Ferdy from London
I didn't see the match. Staying with family in Scotland, it was decided instead to take a walk to the Loch Katrine which was well worth it and so beautiful. I did utter a silent prayer in my heart that I wouldn't be missing the match of the century. Chances were it wouldn't happen, but Murphy's Law dictated otherwise.
I can't comment on the match. I've learnt about it through friends and through internet feeds. But what I can glean about it safely is this:
- 90,000+ people were in support for South Africa at Soweto
- John Smit's celebrations before the match ended in great discomfort for him
- Dan Carter became the greatest ever points scorer in international rugby
- Dan Carter had an off night with the boot but that's ok because since then we've found out he was playing with a broken foot (dan always gets away with it after all)
- Richie McCaw is a bloody legend stealing a try at the death
- Izzy Dagg is not far behind him, as is Thorne, Nonu, Smith, Weepu, Jane and of course Mealamu
- The Boks played with passion and were not too far off the speed, and I know they'll be fine and threatening come 2011
- For now NZ is number 1 in the world and tri nation holders, once again
Firstly - South Africa and Australia have to now fight it out for bragging rights. Secondly - NZ has to try and beat Oz Carterless. Now is the time for Cruden to step up - but can he do it? Thirdy - Richie McCaw is under the international spotlight from bloggers, media, coaches and referees alike for alleged 'cheating'. Or is is it just alleged 'being too good and clever for any other rugger player on the planet?' Because this is a NZ rugby blog, you probably know what part of the fence I'm sitting on.
Meanwhile, up North, there's other fish to fry. Stephen Jones of the Times in London, that great Lord Sphincter of them all, managed to damn the ABs with faint praise and accusations of offside (richie again - what's not to expect of course). But through gritted teeth, even he had to conlude NZ was indeed streets ahead of the opposition.
Most of the media in northern hemisphere climes in fact have been very subdued about the sensational season the All Blacks have had. If they're not wittering on about Richie - they're still stuck in the (only) English victory against Australia on Australian soil since 2003 (which incidentally is seven years ago - a whole life cycle done and dusted) when the red roses managed to beat the Wallabies. By one point, or so.
As the north gears up for the beginning of its domestic season, there is another important tournament going on. The Women's Rugby World Cup is currently being held in London. England Expects (as usual). They beat Kazakhstan (poor Borat) today by 80 points and Ireland previously - so maybe they are right to think they're top seed. (Cue a Tui billboard here).
The Black Ferns of NZ have had it 'easier', dismissing South Africa and Australia comfortably. Wales on Friday for the Ferns. I hope to get along there and proivde a match report - so watch this space.
In the mean time, good luck to them and thank you to Father Ted and his All Blacks. If you're a true rugby supporter, you take these moments because you never know where it's going in sport and what will happen tomorrow. For now, today will do. I just hope next time, I'll be able to see it with my own eyes.