13 07 2008

Well that hurt. The Springboks beat us in game 2 of the Trinations. It was actually a case of we beat ourselves. Our forward pack was too inexperienced to cope with them especially when Awesome Ali went off injured. We were already missing Captain Courageous  and the man beast known as Brad Thorn so when Ali had the head knock with Schalk Burger I had this sinking feeling that it wouldn’t be our day. The Boks dominated the first half and we were lucky to be close. I felt we edged the Boks in the second half and Lauaki’s try seemed to indicate we were coming good. (As an aside – is there a better sight in rugby than Lauaki running over the top of people? He is a wrecking ball and scud missile mashed together.) However our inexperience told again and the little mistakes crept back in. Januarie’s try was all skill and inspirational brilliance – wasn’t there a time when the All Blacks had those qualities?

The Boks proved they are the World Champs and the All Blacks showed they still have room to improve, actually they showed they have a lot to work on, namely getting Ali, Richie and Brad back. But at least it was close. If we can stay that close to the world champs while playing that badly then that’s a positive.

A few players shone out for me: Dan Carter was genius, Ma’a Nonu proved how unstoppable he can be while Mils Muliaina proved he is our best fullback AND wing. On the other side one player who has been immensely disappointing is Sitiveni Sivivatu. i thought he was supposed to be world class, at the moment he looks decidely average. The sooner Rokocoko comes back the better.

The All Blacks are due to play the Wallabies in Sydney in a couple of weeks. If they can get those players back then that should be an awesome contest. I can’t wait!


colour me black

6 07 2008

Well they won, more convincingly than I expected. They smashed the Boks upfront while Dan Carter controlled the game. As I said to Kirsty near the end last night, I don’t think anyone had a bad game. Even Jerome Kaino, who I thought was going to be dominated by the Springbok loosies, played brilliantly scoring one try and should have had a second. Which brings me to the worst person on the field – the ref. Stuart Dickinson was shocking, Brad Thorn should have been sinbinned for dumping John Smit while the miss of Kaino’s second try was inexcusable. The Springboks should be better next week, too many of their players were rusty (I’m talking about you Victor Matfield) but then again the All Blacks will be too. The main worry: the game’s in Dunedin, at night, in winter. Hope they’ve packed their thermals.

game time!

5 07 2008

In just over an hour the All Blacks will face the Springboks in the first game of the Tri Nations. That’s a rugby match between New Zealand and the World Champion South Africans for those who have no clue what that last sentence meant. It’s a pretty big deal. Well it is if you follow rugby. The All Blacks have a world record 30 game home unbeaten streak to protect and the Boks are the World Champs. So you can guess what I’m doing tonight 🙂

I’m predicting an All Black win by 3 points. Mainly because the All Blacks will want to prove that they should be world champs and the conditions are going to be abysmal. It’s freezing here in Auckland so it’ll be almost a blizzard in Wellington. Plus we’ve still got the best player on the planet and that counts for something, though worryingly the next best is injured. That’s probably where the Boks will see their advantage, our loose forwards, other than So’ioloa, are relatively inexperienced while the Boks have Schalk Burger and co. the other area where they shade us is in the locks though if Ali plays their advantage should be somewhat nullified. Our scrum should dominate them while I think our backline is just that bit classier. However our biggest advantage is the weather – when the Wellington wind blows it’s like Scott Base and Dan Carter knows how to play there.

We hammered the English and the Irish but now the real games begin. Awesome!