Now the first thing I want to know is why the French have a chicken on their jumper and not a frog? Maybe we should call them the chickens, though they didn't appear to be afraid of the ALL BLACKS last night. Perhaps, just to stir up passion in their opposition, their logo could consist of an image of a small pacific island being vapourised in a cloud of toxic nuclear radiation (and who ever said that rugby and politics never mix!).
The Rugby Dome (aka a very small corner of one of the bars at the local RSL) was a tad of a debacle last night. Some half pickled heathen wanted the TV left on the rugby league but the overwhelming weight of the massive crowd that had arrived to watch the mighty ALL BLACKS continue their world cup preparation won the day. So the 4 of us (2 kiwis and 2 Australians) sat down to watch the game. Hmm - does 4 constitute an overwhelming crowd. We watched the first 30 minutes with no sound and continuous grumblings from our pickled friend (I think the natives are a bit restless here because of Queensland's shameful loss to the cockroaches in the state of origin earlier in the week). With 15 minutes to go, however, the crowd was bolstered by a massive 25% when another person walked over and decided to watch the game.
Well the game. I'd have to say that overall the ALL Blacks did not look particularly impressive. This was not a full strength chickens side either. What was going on with the NZ scrum. The chickens seemed to put pressure on it every time. The lineout was an absolute debacle and the goal kicking left a bit to be desired. The ALL BLACKS won't win the World Cup if these basic issues are not resolved. Resolve these issues and England is the only other real contender. If only every team played like the Welsh!
In the early parts of the game it felt like the dam would burst and the ALL BLACKS might have a resounding victory but alas the wheels started falling off and the chickens got some momentum up. Someone in the ALL BLACKS camp seems to forget to tighten the wheel nuts every game resulting in a very wobbly ride. How this game got to the point that with 5 minutes to go the Chickens were in a position where they only had to score a converted try (with a 15 to 14 man advantage) to win just shouldn't have been. To give it to the chickens - they are good in broken play.
Andre had a reasonable night with the whistle though there were a couple of what seemed to us bizare calls but it is a referees right to make a few inexplicable decisions each game just to keep the hoards guessing. Poor Reuben being sent off for that chicken putting his head in front of his fist (at least that's what it looked like in the 0.5 millisecond replay we saw 15 minutes later).
The chickens will go home with disapointment that they lost but a confidence in knowing that they have the ability to beat the ALL BLACKS. A confidence that should have been denied them.