At the start of the Competition I wrote about my 8 hopes for the tournament, I ended up being disappointed by just about all of them!
- First off: the French team only turned up for the final and even then could proably have made a better fist of it.
- Second: there might not have been minnows, but there were Second Class Citizens expected to play with shorter breaks between games, making their life far more challenging.
- Third: Hard tackles seemed less apparent,but the new tip tackle was invented to overcome some of the negativity associated with Sam Warburton’s class in the France v Wales match. It looks as though a Tip Tackle is the same as a spear tackle but with a little less intent!
- Fourth: Not only did NZ continue with some throat slitting gestures, in contravention of IRB directives, nobody seemed to care as it only “added to the atmosphere”.
- Fifth: Good Officials! Pah! Allain Roland might have been a culprit but he was acting on the orders of the IRB whjo failed to cover themselves in glory at all. And fining France for responding to the Haka in the final should how officialdom is taking itself far too seriously.
- Six: the anthems were better than expected, the small choirs were very appropriate and the opera stars toned it down just a little. But some did try to entertain and spoilt the moment.
- Seventh: The referees let the stars – oh OK it’s actually Richie McCaw – get away with anything and everything, AGAIN and AGAIN.
It was however only the final point that nearly made it right: NZ did deserve to win and they had to battle hard in the final to defeat a very plucky French team. It’s a shame though that they did not demonstrate respect for them in the immediate post match interviews with neither Henry or McCaw mentioning the opposition.
So overall it wasn’t a great tournament. There were fewer tries than usual, lower scores than usual and my aspirations will now have to wait for another 4 years for the next one to come around.
But despite all that it remains – IMHO – the greatest sporting show on earth bar none. Roll on 2015.