Oh Soopa, It's Rugby Again!
by Paul Waite
18 Feb 2003
Here we are again, all packed and poised to set out on another mega-expedition across the interminable landscape of Super12dom, to go where every rugby supporter has gone before, to drink more beer and eat more pizza in front of the telly than Guiness can fit in a Book of Records, to (in footy vernacular) Do The Hard Yards once again.
But a strange thing has happened this year – I’m actually looking forward to it!
Hithertofore, it has been a case of “oh no, not so sooooon!”, as rugby begins banging its drum to the accompaniment of the sound of leather on willow, and in the cooling heat of yet another summer in paradise (yeah, right). It has always seemed that the game was killing us with kindness in the shear amount of rugby heaped up on the punters’ platter – numbing us to death with the repetition of endless Super-12′s and Tri-Nations series.
This year I’m keen to see the boys back on the paddock, so the bastards must be grinding me down, but looking again maybe its just the sheer simplicity of this sport in a World gone mad with reports of terroism and war which plays a part. Or maybe it’s just Rugby World Cup Year.
Whatever the case we’re in for the start this Friday, and for once New Zealand Rugby is looking at a bright year ahead. Last season there was great debate surrounding John Mitchell’s decision to rest All Blacks by not including a good number on the end-of-year tour. I think that this will pay off handsomely this season. The Super-12 is a sapping experience for spectators, but that’s nothing to the body-wrecking forces visited on the players.
So, with all this in mind, here are a few predictions for the 2003 season.
1. The Super-12 will be won by the Crusaders (surprise) who, with plenty of All Blacks striving to get to the World Cup will walk away with it. The Brumbies will come second (again) as they are humbled 87-0 at Jade Palace.
2. The Bledisloe will be won back by New Zealand, as the Wallabies fluff around preparing for The Big One. Kylie Minogue will sing Waltzing Matilda at Stadium Australia just before the deciding game, but will forget the words and start humming the theme to Neighbours instead, unsettling the boys in the puke-yellow jerseys who know a Bad Omen when they hear one, even when it’s coming from a bird with a cute arse.
3. The Tri-Nations will be won by New Zealand. South Africa will be utterly useless, pretending that they are holding things in reserve for the World Cup, where they will be knocked out in pool-play. Former All Black John Kirwan will suggest that South Africa be replaced by Italy for next years 3N to make it a more balanced and interesting comp.
4. New Zealand will destroy Australia in the final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup to become World Champions. The Wannabes will be humbled to the tune of 45-12, 6 tries to nil, by a superbly tuned All Blacks outfit. Eddie Jones will be, for the first time in his life, stuck for words in the post-match conference due to the pain induced by the hard-backed edition of ‘A Million Rugby Quotes From Gobby Eddie Jones – Volume 1′ lodged sideways in his rectum. John O’Neil will be seen white-faced at the end of the final, prior to being sacked the following week for incompetence over the hosting arrangements which, oddly, will make a massive loss for the ARFU due to an accounting balls-up by the IRB and RWCL.
5. In an amazing coup-de-gras, NZRFU Chairman Jock Hobbs will negotiate an extra three Super 12 teams for New Zealand, at the expense of all the Australian teams, citing the “need for Australian Rugby to have a chance regroup after its poor 2003 showing”. A review of the situation will be timetabled for 2020.
Well that’s it, not much that is debatable there is there – pretty standard stuff.
Here’s to a great Super 12 and an even better 2003 season.by