We have had a number of requests for some footage of the famous awkward moment from Sunday night. So by the wonders of modern technology, the moment has been captured for you. Don’t say we don’t do anything for you!
Archive for the ‘rugby world cup’ Category
Last year when I saw the All Blacks play in Wales, after the game a Welsh supporter said to me, “you guys are the best in the world, you don’t have to be world champions to prove that”. “Oh yes we do” I said. 24 years is a long time to be “considered” the best team in the world, rather than actually having the cup to prove it. Well done the All Blacks.
What to say about the All Black team. They have played some magnificent running, innovative rugby in the Henry era, capped off by the win over Australia last week. This win was not that sparkling brand of rugby. This was sheer determination, grit and courage. As their game plan withered under intense French pressure, I got worried. But, at the risk of sounding cliched, this is not just a champion team, its a team of champions. Early substitutions, a couple of memorable tackles, a great tactical kick from Stephen Donald (no offence to Stephen, but who would have thought?) and they were there. Brilliant. There have been stars at different points in the tournament, players who have stepped up, but in the end this was best and truest of team efforts.
And great credit to the French. A massive, gutsy effort, and certainly worthy finalists. Their aggressive defensive play and the pace of the game they played nearly did it. I don’t think I have seen a forward pack put in the effort they did, especially in the second half. The French loose trio of Harinordoquy, Bonnaire and Dusautoir were the joint man of the match for me. Top drawer effort.
So folks, its done, we won. What a great tournament. Of course it was not perfect (think opening ceremony transport and crowd issues), but New Zealand has pulled off hosting one of the biggest international sporting tournaments, and that is something to be proud of. Congratulations to all involved from central government through to local authorities, the RWC NZ team and all the volunteers.
Some final, random thoughts after a big night of celebrations
BEST TEAM NOT TO MAKE THE PLAY-OFFS. Has to be SAMOA. They would have been worthy participants in the any of the quarter-finals, and for want of a few breaks they would have been there. As I said in earlier posts I believe that rugby needs to adopt football’s international window to give them and other nations a chance to play together as a top line up on a regular basis.
BEST EVER PLANNING DECISION; The STADIUM OF FOUR MILLION concept that saw cities and towns around New Zealand get swept up in the tournament. Places like Nelson, Palmerston North and New Plymouth really turned it on for the minnows in the tournament. Not to mention the smaller places that hosted teams. Watching the Wairarapa region adopt Georgia was something special. I really wish there was a way to have Christchurch more involved. Talking to folk down there they missed out a bit. I think it is great the All Blacks will parade there.
MOST CURSED POSITION: WHO WAS THE NEXT ALL BLACK FIRST FIVE? Seriously, where was Tony Brown? A bizzare sequence of events to see three players in one position get seriously hurt. I have been one of Stephen Donald’s detractors and I want to say he handled himself really well last night. But why was he wearing Colin Slade’s jersey!
THINGS TO DO DIFFERENTLY . Give the smaller teams a bit more time between games, and introduce a bowl competition to keep interest up. Actually that probably could only work in a rugby mad nation like NZ, but it would be good.
BRICKBAT. Just one brickbat for the NZ public. The Quade Cooper booing thing went on too long. Yep he did and said some dumb stuff, but he is an outstanding rugby player- and he’s from Tokoroa! Time to appreciate the genius.
HAPPIEST FORWARD PACK: The Tongan team packing down the final scrum against France when they knew they had won the game. I have been in and seen a few scrums and I have never seen that much joy.
and a final word to describe this tournament REDEMPTION. For McCaw, Henry and co this must have felt very sweet indeed. Well done, All Blacks, Rugby World Cup Champions!
