So we want to convey our congratulations to a couple of other great New Zealand sporting teams. Their achievements over the last little while have made them lots of new friends. Rather like the early season Waratahs some would say.
Firstly the Tall Blacks, the New Zealand Basketball team. These guys have played out of their skins to come 4th in the World Champs in Indianapolis. There were plenty of people who were happy with them beating the Australians, let alone their earning entry to the Champs.
Then there were more people ecstatic with their pre-tournament form which included a win against the then world Champs (and again these champs) Yugoslavia.
By the time the TBs actually got to Indianapolis and the TV coverage started, there were a whole heap of people going wild about the wins in the first round robin that took them into the second round.
Of course things started to slide a bit here. although they only really got sat on by Germany. The TBs were winning big raps, and then lead the US "Nightmare" Team for the 1st two quarters of their game.
So there were huge truckloads of hangers-on by the time the TBs bet China to enter the heady world of semi-finals.
Lets see, at that stage the worst we could do was 4th, and the best the US “Scream” Team could do was 5th.
Well... we can live with that!-)
Ok so they got beaten in both their semi and the Bronze medal playoff, but they gave their best in both, even if they were shagged. You can't ask for better than that.
OK... you do want more! How about the Auzy Boomers not having to beat the TBs to get into the next Olympics. Will that do ya?
Tall Blacks - You bloody beauties !
In another team ball game (the oval ball one where you rub the tackled person in the face rather than rucking them) we wish to pay tribute to another excellent season by the NZ Warriors.
The Warriors had a pretty good season last year to earn their first ever play-off berth, so Minor Premiers this year is some improvement!
It is fair to say that the Warriors will never have to worry about being taken seriously again by Australians. That and Aus$100 K in the pocket is about as good as a NZder could ask for.
And yet it isn't over. They still have at least 2 play-off games, and going by recent form probably more. This weekend will be the third sell-out home game in a row - in Auckland no less!
Should we mention that they dispatched their last opponents without 7 of their first choice players? On this occasion, we should!
Hem… didn't another hot-shot oval ball team try that this year?
Yes... that's right... the Waratahs!
The less we say about Canterbury at the moment the better I'd say! Waikato really thumped us in the weekend and thoroughly deserve the favourite tag for this years NPC.
Its hard to pinpoint whats wrong with Canterbury at the moment. Its obviously becoming a logistical nightmare trying to manage AB player workloads, bringing on new young talent, & merging both into a cohesive unit.
I think they will come right as the big names start to get back into big match form & thinking. In some ways it might be good for NZ rugby if Canterbury don't try and go fullout this NPC with an end of year AB tour in mind, although I'm not sure whether provincial aspirations should completely take a backseat to national achievements.
Waikato certainly are playing a great brand of rugby at the moment. Exciting in the backs and intimidating in the forwards. Royce Willis certainly is making big strides again and should be one of the first named in the AB touring party to Europe.
Anyway, the Cantabs will be back!
Well done the Tall Blacks and go the WARRIORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!