The weekend started as usual with a massive party on the way to the game city. This week it was Cardiff. Cam hired a van that could fit 15 people and had enough room to stand in the back. So stand we did playing old school Kiwis classics and singing at the tops of our lungs. As the driver and the only sober person in the van Cam put up with a lot of shit and never complained. Respect.
The party fizzled out on arrival in preparation for a long day partying on Saturday.
Saturday we got up in the usual manner had a plate of grease each and sewed the flags of the teams we had defeated onto our overalls.
Our venue of choice for the Australia v England quarter final was the mighty Cardiff Walkabout which was full to bursting with Kiwis when we arrived.
The England v Australia game was a great spectacle with England dominating up front and slowly grinding Australia down. My Australian girlfriend was not at all happy that the whole of the Kiwi contingent in the Walkabout loudly supported England. She saw it as an ANZAC betrayal. As I tried to explain to her at the time, New Zealand have good reason to be afraid of Australia and almost none to be afraid of England. Our quarter final was still six hours away and we were swept up in the drunken euphoria of people who thought their place in world cup history had become that much more certain with the departure of our old nemesis Australia. Needless to say, she didn’t understand.
Little did we know that we would suffer the same fate later in the day.
Knocked out by the French – again
There is no denying that Wayne Barnes and the linesmen had a shocker. Not just missing the French forward pass and sending McAlister off, but also in the penalty count in general. Nine penalties to two against you when you do 80% of the attacking just doesn’t make sense. I would love to know what the average number of penalties is per game and how this highly skewed ratio compares to other games. The French also made nearly 200 tackles to our 50. Does this correlate with other games of rugby? Do the defenders under pressure concede more penalties or do the team with all the possession? In the second half we dominated possession and at one stage played 25 consecutive phasesm and still we couldn’t score. The French played with enormous dedication and discipline and the infringements they made were either not noticed or not acted on by the ref. With minutes to go and only 2 points behind the All Blacks were so sure they would get over the line for a try they didn’t take the smart decision to take a drop goal right in front of the French posts. This overconfidence or failure of leadership was the last in a long line of stuff ups that ultimately cost us the game. We were utterly utterly gutted.
We tried to go out for a drink afterwards but no one was in the mood. For once time dragged when we were having rum.
In the aftermath it is disappointing that a small number of Kiwis went overboard with death threats to the ref and other online abuse. It makes us all look bad but hopefully rugby fans from around the world will realise that every country has a few dicks who take it too far to ruin it for everyone.