Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Super Rugby at Twickenham - Crusaders V The Sharks

It was a balmy day at Twickenham yesterday, the first day of daylight saving, and the hint of spring making you feel good to be alive.  Although the crowd did not exceed expectations (only 35,000 turned up in the end), the lower tier of the stadium was still packed and we were able to remember and do our bit for the Christchurch relief fund in the stands.

The rugby was simply stunning, with the Crusader's attacking backs, aided by Sonny Bill Williams running wild in the first half.  I could be biased but some of the tries took my breath away. Into the second half, the Sharks decided to wake up, mounting a spirited comeback while some of the Crusaders took their foot off the pedal for a bit of a snooze. (Why do NZ teams do that?) 

The rugby purists in the North may say that this was powder puff rugger with a lot of dodgy defence, but I think they might just be a wee bit jealous.  Sure, the defence was leaky in places (but what game doesn't have leaky defence?). This was rugby played at a frantic pace with both teams willing to attack and create a spectacle to cheer the hearts of everyone watching.

Man of the match was indeed - Dan Carter (does he ever have a bad game at Twickenham). The Crusaders impressed not only in the backs but also with their dominant scrum and at the breakdown, the Richie McCaw replacement of Matt Todd had everyone wondering how these Cantabs manage to find so many quality loose forwards.

Rave reviews of the match have been written about the game in London with the Time's Stuart Barnes almost orgasmic in his observations: 'These teams produced a game of rugby so far in excess of anything in the recent Six Nations that the implications are frightening," he said. "The earth moved today at Twickenham in an altogether more munificent manner. The rugby world showed its support for Christchurch and in return the Crusaders produced a mini epic."

Not everyone was pleased. The Saracens chairman was unhappy that the RFU had agreed to play the match at Twickenham as it meant that only 7,000 people turned up for an Aviva Premiership match between the Saracens and Newcastle held at the same time.  It was a typically ungenerous thing to get up in arms for (but I don't expect anything less from these rich English clubs that want for nothing when it comes to player time and resource).  Also, I for one was never planning on travelling to Watford to watch the Saracens and I suspect the majority of people at Twickenham were the same.

Not to be too churlish however to the English rugby community. The majority were supportive to let this game be played and a big thank you to the RFU for letting this go ahead. And if the Saracens really want more people coming to their matches, maybe they need to start playing some rugby like this..... 


Nursedude said...

For an expat Kiwi rugby afficianado, short of making it to an All Blacks game, this had to be as good as it gets. Glad to see the weather was decent and you got to see some tries and an entertaining match. For these Super 15 teams, it's a helluva long trip, but you have to think the chance to play a league match in a historic venue like Twickenham had to make up for the jet lag.

I am still waiting to see where they are going to move the Australia-Russia match that I had originally been slotted to see in Christchurch. I feel just gutted for the citizens of Canturbury...as horrible as this time as been, thank God at least they were spared a Tsunami.

slugso said...

Carter-Williams ... oh ... oh .. oh