The World Cup is well under way and permeates every part of life in New Zealand. This weekend almost brought, on several occasions, what the tournament is looking for – an upset. Romania was leading Scotland with 20 minutes to play. Japan challenged France for a good part of their match. Argentina completely destroyed English arrogant confidence and their new all black kit. Italy didn’t let Australia glide easily through their match, the USA bashed Ireland around a bit, and Wales – ahead with just minutes left in the match, held a history making 2nd victory over the Springboks in the history of Wales in their hard tackling fists. But when the final whistle blew none of the underdogs could find the jugular.
We watched the first 2 matches in crowded pubs in Wellington with a predominance of Springbok fans lubricating their enthusiasm. As we left “The Inn” just outside Wellington stadium for the Wales v SA match the drizzle was beginning to dwindle. The tension at times in the match was that rare quantity in a rugby match where everyone feels they are part of history. Those horrible moments where Priestland’s drop goal and Hook’s penalty drifted slightly wide of the posts caused audible sighs from the Welsh and sighs of relief from the Springboks. An exciting weekend in world cup rugby, even if the elusive underdog victory is yet to come.
We;re unplugging the camper van and heading west to New Plymouth for what isbeing billed as “The Cold War” match between USA and Russia. Hopefully underdog Russia will not be the first underdog to claim a scalp.