Venue: Eden Park, Auckland – Date: Saturday, 11 […]
Pool C. A pool with an outcome so inevitable that it could be Danny Grewcock gameplan.
The All Blacks usually come into a Rugby World Cup as outstanding favourites having battered everyone in the run up, and while they've not been doing badly (they never do) they've not been as red hot as usual; losing to Australia in the Rugby Championship and looking unsteady by their standards in others. Also, despite being the best team in the world since the bronze age they have famously still not managed to win a World Cup outside of New Zealand, usually being knocked out in some hilarious/unjust way, depending on the nationality of who you are asking.
by James Tompkinson
It’s been a feature of international rugby for as long as anyone can remember – but it’s hardly a tradition that has remained untouched over the years. As the footage of the 1973 confrontation between the All Blacks and Barbarians reminds us above, there was a time when it consisted basically of the team stamping their feet for a bit while shaking their arms in a more-or-less freestyle way – before turning to the crowd for a round of applause.
Fast forward to the present and this tribal ritual has now morphed into something much more theatrical – complete with rolling eyes, protruded tongues and painstaking choreography. Where did the haka come from? Where is it going? How come no-one else gets the opportunity to try to exert psychological advantage over the opposing team in a similar way? We take a look…
Conrad Smith – made to look completely ordinary by a 21-year-old. Now, that 21-year-old is Jesse Kriel, who if not the real deal looks a great deal like it, but still the experience Kiwi should've put in a better showing that this.
Argentina's gameplan – The Pumas have a tried and trusted way of working: assemble a pack of men that look like they eat live wolves by choice as a hobby, let them slowly squeeze the dignity out of their opposition and hope that the backs can do just about enough. However, vs Australia this was not in evidence as the players threw the ball about as if they were so terrified of holding it tat it was covered in marmite and tarantulas. It didn't end well.
The logo – It must be tricky to come up with anything decent that involves the name The Rugby Championship because it's a completely awful moniker that sounds so downmarket it should be sponsored by Poundland. However, they have managed to make this cowpat of a brand even worse by creating a logo that looks like it should be on the letterhead of a mid-range business hotel in Slough.
Will Skelton – Albert Einstein said, and I'm paraphrasing a great theory here, that time slows down when you travel at lightspeed, this is essentially what relativity is, or something. Anyway, I've always struggled to understand this, but that was until I saw Will Skelton. Just as time slows the faster you go, it seems that Skelton's impressive 140kg mass gets lighter the faster he goes. There's no point in being giant if you don't run your weight, old son.