A great game

August 7th, 2011 at 1:21 pm by David Farrar

I’ve seen a lot of games at the Stadium in Wellington, and a few at Athletic Park, Carisbrook and Lancaster Park, but had never been to a match at Eden Park before.

And it was a great game to watch up close. The first Dan Carter penalty was a nice little morale booster as so much was riding on this game. No not just the Bledisloe Cup, but everyone was aware that this could be the the Rugby World Cup final in two months time – New Zealand vs Australia.

Nonu’s try just before 10 minutes was a close call and right on the boundary. Very impressive conversion from Carter. Then the All Blacks are all defence, and yay they don’t let the Wallabies through. Then Mealamu burrows over the line and with an easy conversion it is 17-0. Around this stage I am thinking it should be an All Black victory, but things could change. And a nervous 10 minutes as the Wallabies get close several times to scoring, but the All Blacks don’t let the pressure get to them. 17-0 at half time is a good result.

A Carter drop goal to start the second half scoring off with gets smiles all around, and I start to think maybe the All Blacks can not concede a point. A couple of minutes later the Wallabies score a well deserved try. The speed of a couple of their backs is amazing.

Two minutes later the All Blacks score again and Carter kicks perfectly to make it 27-7. With 25 minutes to go I mentally conclude this is going to be a win – the battle is now for the score. Wallabies spend much of the next 15 minutes attacking again, and while I’m not happy we’re in defence so much, it’s great to see them hacking the pressure. Then around 12 minutes to go and Carter kicks a penalty bringing up his 15th point in the match.

30-7 would have been a great full-time score but with five minutes to go the Wallabies get another try, and sadly they deserved it. The final score of 30-14 is a fair reflection of the match.

In terms of the facilities, Eden Park was looking magnificent, and well up to the Rugby World Cup. Not much of a queue to get in, and the traffic into Kingsland Shops was pretty light, and from there an easy walk to the park. Scores of police, security and guides around to make sure you get to the right gate without problems.

Watching rugby on tv is good fun. But there is something great about being there in the stadium, and soaking up the atmosphere. I’ve already got tickets for some of the Rugby World Cup games – I think I’ll get some more. South Africa v Wales on 9/11 looks fun. Already booked in for Australia vs USA. I love the idea of 30,000 people cheering for the US!

France v Tonga has promise also. Not sure the Frenchies will be used to the size of the Tongans. At this stage not planning to see NZ vs Canada, because expectations are so high for a thrashing, we can’t live up to them. Am leaning towards the third quarter-final in Wellington also.

Tickets for the final are all gone, but if NZ is going well might try and go up to Auckland for their semi-final if tickets still remain by then.

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77 Responses to “A great game”

  1. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    Not sure the Frenchies will be used to the size of the Tongans.

    Quite so. Let’s be sure to check their injuries before they leave the field. You know.. in case there are subsequently complaints to the NZ Police about being ‘set upon’ and beaten up.

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  2. mikenmild (12,391 comments) says:

    kk

    Ha ha, I’d forgotten about that incident – tres amusement.

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  3. Viking2 (11,678 comments) says:

    South Africa v Wales on 9/11 looks fun.

    Some date to pick.

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  4. gravedodger (1,575 comments) says:

    Mr Farrar, you epitomise Steve Tew’s quintessential All Black Fan.
    Enthusiastic, not very aware of the undercurrent of skill and tactics that wins games ( Rocky Elsom’s try had nothing sad about it it was sheer skill and vision one of the few Quade Cooper delivered), and there for the big occasions.
    That comment is not personal or derogatory of you I am truly pleased you enjoyed it.
    You have the financial resources to purchase tickets and attend that the backbone supporter standing on muddy sidelines Saturday after Saturday afternoon after coaching, reffing or otherwise making JAB (do they still call it that) happen in the mornings, can only dream about. I havn’t done the maths but I would imagine for someone to see all the ABs WC games to the final would incur funding approaching $2500 throw in another $3000 for travel and accommodation and that is the reality. Of course they wouldn’t be the seats most would want
    I am not whining, the modern “professional game demands sunny Sunday supporters such as you and will be sufficient until the pathetic crowds that are the reality in a nation of 4.5 million following a game that is 3rd or 4th in countries such as UK and Aussie, where that is enough to still finance it, cause the inevitable decline.
    That Tv Advert of the Irishman who has come here to watch at a hotel bar is not a total pisstake, it happens.
    When the economic facts come to bear we will be no more important on the world stage than Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, our talent will contribute to the “owned” teams in the world.
    I wish I could have been there also, glad you enjoyed it, well done the All Blacks. The attitude to WC tactics was exemplified by the well taken droppy, something that was glaringly absent in the last WC game they played.

