After 45 days of leather chasing, the Rugby World Cup concludes tomorrow night. Personally, even with it being played in NZ, I’ve never felt so disconnected to a Rugby World Cup. Without Foxtel, I’ve relied on Channel 9 and with the exception of John Eales’ sideline work – their coverage has been lamentable. The anti-siphoning laws have been made a mockery of by 9, with delayed coverage of Australian games. The structure of the Cup must also change with the second tier sides being given more exposure and more favourable game spacing. There shoudl definitely be a plate competition as well. The Tonga v Japan game was hugely entertaining. The Samoa v South Africa game was easily the best I saw and the Wallabies can thank the Samoans for blunting the Yarpies for our quarter final.
The Wallabies had an unsuccessful tournament and that is largely due to their coaching. In the 4 years Deans has had the Wallabies they have not progressed. Their courage is unquestioned. How a team that showed so little respect for possession only conceded one try against SA and NZ will remain the mystery of the World Cup, but in the end they played cluelessly. The stupidest tactic was the Will Genia telegraphed box kick. “Hey Corey, I am going dick around at the back of this maul for a little longer and then kick it to you. Don’t worry, it’ll just be me or James O running at you, so you’ll be fine”. Wayne Smith’s assessment of McCabe and Faainga being the least imaginative centre pairing Australia has fielded is cruel but regrettably true. McCabe is very brave – his face looked he’d been swatting mossies with a meat tenderiser – but he has no single elusive skill. Cooper was mentally shot, McCalman is a plodder (which Deans family member had Higginbotham defiled to be so ignored), and Moore and Pocock can’t do it all. So, brave but dumb. Management is simply dumb – renewing Deans for another 2 years – please. Sack him.
The Kiwis should be surer things than Black Caviar. One suggests that if the Kiwis turn up they’ll win by 40 – but sport is a funny thing and the French love to shove it up the All Blacks as you can see here. But this French team isn’t like the 1994 team – only Imanol Harinordoquy holds a candle. The All Blacks need to play better than this offering from Tui Brewery. One of NZ readers will confirm this, but for a long time Tui only made East India Pale Ale (which is the mildest of IPAs). They recently added Mangatainoka Dark and this drop – Tui Blond – to the range. Unfortunately not much positive to say about Tui Blond – soapy, bland and unforgettable. Stick to the East India Pale Ale.
A far better experience can be had right now at the 4 Pines, where they are still celebrating Oktoberfest. 4 special beers brewed and they are all mighty fine. The brewer has outdone himself. There’s a Dunkelweizen, a Kristalweizen, a German Pils and a Marzen. Very, very hard to pick a favourite. If it came down to a choice – I’d lean to the Pils, just shading the Marzen. The Pils thirst quenching qualities make it a beer that 4 Pines should put on all summer. To try all four you’ll need to quick as the last keg of Kristalweizen has just been tapped. 4 Pines has also introduced branded growlers and an awesome litre Stein. Gees, it is a good place.