Saturday, 24 September 2011

Pool C - Australia v USA

It was a bit like Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome at the end of the 80 minutes - 30 blokes came on to the field but only about 23 of them walked off it under their own steam.

If ever there was to be a better demo of Deans’ lack of depth, it was a game that took out 3-4 of his players. After this he had Anthony Faingaa, Rob Horne and Pat McCabe sharing an ambulance to the hospital. Faingaa was the worst hurt, looking to be out cold in a tackle, but I understand he was up and about soon after - I hope he is okay, but surely he will be stood down to recover.

The Eagles were tackling all night, but could never get anywhere on attack. From my seat, they were so deep when on attack, the midfield were having to cover 15m just to get back to the advantage line they had ceded, and that gave Aussie all the time in the world to shut them down.

Glad to see Berrick Barnes and Drew Mitchell back - always thought they were both key to Wallaby success this year, but the Reds’ form and injury seemed to put them in the background.

Quade Cooper couldn’t even get a kick drum to work at the moment, and the Aussies (unlike the Boks) are spraying points wide every game and this could cost them big time in games where their precious space is shut down.

The atmosphere in the Cake Tin was great again. Despite the yellow Wallabies fans’ numbers being high (and bolstered with every empty yellow plastic seat), heaps of USA fans were painted up in red, white and blue .... as were many Kiwis who came off the fence and swallowed their anti-nuclear pride for an hour or two.

I don’t know where all this dross in the media about Kiwis being rude to and nasty to visiting Aussie fans comes from. I experienced nothing but good hearted banter all night, moreso than in the two Bok games we have hosted.

All our seated neighbours were happily ranting and laughing all night, and I think the general angle was the usual Famous Kiwi or Famous Aussie Claim Game. Seems no one was too keen on taking credit for Russell Crowe, but then ... there is enough of our Rusty to go around.

So, looks to me like Aussie have big depth and injury issues now - and this may hurt them beyond the pools, but for now they need to secure every win and bonus point they can to keep Ireland from qualifying first.

They have to annihilate Russia – a thought that would have excited Little Johnny Howard.

Also, a note on how much fun its been to just bowl up to visiting fans and have a chat so far at the Cup. They all seem to be having a great time, and feel Kiwis are looking out for them, and that is great.

Slugso and the Nursedude
 On Thursday night, down at Macs on the waterfront by the fanzone, and last night before the Australia v USA game, I got a chance to meet up and share a pint or two with Steve aka Nursedude who writes The Nurse Was a Prop blog - he’s a passionate Eagles and rugby fan, and he’s been a long time blog comrade of Ferdy’s and mine.

Great guy, and really interesting talking to him about rugby, and life in general, in the States. Good luck and safe travels to him and his wife Rebekah for the rest of their time here.


Nursedude said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Lu. It was great to meet you and your bride, too.

It's funny, where I was sitting with Da Redhead, there was bantering between Kiwi and Aussi fans, but it was all in good sport. I thought there was a good ambiance, very few empty seats.

The Aussies have a final group game against Russia, they will win it, handily, but just how many healthy bodies will Robbie Deans have for the quarterfinals against (Probably) the Springboks?

Ferdy said...

This world cup is certainly turning into a cracker.

I had to blink twice when I saw Berrick Barnes on the field and also, really glad for Drew Mitchell - he has made an astonishing comeback from injury.

I think that Quade Cooper is more the pantomime villain and he's played up to it as well. Aside from him being a wonderful rugby player, he's a character too (just leave our Richie alone Quade!)

So happy to hear that Nursedude and Slugso met up. Nursedude, I hope you continue to have a wonderful time in NZ. Go the Eagles! (And the ABs!)

Anonymous said...

Maddog - stop giving the tourists stranger danger.