocking position on the All Blacks side of a ruck and was called back by the ref. Genia threw up his arms in apology – as if.

The former Australian coach Bob Dwyer, like most of the planet, believes that New Zealand lead the world cheating averages. He said: “Richie would be guilty six times of obstruction in every game. I think we have to keep criticising the New Zealanders and making people aware of what are illegal tactics.”

In that context, I don’t want to hear a single New Zealander whinge about a bad decision during the World Cup. The moment you set out to deceive refs is the moment you lose your right of appeal.

If you live by the sword, be prepared to die by the sword, and the cheating All Blacks wield the biggest claymore of the lot.

* Mark Reason is one of England’s most experienced sports columnists. A long-time senior writer for The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph in Britain, he migrated to New Zealand and now calls this country home.

Leave a comment


  1. Love it, I predicted last week you will read a lot about the AB tactics in the media in the next week… So it starts.

  2. I wonder if the refs will pick up on it. If they do the AB’s are in for a torrid time.

  3. Great article and it about time somebody says something about it. And then Paddy still has the audacity to bitch about a ‘correct’ decision.

    It’s hellishly frustrating watching a game where defenders are continually being help back and I can’t believe that it isn’t punished more often.

  4. This just make me hope more and more that NZ don’t win the RWC this year.

    What with the way they got the cup, the ref protection, the cheating etc.

    Maybe I am slightly one-eyed in his view point, but I don’t see much real argument against my view.

  5. Reply to Ollie @ 11:30 am:

    I agree wholeheartedly – I always hated the Convicts, but in the last fews years my hatred has turned against the cheating blacks! Now, I would rather have the convicts win than the cheating blacks.

  6. Reply to Thomas_Bulls @ 11:34 am:

    I am a bit :Dawie: when it comes to the AB’s – I love to see them lose but sometimes like the way they play. The players (most of them I have met) are the nicest proffessional team you are likely to meet! Great bunch, always open for a chat.

    The NZ media make me hate them as a collective in a game and the fans (those in IBK) get to me the wrong way and I just want the AB’s to fail to give a : bigfinger: to those guys!

    Aussies v NZ final? Who would I support?? I guess it depends on how many NZ/Oz fans are in the pub at the time… I will support the team that lack support around me

  7. I wouldn’t moan too much… the Boks are offside every single kick-off… and not smart enough to hit the rucks like the Kiwi’s… hell of late the Boks don’t even pick-n-drive nor hit the tackle-zone as a unit… let alone drive over and obstruct as they splinter off…

  8. Reply to JT_Proooooovince! @ 12:34 pm:
    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 1:01 pm:

    I don’t believe it is tall poppy syndrome. Nz are a dam good team and deserve to be number one in the world. But the tactics they use is what grates my balls!

    I just don’t agree with their blatant cheating.

    I have always admired their way of playing the game. They play beautiful and effective rugby. But their cheating and the refs almost-bordering-on-complete disregard thereof is unacceptable and for that reason I will no longer be a fan.

    If a team wins fair and square and is miles ahead of the pack then so be it. Let them dominate!!!! But not if it is achieved by cheating.

    NZ have become serial offenders in all facets of the play and they are allowed to do so.

    Bryce, I also agree with you that the Boks are offsides at kick-offs – these days all the teams are – and I also think that this is unacceptable. Just as I think feeding the scrum skew is unacceptable. It just doesn’t allow for a fair competition.

  9. Reply to Thomas_Bulls @ 1:12 pm:

    I agree to a point on the referees – however I am more worried about the general refereeing in the RWC.
    :dead horse:
    Here it is about a BIG prize and a f-up by the ref can cost a team a place in the final :bangheadt:
    The IRB have not been able to correct this and under Paddy no’brains it has regressed IMO. The problems IMO are because the laws are over-complicated, let’s take the forward pass as an example :soek: if the fooking ball goes forward it is FORWARD regardless if the hands are in a backward motion yada yada yada! If a player runs fast and passes he must make sure to pass in such an angle the ball goes BACKWARDS!

  10. PS: scrum feeds – if not straight then give a FK to the opposition and keep on doing it until the mothafookers oblige to the goddamn laws of the game!

  11. PS: High-tackle – anything remotely high is a PK and end of story! :dead horse:

    Rucks- if you go off your feet = PK! If you do not roll away immediately = PK

    SIMPLES!! :shake:

  12. Same wth line-out throwing – straight and down the middle! Not ok if over the inside shoulder of the LO player! NO – straight down the fooking middle – finish and klar!

    off-side: if you are off-side you are off-side!! no BS about not interfering with play BS… If a player is off side on the blind side and the attacking team play openside that off-side player took away an OPTION and need to be penalized for it!

  13. On the laws, what is the law this season wrt jumpers joining the lineout, is it still allowed if the person joining is the receiver? Or, has it changed again?

  14. Reply to JT_Proooooovince! @ 2:08 pm:

    That’s why I am staying out of this one – the forward/backward pass – as I am not qualified to chat along with you guys here.

    I studied law and I played lock/flank in my day – what the hell do I know about science!

  15. Reply to Ollie @ 2:16 pm:

    I think he may join if he is the receiver and someone leaves the line out at the same time. Also, he may only join once the ball has left the hands of the hooker.

  16. Reply to JT_Proooooovince! @ 2:18 pm:

    Also, amazing vocabulary – wanker, dick, fuck off! Educated lot, aren’t they!

    by the by, apparently all the sheep-shaggin jokes that we know about the aussies are actually jokes about nz!!!

  17. And so the physcological war starts! Every man to the guns it’s time for war. Calling all Bok supporters time to get behind your team and rattle the Kiwis cages cos we are coming for you in the semis chokers.

