A great win for the All Blacks last night in the Rugby World Cup semi final.
Very well planned.
Very well executed.
Very well done All Blacks – players, coaches and support staff.
And good on the Wallabies, they did well to get as far as the semi and kept trying gallantly but this was one game and one RWC they just weren’t good enough.
Posted by Pete George on October 17, 2011
Overall this has been a cracker of a world cup despite disappointing tournaments from England and South Africa – and France despite them reaching the final, and Ireland, Scotland and Argentina being not quite good enough.
We’ll find out tonight which of New Zealand and Australia crash, they will probably mostly judged on this result.
I’ve enjoyed watching the second tier teams in most of the games they have played.
But I’d like to pay tribute to one of the shining stars of the tournament – Wales. They weren’t rated highly coming into the tournament, but they showed on the field that they had the preparation and attitude to make a mark, and they did.
Wales earned much rugby respect in New Zealand, deservedly. Many in the team contributed to this, notably up and coming flanker and captain Sam Warburton, and the team as a whole. Warren Gatland and his coaching team also deserve much credit.
I would have liked to see Wales playing in the final, against the All Blacks of course (through hope rather than expectation), but it’s not to be. A heavy pre-game shower of rain, a momentary tackle mistake, some off target kicking, and the French not quite playing badly enough to lose meant a very creditable but one week early exit for Wales.
Apart from the All Blacks the Welsh team is the only team in the 2011 Rugby World Cup that has not been outplayed in a game (just beaten by a narrow points margin a couiple of times).
I don’t usually feel empathy for the country of origin of my mother’s family, but I almost feel some pride in the boyos. Whatever – I salute some great sportmen and a nearly great team. I think this team’s time will come as long as they learn and grow from this experience.
Posted by Pete George on October 16, 2011
England have confirmed a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter finals after beating Scotland last night in their final pool match. It was not a pretty game, as expected it was a dour arm wrestle.
Scotland put up a brave performnce. They won the first half with a brave committed performance, missing less shots at goal than England. They held on grimly through most of the second half but just couldn’t finish off, lacking penetration and not getting enough shots at goal.
England had another poor start, making basic errors at the breakdown and missing a number of shots at goal – Wilkinson is not as reliable as he used to be. But whatever they were told or whatever was in what they drank at half time worked, just. They gradually gained a small amount of dominance in the second half, managed to kick a few points and claw back on the scoreboard, and scored the game’s only try near the end which was the clincher.
A couple of morals:
- brave is hard to sustain for eighty minutes without enough penetration
- even in dour, close fought matches tries can still be the difference between winning and going home early
So Scotland leave the tournament, and England move on to the quarters to try and grind their way forward.
England is noticeably different depending on which first five (fly half) they use. Wilkinson means a kicking game, even though his radar has been wobbly all tournament – he can’t blame last night on the indoor Otago Stadium. He is also a staunch defender, being prominent in cover. Flood is goal kicking better but the England backline also looks far more likely to excite – and score – when he’s in the pivot position.
Englands knockout tactics will be obvious by their first five selection.
Bad luck Scotland, you had many Kiwi hearts and hopes on your side.
Good on you England, you did just enough.
Posted by Pete George on October 2, 2011
No. Don’t diss all Kiwis because of a few lager lubricated loudmouths!
There have been a few news reports on TV and in newspapers about unsporting incidents during the Rugby World Cup. INCIDENTS. Blown up by media. Like the run of “poor Quade is being picked on” stories.
Not widespread behaviour.
The Otago Daily Times adds to the generalisations:
Anxiety over the performance of the All Blacks is behind some New Zealanders’ poor treatment of opposition fans, a University of Otago academic says.
Dr Mark Falcous, of the Dunedin-based School of Physical Education, was responding to comments posted on www.odt.co.nz concerning the behaviour of New Zealanders towards English rugby supporters.
Those comments came after a reader-generated story entitled “New Zealanders hatred of the English”, and earlier this week the New Zealand Herald reported Australian fans had been spat at and were subject to vitriolic abuse by their New Zealand counterparts.
Is the ODT a paper of poor news reports? Or is it just a minority?
Maybe there are few affected by “anxiety” but they seem to find something to be anxious about every game. There are loudmouths at just about any game of rugby, abusing the referee and abusing the visiting team of the day whether it be Canterbury, Auckland, Australia or England.
The article lists a few unsporting incidents but if you look hard enough you will see the key statement:
The majority of fans were well-behaved and supportive, but the vocal minority -
including four middle-aged men at Sunday’s game – spent their
time abusing players…
I sat beside an English couple at the Argentina-England game and had friendly conversations throughout the game. There was one loudmouth along the row a bit, otherwise the English, Kiwi and Argentinian supporters in the vicinity were very good sports.
I don’t think poor behaviour is due to All Black anxiety, especially at games not involving the local team. There’s a few boofheads in any crowd.
One person in a hundred can give us all a bad name the way things get over reported. Maybe it’s up to the good sports amongst us to speak up and tell the abusers they don’t just reflect badly on themselves.
Which seems to be happening…
Australian and New Zealand readers, both here and abroad have responded strongly to a report in yesterday’s Herald and nzherald.co.nz about the verbal abuse an Australian couple received from Kiwi rugby fans at last Saturday’s Ireland versus Australia match.
Posted by Pete George on September 22, 2011
The Telecom Abstain campaign is awful, really awful – and the problem is it’s awful for rugby and it’s awful for the country.
If Telecom don’t pull this campaign I’m going to bring forward my cellphone replacement (I have to change next year anway) and abstain from Telecom.
UPDATE: Inevitably the campaign has been ditched – All Black abstinence ads ditched
The telco’s chief executive Alan Gourdie, in a leaked email to staff, said it would not be proceeding with the campaign.
“It’s been a torrid 24 hours in the glare of public spotlight, as well as in that of our own team’s views and opinions. Nothing like a full and frank exchange of views!”
Before the campgain kicked off, it became obvious to all that Telecom misjudged public opinion, he said.
One telco staffer today said: “I too am disgusted at this ridiculous ad, already in my call centre some staff have had to field calls from angry customers who want to disconnect all services”.
“I just wish the marketing [department] had run a poll with the staff to see what they thought before rolling the campaign out – everyone would have been against it.
“Makes me want to work elsewhere, everyone is so embarrassed about it.”
I wonder how muchbrand damage has been done in the meantime.
Posted by Pete George on August 18, 2011