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  5. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    I went to the game last night, and all I can say is I am glad I do not have any RWC tickets.

    Adidas and the NZRU cannot have it both ways. If you want to transform rugby into a consumer good, a commodity, then fine but you better ensure your product is good to be charging $45 for the worst seats in the stadium.

    Last night I paid $7 for a stale hotdog and $6 for cold chips only to be greeted to 30minute waits getting in and out of the grounds (due to the awful crowds and pedestrian traffic by the kingsland train station) and the constant urging of the ground announcer to buy the new all blacks shirt – “don’t worry about buying it from overseas” they kept mentioning.

    Why would you worry about buying it from overseas indeed, when it is less then half the price than in New Zealand? Money grubbing wankers. Is adidas now a charitable organisation that needs our support?

    /rant over

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  6. s.russell (1,649 comments) says:

    I plan to go to the Scotland v Georgia game in Invercargill. Partly because this will double the number of people cheering for Georgia and I’d hate them to go home thinking no-one cared about them.

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  7. ross (1,414 comments) says:

    Nick,

    Adidas apparently pays its workers as little as 60c an hour in some cases. Its workers could certainly do with our support.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10743045

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  8. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    Sure, there is something great about being there in the stadium, and soaking up the atmosphere, but I don’t think it’s worth the hundreds of dollars it will cost to go to the bigger games. In fact, it’s not worth the $100+ price tag to go and see a run of the mill Tri Nations game.
    I also think the world cup is vastly overrated. During my last visit my arrivals card asked whether I was here for the world cup – of course I ticked no and I wrote “don’t be stupid” underneath it. The news media seems to be full of it and how great it is for the country – I get the feeling it will be an overpriced flop.
    And I have put $50 on the Springboks to win the cup, which is quite a sensible bet when you consider the performance of Australia in the last couple of years and the track record of the All Blacks in world cups. Dark horse is England.

    PS I also noticed all the empty seats at Eden Park. Not so long ago it would have sold out (and a big test like that should be sold out).

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  9. Dazzaman (1,082 comments) says:

    Haven’t attended a test match since 1985? AB’s vs England at Athletic Park, JK scored his first test try that day. As a rugby man you do see the game & all the off-the-ball stuff but too many southerlies blasting Athletic park killed the desire for me. Today, all the kiddies, facepaint & screaming music/announcements are not attractive either.

    Game to watch, & likely winners will be the AB v ‘bok semi final. Aussie are pretenders & will find it hard to get past the French or Poms in the knockout stages on the other side of the draw.

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  10. mikenmild (12,391 comments) says:

    Dazza – I have to agree with you. I’ll have fingers crossed for the outcome of that SF, because the final will be my first visit to Eden Park.

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  11. Grizz (613 comments) says:

    From what I hear, the catering at the ground was a real let down. If you are going to the game, you can bring “non-commercial” food for personal consumption. My advice to match goers is to bring a few sandwhiches, have a picnic, so you do not have to look like a miserable prick like nickb complaining about what is ultimately bullshit junkfood. To put things in perspective, I went to a couple of games in Australia for the RWC 2003. I seem to remember paying a fortune for a crappy burger and fries. I do have to say that while the IRB complains about price gouging, ultimately they are just as guilty. If it was not for the massive hosting fee, many of the big matches would be priced at the level of last night’s Bledisloe cup match.

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  12. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    Indeed Ross, the irony of that was not lost on me.

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  13. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    I seem to remember paying a fortune for a crappy burger and fries

    Grizz, does that make you a miserable prick too? ;-) Good advice on the BYO food though. I’ve done this a few times and never regretted bringing some good kai while others queued to part with their money and their health.