    I really wish we could cheat like the AB’s, it takes skill to get away from the ref to throw those sneaky forward passes behind the defense.

    In 2009 the Kiwis decided Fourie was the target area to attack and held the poor oke in the rucks or just tackled him off the ball! I like us doff safas no scrum half no quick ball.

    But you do have to respect their cheating ways, they’re the best at it. :pot:

  18. Reply to JT_Proooooovince! @ 2:18 pm:

    True, ok, your 13 passing to him then.

    Seriously though, even try and give it a go yourself, run straight at full tilt and try and give a long pass that doesn’t end up in front of where you released the ball.

  19. Reply to Ollie @ 2:26 pm:

    that is not the point now is it – if it looks forward and travels forward it is forward. If you want to pass at full tilt over a bigger distance make sure your angle is such that the ball at least APEARS to go backwards – that will make me happy.

    Anyway – enough of this unless the Brand wnats to tag team and take it from here

  20. Reply to Thomas_Bulls @ 2:23 pm: Lock more than flank, actually haven’t played flank at all this year. Centre though, inside nogal and scored a try that game!

    Passing – pfffft, waaay overrated, for sissies, halfbacks and the ‘linking’ no.8!

  21. Reply to Provincejoulekkading @ 3:34 pm:

    Have you tried it, running straight! Not this Spies crabbing along the field nonsense. Long pass. Not impossible but it feels awkward and if you get tackled doing it you are going to feel it big time.

  22. This Reason article appeared in NZ yesterday and seems to have whipped up a bit of emotion on this blog as well as some in NZ. I think it is going to die a quick death in NZ but will probably live on overseas. Unlike you guys, people in NZ are examining the source of the article. Mark Reason is a Pommie immigrant to NZ and makes his money writing controversial stuff which is all well and good if he can back it up. There have been the expected calls for him to go back to where he came from but what has really put people’s backs up was that last night he would not front up on the talk back show Radio Sport WITHOUT BEING PAID?? :Rule 9:

  23. Reply to out wide @ 1:32 am:

    He’s effectively saying (and copying) exactly what Bob Dwyer has been saying/proving with examples and footage for quite some time… I really don’t see why you Kiwi’s get so wound up about it…

    It’s true (the term ‘cheating’ might be a bit harsh), it’s always been true… so simply embrace that they’ve been able to get away with it for so long…

    Methinks though there has been a subtle change in the wind and refs are now starting to notice it and that’s where the angst in coming in…

  24. The only real solution is to add more referees and instruct them to officiate strictly to the letter of the law.

    Else everybody will forever be disadvantaged against the innovative New Zealanders who believe that the laws are whatever you can get away with.

  25. Reply to Timeo @ 3:17 am:

    The solution is there, has been there… i.e. the assistant refs (and using the TMO better)… I simply cannot fathom why they don’t make use of them more…

    Some time ago it was announced they were no longer touch-judges but ass. refs and would be more involved… I’m yet to see this?

    In the modern game it is simply unreasonable to expect one man on the run to be able to effectively police (for a lack of a better word) the game.

    This is exactly what the ass. refs are for… yet they remain quiet with many missed errors/transgressions…

    Up the training, up the wages, up the accountability… missed/incorrect decisions are costing teams millions of Dollars these days… and I see suing coming to the fore if the above isn’t done!

    And that goes for the simplifying of the TMO with decisions… the Paddy O’ Brian protocol for that recent Bok/AB game is simply ‘barmy’…

    It wasn’t a try, the correct decision was made… and the game better for it… imagine that was awarded solely because the TMO should not have piped in?

    It should be a simple case of…

    “Can I award the try” (adding any bits of doubts the ref has)… and let the TMO make the decision based on any other circumstances he might have…

    Ho hum… it’s not rocket science…

  26. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 3:14 am: You are right, there was the comment on Radio Sport last night “it [Reason’s accusations] is the type of rubbish Dwyer comes up with every now and again”. Lol.

    Reason’s ill-advised use of the cheating word is reminiscent of the sort of tripe that comes up when some kiwi-haters in SA tiresomely refer to McCaw as McCheat. I prefer the word gamesmanship which Colin Meads uses in his rebuttal above. As the wily old fox says, all international sides use gamesmanship from time time whether it is the team from Reason’s adopted NZ or his motherland England.

  27. Reply to out wide @ 5:19 am: some kiwi-haters in SA tiresomely refer to McCaw as McCheat. Bwahahaha I have many Kiwi friends and call Mccaw Mcheat. They dont mind. My aussie mates call him Mcheat too.

    Call a spade a spade and none of this English euphemisms.

    He cheats, sure he is one of the greatest rugby players that has ever existed but he still cheats. I saw him trip Brussouw while he was heading to the breakdown off sides.

    A cheat is a cheat and is as bad as dirty play. Taking steriods can be gamemasnhip too depending on your point of view.

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 3:48 am: Do you suffer from Byroz (Bryce is Spiros) sydndrome of bashing Saffas. Intresting hangups their mate :pot:

  28. Reply to Kevin_rack @ 6:05 am:

    Er… have you already knocked back a few schooners mate?

    Show me one example of ZAF bashing in that post?

    “Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 3:48 am: Do you suffer from Byroz (Bryce is Spiros) sydndrome of bashing Saffas. Intresting hangups their mate :pot:”

  29. Reply to Kevin_rack @ 6:05 am: You and your kiwi “mates” who don’t mind you calling Richie Mccheat wouldn’t perhaps be on the North Isld now would you? Jealousy can make some guys nasty…

  30. Reply to Kevin_rack @ 9:32 am:

    Not only does he have a great first name… but in light of that… his constructive, objective criticism must be only second to bryce_in_oz?

    Now whatever happened to that :middle finger: icon we used to have?

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