The week started with the non-upset of Tonga by Canada and then suddenly Ireland are beating Australia. I was in a comedy club at the time when the news came through a cheer went up and the comedian (whose name I have forgotten) said:
Shhhhhhh! Don’t get too excited! Remember last time we all started cheering when Australia lost and then the All Blacks had to play France.
But if you think we’re nervous, you should talk to a French fan. They’re pretty worked up, but they have a different attitude. While we fret, they laugh. One French friend of mine made a bet with Ma’a Nonu for a bottle of wine if the French won. And I got this from another rugby-loving French friend in Toulouse:
… one thing is good, is that our two teams meet in the pool stage cause we love playing the All Blacks and when the Tricolores happen to win over them it's like they just "made love" so they crash on the next game cause they all ready have given all their love.
I love this analogy. Trust the French to bring love into the equation. They are keyed up on nervous energy, excited like it’s Christmas Eve and they can’t sleep. While we are also nervous it’s because of a creeping dread that maybe we’re going to lose this all again. Le Sigh.
Did you notice my friend called the French, “The Tricolores”? I have only read one article in New Zealand calling them that instead of Les Bleus. But it’s hard to call them Tricolores these days with a uniform that is almost two-thirds black.
Yes, it has come to this. I couldn’t give a fuck about England’s black uniform; it was Nike gimmick that made no sense with England’s traditional colour scheme (red and white). To have black (outlined) numbers on the back of the white jerseys was also terrible.
But then France ran out… oh Nike what have you done?
Black shorts that fade to a royal (French) blue at the collar, with the same effect down the socks (with blue at the ankles). Thin little red and white stripes on the collar and cuffs do not make up for what is a travesty of a uniform. And make no bones about it this is a direct play at adidas and the All Blacks. For all the wank about clean stadiums we have two multinational corporations going at each other and one of them is ruining a team’s national colours to do it.
So, let me say this: France, ignore the fact that Nike are making some of the best designed uniforms in the competition and drop them unless they agree to take a closer look at your flag and redesign your uniforms accordingly. Les bleus sont pour le chant.
And speaking of uniforms I have a give-away! The lovely folks at adidas have given me two jerseys to give away: a Los Pumas Argentinian jersey and an All Blacks jersey (yes, one of those expensive ones). How do you win them? Go to this thread and tell me your best World Cup Story. The best story involving people from overseas in New Zealand wins the Pumas jersey; the best story with only locals wins the All Blacks jersey. I’ll draw them next week so hopefully you’ll have them before the quarterfinals kick off.
With any luck you can wear that All Black one all the way through to the final and even the morning after, when you might feel like a Frenchman... so to speak.
Thanks to adidas for the awesome giveaways! Viva Los Pumas and Go the All Blacks!
And thanks to Samsung for the use of their Galaxy Tab 10.1 for the duration of the Rugby World Cup. The lovely little device is the perfect machine for a journalist on the go, like myself.