I have long given the kiwis grief. Which is odd really. I love the country. I have many kiwi mates. A beautiful place with, in the main, friendly people. A country which punches above its weight and which despite its youth (my house is many many years older than New Zealand) deservedly has real national pride.
I cannot stand their arrogant attitude to rugby. Their sense of entitlement. The ridiculous posturing of their players and the rank and hateful attitude of their rugby fans. Their picking and choosing of pacific island players but offering no support in return.
Ask any former pro where they hate touring most and it will be New Zealand, for the relentless hostile attitude towards the mother country and the myopic rugby fans littering the otherwise deserted country. Their ability to apparently cheat at will with offsides and forward passes and a desire to win at all costs which clearly affects the integrity of the game in New Zealand and its officials. Yes, I am saying New Zealand officials cheat (step forward the hateful, belongs in jail Steve Walsh).
Mostly, I can never, EVER forgive the whole kiwi attitde towards the Lions and the quite deliberate taking out of BOD by that hired goon Tana Umaga. The most hateful incident in the history of the game. In fact, just thinking of that game now and the whole tour, gives me heart palpitations. The kiwis need the Lions more than the Lions need the kiwis. But the Lions were faced with hate, aggression and bare faced foul play at every turn. The whole tour was a disgrace for which New Zealand rugby will forever be held in my contempt.
And I have not even started on the bloody "haka" yet.
I simply dont have the energy to write about it. It has already been all over the bloody UK press. We cant get away from it. This grotesque macabre dance, with less cultutral credibility than a Morris Dance. A sponsored choreographed insult to both the teams which are forced, yes forced by IRB regulations to stand and watch 20 grown men shout and spit in their faces, and to the culture it claims to represent.
The pure spine tingling arrogance of the kiwis who insist on the opposing team standing there compliant while they are screamed at and dont let them do anything in return, lest they sulk and go and do the pointless dance in the underground carpark of the stadium, to a blank wall, thereby rendering the entire thing even more pointless than it was before.
The haka is an abomination. A fully paid up creation of the Addidas brand. Souped up by Wayne Shelford and refined further by McCaw, a second generation kiwi with as much Maori blood as me. Laced in bogus myth and politically corect Maori mumbo jumbo, the haka is an irrelevant insult to the history of New Zealand. And the morons like the monosyllabic Nonu, seeking to find insult in even the most benign of responses to the haka personify the problem.
The kiwis have been given a sense of entitlement in the game that no other team in no other sport can match. And the haka is the worst of it. This nonsense that it is part of the game is patently untrue. Its only been around in its current form for a matter of years. Check youtube for how it used to look before Shelford go hold of it. Its not traditional. Its a waste of time. A tourist trap gone global. When Brian Moore writes he enjoyed the "challenge" or whatever crap he comes up with, he writes it out of fear of offending. How can anyone enjoy being shouted at? Its farcial. It makes Rugby look like a joke.
"Ah yes Chairman, but its all part of the theatre of sport"
No its not. If rugby has to rely on a bunch of preening buffoons like Piri Weepu screaming for 5 minutes while his colleagues kneel down holding their forearm (bizarre) before the start of an international match, then the game really is in trouble. Frankly we should just knock it on the head.
"well its standard in schools - they do it before all school matches and everything Chairman"
This is also a lie. Hakas have been introduced at school level in the past 5 years. It was never done before it became this giant it has become under the current Kiwi leadership. A combination of superb marketing and the overwhelming political correctness of the kiwis, hand wringing and desperate not to offend. Can you imagine anything more ridiculous? Watching pre-pubescent kiddies doing a haka before a game of football? This is what happens now, all in the name of political correctness.
"well opposing teams need to face the challenge"
What drivel. Sing your anthem and kick off. Play rugby. Dont waste my time having to watch grown men prance about doing throat slit gestures or sticking out their tongues like a gurning 1980s clubber. Its not a challenge. Its a one way street, as demanded by the kiwis. Do as they say, or they'll run off and sulk.
And yet. And yet...
Despite all this, I can safely say the kiwis will win the world cup and they damn well deserve to. They are the best team by MILES. As the every excellent Brendan Gallagher in the Telegraph today reports, there are 45 kiwi players in the world cup, NOT in the NZ side. That is incredible for a nation of over 4 million people. About the same population as that cesspit of hate, Birmingham.
The kiwis are frighteningly good. They (and I simply do not undersand how this is the case) are bigger, stronger, faster, fitter than every other country. How do they do this? How do they consistently produce this extraordinary convyer belt of outrageous talent? I've been to NZ many times. Auckland is deserted. There is no one there. A few teeny tiny Chinese students learning English. Where on earth do all the rugby players live?
This is a tiny country, which has proved to be the best team in the game every year. A combination of bad luck and poor decision making has cost them the last 4 world cups, but it wont happen again. I dont buy this whole "chokers" tag which the Aussies have unwisely attached to them (by the bloody sports minister no less!). They are just too good. And much as I am already dreading the final, when we are sure to see hundreds of maori folk in fancy dress prancing round the pitch doing hakas, the kiwis will deserve to win this tournament and I will offer them my congratulations.