I don’t tend to get nervous before All Black games. Its a bit like flying in an aeroplane for me. The folks up the front have been trained, they know what they are doing, and they certainly know a hell of a lot more about it than I do. So why not relax and enjoy it, because there is absolutely nothing I can do about it (Ted seems to have lost my phone number anyway…)
But I admit to a few tingles last weekend. We have been up and down against the Wallabies lately. But what we saw last week was the All Blacks doing the opposite of what they have done the last three World Cups, peaking at the right time. It was a commanding performance, built off a rock solid pack, and a threatening backline, albeit one that did not get as much room as they might have. I really thought the absence of Carter would tell in the semi-final, but the forward display and Piri’s general awesomeness meant that Aaron Cruden could feel comfortable, and he played well. One more game like that, or even close to it, and Richie’s holding the cup, knighthoods all round.
The French have shown nothing in this tournament to give me any indication they could beat the All Blacks. And that is making me nervous. They are a big match team. There was just the slightest hints at the start of the pool game against the All Blacks. They were fired up and looked likely for the first few minutes, but then they crumbled. I was at that game and I saw the French team afterwards, and they were gutted. They rate themselves against the All Blacks, and that has to mean something.
So, there we are. Almost at the end of it all. I will make a prediction. The All Blacks will win. It will be tight for the first 60 minutes or so, but they will wear the French down, and score a couple of tries near the end to blow the score out a bit. Final score 29-9. Its time for history to repeat.
Can someone explain why McCully (Minister of RWC) can toss $2m towards the tuppawaka which is built on public land but support a ban on TVNZ filming the opening event.
Then there are questions of value for money, priorities etc.
I think the best of the Rugby World Cup might actually have been what has happened off the field. The stadium of four million people that Helen Clark promised the IRB in 2005 has well and truly arrived. It seems everywhere the tournament has gone New Zealanders have embraced it. Flags, flash mobs, singing and chanting. Brilliant. Watching the crowd in Palmy for the Georgia v Romania game you saw why we won the right to host this tournament. In a game of two of the true minnows of world rugby, it looked the whole city had come to support. The red and yellow buckets replaced the usual green headwear, and a brilliant atmosphere was created. The same was true right around the country. The Wellington City Council decided that the fan zone on the waterfront would close after the quarter finals here next weekend. There was an outcry, they relented and it will be there for the semis and finals. People want to be part of the Cup, whether the games have left town or not. Magic.
On the field, the highlight for me was the Pacific teams, Samoa and Tonga, and their supporters. Samoa probably should and could have beaten both Wales and South Africa, and Tonga magnificently took apart France. As I said before the tournament started these teams are now stacked full of European based professionals. I think the time has come for rugby to adopt the “international window” from football so that all the teams can put their best teams on the park. If Samoa and Tonga can put their best team on the park more regularly they will tip over the big teams more often.
And Ireland (who look really good) gave us the really meaningful upset against Australia that has turned the draw upside down. We now have a southern hemisphere half and a northern hemisphere half. I don’t think it matters much in terms of New Zealand’s hopes. Assuming we get past Argentina, then we will face South Africa or Australia after they have battered each other into submission.
But of course its Dan Carter’s groin that sent a nation into despair. It most be devastating for him and the team. I refused to believe it for a few hours. It is a massive blow. But the truth is we just have to accept he is gone. Slade will start the next couple of games, but Piri will be right there if things are not working.
So, deep breath, you can take the week off, and then it will be the knockout games. Looking ahead, I would say the semis will be NZ v South Africa and Ireland v England. What do ya reckon?
There are two articles and an editorial in todays Star-Times.
The International Olympic Committee has dropped a bombshell by confirming a banned drug is included in a product that has been provided to elite Kiwi athletes via the New Zealand Academy of Sport’s official sports supplements programme.
The IOC’s chief nutritional scientist, British-based professor Ronald Maughan, says the product Thermotone contains a type of amphetamine which the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) identifies as a banned substance.
The revelation has led to calls for under-fire Sports Minister Murray McCully to reject the findings of a taxpayer-funded report which cleared Crown agency Sparc, and launch a full-blown parliamentary inquiry.
McCully and Sparc’s chairman Paul Collins and chief executive Peter Miskimmin would not comment yesterday on the IOC revelation.
But it prompted Wada’s boss, New Zealander David Howman, to speak out against the way Sparc handled the investigation into the flawed national sports supplement programme.
