Left: one of the reasons the All Blacks lost.  Right: A random photo of Jacinda Ardern (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Left: one of the reasons the All Blacks lost. Right: A random photo of Jacinda Ardern (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

MediaOctober 22, 2017

The reasons the All Blacks lost last night (hint: it wasn’t because Jacinda Ardern cursed them)

Left: one of the reasons the All Blacks lost.  Right: A random photo of Jacinda Ardern (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Left: one of the reasons the All Blacks lost. Right: A random photo of Jacinda Ardern (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

There are plenty of reasons why the Wallabies scored an upset, none of them involving random sexist slurs, writes Jamie Wall.

This morning, for some reason, the New Zealand Herald decided to float the idea that the new, still to be sworn in prime minister Jacinda Ardern “cursed” the All Blacks, leading to their defeat by the Wallabies in Brisbane. It went on to breezily note that the All Blacks “have never won a World Cup while we have had a female politician on the top floor of the Beehive”.

The unnamed, unhinged author of the article managed to overlook quite a lot of factors that led to the result, before leaping to a witchcraft-insinuating master plot.

Such as these:

  • An 80 metre intercept try to Reece Hodge to open the scoring.
  • Hodge then going on to take over the goal kicking, landing a 55 metre howitzer that crucially moved the scoreline out past three points in the dying stages of the game.
  • The clear fact that the All Blacks missed the attacking spark and unpredictability of Beauden Barrett, who was sitting the game out with a head knock.
  • Soft underfoot conditions that nullified the power of the All Black scrum.
  • One of the best tries you’ll see this year by the home side, who patiently opened up just enough of a gap for fullback Israel Folau to squeeze through, clap on the pace and score.
  • Another impressive performance on the wing by league convert Marika Koroibete, who scored the Wallabies’ third try.
Left: one of the reasons the All Blacks lost. Right: A random photo of Jacinda Ardern (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
  • An heroic effort by Wallaby skipper Michael Hooper, who at one stage had his face covered in blood and refused to leave the field.
  • Coach Michael Cheika clearly learning the lessons of the Wallabies’ heartbreaking loss in Dunedin back in August, where they battled valiantly to go down in literally the last minute.
  • The Wallabies putting those teachings into action on the field in a very similar scenario, with a fast finishing All Black side looking to retake the final kickoff and maintain possession for the winning try.
  • The special Indigenous-themed jerseys honouring the past Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island men that have played for the Wallabies, which current Aboriginal team member Kurtley Beale said inspired him.
  • That the All Blacks have already locked up the Bledisloe Cup for the year anyway – meaning, from their perspective at least, this game was somewhat meaningless.
  • That the Wallabies just simply played better and deserved to win.

It hardly warrants dignifying by mentioning, but the piece’s fun-time-banter suggestion that the gender of the prime minister might have some mysterious demonic sway over the fortunes of the All Blacks is obviously bullshit.

It neglected to mention that a male PM presided over the 1991 and 1995 RWC failures – plus the 1937 series loss to the Springboks at home, the disastrous 1949 season in which the All Blacks lost all six tests (including two on the same day), the 1960, 1970 and 1976 series losses to the Springboks, the 1971 series loss to the British Lions, shock defeats to England in 1993 and 2014, and a historic first loss to Ireland last year.

But the Herald at least knows a magic potion when it sees one: the Ardern curse piece is the currently the second most read on its website.

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