Duncan Garner: Can the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup? I'm not overly confident

Opinion 12/08/2019

It's the water cooler question being asked around workplaces across the country today - did you see the All Blacks? Not good, eh? Can they win the World Cup? 

Of course they can but will they? I have no idea, I'm not overly confident.

Normally three games into a season the ABs would be humming, but this is the worst I have seen them in Hansen's long reign. 

Over the past five games, the All Blacks, by their own standards, have more than struggled - they have looked clueless at times. 

Not sure what to do with the rush defence, dominated up front where it counts and, like an untuned car, misfiring all over the show. 

Not since 1998 under Taine Randell have we been so poor.

Look at our last five games, the gloss has come off, the world has finally caught up.

Panicking isn't the answer, but this also isn't a one-off, it's a trend. 

We're going backwards - we lost to Ausdrew to South Africascraped past Argentina, beat Italy (whoopdee) and lost to Ireland. 

Getty Images Photo credit: Getty Images

Granted we were at 14 men for half the game on Saturday, but that's the rules and the game and they need to play within it. I actually don't think they can use that as an excuse. Individually, some players are out of form.

Ben Smith is a fullback, not a wing. Reiko Ioane would struggle to make his club side, Ardie Savea is probably the best number 6, 7 and 8, so what does that say about the others? 

Here's the giant elephant in the room, without Brodie Retallick we're stuffed. 

The bloke has massive heart, a massive work rate, he walks through opposition forward packs and smashes them on tackles whether its the ninth minute or 79th minute.

Yes, we've lost players overseas but who do we really miss? Maybe Charles Piatau, Charlie Faumauina. That's it. New coach? Too late. How old is Richie? Bring back Buck? Maybe the absence of Wayne Smith is starting to hurt  - can we get him back?

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.