The first point that I should make is that I know all of the main players well. First met Paul Collins while I was in short pants. I have long admired his support for sport generally, rugby in particular - and it was him providing, with a few others, a personal guarantee that got the Wellington stadium built. Peter is a sporting hero, a great CEO and well known for his integrity. Tim is a well known local barrister, has an international reputation in sports law and is thoroughly pleasant. David used to sit directly behind me in the old season ticket area at Athletic Park and is the world's leader in the anti doping campaign.
McCully. Well he is Muzza and under pressure over the last few months.
The essence of this investigation is that it is possible that an arm of SPARC was recommending a supplement that contained traces of an amphetamine to our high performance athletes. Certainly the experts are certain that one of the ingredients does. We don't know who was recommended the drug, whether anyone used it and if so whether there were any positive tests for it.
The issue is complicated because if it turns out that our athletes (wide range Olympic stars, rugby players etc) were using it then they could be subject to bans. No knowledge of the fact that the athlete knew is necessary.
Now I don't know if we have a problem or not.
But the fact that McCully has instructed those who would normally comment not to doesn't make it look flash.
If there are problems with Tim Castle's report then we should be transparent. I want to see any technical expert advice that contradicts WADA.
Most of all I don't want to be part of a sporting community which looks bad because the Minister wants to pretend that there never was an issue.
This link was passed on to me earlier today and it is the single best guide to what is happening in the Rugby World Cup that I have seen, giving you easily accessible information on where games are, and what games are on each day. Just hover your cursor over each section and you will see.
Imagine. You have been given 90 seconds to speak to an audience of millions across the globe at the start of the fourth largest sporting tournament in the world. You are following on from a spectacular and uplifiting opening ceremony. This is your chance to reinforce to the world what is special about New Zealand and the kind of host we will be. Its a huge opportunity. To paraphrase the famous quote, a short speech like this is much harder to write than a long one.
So what do you do? If you are John Key, you wing it. That is what we were told in Parliament yesterday. In answer to the question of who wrote his speech at the Opening Ceremony, John Key said ” I did. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I wrote a speech, I created one.” Check out the video below, right at the end at 6.15.
It showed. Which still begs the question, how did it end up this way?
If you are struggling to work out quite what has happened today in terms of the government’s handling of the Party Central/Rail Fail events in Auckland, then you will not be alone. Its been a confusing day with the government’s attempts ranging from bluster and denial to what sounded like outright takeover.
The best attempt at making sense of it all to my mind came from John Campbell on tonight’s Campbell Live. It is well worth a watch, which you can do by clicking here.
Several highlights for me
- John’s description of the opening night of the World Cup as ” A great start with a side order of complete and utter shambles”
- The extraordinary revelation that neither Murray McCully nor John Key spoke to Len Brown about their decision to invoke some powers before they told the media.
- John asking the question that was also asked several times in Parliament today by Phil Goff- ” What has the Minister for the Rugby World Cup actually been doing for the last three years.”
- Len Brown’s gritted teeth state of calm. I think he comes off well. Accepting his share of the blame and making very clear that the whole process has been a collaboration with the government and that they have “equal responsibility”.
Everyone, including me, wants New Zealand to host a successful Rugby World Cup. We have made a great start around the country and the rugby hasn’t been half bad either. Now is the time for us to sort out what is happening in Auckland, and for the government to work with the Council and take its share of the responsibility for what’s gone wrong, and what we hope will go right.
McCully doesn’t need to apologise, yes he micro-managed the RWC, but everyone it seems screwed up except him. So in his mind it’s perfectly logical he takes charge. A question: did McCully inform Key before he invoked the emergency legislation that cut the Auckland Council off at the knees – or did he just go it alone?
McCully didn’t see the need to let Len Brown know before telling the world he was taking over, not even a courtesy call – and if Key did know, neither did he. Is that a touch arrogant?
Probably, I imagine that he decided the Council deserved it for spoiling his world cup. But rather than pushing the blame on to the Council, it’s more an admission of wider failure. And for the world’s media, McCully has given the story new legs.