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  14. Grizz (613 comments) says:

    “I seem to remember paying a fortune for a crappy burger and fries

    Grizz, does that make you a miserable prick too”

    @KK, Yes I am a miserable Prick. That is why I will bring my own food. I am trying to work out a way to bring in a hot drink without putting it in a thermos flask. Does anyone know if there is such a thing as a “thermos bladder”?

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  15. gump (1,684 comments) says:

    Be aware that Eden Park places restrictions on bringing on your own food to games.

    Basically, if you have purchased the food from a commercial vendor then the security staff won’t let it into the stadium. It *has* to be home made.

    http://www.edenpark.co.nz/how-do-i/conditions-entry/

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  16. alex Masterley (1,535 comments) says:

    l probably wander along to the remaining ITM games at EP, but the chances of me going to any of the RWC games is nil.
    I took my little boys to a game recently and had to empty their water bottles before we went in. The replacement drink was not cheap.
    Our problem last night was the street was closed off which meant it was used as a turning bay, and urinal. I’m toying with an electric fence in the hedge to counter stray leakers.

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  17. wikiriwhis business (4,200 comments) says:

    What is the fuss about beating low strength Oz. Samoa did it

    I do think though the AB’s are up to full strength teams.

    I also think SA and Oz are aware.

    France will just go in with their ego and fight it out.

    England will face the WRC stoically and feel miserable the whole time.

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  18. wikiriwhis business (4,200 comments) says:

    There’s also going to be untold sad stories about security dampening the procedures.

    They’ll really ruin the event

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  19. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    I have tickets to the AB pool games so 2 at Eden park. Paid around $2500 for the 8 tickets. Missed out on semi or finals tickets. Would have happily paid whatever they were. The RWC isnt priced at levels NZers are used to but NZers need to understand there are plenty in the world that will happily pay godawful amounts for the good games.
    Sydney 2003, I was there with my business partner on a “work” trip that happend to coincide with a few games of rugby. Sitting at a table having a late lunch before the final, we hadnt ordered when a couple of guys asked if they could share our table as we are at a big table and the place was full. Sure no worries. Turns out these guys, pom lawyers, had decided on the Tuesday to ditch work and fly over so they did. They paid $3K per ticket cash to a scalper for game tickets. They also paid for lunch.

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  20. Inventory2 (9,381 comments) says:

    I saw the 1987 RWC final at Eden Park. Michael Jone’s try was scored about 10m from where I was seated on the terraces.

    I won’t be at the 2011 final. I will be at the All Blacks v Canada match on 2 October; a rare day game. At this stage that’s the only match I have tickets to, but there will be walk-up impulse opportunities in New Plymouth and Palmerston North if the mood takes me. I’d love to be at the final, but simply can’t justify the expense. I do believe though that it will be an occasion for widespread celebration around New Zealand!

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  21. Grizz (613 comments) says:

    David, You can still buy Semifinal tickets. They are available for both games still, even the cheap seats. I just checked myself on the RWC website.

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  22. big bruv (14,222 comments) says:

    All Black rugby….who really cares?

    Most people in NZ do not care about the All Blacks…….not that you would know this from the saturation media coverage this minor world sport recieves.

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  23. fatboy slim (77 comments) says:

    Is the above comment for real?

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  24. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    A ban on “commercial” food? Isn’t all (most) food commercial, since you have to buy it? What makes food that you’ve paid someone to make any different to food that you have prepared yourself?
    What’s to stop me from bringing some tinfoil with me and wrapping my McDonald’s burger in tinfoil before walking through the gate? What would happen if I put my homemade sandwiches into a McDonald’s bag? What about a New World bag? You can buy cooked food from both outlets.

    And people at the NZRU will be wondering why the stadium wasn’t full.

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  25. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    Thanks Grizz but have made a deal with she who must be obeyed, 4 weekends on the trot with the Lads is my limit.

    I dont really understand the kerfuffle about the food. You dont go to the park to eat dinner. You have numbered seats and dont need to turn up 2 hours early. Stop for a pizza and a beer on the way, make sure you take a slash coz you dont want to be waiting 15 minutes for a urinal at the game. After the game go have a beer. Or 6.

    That said, if ya want to take a bit of homemade bacon and egg pie and buy a overpriced Heineken its all good.

