Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rugby world Cup final 2011 - Black is the new black

Deserved champs (Picture )

So 7 weeks and umpteen matches later, we get a final that, even until the last minute, the last play of the match, could have gone either way. New Zealand brushed off 24 years of pain to finally double their haul of World Cups. And France make the startling discovery that (cover the screen so no one else gets to see this) if you want to beat the All Blacks – you have to play better than them. That’s what France did for 64 minutes of the match, but the All Blacks won it with fifteen minutes of excellent play in the first half, and one minute of good play in the second half. C’est la vie.

Everything that could have gone wrong for the All Blacks, did. First of all, the French surrender monkeys that had been booked for the final failed to turn up, and instead we got 15 lean mean hungry Frenchmen who had the skills and the nous to go nearly all the way. The All Black line out was pretty shambolic, their scrum creaked, and then there was the kicking. Rugby coaching 101 states the first thing you do is pick a good kicker. The second thing you do is pick another good kicker. If I had somebody kicking for my life, Piri Weepu wouldn’t be top of the list – Piri Weepu wouldn’t even be on the list. Let’s be kind and say his radar was a little off. Then there was the  fly half merry go round. Dan Carter is the best  fly half in the world. When he was injured, his replacement, Colin Slade, is possibly in the top 15 in the world. His replacement, Aaron Crudden might make the top 30 on a good day. When Crudden was injured, on ran Stephen Donald who knows fly havles in the top fifty in the world. Graham Henry could see the apocalypse unfolding in front of him, the tactic was – don’t let him touch the ball! Or do anything! The second someone passed him the ball, Henry’s  eyes glazed over and he sent the word for his head to brought on a plate. And for two valium.

But it was the All Blacks day, Donald did what Weepu couldn’t and banged the ball over when he had to, and they just about held their nerve to kept the French out. I couldn’t think of another team that would have beaten France in the final, and it’s no more than they deserve. For France, their loose trio was immense, Bonnaire, Dusautoir and Harinordoquy were all outstanding, in fact their whole pack was – let’s face it, 1-15 they played out of their skins.

Now it’s all over things can go back to normal in the world of rugby, the All Blacks can carry on beating everyone, the French can go back to concentrate on the T14, and maybe, just maybe, one day they’ll find a coach without a mustache to make them into world beaters.

French journalists pay homage to that tache

In the other match, Australia outplayed game Wales to claim third. It was the Hook and Jones disaster series again for the Welsh I’m afraid.

Finally, this is a big shout for avid rugby fans Ciaran Kelly and his friend Alan Burnell who are heading to Zambia next June to help with Brent Pope's Rugby Legends Foundation as they build homes for the Habitat for Humanity project.
If you'd like to make even a small donation to help them out please follow this link and click the "sponsor me now" button! Get in behind them!

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