Gregor Townsend’s thoughts will firmly have turned to the challenge of the Wallabies on Saturday, but many will still be mulling over the heartbreak of letting a first-ever win over the All Blacks slip through our fingers, says Gav Harper.
Humility is an attribute that is getting rarer in contemporary professional sport. With football players refusing to play so they can get big money transfers and NFL MVPs obligated to say they are “going to Disneyland!” you are unlikely to see the best of the best refusing to celebrate or a last-gasp loser showing magnanimity.
It’s not the RaboDirect PRO12 on a week where BBC Alba has deserted you, or even the LV Cup (although that is on this weekend). Nope, no matter how hard you look, there is no Scottish involvement in the Rugby World Cup Semi-finals this weekend. Not even a touch judge to root for. So who are you going for? Here’s a little help.
Some pundits *cough Stephen Jones *cough* have a history of winding up the Kiwis, insulting everything from hospitality to weather to their general attitude. But so far the welcome here has been amazing, and ne’re a grumpy kiwi in sight. Although a few eccentrics for sure, like the guy who runs up and down Baldwin St (steepest in the world) every day.
3 days to go and the mounting pressure and rise in exposure is inescapable.
RWC 2011 kicks off on Friday with Tonga unleashing the Sipi Tau against the hosts, NZ, and suddenly we are made aware of every movement by every team, every day. It will continue like this throughout the tournament and at a time when every top tier nation is looking for recognition and respect we can only expect more scrutiny than ever before.
At 5.15 on Saturday a few boys may get the shock of their lives. According to Allblacks.com the grumpy headmaster Graham Henry respects Scotland enough not to tinker…too much.
According to an article on Planet Rugby, Scotland had hoped to tour New Zealand in June but have been turned down by the provinces. Presumably this means they were looking to send a squad to play some province/Super 14 teams, but drew short of wanting to play the All Blacks in their back yard (and I stand by my previous assertion that we should not play New Zealand ever again, or at least till we are not poop, which could be the same as “ever”).
While Wales are in discussion for a proper old-fashioned tour, the SRU request was turned down because “it wasn’t a goer financially or operationally really”. Which presumably translates as “while we love you jocks, your skirt-wearing lunatic fans aren’t going to travel half-way round the world to watch Scotland (minus a couple of Lions if you are lucky) get stuffed by our provinces and/or the ABs and our fans don’t want to see that either. Come back when you’ve got a decent coach and more NZ$ to spend”. Paraphrasing all mine, naturally.
The A Team are touring Romania this summer, I guess that’ll have to do. Let the main team players have a summer off (other than the usual complement of 3 Lions) and prepare for total dominance at pro-team and international level next season.
I believe the phrase you are looking for is LOL.