    In France 2007, they had vendors that would sell you great food very reasonably priced outside the park and you could carry it in. Just had to take the top off any bottles so you couldnt throw a full bottle. Do they think we behave like soccer supporters ? !!

    Aluminum Heineken bottles (300 ml) were the worst thing about France, your hand warms ya beer something shocking.

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  26. J Mex (184 comments) says:

    @ gazzmaniac – Yeah, and what about all those gouging bars that don’t let you take your own food and booze into them?

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  27. Grizz (613 comments) says:

    “And people at the NZRU will be wondering why the stadium wasn’t full”

    I am wondering this myself. Where there were empty seats, such as on the terraces or lower tiers of the ASB stand, the Ticketmaster Website was saying yesterday morning seats here were not available, which I assumed meant sold out. I might have gone if one of these empty seats were made available for me to purchase.

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  28. Grizz (613 comments) says:

    “Just had to take the top off any bottles so you couldnt throw a full bottle. Do they think we behave like soccer supporters ?”

    Well, actually, I think we are being compared to Rugby League supporters. Although not the same, authorities seem to think we are!

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  29. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    The AB’s performance only really delievered a 23-20 result when the missed penalties by O’Connor and the freakish knock-on try is factored in. The Oz team is worth a bet for the re-match in Brisbane.

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  30. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    Is the above comment for real?

    It's as real as you are D4J. In other words, very. You are making a mockery of your ban dad, and insulting our host in the process. Take your ban like a man and come back with legitimized gusto when it's been lifted.

    [DPF: I’ve just checked the IP address and it does match D4J so the Fatboy account has been locked]

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  31. fatboy slim (77 comments) says:

    Wrong again kk, give bb a kiss you lame duck blogger. What a very sad life you must have.

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  32. big bruv (14,222 comments) says:

    D4J

    Just stop it, your denials are laughable.

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  33. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    J Mex
    1. Bars are private and stadiums are public places. A private establishment can decide for themselves what they let their patrons bring through the door – and there’s also competition for bars so if you don’t like the policies of one establishment you can just go across the road to another one. That is not the case with stadiums – you can either watch the game in the flesh or you can choose not to.
    2. Bars and stadiums are licensed to sell booze and are not allowed to let people bring their own (although I fail to see the difference between buying piss at the stadium and bringing your own with regard to the usual excuse of public order – stadiums and race meetings should automatically have a BYO license). There is no such licensing requirement for food. If the argument is in regards to public health, the place the food was purchased has to have a hygiene certificate anyway. It is simply the management of the stadium extracting every last cent from their patrons and people respond to that by not going to the stadium. Same with ticket prices (although it is the rugby union who set those prices). It puts a trip to the stadium out of reach for many families and makes it unattractive to people who don’t want to bring kids (since it’s too hard to get beers).

    Grizz – there were definitely empty seats visible on the telecast – not many, but they were definitely there. Watch a replay if you don’t believe me. I guess with rugby not being the spectacle it once was I found my attention drifting.

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  34. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    D4J – You’re lying. Plain and simple. If you recall, and notwithstanding a few of your rants, I’ve been supportive of you over the years. Mistake? I’m starting to think so.

    Back on topic, don’t disagree with SPC. An off-kicking day made quite a difference to the scoreline. Perhaps James O’Conner needs to spend more time in front of the posts, rather than in front of the mirror?

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  35. fatboy slim (77 comments) says:

    bb you are wrong but whatever. Sad that a distorted syndrome entertains your carraway seed sized brian.

    Great game and the Canterbury All Blacks played really well. Your vindictive and vengeful attitude blinds your minority judgement.Thank God most people realize you suffer from a severe bitterness addiction. What a sad case. I can prove I am not who you say I am.But whatever you say – you strange crackpot loon.

    kk ask DaveF for my email address and I send you proof that I am NOT d4j! FFS what more can I do? What an odd bunch of nutbars.

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  36. Nookin (3,569 comments) says:

    KK & SPC

    I disagree with your logic. You strip 7 points from the orblax because it was a cockup. You restore 9 points to the ozzies because missing them was a cockup. OK, Let’s play that game.

    Take off Digby’s 7 points. Mils cocked up the tackle and wont do that again. He shouldn’t have done it this time so lets pretend he didnt. Ozzies down to 7.

