So we won, sort of. The lead story on Sunday's sports news was the fact that New Zealand actually lost the series by one-point!
How did the players not know? How did the coaches not know? How did we, the viewing public, not know? Was it because it wasn't reported in the media until yesterday? Steve Hansen said they didn't tell the players about it because they'd rather the team just focussed on winning. Whatever you do, don't make them add up!
Personally I'd rather we had three tests.
But we did win the game. There are still a few worry spots (Mr Donald) but I think Latimer had a good game, I'm told Read had a good one too (though I felt he was fairly invisible, I'll wait for Tracey's stats). Also having a great game were the old hands Thorn and Rokocoko.
Basically we seemed to have a real gameplan this week. There looked to be actual purpose behind the plays and the players seemed to have a better idea of what it was they were supposed to be doing (i.e. getting the ball and scoring). Anyway, here are the official stats. Go make graphs.
And while I'm here let me apologise to the French for Wellington. It was a bit wet and cold on Saturday, that's alright. But we actually quite like French people and the group of four or five men who attacked Mathieu Bastareaud are fuckwits of the highest order. There is nothing in the report that instantly suggests this was rugby related, but either way this isn't what we need a few years out from the World Cup. If you saw these brain-dead idiots (and there were a lot of people out on Saturday) please go to the police.
In the meantime our Under-20 team has gone and won another World Cup.
The final, played last night in Tokyo, was broadcast live and free by the IRB. And it should still be available for on-demand viewing (as are the semi-finals). And if you want to see a free-flowing running game of rugby between two pretty good teams with exciting players then I suggest you watch it (Spoiler Alert! We kick ass).
And big congrats to Aaron Cruden for winning Junior Player of the year. He is definitely a name to watch.
I cannot praise the IRB enough for the intelligence to put live, streaming rugby on their site for free. I am a firm believer that letting as many people as possible watch good rugby is essential to growing the game (I know, duh).
And that's exactly what I wanted to hear from Steve Tew on Friday, are we going to get online media from the NZRU (or their broadcast partner). It was a very basic media briefing on the NZRU board meeting but it did have some interesting titbits (there would be audio if my recorder hadn't died after four minutes).
The new broadcast package is being put together. There seems to be some question about whether Sky will be the broadcast holder, though really I can't see anyone else getting it. There was also some talk about selling the tournaments (Super 14, Air NZ Cup, Internationals) separately. Any talk of selling individual games (or packages of games) like the American networks was quashed: "If only we had the critical mass of the NFL". Does the broadcast package include on line media? Yep. But hopefully more than the current YouTube channel.
Tew also laughed at one point that they were on Twitter. I looked at their feed, and no, they're not.
There was an odd moment when discussing the upcoming Christchurch test. Tew mentioned that sales were very slow (to which the retort was "play it during the day", Tew ignored and continued), he then proceeded to pretty much say that if sales didn't pick up that Christchurch might not get anymore test matches (though the 2011 games are locked in).
Tew admitted that threatening fans was probably not the best way to go, and that they need to talk to fans more. How do they talk to fans? Market research groups [sad trombone].
Here's the pitch: We sell product X, sales of product X are down, and so we need to figure out new ways of selling product X to people. And if people still don't buy product X, it's their fault.
Still maybe there are changes coming.
The key principles agreed at that time were that the competitions must:
- Include Super Rugby players;
- Have a stand-alone window (which also recognises the windows for club rugby and Super Rugby);
- Feature a full round-robin and playoffs;
- Have promotion-relegation;
- Guarantee four or five home games per team;
- Be completed within a 10-12 week window; and
- Be concluded by the end of October.
That is of course the new Domestic Competition structure will be introduced which has a 10-team Premier Division, a Division One competition and a Heartland Championship. And, as was foretold in the prophecy, we get it by 2011.