How fantastic to wake up on such a lovely spring day and know you have three games of rugby to watch today!
The Rugby World Cup is finally here after four years of praying and dreading. The All Blacks haven’t won the RWC since the inaugural tournament in 1987, and we haven’t been to the finals since 1995 (as cruelly documented in Invictus). Bloody hell, I’ve got clothes older than that!
The RWC is being held in New Zealand this year. I was in NZ a few weeks ago, and RWC bunting was everywhere. Many people I spoke to were “completely over” the RWC – they were sick of hearing about it, sick of the hype, sick of waiting for the inevitable All Black choke – but since the tournament started last week there seems to have been a real up-swing in public support. I guess once something actually starts, rather than hearing about it in the abstract, it becomes easier to get behind it.
I’m loving the RWC so far. I’m particularly enjoying the way the ‘minnows’ have really stood up to the next-tier nations – we’re not seeing the 145+ point blow-outs we saw ten years ago. I have my favourites (apart from the All Blacks of course) – the USA team have come on really well, and I’ll always love Samoa. And Wales. And pretty much anybody apart from Australia.
The crowds have been amazing, the way various communities have gotten behind the visiting teams. I really loved the USA/Ireland game in New Plymouth, where the locals dressed up and cheered for their adopted team. And all the anthems have been done really well. Oh, and now I’m gushing.
Come on All Blacks, let’s win this thing.