    Back to the kicking. OÇonnor doesn’t have a 100% success rate. Let’s assume 2 out of 3. So, on average we should only give him one of these. Everyone has an off day. OÇonnor did so to recognise the fact we’ll only give him of the three. 10 points.

    You have stripped the orblax of 7 points because of the knock-on (was it?) but have to have a balanced view so we have to look at a try that the orblax murdered in the first half. Let’s give it to them. Final score 30 – 10.

    Which all goes to prove that you cant reconstruct the score after the game.

    Ozzies have some superb backs. One day they will be world beaters but not yet. They need to toughen up. Genia is there or thereabouts but not even he can cope when his pack is struggling. Cooper buckles under pressure. He is dreadful on defence. The orblax will have his number and will needle him all game. If they haven’t got the room then they do silly things. I don’t think Deans will teach them the patience that they need in time. But — they could still pull one out of the box. I just hope it’s against the poms in a semi.

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  37. Grizz (613 comments) says:

    Gazz,

    I saw the empty seats, particularly in the Western Terrace and ASB stand. I am bemused why the Ticketmaster Website implied they were sold out.

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  38. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    Nookin, I stand by my assessment.

    The only encouraging sign was that the AB’s scored two tries to one on build-up pressure in possession. But the Oz team showed how dangerous they are on turnover ball with the Ioane try – and there is no way Muliaina had any defensive chance marking two players with that amount of room. So playing them means retaining possession and not giving them counter-attack ball. And certainly denying them go-forward and room for their backs. They are certainly dangerous opponents.

    PS I only factored in 2/3 O’Connor penalty misses (it would have been 23-23 otherwise).

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  39. dime (10,215 comments) says:

    god some of you are depressing.. and cheap!

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  40. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    To be fair to the Ozzies I think the score at 50 minutes was kind to us but had it not been so kind we would not have then swapped out half our team. The stall in the scoring in the 2nd half was due to the reshuffle which would not happen in a RWC knockout game. A fair scoreline would have been 42 – 20 in a finals game.

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  41. kiwigunner (232 comments) says:

    “Nonu’s try just before 10 minutes was a close call and right on the boundary” hahahahahaha!

    Agree with gravedodger – the same thing has happened in english football – game priced out of proper fans reach and ‘big match tourists’ there for the kudos, to be seen, or to hob nob with clients have filled the seats draining the ground of atmosphere and becoming a self fulfilling prophecy of reduced crowds when those proper fans find themselves surrounded by johnny come lately’s who don’t know ‘in touch’ from the ‘boundary’.

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  42. mikenmild (12,391 comments) says:

    How about ‘on the line’?

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  43. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    FFS. If you can’t afford the tickets don’t go.
    The losers on the left grizzle about everything so why the hell are you guys joining them.

    If I want to go I pay and fucken shut up about it because I am according to the left a rich prick.

    Leave the left to be jealous and get on with life.

    Cheers

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  44. mikenmild (12,391 comments) says:

    Fair enough, I’m going to the final and it cost enough to make one’s eyes water. No ones forcing me though, and I figure it’s still much cheaper than going overseas to watch it. Might not be another chance to see it here for 20 or 30 years. I’m just grateful to the taxpayers for subsidising it this time round.

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  45. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (743 comments) says:

    “Perhaps James O’Conner needs to spend more time in front of the posts, rather than in front of the mirror?”
    Haha… good stuff!!!

    “Take off Digby’s 7 points. Mils cocked up the tackle and wont do that again.”
    Nah, he didnt, he was beaten fair and square! Ioane has become the best winger in the world as this season has progressed. When the TAB option for Top Try Scorer comes out, hit Ioane!

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  46. big bruv (14,222 comments) says:

    “[DPF: I’ve just checked the IP address and it does match D4J so the Fatboy account has been locked]”

    Ha ha ha.

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  47. Zapper (1,048 comments) says:

    Aussies scored from a knock on and Cooper threw 5+ huge forward passes that they weren’t good enough to score from…yet because O’Connor is a shit kicker, we were lucky to win?? Can we use that logic and say that Leon McDonald had an off day in 2003 so we really won?

