20 Nov

Go The Poms
by Paul Waite
20 Nov 2003

Ask yourself this question: what would it mean if Australia won the Rugby World Cup this Saturday night?

The Wallabies have played awful rugby for the whole season, losing twice to New Zealand, once to South Africa and once to England on their own soil, then stumbling through the World Cup itself up until the semi-final where they played one out of the box.

They’d obviously drilled themselves silly for that semi-final since the Bledisloe Cup loss in Auckland, and succeeded in killing the New Zealanders’ expansive running game stone dead.

That’s a bit of an interesting thing in itself isn’t it? Smothering the All Blacks’ attacking game with superb defence. Hmmm. Hold on a minute, the Aussie Press have been haranguing England this week in typical Okker cheerleader fashion, telling us that England are “boring” and “cheats” and are “killing rugby”, and “O woe is us” if the Poms happen to win because it will be sooo bad for the game.

All this in support of a team which got through to the final by cleverly nullifying the opposition’s attack. It’s no accident that the only try they scored against the Blacks was a rather fortuitous intercept, and nothing to do with Wallaby “creativity” whatsoever. They won the game on cleverly targetted defence, applied with a great passion. Nothing wrong with that, but we could be spared the holier than thou shite being crapped out of the Australian media’s collective back-side thanks.

And what if the Aussies win this weekend? Will they be deserving of the tag “Best In The World”?

England on the other hand are clearly out in front. Should they win this weekend, as I’m fervently hoping, then all will be right with the World of rugby. Their record this season is second to none, putting them deservedly at Numero Uno in the world rankings. They have beaten both Australia and New Zealand on their own turf, would have every right to claim the “Best In The World” crown, should they win.

That’s the nature of the Rugby World Cup. It’s nothing more than a very thin, slightly over-sweet icing on a very large cake.

Hopefully the result on Saturday will bear out what we all know in our minds, if not our hearts: England are currently the best rugby team in the World.

I have another reason to hope that England win the Cup in fact. Being an All Black supporter I have, for the past eight years, watched as the traditional forward power of rugby in this country has been hung out to dry. John Mitchell promised us much, but has not delivered as yet in terms of rectifying that.

I hope for an England victory so that it might, finally, point the way to adjustments which need to be made in our approach to the game.

Go Whilte!

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

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