And maybe I missed it, but unlike the PM and Mayor, I didn’t hear the Minister for the Rugby World Cup say sorry. But I guess he’s been too busy being more in charge.
The great thing about being in government is that you can take action to do things, or stop things or change things that you think are important. It’s the privilege that goes with the responsibility. But the current government seems to approach a number of issues as if they were commentators at a rugby game, saying something about an issue but in actual fact not doing anything at all.
Two examples from this weekend. The first and most transparent being the transport debacle that David has already posted on. On Friday Murray McCully was full of confidence about the state of Auckland transport, and seemed to be taking some ownership of what he saw as a success waiting to happen. It of course did not turn out that way.
Now of course this is not all the Government’s problem. The successful running of infrastructure for RWC was always going to be a matter for both local and central government to manage. Len Brown fronted on Saturday morning and apologised. All we have seen from Murray McCully, the Minister for the Rugby World Cup is comment on how bad things were and that they should be better. Why have a Minister for the Rugby World Cup if you are not going to play your part in making things work, and in taking some responsibility when they don’t?
The more subtle version of this tactic came from John Key in response to the reluctance of insurance companies to pay out for Christchurch homeowners to rebuild. Mr Key is quoted in the Press as saying he was “bothered” by the stance that the companies were taking. Is he auditioning for Catherine Tate or something? If you are bothered you are the one in a position to do something about it. For god’s sake man you are the Prime Minister not some talkback radio caller. Do something.
There are other examples, like the PM saying National could do better in terms of the number of women on on the National Party list. I know, why doesn’t he talk to someone who could show some leadership on this, like the Leader of the National Party?
The Prime Minister and his Ministers are not interested spectators in how our country runs, they are the people who have their hands on the levers of power. They should be held to account for what they do, not just that they have had something to say on the matters of the day.
I know Grant will post regularly about RWC 2011. But I wanted to note a few moments that I have found important and special so far.
The first goes back to that day on 18 November 2005 when New Zealand was named as the host country for RWC 2011. It was a great day for us and it was due to the hard work, creativity and determination of a great team lead by our then Prime Minister Helen Clark, supported by Trevor Mallard who was then Minister of Sport and became Rugby World Cup Minister.
The five members who presented our winning bid to the IRB were New Zealand Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Helen Clark, New Zealand Rugby Union Chairman Jock Hobbs, New Zealand Rugby Union Chief Executive Chris Moller, then All Blacks Captain Tana Umaga and former All Blacks legend Colin Meads. The clip below is etched in my mind as I’m sure it is in most New Zealanders.
And then this clip from Friday night’s opening ceremony; the challenge and the haka, which was viewed by around 2 billion people around the world and demonstrated the power the lies within us all. I watched this bit of the ceremony in my local pub. The pub fell silent as Kiwis everywhere stood tall and could feel immensely proud of who we are and what we represent to the world.
I know the RWC 2011 whatever the outcome for us, will boost our pride in ourselves as a small nation which can stand on its own and by working together, achieve great things. The haka is 8 mins and 53 seconds into the clip.
PS: I did think about putting up “that ripped shirt clip” but figured I’d never hear the end of it. It should be said that for many people it was also a great moment in the RWC2011!
I thought the dancing cranes needed a bit more time to work on their routine (what was that about?) but overall the opening ceremony was an uplifting, flash, but not too over the top, start to the Rugby World Cup. In Auckland, and (even here in Wellington) it seems like the idea of waterfront party was just what was needed. The only problem was about 10x as many people showed up as there was room for in the city of sails. A good problem to have- that is unless you are stuck inside with a family. The big issue was that the transport system did not cope, despite assurances that it would. I know Len Brown has launched a review this morning, but it clearly wrecked a few nights which is a pity for what looked like such a festive occasion. Would be interesting to hear from anyone who was there, but in the meantime here are some interesting stories and views.