    What a bunch of f**king whiners. Australia was lucky to get as close as they did. We blew opportunities and they scored when Weepu was illegally held back. Cooper deserved a broken jaw after his cheap shot and hopefully a Saffer gives it to him nexct week, although it’s better for us if he plays. Ioane and Genia are the major threats. We may well struggle in Brisbane – I’d prefer to win but it’s a perfect time to rest players and it’s a vastly different arean to the world cup.

    I agree with dime – there are too many depressing people on this thread. I assume they’re Labour supporters.

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  48. mikenmild (12,391 comments) says:

    Ha ha. Kudos to whoever noticed the D4J/Fatboy identity.

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  49. mikenmild (12,391 comments) says:

    Zapper

    I doubt there is much alignment between political sympathies and rugby attitudes.

    It was a brilliant game last night. The margin reflected the NZ dominance. We’re lucky to have such a strong team and there’ll be some unlucky men to miss out on the world cup squad – outside backs especially.

    And thanks to DPF for blogging on this. Don’t worry about niggly criticism, if you enjoyed it you enjoyed it. If it was left to the ‘purists’, there would be as many at the game as at a NZ communist party meeting.

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  50. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    Zapper sure, realism is a check on all sorts of tribal chauvinism.

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  51. Zapper (1,048 comments) says:

    Well those on the left spend their lives feeling guilty and negative so a correlation would not be a surprise.

    SPC – that depends on the version of realism you’re talking about. Those who think we were lucky have a version akin to retardation.

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  52. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    Zapper, as they say there are some people you just don’t talk sports or politics with more than once.

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  53. toby1845 (70 comments) says:

    David, I’m not sure that 30-14 was a fair reflection of the game, and certainly not of the gulf between the two sides. I’ve been listening to Australian commentators (TV and radio) throughout the day, and they agree.

    Given the quality of the ALL Blacks’ defensive play in the first 50 minutes, I suspect that they could have keep Australia try-less if they had really wanted to. Instead both Australian tries came when the All Blacks already had the game sewn up, and were looking for the bonus-point that would have all-but sewn up the Tri-Nations. They could afford to chance their arm in this game, but won’t do it again when it matters.

    I think the game to watch will be the Australia-Samoa quarterfinal. Australia should win, but it will be interesting to see how many of their playmakers get through unscathed and are able to turn out against England or France in the semifinal the following weekend. Then Australia’s lack of depth, and reliance upon 2-3 brilliant players, will be exposed.

    People are talking up an NZ-Aus final, but my money is on England to get up over Australia.

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  54. Zapper (1,048 comments) says:

    Maybe. Personally, I wouldn’t not talk to you about it again just because your analysis on this occasion is so wrong that it is mind boggling. Others may have less patience than me though.

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  55. Zapper (1,048 comments) says:

    Yep, you’re on the money Toby. Australia making the final is by no means guaranteed. Neither is New Zealand making it as we would have to get past South Africa. Australia may well not even get out of their pool unbeaten which means they’d play South Africa in the quarter finals. Of course, even if we win then some people will find a way to claim we really just got lucky because the other team had a terrible kicker….

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  56. Frederick (39 comments) says:

    Well I will be out of the country for the whole of the World Cup. This will put to the test the absolute bollocks that this is a huge global event with a massive captive audience. Yep when I am in England and France there will be decent coverage even though it will still play second fiddle to football.

    However once I am in Germany, Scandinavia, Russia (even though they have a team) China etc I can bet my life savings coverage will be absolutely non -existant. Maybe at best a couple of lines on page 27 of the sports supplement. Or if my hotel has CNN or BBC I might get some results. Otherwise zip, zilch, nought, bugger all. I think you get the picture

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  57. Longknives (4,961 comments) says:

    “Game to watch, & likely winners will be the AB v ‘bok semi final”

    I find it fucking hilarious that All Black supporters seem to already know the results of this tournament before it has even kicked off! In 2007 All Black fans were talking about ‘who they would play in the final’..then Argentina beat France in the opening match, meaning NZ played France in their quarter final- And we all know how well that turned out for the ‘invincible’ All Blacks…
    What happens if Argentina roll England in Pool play? Or if the French beat NZ in their pool match? (Which they are well capable of on their day…)
    I honestly believe NZ rugby fans and media are amongst the most arrogant and one eyed in the World…It just astounds me that they seem to already know who their team (that hasn’t made it past the semi’s for 15 years) is playing in this years Grand Final!!

