I was so excited when I realised Richie McCaw was going to be playing his 100th game for the All Blacks in Hamilton. Sadly though it’s not to be, he’s injured himself in a training run and won’t be playing.
Hamilton was my home town when I lived in New Zealand and I have many fond memories of being at Rugby Park with my cow bell supporting the Waikato team in the Ranfurly Shield matches. That was way before The Chiefs and the Super 15. Rugby Park has also had a major overhaul and is now Waikato Stadium.
There were no real surprises in the first round of the Rugby World Cup, the real winners from most of these matches were us the supporters. It’s fantastic to see the ‘minnow’ teams improving with every world cup they attend, and because there style of play is sometimes ad-hoc they are causing headaches for the more experienced teams. As a spectator I love it.
There are several names missing from the All Blacks starting line up tonight, and that gives the reserves a chance to get out there and prove themselves. There has been a lot of conjecture about the All Blacks inability to win the World Cup without Dan Carter, however none of the kickers – not even England’s Jonny Wilkinson – had great games with their boot in Round 1, I believe it’s been blamed on the new ball, hmmm, so lets play some real rugby and score tries – that’s what we want to see, not games being won by the boot. I could start here on a couple of the ref’s for not allowing games to flow but that’s a whole other discussion.
Anyhow, the All Blacks are up against the Brave Blossoms tonight. I know Japan is known for it’s beautiful Cherry Blossom but couldn’t they have come up with something slightly more masculine? The Brave Blossoms held France last weekend so this won’t be a walk in the park for the All Blacks, but they’ve got the goods and Keven Mealamu is a great captain’s replacement.
Here’s hoping the crowd get out there and get behind the All Blacks tonight. We’re a solid bunch of supporters all hoping and willing the Cup to stay where it rightly belongs – in New Zealand.