What's that sound? Alarm bells. We got a look at what happens when the All Blacks cupboard starts to get bare, and boy, it's scary.
Before last night's test in Dunedin the French played the humble card, as they often have before tipping New Zealand over.
The cries of "we're not worthy" were almost deafening. The All Blacks were monsters, the French had ultimate respect for them. No matter how new an All Black was he commanded complete respect.
And then, in a way that every Francophile could love, they treated the Crocked Blacks to the full range of what French rugby offers.
There were the slippery, fly-paper-handed backs, men like fullback Maxime Medard, who stepped around tackles, then slipped the ball to the likes of wing Cedric Heymans, whose boots burnt speed marks down the touchline at Carisbrook.
But, as we've seen so many times, as well as the dancers there's rarely a shortage of cement mixtures in the French ranks either.
With not even a nod to the pieties uttered during the week, men whose looks would scare their own children smacked into the breakdowns with an almost feral pleasure that clearly rattled the All Blacks.
Gifford hits the nail on the head. The All Blacks took the French lightly last night, and paid the price. But worse than that - the All Blacks got out-muscled and out-passioned by the French. That's something that doesn't happen often, and it's not something we enjoyed watching. Nor, would we suspect, all those Southern Men, All Blacks all of days gone by who had been presented with their test caps on Friday night.
But wait; there's more! Gifford reminds us that the French have reinforcements, and will be an even sterner challenge in Wellington next Saturday - he writes:
But if you want to really have some restless nights in the week ahead, consider this.
Some of the best French players, the men who played in the club final, will be available in Wellington next week.
The All Blacks should be better next week, more tactically aware, more driven. But expect the French to offer more too. Back in 1994 they overcame a stuttering All Black side in Christchurch, then, a week later at Eden Park, when their hopes of a win looked dashed, ran the length of the field for the famous try from the end of the earth.
To avoid that fate for these All Blacks will require some shrewd work during the week, and nothing less than clinical execution of the game plan. Anything less and it could be another blue day next Saturday.
We have our tickets for the Cake Tin next Saturday night, and Mrs Inventory and I will be there cheering the All Blacks on. Because that's what REAL fans do - they stick with their team through thick and thin. And we should know - we've been supporters of the Hurricanes since the inception of "Super Rugby", and we've supported the New Zealand cricketers for well over 40 years. But we certainly hope that the All Blacks turn up on Saturday night, and put on the kind of performance that we've come to expect. Because that's what REAL All Black teams do!