One small curiosity from the night. On Tuesday morning on Firstline on TV3 Rachel Smalley asks the Prime Minister at the end of her interview (relevant bit at 4.35) where he will be for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup, and will he be there “beer in hand”. Key says he will be there, laughing saying maybe not beer in hand, “although maybe I will, I don’t have to make any speeches that night.”
Except he did of course. Now that Opening Ceremony must have been set for months and months beforehand so surely he would have known, and Mr Key was quite definite he was not speaking. Odd. Perhaps it was an on the night decision, which seems extraordinarily casual for such a major and important event, but it might explain what was a pretty ordinary effort (not even a Kia Ora?) from the PM in front of a TV audience of millions.
The recent arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the IMF for sexually assaulting a hotel housemaid got me thinking about the New Zealand hospitality industry and the potential exposure of NZ workers to inappropriate behaviour during the Rugby World Cup.
The housemaid involved in the Strauss-Kahn case is a union member, which makes all the difference. But by far the majority of hotel workers in New Zealand are not union members.
Sadly, the further you go down the hospitality chain, from large hotels to motels, restaurants and bars, the worse it is.
New Zealand’s laws protect workers against sexual harassment, but it’s a hard row to hoe. There are two routes – through the Human Rights Commission or through personal grievance. New Zealand’s hospitality industry is repsonsible for 10% of all workplace sexual harassment complaints to the Human Rights Commission, but I know from experience that’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s just not that easy to take this on.
If you are a young worker, not in a union, new to a job, on a 90 day trial period, are you really going to have the courage to challenge your employer if a sexual harassment incident occurs?
There’s an attitude issue here. The Hospitality Industry is not only responsible for the behaviour of their staff, but also their customers and clients. To their credit, some work has been done in the industry to educate employers about their responsibilities.
I came across this comment from the Restaurant Association in a newsletter about sexual harrasment.
I accept that some people will regretfully be sexually harassed, but at the risk of being challenged, I have formed the opinion that the majority of complaints are motivated by the monetary rewards that might result.
According to this, there’s a golden pot of money waiting for workers who complain about sexual harassment!
However, it’s not just about sexual harassment. It’s also about decent pay and fair conditions.
The government needs to work with unions and business to set standards for how we expect New Zealand workers to be treated during an event like this.
We want our visitors to have a great time, but not at the expense of New Zealand workers.
Sometimes when you ask a question in Parliament it does not go exactly according to plan. Today I was asking a question based on this story in the New Zealand Herald which said that the PM was stumping up $300,000 for the running costs of the so-called “tupperwaka.”
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said it was not unusual for the Prime Minister to fund new projects he personally believed had merit. “In this instance the money was appropriated via the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,” the spokeswoman said.
It is in fact very unusual for DPMC to fund anything like this, hence my question. Sadly for me, the Prime Minister got up in Question Time today and said that the spokeswoman was incorrect because they had received incorrect advice and that the money in fact came from contingency funding in the 2010 Budget that was given to Te Puni Kokiri.
But how could a mistake like this be made? Well, a look at the Cabinet papers authorising the spending on the plastic waka provide a clue. Recommendation 9 of the paper CAB (11) 50 says the following
note that the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage have confirmed contributions of up to $0.300 million and up to $0.800 million respectively to underwrite the showcasing and festival programmes to be staged within and around Te Waka.
Hmmm, that sure sounds like the PM was going to fund it. Interestingly, and somewhat conveniently, by the time the funding was finalised it was described as being from the Emerging Priorities Fund, and today we learn this appears to have been through TPK.
Whatever, the whole process around approving funding for the plastic waka is murky, with little in the way of transparency. In tight fiscal times it does not seem to be a priority or an “emerging priority” for that matter.
Five months today the All Blacks will be playing the first game of the Rugby World Cup. They will win, and win well against Tonga. But what can we say about the rest of the tournament on the basis of the form so far this season?
Of course there is only so much you can tell from the Super 15. I don’t find it quite as hard to watch now as I once did, but I still struggle with it as a competition. Its much like watching the NBA from the US. The individuals are obviously talented, but the whole thing seems a bit plastic and formulaic. Whereas college basketball in the US is a great team game, with raw talent and loads of emotion. I still think the NPC has the potential to be that in rugby here, but that’s for another day.
