Why Kiwis so celebrate England’s exit from the Rugby World Cup

October 5th, 2015 at 6:59 am by kiwi in america

You’d think after our own ignominious exits from various Rugby World Cups, that we’d spare a thought for the Poms; ejected unceremoniously from their very own RWC. Yeah nah. Not happening.

I was born in England and came to NZ as a young child. I have family there and a deep respect for English culture and history. Then there’s that famous aphorism seen on T shirts in NZ “I cheer for the All Blacks and any team playing Australia”. Whilst it was exciting to see England fight back in the second half and make a contest of it (if only for a portion of the game), I can’t hide the fact that I was rooting for Australia AND thrilled to see the Poms beaten. For most kiwis, this is a no brainer but when you have residual ties to England and I normally am quite pleased when anyone beats the arrogant Aussies, there is a special package of reasons why I personally was so pleased to see England out.

The English players, coaches, selectors and media went into a frenzy when England beat the All Blacks so comprehensively at the end of the Northern Hemisphere tour in December 2012. Steve Hansen gave the hysteria more legs when he opined that England were 2015 RWC title contenders. Since then, the inevitability of England hoisting the Webb Ellis trophy has been the arrogant assumption of English rugby at every level. By the time the tournament started, we were all sick of the smug arrogance of Lancaster and his players who talked about their chances at Fortress Twickenham and of their 2012 victory over New Zealand as if they’d beaten us 5 times in a row!

But it goes deeper than that. Australia rugby writers love the Wallabies and Aussie TV commentary is suitably and typically one eyed – but amongst those who commentate knowledgeably on rugby in Australia, there is a deep and abiding respect for the All Blacks. Not so with the Pommy media scribes. Not only is there far less respect but there is the persistent drum beat of vituperative attacks on key All Blacks the most obvious being the oft repeated claims by English rugby writers that Richie McCaw is a cheat.

As I analysed my glee at seeing what was effectively my own countrymen going down, I reflected on the boorish English crowds. I was at the fateful semi final game in Sydney for the 2003 RWC. I had an All Blacks shirt on so I was fair game for the mostly Australian spectators as I left. There was virtually no taunting or mocking – elation for sure that Australia was in the final, but belying this attitude was the respect Australian rugby fans have for the ABs. Not so English crowds. I’ve never been to Twickers but a good mate now resident in London goes there often to watch internationals and he says the crowds are awful to visiting teams and most especially to New Zealand.

Part of my ambivalence to English rugby is borne of the stultifying, sluggish forwards dominated style of rugby that prevails in England courtesy of their sodden muddy fields which has given us decades of ugly English rugby. But it goes further – it’s the whistle happy pedantic refereeing style that emanates from England and, via England’s historical dominance of the IRB, spills over to almost all the northern hemisphere referees. I’ve come up hard against that as a referee here in the US where English style whistle happy pedantry is the cultural norm among the US raised referees.

Finally, at a gut almost visceral level, we in New Zealand love to see our former colonial masters, the mother country who brought us our national game and who still arrogantly influence the governance of the game internationally, finally not just beaten but utterly humiliated. Roll on a great Australia New Zealand final!!

Ridiculous criticism

May 17th, 2012 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn blogs:

Why are we paying for Murray McCully to stay in hotels in Auckland?

According to his latest Ministerial credit card receipts [PDF, p. 12], we paid for McCully to spend two nights at the Heritage Hotel in Auckland. The expense is justified as “accommodation during RWC”. This would be entirely uncontentious, except for one thing: McCully represents an Auckland electorate, and I am informed he is on the electoral roll there. Which means he has a home of his own to go to in Auckland. So again, why the hotel? …

Ministers are given credit cards to cover actual, reasonable and necessary expenses – not because they feel like spending a night of luxury on the taxpayer, or just can’t be arsed driving home.

I’m sorry but this is ridicolous. First of all staying for two nights in the Heritage hotel is not a night of luxury. I’ve stayed there as TVNZ put you up there if you are up for one of their shows. It is a very standard hotel. Nothing wrong with it, but not a luxury hotel.

As for why McCully was staying there for two nights, during the Rugby World Cup. Well he was the Minister in charge of a event which is broadcast to a billion people, and has overall revenues of hundreds of millions. At an event like that you could well have meetings starting very early and finishing late, plus a hotel room allows you to hold meetings in it.

I speak from experience. I was the Chair of the organising committee for the ICANN meeting in Wellington some years ago. This is a fraction of the size of the RCW, but was a fairly major event to host, as you had 500 – 700 Internet policy makers here. Despite living in Wellington, I stayed at the official host hotel of the Duxton (and if anyone calls that a luxury hotel, they have not been there often) as it was decided that the extra cost was fairly minimal in the context of the importance of smooth management, which was having all the key decision makers staying together so that as issues arose, decisions could be made quickly.

In the context of an almost billion dollar events like the RWC, a decision by the Minister to spend two nights in the Auckland CBD rather than what can be an hour away in East Coast Bays, is unremarkable and trivial – and frankly criticism of it is ludicrous, especially painting it a night of luxury.

I think those that glamorise hotels have never stayed in one themselves. In the main they are just places they supply a bed you can sleep in and a bathroom you can shower and freshen up in. Sure there are some luxury hotels with stunning views and the like, but 95% of staying in hotels is just about a well located bed.

When I go up to Auckland, I much prefer crashing at a friend’s place than staying in sterile hotels. However sometimes I will reluctantly go into a hotel, because the location in the CBD allows you to do business more efficiently.

Why did McCully stay in a hotel for two nights in Auckland? The exact same reason – it allowed him to do his job as RWC Minister more efficiently.

UPDATE: Looking closer at the actual DIA documents, the title page is headed up “Credit Card Statements and Reconciliations – Staff of the Office of Hon Murray McCully”. This means it is not McCully’s credit card, but his staff’s ones. And when they are paying for something on behalf of the Minister, they always note that. So when there is no such notation, then the expense is presumably for them, not the Minister.

Having made inquiries, it turns out that in fact the two nights at the Heritage was for a Wellington based staff member who was in Auckland for RWC duties. So I look forward to NRT doing a retraction.