There are plenty of places where you can get the scoop on what happened over the weekend – Sportsfreak did a great job. So what I’m going to do here is a give a quick spray of the key talking points as I see ‘em.
France, New Zealand and Rispuct
For anyone who’s missed it, France’s self destruction on Friday night means that they are most likely to find themselves playing the AB’s in the quarters, which is great for the rest of us. Certainly puts more spice into how Argentina and Ireland get on, I’ve suddenly found myself with South American sympathies – Viva las Malvinas.
On the face of things, the Kiwi’s ass-whipping of the Ities is pretty impressive, the pasta boys are usually a pretty tough outfit up front so kudos to the boys in black. However, what’s got up my nose about the reporting of this game is the whole “they disrespucted the Haka” line on why the scoreline was so high.
What a load of crap. There’s a certain type of myopic Kiwi who trots this stuff out from time to time but the truth is that no-one owes their pre-game psyche-up anything. You respect the team that plays well, not their tap-dance. And for those of you who want to imply I’m dusrispucting the maori people, cop a look at this and tell me who’s taking the piss:
Also looks like I’m not the only one who thinks this.
The gutsy minnows – ripped off
I have to admit that prior to this weekend I was in the the ‘why bring these guys’ camp, but it’s hard to say the same after seeing what the efforts gutsy USA, Canada and Namibia pulled off. The not quite so minnow-ish Samoa also had a great 40 and I’ve already mentioned the Argies (go you pumas).
But something was pretty consistent across the minnows games that I saw – crap reffing against them – at important times in matches. How the ref Kaplan isn’t in the photo opposite amazes, as he was two metres away and looking right at it. And if you haven’t seen the incident, at 3-3 the yank in the photo, centre Paul Emerick was headed to the try line in open space when England Captain Phil Vickery almost hacked his leg off, and didn’t even get pinged for it, let along go to the bin. The States went down 28-10 in the end.
Samoa, who were putting on a spirited display against the Boks had a blatant try over-ruled when a Joe Tekori picked, drove and scored right on the line with the scores at 21-7 in the 42nd minute and play running their way. Somehow he was offside, but when Irishman Simon Easterby did exactly the same against Namibia, no problem (nor should there be).
And while we’re on the Namibia game, no-one seemed to deem going up to the TMO when at 27-17 and the Africans coming back into the game, Flannery blatantly spilled the pill in the corner. The try was given though, and the game sealed.