Monday, 12 September 2011
Ferdy's round up - first weekend of RWC 2011
Here are my thoughts on the dramatic opening weekend of Rugby World Cup 2011.
Opening ceremony: Made me homesick for New Zillunt. It was beautiful. Glad it wasn't blowing a gale (I don't know why but I've become a nanna and keep praying that the tournament will have nice weather). Loving the anthems too with the NZSO backing tracks. But ITV doesn't focus on the choir singing which is a shame, I want to see whether I know anyone.
Opening game Tonga V NZ highlights: A first half try fest. Sonny Bill Williams for that *ahem* shirt change. No major injuries to any key players. Baby blacks Israel Dagg and Richard Kahui - will they or won't they usurp the old guard?
Opening game Tonga V NZ lowlights: The second half with the wheels falling off some rusty All Black forwards. Too many penalties, too many unforced errors. But credit to Tonga, they lifted their game and in hindsight, NZ did not do too badly. I am unhappy about our halfbacks.
England v Argentina highlights: The atmosphere in Dunedin's new stadium seemed electric. Hopefully this will shut people up who moan on about New Zealand rugby stadia lacking atmosphere. An Argentinian streaker cheekily winking at Jonny Wilkinson. Even though the skills on show were at best average and at worst dire, this was still a fantastic game to watch. Loved every minute of it. (Also, can't help it, I love Martin Johnson wearing his big gruff heart on his sleeve).
England V Argentina lowlights: The England all black kit malfunctioned in every way possible - from the players wearing the shirts to the numbers falling off them. I never thought I'd watch a rugby team in black have such trouble trying to find the tryline. Maybe swap back to white next time boys - eh?
Favourite tweet: 'Overheard Martin Johnson say 'i think i'm going to puma pants'
France V Japan: I didn't see the whole game, but until the last ten minutes, it was close with excellent Japanese defence - and a try. The minnows are roaring in NZ! JK is doing good work, will he be the next AB coach I wonder? French backline looked dangerous (gulp).
Australia V Italy: avoided watching this as couldn't bear to witness an Australian backline cut shreds into the Italians. The less I see of Quade Cooper, the better at the moment.
Ireland V USA: Missed this too but it sounded like the crowd was amazing (my home turf) if not the actual rugby. Loved Paul Emerick's intercept try for the US in the dying seconds. The eagle has landed.
South Africa V Wales: the game of the tournament thus far. What is it with Wales always in the most dramatic games at RWCs? They were so unlucky with Wayne Barnes yet again orchestrating controversy with a missed penalty goal (this will become stuff of legend). We know how you feel Wales, we know how you feel.
This morning's Wikipedia page on Wayne Barnes that was quickly edited after five minutes: Wayne Barnes is an English international rugby referee who has his eyes painted on
Conspiracy theory of the week: The kickers are struggling with these special IRB balls for this world cup. Maybe they've been especially engineered to deter too many drop goal attempts? Hope so. Loved the way everyone in Wellington booed when Morne Steyn tried for a droppie.
Annoying journalism: I don't want to read any more pompous articles in England about how New Zealand fans should behave. Likewise anything about rugby player WAGs - this isn't football (or tiddly winks). And if I had a ten cent coin for every article about the All Blacks that mentions choking, I'd be a kazillionaire by now. Boring, lazy journalism. Where's the originality?
Is it just me or has the rugby this weekend been brilliant? Anything to do with maybe the tournament coming back to its spiritual home and bringing out the best in everyone?
The ruggerblogger cup: Results are out. I'm middling to bottom of the table. Shit. Must do better (it's tough being a coach).
Miss a game and don't have time to watch the replay? All you need to do is log onto ruggerblogger and take a glance at Slugo's incredible rugby infographics which will tell you exactly how the game panned out. Amazing. The man is a living legend attempting to put up graphics of all 48 games. Plus - he has designed some fantastic mobile phone apps. Check them out, they're wicked.