And then there were two

October 22, 2011

Australia claimed the bronze with a 20-18 win over Wales in this Rugby World Cup’s second last match last night.

I’m pleased the Southern Hemisphere team won and I’ll be even happier if the south beats the north tomorrow.

Twenty teams started the tournament six weeks ago, now there are just two left, the All Blacks and Les Bleus, who will play in the final.

On paper the All Blacks are the stronger team but the French are unpredictable.

They’ve beaten us before and could do it again so I’m pleased to read that Rich McCaw and his team understand there are no guarantees for the All Blacks.

While the All Blacks captain knows exactly what rugby’s greatest prize looks like, he has never laid a hand on it.

“I don’t think you should touch it until you’ve earned it,” he said.

On the eve of the big match against France, that may well change for the 30-year-old.

For McCaw, however, Sunday night’s clash at Eden Park is all about the men who wear the All Blacks jersey with him.

“It’s not about personal stuff,” he said. “It’s about this team having an opportunity and not wasting it. Going out and performing, playing the best game we’ve ever played in a World Cup final. That’s the opportunity that’s there and from our point of view we don’t want to let that slip by.”

They’ve got preparation and determination, we’ve all got optimism and hope but there will be no certainty until the final whistle blows.

 


There’s optimism . . .

October 20, 2011

. . .  and there’s over optimism.

Irish bookie Paddy Power is so sure the All Blacks will win Sunday’s Rugby World Cup final he’s paying out already.

I’m optimistic but only cautiously so. On paper the All Blacks are a much stronger team the Les Bleus but anything could happen on the night.

Even when the Wallabies had to score two points a minute in the last seven minutes to even the score in the semi-final I couldn’t relax and even if the All Blacks are well ahead of France in the final I’ll be on the edge of my seat with all digits crossed until the final whistle blows.


Georgia in my heart

September 19, 2011

When I wrote yesterday’s post on the Rugby World Cup I said I was going to back England.

But when I got to Otago Stadium last evening I had a change of heart and swapped my allegiance to Georgia.

The team played really well and I think the 41-10 score flattered the English. They deserved to win but not by that margin.

Georgia spent a lot of time in England’s half and though they weren’t able to turn territory into points they kept up the pressure until the final whistle.

They didn’t win the game but they did win hearts, including mine.

It’s good for the tournament and for rugby that the minnows are giving the bigger fish more than a run for their money.

Canada started well and scoring 19 points to France’s 46 would have given Les Bleus cause for concern.

 I didn’t see or hear the game between Wales and Samoa but reports suggest the 17-10 victory to the Welsh didn’t come easily.

Our decision to go to the game in Dunedin last evening was a last minute won but booking online secured us seats in the front row at half way which gave us a very good view.

Among the people sitting near us were several Argentineans. They are following the Pumas all around New Zealand and attending other random games which fit their travels.

My Spanish is a bit rusty but the gist of what one of them told me was that he had travelled all over the world but never thought of coming to New Zealand before. However, he and his travelling companions were having a wonderful time, the country is beautiful, the people friendly and they’re enjoying the food and wine.

That is exactly the sort of off-field benefits to New Zealand the organisers are hoping for.


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