Underarms, Catamarans and Food Poisonings

Thank God it’s Saturday!
The medal table’s looking bare and the trophy cabinet runs the risk of being cleared out. Tonight that could all change. New Zealand sportsmen and women in Beijing to Cape Town are carrying the weight of a nation. Hopes are high, but so are the stakes. New Zealand is currently engaged in the four yearly “where are the medals?” debate and only several successes tonight will ease the nation’s collective anxiety. So what are our chances? Continue reading

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

After the disappointment of two consecutive losses, All Black fans will have enjoyed last night’s 29-point thrashing of the Wallabies even more. This time it was the Aussies who looked impotent, with no answer to New Zealand’s domination in all areas of the game. The return of Ritchie McCaw was vital, but all the players showed an increased urgency, particularly around the tackle. Tactically New Zealand was superior, and when the Wallabies returned after halftime following a poor first half, they had no idea how to get back into the game. Graham Henry has had a hard time recently, but this performance reflects very well on him. As the game came to an end you could see what it meant to him. Continue reading

First back to back defeats since…

2004 apparently. Seems like ages ago. All Blacks fans are used to their team winning, so following the defeat the the Boks in Dunedin, last nights 35-19 loss to Australia in Sydney is likely to cause fans to reevaluate the belief that the All Blacks are invincible. New Zealand showed glimpses of great rugby, against a solid Wallaby side, but could not keep it up for the full eighty minutes. The Wallabies started far stronger, up 17-5 at half time, and finished far stronger. In the last half an hour the All Blacks threw away a 19-17 lead, with handling errors and poor tackling gifting the Wallabies a confidence boosting win and some valuable competition points. Continue reading

Finally it’s here! Deans v Henry!

To be honest I don’t really care who coaches Australia. I will care if he turns them around and makes them competitive in 2011, but I think it takes more than a coach to make a team great. A coach can only work with what he’s got, and Deans only has so much to work with at the moment. There are a lot of gaps in the Aussie team, particularly up front and not as much depth as they would like. Historically New Zealand have had incredibly depth, but are also tested at the moment, with so many great players gone overseas. Thankfully this match we will have Williams and Thorne back as locking partners which, especially as McCaw looks as though he won’t be back, gives us some of the experience we missed against South Africa in Dunedin.

So with Australia seeing off the Boks last week, what can we expect in Sydney on Saturday? Continue reading

Green or Gold?

I can’t pick it to be honest. Although the Springboks managed a remarkable win against the All Blacks in Dunedin, you can never write off the Wallabies, especially at home. Rarely has an encounter between Australia and South Africa been so intriguing for All Black fans. South Africa come off their surprise win, and it will be interesting to see if they can back up last week’s effort in Australia. The Wallabies are of course coached by New Zealander Robbie Deans, so All Black fans will be keen to see what we really missed out on. Australia showed glimpses of class against France and Ireland, although neither team was really impressive opposition, and will need to step up big time against a confident Springbok team keen to back up last weeks solid performance against a severely understrength New Zealand side.

If the Boks win, the Tri Nations is as good as wrapped up, unless the All Blacks can pull off a seemingly miraculous win in South Africa, after they’ve won in Australia. They are always bonus points too, I suppose (when was the last time a team got one for four tries?!). Continue reading

Silver lining on a deflated black cloud/The art of losing
July 12, 2008, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Rugby | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I’m gutted about last night’s All Black loss to the Springboks, but remarkably less disappointed than I thought I’d be. I really did think they would win comfortably, but in the end our lack of depth was showing. And we did not expect Januarie to come up with that try!

So our record 30 home game winning streak is over, as is our 10 year stretch of home wins against the formitable Springboks. Worse still, we have let the South Africans feel like worthy world cup winners! But it is not all bad. There are some silver linings. And hey, we’ve been winning in the republic constantly over the last 10 years, so it is long overdue the Springboks fronted up over here! Continue reading

Green Kettle calls Pot Black

Kiwi sports fans have had to bear the accusation that they are whiners for far too long. Conspiracy or not, the boys in black were poisoned in ’95. And last November the ref did rob us of a semi final place. But mention these two occasions and you’re a sore loser and a whinging Kiwi. But is this not a little hypocritical coming from our counterparts?

Brad Thorn’s off the ball tackle on Springbok captain John Smit was appalling. Rightfully he will be spending the next 80 minutes of rugby down in Dunedin on the bench. Thorn apologised, Smit accepted, acknowledging such things happen in contact sport. Now, a few days later, Smit has accused the All Blacks of being a law unto themselves. “Just imagine Bakkies Botha doing something similar to Richie McCaw. World rugby would have come to a standstill.” Smit is understandably disappointed at being ruled out for Saturday’s test, but is he not getting a little hysterical here? On top of this, coach Peter de Villiers has accused Tony Woodcock of cheating in the scrums, a charge which All Black coach Graham Henry denies.

Isn’t this all a bit rich? South Africa employed a tactic of targeting All Black play maker Dan Carter, whether he had the ball of not. On numerous occasions Carter and others were hit before receiving the ball or long after getting rid of it, or even when they had not even had it. However this did not rattle our boys. This is also the same team that pushes the offside rule to breaking point. I don’t think the Springboks could ever win a game if the refs kept an eye on the Bok defense, as Habana would get his hands on a lot less intercepts. As for rough play, South Africa has a history of biting off more than they can chew against New Zealand… Continue reading