Je suis coeur brisé

My heart started really thumping with twenty to go – but hang on, wasn’t this meant to be the ‘sit back and enjoy the ride’ cup, as we took everyone to bits with this fantastic team that’d reconditioned, formed leadership groups with itself, and beaten all comers in the last four years? No worries, right? As Bob Howitt, a proper rugby Journo, reassured John Campbell on Thursday night, we have the best prop, openside, first five and full back, overseen by the most meticulous coach. There was no WAY we’d lose.

While alternate realities are pretty appealing right now, we are indeed out in the quarters. We still have wall to wall All Blacks flogging us phones, Weet Bix and Fords on the telly like some kind of sick joke, but they’ll be watching the rest of the World Cup from the couch like the rest of us (if we bother). The All Blacks never get to play with the underdog spirit, that devil may care, nothing to lose attitude the French do so well (and nope, we won’t get to do that in 2011 either). We’ve got more than anyone to lose, Christmas only comes every four years for Kiwis – Gregan’s ‘four more years, boys’ sledge was a deadly accurate bulls-eye on our national psyche.

Maybe we should just get over it. Watching the sub’s faces, they looked bloody terrified. For all the training and preparation this group has done, nothing can take away the knowledge that 3 million people in their pajamas are watching you like a hawk, ready to jump on your back if you miss that line out take, or drop that pass – it must be bone chilling. The defeat hurts, a lot, and today I’ve found myself drifting into silence and staring off into space a lot – maybe, as a nation, we should all take up a new hobby.

Other stuff –
Don’t I look like a dick? This was foolish, too. This smart-arse bloggery is not going to be as much fun for a little while, but if ever a country needed to take itself less seriously, now is the time, team
– Hope the fans in Cardiff and the Mums and Dads having to traipse to the Semi and Final keep their good humor – the bad tempered impression a mob of sullen chip-shouldered rugby fans leave with the world could take Peter Jackson years to undo. If you’re going to be a misery guts, flog your ticket for pounds, and make the most of a European mini-break
– Hopefully now TV news will now feature more news and less cheer-leading based content
– Spare a thought for me mate Mike who was there last night, and there in ’99.

Links on Friday

No Police Report Can Truly Capture My Love Of Drunk Driving – Har. Those Onion guys are actually funny
Zero punctuation – the best video console review you’ll see on this blog today
Steve Vai lays down some gnarly licks – this give hope to bedroom shredders everywhere
Simpsons’ movie references – woah. There’s LOADS here, and I bet it’s only scratching the surface. They’re bloody clever, those goshdarn Simpsons

Steve Hansen tells press conference the usual bag of shit

SRNZPA: Assistant All Black coach Steve Hansen reached deep into his cliche supply this morning (NZ time), telling a packed press conference “France could be the surprise package of the quarter finals”, while rolling his eyes. “They’ll have that extra motivation playing away from home, it could relieve the pressure they face in Paris” he expanded, giggling a little. “We’re not fooled by their slow start – anything can happen, just look at ’99”, trying to disguise a laughing fit as coughing. He went on to add “They’re well coached and LaPorte will’ve been studied the tapes all night. As a panel, we greatly respect his innovative and astute tactical approach”, while merrily making the ‘wanker’ sign with his wrist and hand.

“I mean, you could say we’ve been number one for three years at least, we’ve thrashed them over here and at home recently, they couldn’t even get it together to beat Argentina in their own back yard, still don’t know who their best team is, and we’re playing them in Wales. That’s all very well, but I’m not going to sit here and say “we’re going to thrash them” said Hansen, while nodding vigorously and mouthing “Yes, yes we are”.