It had to happen. All week I had heard on the radio, read in the papers and had seen on TV the chuckling smugness of certain commentators and their firm belief that the Crusaders V Warratahs clash would be a cake walk for the Canterbury men. Each time I heard one of these comments I had a stomach churning flash back to the week before the 2003 World Cup semi final when it seemed that most of the New Zealand public thought the All Blacks just had to turn up to cement the win against the Wallabies and thus go through to the final against England. Of course, on that day nearly four years ago, we saw the Australian spirit and tenacity come alive before us, at the expense of our floundering All Blacks. And the New Zealand nation had to eat a fair dose of humble pie. The lesson? Never write off an Australian team, in whatever sporting code. Especially when they're at the bottom of the table and struggling. To the credit of the actual players - I don't think they were the ones writing off the plucky Australians. But one just has to have a scroll through the web pages to see there was plenty of Kiwi arrogance in the media leading up to this match. I ask myself - when will they learn?
See this blog from Stuff, this article from the Press and from sportal.co.nz quoted on the NZRFU website for plenty of high expectation.