Looking back thorough my folders, I found this draft post I wrote in June before the international season had started. Now, not all of it is right, and indeed it was just as a disastrous Hurricanes Super season had finished ... but I am surprised how assured and calm I seemed about the World Cup four months out:
Why has Stephen Donald always been so roughly treated by the armchair champions? Sure, he may not have ever grabbed the 10 spot dominantly with both hands, but a lot of the stuff said about him has been bloody nasty. I remember being actually embarrassed by NZ fans here in Wellington during the 2009 Bledisloe Cup match - their abuse was out of control. Good luck to him in Bath.
HE WON THE CUP FOR US!!!!
Why has all the focus been on Nonu and Hore as the public face of questioning the coaches? Under both Cooper and Hammett, Corey Jane repeatedly criticized 'the game plan', and this year his lack of on field focus may have cost him a World Cup spot. A fantastic player, but think carefully, Corey ... Perth would mean a complete end to All Black selection.
HE STAYED. HE DONNED THE BLACK JERSEY. HE HAD A BLINDER (AND A BENDER).
Why hasn't someone told both Ma’a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams to get their bloody arms up in the tackle? I am having nightmares about one of our 12s getting carded in big game for some shoddy NRL-style Big Hit.
SBW SEMI-FINAL? LUCKY WE HAD IT WON.
Why do England keep capping our cast offs? No disrespect to Waldrom, Flutey and Hape, but it seems pretty easy for an ex-pat to stand out enough in Aviva Premiership to get an invite to Twickers. Are they simply blossoming in a different environment or just illustrating how much better our players are? If it is the latter, then at this rate in 12 months, Stephen Donald will be the best player in England! (see point 1, sorry Stephen).
AND HE WILL.
Why do Kiwi crowds boo so much? The Crusaders vs Hurricanes game in Wellington last weekend was a shocker. Are we so bored with the product here that we just go negative 35 minutes into a game? This lack of any atmosphere is why I am so looking forward to the World Cup and the overseas fans it will bring.
THE ATMOSPHERE DID COME AND WE DID JOIN IN ... SORRY, QUADE.
What with the global economic coma, earthquakes, volcanic ash clouds, and the (possible) collapse of the eurozone, does this Rugby World Cup even stand chance? Yes. And we'll win it.
WE WON IT!!
Is the New Zealand Conference the hardest of the three in Super Rugby? It is no surprise that the Crusaders and Blues have got through, but the other three teams on our table are closer together than in Australia or South Africa. With no easy beats like the Lions or Rebels around, will it ever be possible for an NZ team to get enough points to top the pool rounds? I guess that depends on the 2012 Hurricanes squad and whether or not they become the 'easybeats' next year.
ONCE AGAIN SUPER FORM MEANT NOTHING FOR INTERNATIONAL SEASON.
Is there anyone else you’d rather have as All Black coach than Graham Henry? Not me. I love him doing the media rounds, as he has done lately. Ted has a twinkle in his eye at the moment, and his sense of humour slices through - his succinct tone shows real focus this year. He is hungry for that trophy.
TED ... YOU BEAUTY.
It’s a shame I am so rubbish at picking individual results and Fantasy Teams :-(