Monday, November 13, 2006

New Zealand vs. the rest of the world

Just too good. I managed to catch the second half of the France/NZ game at the weekend, and to be honest it was really rather depressing. France are currently the number 2 team in the world rankings, yet they were completely and utterly outclassed by a New Zealand side that just does everything right. For 20 minutes, I saw France sit on the NZ 22, trying everything, using every trick they could think of to break the All-Black line. They might as well have been throwing pebbles at a concrete wall. A sea of black shirts soaked it all up, without appearing to make any effort, before quite casually stealing the ball and running in another try from their own half. If they can maintain this form for another 11 months, for the rest of us can only aspire to second place in the World Cup.

The rest of the weekend's rugby was more pleasant viewing. A second string Wales eased passed the Pacific Islands without actually playing a very good team game. Yet the signs are promising - if Gareth Jenkins can organize a strong and consistent squad, there's at least a semi-final place for the taking in the World Cup. The Irish gave the 'boks a stuffing, and nobody's ever sad to see that happen. The Scottish had a glorified training day, and poor old England got rolled over at home by a team of amateurs who'd had four days preparation. Personally I'm all for the Argies making the 6-nations the 7-nations. Wales has strong ties with Argentina, and they are only strengthened when they humiliate the old-enemy so!

But, dear-oh-dear, I'm really not looking forward to the 25th of November.

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