So gee this Rugby League World Cup thing, it's probably quite a friendly affair. I mean all the guys know each other from the NRL right? So it's probably going to be a hard match but probably not that intense…
Still the far superior Kangaroos would surely defeat the gallant Kiwis as they have done for many many years… NZ 32 - Australia 20.
With the half-time score being 18-16 it pretty much seemed to be another Australian victory in the making. But then something happened. We hammered them in every aspect. Spiro Zavos said it was the "Big M", momentum. I would totally agree. (I wouldn't agree with his statement that Americans use the term "Big M" all the time, I've never ever heard it used).
Once we had a few break outs and once the Aussies had a few calls go against them they fell apart. Perhaps completely dominating the opposition for years meant that they had never prepared for having to really battle to win an important match.
After a game like that I imagine some people would "go fuckin' mental" (isn't YouTube fantastic). I personally went so far as to yell at the television image of the Australian coach: "Ricky Stewart you're a [expletive]!"
But the main question that came out of that game is: does this mean Stephen Kearney is a better coach than Graham Henry or Robbie Deans? Because that would seriously fuck with my head.
New Zealand 29 Wales 9 (HT 6-9 Wales)
I missed the haka but I figured that it wouldn't be that interesting. Boy was I wrong. Following the showdown in Australia, the Welsh decided they weren't going to be stared down in their own stadium and in front of their fans. I fucking loved it!
(On a related note the Welsh uniforms are made by Under Armour, whose slogan is "Protect This House")
The first half really was just awful. We couldn't make tackles, we couldn't keep our feet, and we couldn't keep the scrums upright. And most importantly, we didn't have the ball.
Then we did what we always do in the second half: play well and don't give up points. That's been the game plan since the All Blacks left on this tour.
I blasted the commentators last week for misuse of "average" (then you lot blasted me for line charts), this week I think we can't be surprised that the northern teams think we're arrogant when people like Tony Johnson are saying things like "[the All Blacks were] penalised for their superiority"
We used to worry about our lineouts, but it seems now we have to worry about our scrum feeds. Jimmy Cowan feed was so crooked I don't think I saw a leg hook it back all game.
Still we should be able to humiliate England next week.
One of the things I've noticed on the tour so far is the singing the crowds do (when they aren't being deathly still). This art form is something lost in the southern hemisphere (beyond the grunting to that awful "oo, ah" song that is played ad nauseum during the Super 14 even though Umaga is long gone).
The Kiwis did us another great service by singing Slice of Heaven on the celebration stage.
New Zealand has created hundreds of perfectly singable songs that would be perfect during sports matches (or at least as perfect as Swing Low Sweet Chariot). The obvious one is Don't Dream it's Over, perfect for those world cup campaigns. Feel free to make your suggestions in the comments.
Then after all that we lost the cricket. This weekend totally sucks