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  58. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    Sure its arrogant, but it is also natural for supporters of the team ranked number one.

    And since the AB’s have been ranked number one for most of the past 16 years, the chokers are overdue.

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  59. hubbers (146 comments) says:

    France will play a second string side against the ABs in the pools unless they have dropped a match.

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  60. Longknives (4,961 comments) says:

    SPC- The IRB World Rankings were introduced in 2003- That’s 8 years not 16!
    Rabid All Black fans seem to place great weight on being ‘ranked’ No 1, and frequently use this to rubbish and belittle the actual World Champions, seemingly not realising that the ranking system is simply a ‘seeding’ system for the World Cup.
    It also amuses me that All Black fans just don’t seem to understand that in the professional era teams like England, France and Argentina generally only field their absolute top sides during the World Cup tournament itself- which is why NZ gets rather complacent and over- confident whenever they meet the likes of France in a quarter-final….

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  61. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @SPC – using your dodgy one-eyed view of the game, I could quite easily say that the ABs should’ve scored a further 20 points if they didn’t bomb several gilt-edged opportunities.

    Do you enjoy being miserable?

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  62. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    hubbers I think your wrong.
    France play Tonga after they play us, if the play a 2nd string team to us they will risk going home early. Tonga have a fair chance of tipping them up. Should be a cracker game, brutal tackles can win it for Tonga.

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  63. Wayne91 (142 comments) says:

    Frederick – Yeah I get your picture and couln’t give a toss. I will be enjoying the RWC not just for the rugby but for a celebration of our country.
    Hope you have a good trip

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  64. mikenmild (12,391 comments) says:

    Right on Wayne. Who gives a toss if it isn’t a huge hit in the Europe or the US. It’s one of the world’s biggest sporting events, and certainly the biggest event we could ever host in NZ. Just enjoy it.

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  65. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    longknives, the AB’s were favourites in 1995 and 1999, before the official rankings began. The criticism of the AB’s is not that they are over-rated but that they choke at the Cup. It is simply not true to say that other teams “only” play their top teams at world cups. Sure on a few occasions the English and French have sent less than full strength teams on tour south, but if anything the AB’s have played a composite A and B teams on northern tours and beaten the full-strength host side.

    I find some irony to being called a rabid supporter by you and then called miserable (as in not being rabid a supporter enough enough) by others.

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  66. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    seanmaitland

    I didn’t base my assessment on what if’s – both sides had chances they did not take, or complete as well as they could have. The Oz tean does not usually miss 3 penalties and one of our tries was from a knock-on.

    If the score-line was closer (as it could and should have been) how would the AB’s have handled the pressure and would the Oz forwards have got back into the contest rather than accept they were being edged.

    As I noted – “the only encouraging sign was that the AB’s scored two tries to one on build-up pressure in possession. But the Oz team showed how dangerous they are on turnover ball with the Ioane try – and there is no way Muliaina had any defensive chance marking two players with that amount of room. So playing them means retaining possession and not giving them counter-attack ball. And certainly denying them go-forward and room for their backs. They are certainly dangerous opponents.”

    PS, the reason why it is an encouraging sign the AB’s scored two tries to one in possession build-up is that this is the style of play more likely in the intensity and pressure of knock-out Cup games – for some reason teams (say AB’s and this time also the Australians) that show their ability to counter-attack or strike from turnover ball tend to get denied the opportunity in Cup events.

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  67. kiwigunner (232 comments) says:

    ‘It’s one of the world’s biggest sporting events, and certainly the biggest event we could ever host in NZ. Just enjoy it.’

    Not correct of course and FIFA’s second biggest tournament the Under 20 World Cup – the next one to be held here – will easily eclipse the RWC (though less Kiwis will attend games I guess).

    I don’y buy the idea that Rugby is losing its popularity in NZ – reduced crowds are due to the fact that the NZRFU through limiting TV coverage to Sky means that it makes little sense to pay for a ticket when you already have paid to get it in your living room and the waste of space that are the Super 15 and the Tri Nations.