Anyway, what can we say about the core of the ABs that will take the field in five months time. Most are looking ok. In the backs Mils Muliana, Israel Dagg, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan all look good. Sonny Bill is going ok, though he can go cold in some games. Isaia Toeava, who I have never been a great fan of is showing a bit more confidence. Robbie Freuan is the goods I am convinced and needs to be in the squad. Notice any Hurricanes in that list? Nah. They look dire. Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith urgently need to find some form to see off Williams and Freuan.
In the forwards we wait for McCaw to get back from injury. Meanwhile Kieran Read looms as a significant player in the world cup, as does Brad Thorn. Jamie MacKintosh is playing out of his skin again- but it still feels like the step up might be too much. Adam Thomson will be in the squad and looms as a game breaker. Andrew Hore is part of the Hurricanes malaise and will be pushed hard by Hika Elliot as back up to Keven Mealamu. Whatever, can everyone please keep practicing throw-ins. One of the basic skills in the game that still seems to elude our guys at crucial times.
So, basically, a good start. As for the opponents, the South African teams are looking dangerously poised. They seem to be travelling a lot better this year, and remain our biggest threat. Not sure the Aussies are showing much, though the Mebourne franchise look interesting.
A lot can happen in five months, but I have that glimmer of optimism (that applies to politics and rugby!)
Also, congrats to Bryce Lawrence and Steve Walsh who have made the referees panel for the Cup and Chris Pollock and Vinnie Munro who are on the assistant referees panel.
It would be fair to say that John Armstrong’s columns of recent times have not made pretty reading for the Labour side of the fence, but I was struck by obvious anger in his column today.
National is certainly consistent when it comes to cutting spending. It consistently fails to practise what it preaches – be it the purchase of replacement chauffeur-driven BMWs for Cabinet ministers or this latest exercise in excess.
Ouch. Armstrong is refering to the plastic waka (tupperwaka) debacle. He rounds off his article with a pretty definitive statement on that.
Above all, the funding of the waka is nothing short of an abdication of fiscal responsibility on National’s part.
On the subject of austerity measures, news out of the UK today should be sobering as we head towards the zero budget in May. The UK is staring at a bleak economic period as the conservative government’s cuts (austerity measures) are hitting home. Growth projections for the UK are one-third of other economies.
We all know that this is a time when careful economic management is required. But part of that is the government continuing to be a social partner through strategic investments. With National’s only plan to indiscriminately cut services, we too run the risk of seeing the economy head further south.
Like the vast majority of New Zealander’s, I’m a rugby fan, infact I’ve even played a few games during my lifetime. Like most Kiwis I’m excited about the fact that we’re hosting the Rugby World Cup this year (I’m also proud of the fact that it was the Labour Party that secured the rights to host for our country…but that’s a separate issue).
One issue that I hadn’t considered till recently was the copious amounts of alcohol that is likely to be consumed over the course of the world cup and the subsequent impact that this could have on family violence, abuse and neglect. It was a report written by Debbie Hager and Diane Woolsen Neville that alerted me to these concerns, ‘Mitigating the risk of men’s violence aginst women increasing during the Rugby World Cup 2011′.
The report cites evidence of increased levels of violence, abuse and neglect during major sporting events. It looks like a successful campaign run overseas during these type of events is being rolled out in New Zealand, the ‘Blow the Whistle Campaign’ – this is a wise move. Recommendations have been made in this report with respect to advertising, policing, venue safety, safety of children and young people and a number of other areas. The Government will need to take up these recommendations to ensure that any risk of increased violence is mitigated during this time.
McCully is apparently Rugby World Cup Minister, when TVNZ calls him former they might be premature.
He choppered into Tui territory to kick off a Super Rugby preseason match, his pathetic place kick went nowhere.
But he obviously lives so far in the past that he doesn’t know that we do drop kicks to start rugby games now.
Bit of a worry.
Keep him away from the All Blacks just in case he tries to pass his wisdom on to them.