New Zealand is in many ways a wonderful country. Majestic countryside and a tough, resilient, proud people. But their attitude to their national game really does it no favours.
Let's take a quick look at the NRU.
The New Zealand Rugby Union is a truly hateful governing body. A body so self obsessed, so utterly addicted to providing its own national team with every advantage its own actions have resulted in deliberate destruction of the game on its tiny powerless neighbouring islands which have provided so many of its best players.
Let us make no mistake. The Kiwi rugby union is so myopic, biased, relentlessly self interested it makes the worst premiership football clubs look like charitable youth development trusts. Despite what many might argue is its reponsibilities to its small neighbours, the last thing the NRU wants is a successful pacific islands game. Because should that happen, then the lure of the "All Blacks" (the first and last time I use that riciculous moniker which frankly I find offensive Ma'a Nonu you gormless buffoon) will fall dramatically, and suddenly the likes of Joe Rocokoko might not want to represent the country which pillages the best island players for its own personal use.
The NRU has actively worked to suppress the island game. It has stolen players, with the lure of a private education and a poxy house for his family. It refuses to play internationals on the islands. It has done NOTHING to advance the game in the pacific islands. Christ, England has done more than the useless selfish kiwis.
And lets not even get started on the humourless way they play the game and their utter lack of grace in victory or defeat. The chest thumping arrogance which makes the French seem decidedly modest. And I simply dont have the room to start on the most absurd element of kiwi rugbty, the haka. A ritual so fake, so inane, so steeped in bogus heritage and false propaganda, so utterly ridiculous I struggle to watch it now without bursting into laughter. I just wish they would do it in the underground carpark every game.
No. My post today (and there will be more on the "haka" and the humourless kiwis as the RWC approaches) is to apologise. For while we all know the have plucked the best pacific islanders to play rugby for NZ for years and years, it seems the current squad are all fair dinkum kiwis. Let's look where they were born shall we?
Mils Muliaina, Salesi, Western Samoa
Cory Jane, Wellington NZ
Conrad Smith, Taranaki NZ
Ma'a Nonu, Wellington NZ
Zac Guildford, Greytown NZ
Dan Carter, Southbridge NZ
Jimmy Cowan, Gore NZ
Wyatt Crockett, Christchurch NZ
Andrew Hore, Dunedin NZ
Ben Franks, Melbourne Aus
Sam Whitelock, Palmerston North
Ali Williams, Auckland NZ
Jerome Kaino, Tutuila American Somoa
Richie McCaw (capt), Oamaru NZ
Adam Thomson, Christchurch NZ
Corey Flynn, Invercargill NZ
John Afoa, Auckland NZ
Jarrad Hoeata, Tauranga NZ
Liam Messam, Blenheim NZ
Piri Weepu, Lower Hutt NZ
Colin Slade, Christchurch NZ
Sonny Bill Williams, Auckland NZ
Sitiveni Sivivatu, Suva Fiji
So really its just Muliaina, Sivivatu and Kaino. Given the fact most the England squad are either South Africans on their gap year or kiwis who were not good enough to get a club game in their home country, this is pretty good.
So well done New Zealand. You have actually managed to put out a side which comes from New Zealand. I shall not criticise them on this basis again.
This does not change the fact The Chairman will support anyone, ANYONE against New Zealand. I was far happier when France beat NZ in the QF of the last world cup than when England beat the Aussies. No team in the world, even the ghastly Aussie cricket sides under Waugh and Ponting wind me up as much as the New Zealand rugby team. The unique combination of the sanctimony, charmlessness, arrogance and total humourlessness (is that a word?) of ths team is a global marvel.
Given the fact England are so bad its amusing, I shall wear my gold jersey with pride should the Aussies reach the final. Go Australia! Who'd have thunk I'd ever say that hey?