Lions versus Blues

The British and Irish Lions play the Blues in Auckland tonight.

The Lions team that runs onto Eden Park will be a bit of an unknown quantity. This will be a challenge for them, they will want to get a tough game under their belts.

The Blues have had a mixed season and could do anything.

I’m not on Sky and won’t pay an exorbitant amount for Fanpass so will just keep an eye on the game progress online.

There has been a shower of run recently (it could still be raining) so it will be a slippery evening.

HALFTIME: 12-10 to the Blues, sounds like a hard fought game in the wet.

FINAL SCORE: 22-16

NZ Herald: Rugby: Brilliant Blues claim sensational win over British and Irish Lions

What can you say? Typical Blues maybe? There they were, drifting out of the game because their scrum was being destroyed and the Lions were slowly grinding them to defeat and wham, four bits of individual brilliance and they pulled off the most sensational win.

In retrospect the Lions can argue they were hard done by in the Blues’ 22-16 victory. They had a few decisions not go their way, played a bit of rugby and were starting to dominate physically.

But they didn’t nail the door shut and in truth, while they played some rugby, they didn’t play enough.

If nothing else, they looked more organised and willing than they were in Whangarei and while they clearly have a mountain to climb still, there were at least glimpses of what they might be able to do when they have had a few more games together and get their top team on the track.

But the essence of their game remains bump and thump and the question that is going to become louder and louder for the Lions, is where is the x-factor?

The Lions were definitely better than they had been in game one. There was more urgency and accuracy in everything they did and while they didn’t get much beyond playing Warrenball, they didn’t feel they needed to.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Lions, they play the Crusaders this Saturday in Christchurch.

Ditch the anthem?

Ditching the anthem is in the news.

Unfortunately it’s not the anthem we commonly use now, the dirge that asks a deity that has a poor record of defending people and countries to defend New Zealand.

It’s our other official anthem, the anthem that I used to have to stand to when I was a child. I remember reluctantly doing so at ‘the pictures’.

But also unfortunately, while God Save the Queen seems totally inappropriate for modern New Zealand, it’s not us considering ditching it as an anthem, it’s the British.

UK considers ditching anthem

British MPs have agreed to debate replacing England’s royalist anthem God Save the Queen.

The song is the national anthem of the United Kingdom and is played at sporting events where the four home nations – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – play as a team and when England competes separately.

Critics say another anthem for England would divide Britain by encouraging individual nationalisms, while supporters say it would re-establish the idea of four separate nations with separate identities.

If it’s good enough for the British to consider a more appropriate anthem in the modern world then it should be good enough for us to consider stopping clinging to an historical oddity.

Listening to the New Zealand anthem being sung isn’t as bad as it used to be now the Maori version is sung first, for some reason it sounds a lot better than the English version. It was written in 1878 but has only recently been used widely.

However when you see what it actually means…

E Ihowa Atua,
(Oh Lord, God)
O ngā iwi mātou rā,
(Of nations and of us too)
Āta whakarongona;
(Listen to us)
Me aroha noa
(Cherish us)
Kia hua ko te pai;
(Let goodness) flourish,
Kia tau tō atawhai;
(May your blessings flow)
Manaakitia mai
(Defend)
Aotearoa

…then it could do with re-writing. Modern secular New Zealand should leave the god stuff to churches and those who believe in it (about half of us) and have an anthem that we can all feel some pride in.

UPDATE: Stuff have picked up on this and are running a poll: Today’s talking point: Time to change the anthem