Category Archives: Rugby World Cup

Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!

New Zealand were crowned world champions at the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 24 years today after squeezing past an inspired France team by a single point.

I am always pleased when the host nation wins a tournament and I am particularly pleased for the All Blacks who have, since 1987, always given us the haka before the game starts and this piece of theatre is both enjoyable and terrifying at the same time!

The traditional Maori war dance involves lots of thigh slapping, scary faces and loud chanting and you can’t help but feel sorry for any opposing team having to stand and watch this without the fear of God running through them! 

Take a look at this and you’ll see what I mean …..

 

So close

With all eyes on Wales this morning, the whole of the UK were willing the team on in this, their most important game for 24 years. The game had it all, a very close scoreline (9-8), a dramatic early sending off and an exciting game for the spectators

There was the usual flurry of comments on the message boards and social media channels when the referee red-carded the Welsh captain, Sam Warburton. It was a hugely controversial decision from referee Alain Rolland. Warburton picked Clerc up and took him over the horizontal, and he failed to return him safely to the ground. But he did not drive him into the turf and it looked like a yellow card to me. Austin Healy on Twitter called it a “most ridiculous decision” but this was soon followed by a tweet from @misterhutt saying “To all of you complaining: what’s the point in having rules if they are not enforced? How’d u feel if Warburton was the victim here?”

The Welsh boys can however hold their heads up high. To play like they did for 70 minutes with 14 men was a tremendous achievement and they were within a hair’s breadth of winning the game on a couple of occasions … but it was not meant to be. They were the better team for most of the game, and had any one of three penalties, one conversion or two drop-goals found their way between the sticks, they would have reached their first ever World Cup final. Instead it is France who go through to face the winners of Sunday’s game between New Zealand and Australia.

A game played by men with odd-shaped balls

I am not a big rugby fan despite spending most of my formative years in Twickenham, the home of English rugby.  Like most armchair sports fans however, I do like to support my national team in whatever sporting events are happening on the international stage so I have been keeping a keen eye on the events both on and off the field during the latest Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

With a less than impressive record during the competition on the field, the press attention has focused primarily on the players themselves and their not so exemplary behaviour.  I am not going to comment here on the Mike Tindall saga except to say he has far from covered himself in glory but I am sure his new wife will know how to deal with his stupid behaviour. 

I would like to comment though on the antics of Manu Tuilagi, the Samoan born Leicester centre.  His first faux pas in the tournament was to wear a sponsored gumshield in flagrant breach of the World Cup rules.  The RFU commented at the time that this was a “genuine error” despite the player’s brother Alesana being fined the week before for the very same breach whilst playing for Samoa!  Manu Tuilagi was fined £4,800 by World Cup Officials – I have not been able to find out the amount of the fine levied on Alesana.

Already £4,800 out of pocket, whatever possessed Manu to jump off that ferry yesterday?  A further fine of £3,000 and a formal police warning seems quite a heavy price to pay for a quick dip in the Auckland waters but lets not forget that he is an ambassador for our country while representing us overseas and as such he needs to be aware that the eyes of the nation are on him and his team mates and we expect better behaviour than this from our players.

Manu Tuilagi said that he wanted to play internationally for England where he has grown up, rather than for Samoa, his country of birth.  He is only 20 years old and obviously still has a lot of growing up to do – lets hope he’s learned his lesson – only time will tell.

Up and Under … down and out

So this morning England have spectacularly departed the Rugby World Cup 2011 at the Quarter Final Stage. 

This is the moment when Mark Cueto of England went over the line to score his try on the 75th minute, bringing the score to England 12-19 France.  At this moment, we were in with a (slim) chance as a conversion at this point would bring us level and the game would go to extra time.

In true English fashion, we then managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of a possible victory when Toby Flood failed to make the conversion when his shot went wide of the post.  (Mind you, if you check his stats he only has a conversion success rate of 69% so perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised!).

They ran out of time and inspiration as Les Bleus set up a well deserved semi-final clash with Wales.

My nomination for tweet of the week goes to Jonathan Allen who said “The sweet chariot swung pretty low during this world cup, got what we deserved #bbcrwc”

Come on the Welsh – the only home nation still in contention!!! 

“And we were singing hymns and arias, ‘Land of my Fathers’, ‘Ar hyd y nos’.

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