Thursday, 18 October 2007

Why I'll be backing South Africa

It's a rare occasion that a New Zealander finds themselves supporting South Africa in the rugby, but that's what I and I suspect most of my rugby-following countrymen will be doing on Saturday night. I'll be watching the World Cup Final with my South African flatmate, who served in the British Army and probably knows more ways to kill me than I've cooked dinners with spiral pasta, but that's not the reason why I'm behind the Boks.
It's England. Not that I have any bias against my new home - I support their football side and don't mind their cricket team, but oh, how I hate the rugby team.
I do, reluctantly, have to give them credit. From looking like they would struggle to beat Opotiki United a few weeks ago, they've showed a huge amount of guts and intelligence in getting this far. They've tackled strongly, their forwards are tough, they've played to their limitations. And Johnny Wilkinson, though far from the messiah he's portrayed in the media here, has kicked enough points to get them through. But boy, are they boring.
The excellent Jason Robinson aside, they have the attacking flair of a beached whale. South Africa at least know how to throw the ball around. In fact, after rubbish refereeing, ferocious French defence and some stupid decision-making saw the All Blacks go home, South Africa are the most complete team in the competition.
Let's hope, for the good of the game, they win and 10-man rugby doesn't.

P.S. Why is it that, time and again, France play well enough to beat the best team in the world, then fall flat the next game?

P.P.S. Given the number of friends who've told me how little they care about the rugby, I think the next World Cup might be the game's last chance to maintain its key place in New Zealand national identity. Which will probably be a good thing, though it's always nice to be consistently the best in the world at something.


Sarah said...

I am in the happy position of being able to support both New Zealand AND South Africa in any given sports situation (although I usually want South Africa to win if they are playing each other).
Gaan Suid-Afrika!

Julie said...

elementary my dear Tane, France only wins when it is expected that they will lose. All of France thought the froggies would win against the Poms so they didn't

Lauren Keenan said...

I just want South Africa to win because I am tired of English people telling me All Black jokes while wearing smug smiles. Sigh. Although I am sure that if I were in SA, it would be just as bad.