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Bledisloe Cup: Ryan Crotty on 'fear of the unknown' in facing Wallabies

By Ned Lester
Ryan Crotty with ball in hand for the All Blacks. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

It’s Bledisloe Cup week which means the All Blacks and Wallabies are as motivated and hungry as ever to win. Former players for each nation have made no secret of the importance placed on the rivalry and desire to claim the Cup.

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Former All Black midfielder Ryan Crotty says the Bledisloe Cup sits second only to the Rugby World Cup on the New Zealand team’s most desired trophy list.

That significance comes with additional pressure, which is only furthered by the 21 consecutive years the All Blacks have claimed the trophy.

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Crotty was a special guest on the Gits and Genia podcast and offered his insights into the All Blacks’ attitude towards the rivalry, having played in ten of the contests throughout his All Blacks career.

When asked whether preparing for a Bledisloe Cup Test is different to other games, Crotty replied: “Yes, one hundred percent.

“I remember (Wayne) Smithy used to talk about it, it’s the kind of real fear of the unknown when you come up against Aussie for that first Bledisloe. It’s just, the stakes are so high.

“For the All Blacks, the only trophy that sits ahead of the Bledisloe is the World Cup and that’s only once every four years. Besides that, the Bledisloe is like the pinnacle of rugby in New Zealand.

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“The history as well, in that first Test you can feel the tension in the group. The real nerves, it’s something. There’s something special about it as well isn’t there?”

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The history of the Bledisloe goes back to 1932 when the All Blacks won the first edition of the Cup. New Zealand’s 51 wins since seeing them comfortably lead the all-time series.

This year however sees the return of Eddie Jones as coach of the Wallabies. Jones was the last man to steer the Wallabies to a Bledisloe Cup victory in 2002 and is only starting to implement his vision for the team, making Crotty’s “fear of the unknown” potentially as relevant today as ever.

Jones opting for a new-look, younger starting XV only furthers that sense of the unknown with a debut halves partnership of Tate McDermott and Carter Gordon named to start next to a physical new loose forward trio.

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Matt Giteau added how each year’s All Blacks side would hate to be the team to hand the trophy back to the Wallabies after such a long period of success.

“Completely, you’re dead right,” Crotty agreed. “It’s massive, that’s the pressure.

“The All Blacks are kind of used to that, you have to win and you’ve got to win well. It’s not ok to just win, the expectation is high performance and for you to win playing well.

“You have a bad game and you’re walking down the street, everyone in New Zealand’s kind of (looking at you), gone a bit off you.”

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2 Comments
B
Big A 350 days ago

Get abit sick of reading this trotted out every year - condescending kiwi at its best - the Bled is not no. 2 for them - the SA rivalry is bigger than the Bled - it’s all just BS and Kiwis laughing at us - the only way to shut them up tonight will be for Carter to aim at smashing RM first time he gets the ball - this will signal to everyone that Carter has arrived - go you good thing !!!

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