Panic in the streets of Auckland

OK, we can panic now. Our national rugby union team has lost two matches in a row, and more importantly, the Australian national rugby union team has a big fat jandal full of confidence, just before they cross the Pavlova Sea to claim the trophy that’s rightfully theirs and wave it in our tear-stained faces.

Many people are questioning our world cup selection, with two of the world’s best wingers in Gear and Sivivatu left to peruse overseas contracts for the rest of the winter, while taking Kahui and Toeava. appreciates the need for versatility, but wonders whether we over think this stuff, and take utility players with meaningless matches against Canada in mind, rather than the semis or finals, when a top winger would arguably come in handy. We’ll see.

Anyway, the All Blacks looked tentative and nervous on Saturday night, to say the least, except in the second half, when they looked awesome. Australia suddenly look like a proper team and Dingo Deans rediscovered his steely look, while Quade Cooper, fed up with being labelled a poor man’s Carlos Spencer, now seems determined to become a chicken-legged Richard Loe.

All Blacks fans enjoying the pre-tournament anticipation.

The only bright spot of Saturday night’s depressing first half was that we now know the impending Big Fucking Tournament loss will be Zac Guilford’s (or Colin Slade’s) fault – every All Black fan knows Identifying The Scapegoat is a vital part of world cup preparation and that Zac n Colin will be enjoy reunion dinners with Leon McDonald, Wayne Barnes, John Hart and Suzy the waitress for years to come. Whatever happens, I’ll make the point I nicked off one of the Sunday columnists – we are the best team in the world, playing at home, where our track record is outstanding. We just need to hold our nerve. Gilbert Enoka, come on down.

Elsewhere, the greatest substitute centre we’ve ever managed to wave Adidas’ hard-earned cash in front of is dilly-dallying about re-signing with the NZRFU for another eight to nine months. Let’s be honest, Sonny Bill comes with a poor track record when it comes to sticking around and has management that’s shadier than Elvis’. Negotiations to sign him up in the first place involved nightclub toilets and plain paper bags of cash – those are warning signs, team. Getting into bed with Sonny Bill is like getting into bed with a Bull Shark – you might not have done it before, but you’d have a reasonable idea of how it’ll probably turn out. There’s no doubt he’s good, but he’s competing with the world’s best centre for a place in the side, and we look OK without him. A world cup distraction? Only for the sporting media – Sonny Bill himself doesn’t seem too bothered.

Finally, a handy tip – if you’re sick of being annoyed at the upcoming world cup, and want to be annoyed at something else, try following Luke Mcalister on the twitter. As all eyes in the rugby loving world focus on a tiny, naval gazing nation in the South Pacific, wasted-talent Luke floats through his life, going to training and asking Twitter “what’s up?” like a rugby’s version of Desperate Housewive jacked up on Pimms and Valium. Jesus wept. And unfollowed.

Author: Richard Irvine

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