UK rugby writer Stephen Jones says All Blacks should go to tier 2 rugby

UK rugby writer Stephen Jones – renowned for winding up New Zealand rugby fans – is at it again, suggesting the All Blacks need to spend time playing tier-2 rugby.

He tweeted that given the All Blacks’ “recent miserable record, culminating in today’s beasting” at the hands of the Pumas, it was only fair they should be recuperating against tier-2 nations, and that the Cook Islands should be promoted.

When legendary rugby commentator Keith Quinn pointed out that Jones’ team, Wales, hadn’t beaten the All Blacks since 1953, Jones responded: “Try to cop today a bit better than that mate.”

The exchange came as the world’s media heaped praise on the Pumas and scorn on the All Blacks.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the All Blacks were “humiliated in a manner rarely seen”. The Times UK selected a pivotal moment that summed up the game. And The Daily Telegraph, also in Sydney, reported that most rugby fans will be smiling today.

Upset for the Ages

“There won’t be a rugby fan in the world – at least outside of New Zealand – who didn’t get a kick out of seeing Argentina’s historic victory over the All Blacks at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday,” The Daily Telegraph’s match report said, with the website saying that every rugby fan – ‘well, maybe not the Kiwis” – would be smiling.

“The only thing better than the spontaneous celebrations of the Pumas when the final whistle blew was the glum look on the faces of the All Blacks.

“The Kiwis were spared the usual vitriol that follows their rare losses when they were narrowly beaten by the Wallabies last weekend – mainly because they had already wrapped up the Bledisloe Cup and fielded a weakened line-up.

“But the side that lost to the Pumas was arguably New Zealand’s best so the recriminations will be severe this time.”

Argentina beat All Blacks for first time in stunning boilover

“After 402 days without featuring in any international rugby, Argentina have beaten the All Blacks for the first time ever to secure the country’s greatest Test victory of all time,” the Sydney Morning Herald’s Tom Decent wrote.

The stunning 25-15 boilover will live long in the memory of those at Bankwest Stadium and Argentinians all over the world as Ian Foster’s All Blacks were humiliated in a manner rarely seen, orchestrated by Mario Ledesma and Michael Cheika.”

Sport24 in South Africa described the Pumas’ victory as “stunning”, while Australia’s news.com.au said the All Blacks have been “sentenced to a nine-year meltdown”.

'Great moment in Argentina sport history' /h2>

La Nacion in Argentina described the result as “the end of one of the last utopias of Argentinean sport”. Claudio Cerviño writes in today’s issue of La Nacion that Argentina will never have to say they’ve never seen their team win against the All Blacks, “the best in the world, the ones who are born with a rugby ball, who feel the sport like no other in the South Pacific”.

Cerviño says this victory last night rivals some of the greatest moments of sport for the nation – a moment many believed would never happen. He compares the Pumas performance last night to the country’s Davis Cup victory in Croatia in 2016, a trophy that many Argentinean greats had tried to grab and missed before.

Mariano Ryan writes in his analysis for Clarin that the Pumas were “strong against adversity” and called this victory one of the “highest impact” ones in the history of the sport. According to Ryan, the match proved that Argentina has put together a solid team.

'Horribly vulnerable and highly beatable'

NZME’s Gregor Paul didn’t hold back in last night’s premium column..

“Argentina have made history and the All Blacks have the sort of problems that suggest they are horribly vulnerable and highly beatable. It wasn’t that they lost to the Pumas, it was that they never really got anywhere near them.

“The All Blacks had nothing. Really nothing and rarely in the last 10 years, maybe even in the last 20, have they played with such a sense of being rattled and so badly outclassed.”

'We've been through hell'

Argentinian coach Mario Ledesma – who played 84 tests for the Pumas – choked on tears as he tried to describe what the win meant.

“We’ve been through hell,” he said, in obvious reference to his team having been hit by Covid-19, and also being starved of rugby.

“After everything that has happened this year…if I told you what it meant I wouldn’t be able to talk.”

Ledesma said that through the tough year, his players “just kept ticking, making efforts, and staying positive.”

“It’s unreal, unreal after everything that has happened,” Ledesma said. “I’m just so proud of them, it’s incredible.”

The Pumas released a video on the morning of the match, revealing how their players had dealt with the COVID-19 lockdown. Some had spent as long as four months in isolation and more than a dozen contracted COVID-19 before they came to Australia.

From backyard scrum sessions, to defence drills in team rooms, to meals in hotel isolation, the group had gone through it all to make the truncated tournament possible.

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