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  68. mikenmild (12,391 comments) says:

    Not so sure about that. The FIFA tournament will be no big deal for NZ to hold logisticallysoin that reagrd an in impact on the country there won’t be a bigger event than RWC 2011.

    If international TV viewing is the measure, it’s notoriously difficult to get accurate figures. What sporting event this year will get more viewers? I don’t know, but the RWC is definitely a big deal.

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  69. stephen (3,981 comments) says:

    The criticism of the AB’s is not that they are over-rated but that they choke at the Cup.

    A bit of sporting semantics here: isn’t choking when victory is in sight but the pressure becomes far too much, leading to an implosion and a loss (see South Africa in the 1999 Cricket World Cup for a classic example)? That hasn’t really happened to us, we just straight out lose to…whoever!

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  70. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    In the AB’s case, the term choking is more a case of the AB’s (open and attacking) style of game coming unstuck under the pressure of the intensity of World Cup games. Often the more defensive style of game team has won – South Africa in 2007 and 1995, England in 2003. Less so the 1991 (still they let their final opponents do most of the attacking) and 1999 Australians (not their most attacking team, great at taking kicks and strong in the lineout).

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  71. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (743 comments) says:

    “the AB’s were favourites in 1995″
    If you are talking about the actual betting odds, I dont think they were
    I think they became favourites as the tournament progressed, and Lomu was literally running over the opposition.

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  72. stephen (3,981 comments) says:

    I’ve never understood why the ‘defensive style’ apparently wins so much WC footy when outside it the AB-style tends to tear defences up! Is it because ‘defensive style’ is simpler and so less prone to ‘falling apart’?

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  73. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    yeah you are right short, the 1991 winners the Australians were favourites pre-tournament.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/rugby_world_cup/history/3110397.stm

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  74. SPC (5,665 comments) says:

    stephen, in a word yes – the defensive style adapts better to the intensity of the pressure occasion of the important game. There is a fear of making a mistake that hampers attacking risk and teams that use that style to clear away from opponents in the every year international struggle in the pressure of the closer contest. When it comes to the struggle for field position and kicking penalties and drop goals we are no better than the competition.

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  75. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @SPC – the South African’s luck was as much why they won 2007 as their style – having to play Fiji and Argentina to get to the final, then scraping through a dour final with an average England side. France pulled out a top-drawer performance against the AB’s, and then played like rubbish in the semi, gifting it to England.

    The 2003 tournament was far better and a far better display of rugby.

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  76. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @kiwigunner and @milkenmild – we are co-hosting the cricket world cup in 2015, which will easily eclipse the RWC and the soccer under 20’s in terms of viewing numbers – actual tourist numbers won’t be as large though I’d imagine.

    Given the 2009 Fifa under-20’s only had a cumulative TV audience of 500 million, its nowhere near the RWC either which had 4.2 billion in the 2007 event. There were also twice as many gate-sales to the 2007 RWC as there were to the 2009 under-20s Fifa event. Sure, the Fifa World Cup is huge, but you’ve got some extremely rose-tinted glasses on if you think the under-20s is on a similar scale.

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  77. Brian Smaller (3,966 comments) says:

    People who criticise us rabid All Black fans seem to me to usually be people with little experience in playing, coaching or understanding the game of rugby.

    However, I digress…For four years I had a season pass at the Cake Tin when the Nazis there started telling me I couldn’t take my trusty thermos with me to games. Apparently I might throw it and the hot coffee it contained onto other patrons. Funnily enough, that thermos hadn’t been thrown in the 25 years I have been lugging it to footy games. I have seen security throw out one person’s Burger King, but allow another guy in with a Macdonalds meal in because Macs were a sponsor. It is fucking ridiculous. A piss poor black filter coffee at the Cake Tin costs about $5 and somehow trying to get back to your seat with that is less dangerous to others than pouring a coffee on your own lap.

    So now my live rugby consists of watching my boy’s U16 team play and whatever 1st XV school matches I can make. Wellington College is hosting the annual Quad Tournament this year (August 22-24). New Zealand’s oldest school tournament – Nelson College, Christ’s College, Wellington College and Wanganui Collegiate. Wellington College are the team to beat.

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