E Ihowa Atua,
O ngä iwi mätou rä,
Me aroha noa.
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tö atawhai;
While on the topic of Maori, how was that new Haka?! My goodness, Tana Umaga scared ME. That was fierce, ferocious, and downright awesome!
New Zealand 31 - 27 South Africa
Let's face it: the Southern Hemisphere is where it's at for the best sport in the world. The North sent down to New Zealand the best it had to offer in the form of the Lions and went home shamed, dismantled, and ripped apart, losing TWICE by record margins. Then we played South Africa. How the tables turned! What it displayed is the immense talent, depth, and quality of the rugby down here in the South, and how New Zealand and South Africa are simply the two best sides in international rugby at the moment. It sure made for an epic clash in Dunedin tonight at Carisbrook, better known as the House Of Pain. South Africa haven't won there before and we've won our last fourteen home games, and we certainly weren't letting either streak be broken!
That game featured some of the very best tries you will ever see, especially the amazing opportunistic try that started everything: Mauger charged down Pretorius's clearance kick, it flew straight in Rokocoko's direction, and he stormed thirty metres to the line. Exhilarating stuff! All that marred the game was Mr Frenchie 'What Sport Is This?' the Ref, who I think still holds a little grudge over Mururoa. Rule #1 of rugby: you DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT tackle the man in the air. That is dangerous and stupid play and should be an automatic yellow card. Ol' Frenchie didn't even seem to notice. That aside, the game was absolutely superb - both teams took their opportunities and completed their chances, scoring some absolutely wonderful tries. Every single one was gorgeous, but the loudest roar was reserved for when Mealamu plunged over with just a few minutes on the clock to score the winning try. That try also gave us a much-needed bonus point - defeat Australia next week and we raise the Tri-Nations Cup!
That will go down as one of my 'conversion' games, the kind of game you'd show someone unfamiliar with rugby to prove to them its greatness (the other would be New Zealand's glorious 50-21 demolition of Australia in Sydney, 2003). To quote myself on Interference: "if you like gridiron and you'd seen that game, your mind would've been blown by how fucking better rugby is". Hey, look, I'm slamming gridiron again. Don't like that? Well, it's not my problem. I'm the one who likes the good sport.