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Old 09-08-2007, 05:59 PM   #76
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Originally posted by Axver
Well, what an absolutely and destructively professional display by the All Blacks against a surprisingly inept Italian team. Considering that Italy really should have defeated Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I expected at least a degree of competition.

Instead? McCaw scores after a minute. McCaw scores again five minutes later. After 19 minutes, New Zealand's scoring at a point every 30 seconds. 10 minutes later, the commentators are remarking that New Zealand's scoring rate has slipped to a point every 45 seconds! Some of the tries were really quite excellent. Reading the news reports, it seems the All Blacks were especially motivated by the Italian snub of the Haka; just as Wales got their arses handed to them on a platter last year after Haka hoopla, Italy just learnt that you don't mess with the Haka unless you want to incur Kiwi wrath. I'd hate to be an Italian fan right now though. The ending with the mess of the disallowed try didn't make things any better.




Italy made several improvements in the last years, if you've followed the latest six nations you should know it. But New Zealand's rugby team is too strong for many other out there, imagine for Italy. Italy payed New Zealand the right respect, maybe even too much, that's why they played with shit in their underpants. Playing against New Zealand is like waiting for a truck to come over you. You couldn't wait to see Italy compete against New Zealand, please............... New Zealand is much stronger than Italy in rugby as much as Italy is much stronger than New Zealand in football
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:56 AM   #77
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Italy made several improvements in the last years, if you've followed the latest six nations you should know it.
Yeah, that's why I called Italy "surprisingly inept". I believe Italy should have won against Ireland a couple of weeks ago and I did not at all think New Zealand was going to win by more than 40-50 points. As I said about ten posts ago, my pick was a final score of roughly 40-12, not 76-14! New Zealand hadn't played a game for two months while Italy's last game was a fortnight ago, but judging by the first 20 minutes, you'd think that it was the other way around! Italy had no momentum while New Zealand were cohesive from the opening seconds.

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Italy payed New Zealand the right respect, maybe even too much
Perhaps in the actual game, but Italy's action of turning their backs on the Haka was blatantly disrespectful. That's probably partly why New Zealand were so absolutely destructive in the first 20 minutes. If you don't respect the Haka, that just fires up the All Blacks. It's a recipe for getting the living daylights kicked out of you.
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Old 09-09-2007, 04:04 AM   #78
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Perhaps in the actual game, but Italy's action of turning their backs on the Haka was blatantly disrespectful. That's probably partly why New Zealand were so absolutely destructive in the first 20 minutes. If you don't respect the Haka, that just fires up the All Blacks. It's a recipe for getting the living daylights kicked out of you.



Yeah, you could be right with this impression, but it wasn't so. There wasn't a will to disrespect Haka, nor New Zealand, you don't know how much admiration italian TV and rugby fan pay to Haka. Personnally, I have thrills everytime, and I became even a New Zealand's fan, and I can't miss a game of them when it's broadcasted, because I wouldn't sleep at night knowing there was a New Zealand's game. It was mainly the pressure, you must understand that for a little team like Italy, playing the first game against the masters of rugby in a worldchampionship, is more than a nightmare, but an honour in the same time. Probably the players couldn't remain calm, and probably their turned their backs with the intention of not losing concentration. But never in the world to disrespect Haka, believe me. You know, we're not France, England, South Africa, Australia or some other strong team.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:07 AM   #79
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I see your point, but considering that there are actually a couple of Kiwis on the Italian team, I'm surprised neither of them said that the Italians turning their backs on the Haka would be seen as disrespectful. Intended or not, that's the impression it gave to the All Blacks and after that blitz in the opening twenty minutes, we all saw how the All Blacks respond.

Personally, I love it when New Zealand plays a country like Tonga who do their own war dance at the same time in response. I went to see New Zealand vs Tonga at the 2003 Cup ... but trains ran late and I just missed it! I'm still disappointed about that. Oh well, at least I got there just in time for kick-off.

And on a different topic, my predictions for tonight:

1. Wales vs Canada: should be starting just about now. I anticipate an easy Welsh victory, perhaps 50-7. Still, I'd like to see Canada perform well.
2. South Africa vs Samoa: the Springboks should win easily enough, 40+ points. However, if Samoa play really well and get close, that will not bode well for England. One good game from Samoa and England could tumble out of the Cup before the quarter-final.
3. Scotland vs Portugal: I have no faith in Scottish rugby today. They'll be lucky if they hit 50 despite the fact that Portugal are the most hopeless team in the tournament.
4. Ireland vs Namibia: Namibia might score a try? If they're lucky? Another demolition.

Pretty dull night of rugby really. South Africa vs Samoa is the only game that will be even remotely competitive unless one of the minnows springs a surprise. I'm not going to stay up to watch any. No point.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:39 AM   #80
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Quote:
Originally posted by Axver
I see your point, but considering that there are actually a couple of Kiwis on the Italian team, I'm surprised neither of them said that the Italians turning their backs on the Haka would be seen as disrespectful. Intended or not, that's the impression it gave to the All Blacks and after that blitz in the opening twenty minutes, we all saw how the All Blacks respond.

Personally, I love it when New Zealand plays a country like Tonga who do their own war dance at the same time in response. I went to see New Zealand vs Tonga at the 2003 Cup ... but trains ran late and I just missed it! I'm still disappointed about that. Oh well, at least I got there just in time for kick-off.


Yeah, this is actually also a true point, the "italian kiwis" should have played their role. But once again, there wasn't any mean of offence, but for sure it was a big mistake which brought to this misunderstanding. I remember when New Zealand played in Rome a friendly not long ago, the whole stadium followed the Haka in silence and they exploded in a huge applause after it, as much as the same players. So this time maybe the players were caught by a really load of fear.
Tonga has similar traditions as New Zealand, right? Great way of response, next time maybe italians may try to sing an opera!
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:43 AM   #81
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By the way, Axver, would you gently post all the Haka words, in its original version and the translation?
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:59 AM   #82
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The traditional Ka Mate haka goes like this (remember, in Maori, "wh" is pronounced like "f"):

Ka mate! Ka mate!
Ka ora! Ka ora!
Ka mate! Ka mate!
Ka ora! Ka ora!
Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru
Nāna nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā
Ā upane! Ka upane!
Ā upane, ka upane,
Whiti te ra!
Hī!

'Tis death! 'Tis death!
'Tis life! 'Tis life!
'Tis death! 'Tis death!
'Tis life! 'Tis life!
This is the hairy man that stands here
Who brought the sun and caused it to shine
A step unward! Another step upward!
A step upward, another step unward,
The sun shines!
Hī!

It was composed by Maori tribal chief Te Rauparaha upon his rescue by another chief ("the hairy man"). Incidentally, Te Rauparaha's base was on Kapiti Island, offshore from where I grew up.

Since 2005, the All Blacks have also performed Kapa O Pango on special occasions, a haka they wrote themselves.
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Old 09-09-2007, 09:03 AM   #83
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Thanks, very kind of you! Man, I feel emotion even by reading it!
Haka feels like the greatest rock tune of the world.......
I'm glad to know the words now!
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:14 AM   #84
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It was probably the first song/poem/what-have-you that I ever knew the words to.

I know the Ka Mate haka off by heart, but not Kapa O Pango. Wikipedia has the words and translation. I actually prefer Kapa O Pango - it's even more ferocious, and seeing Tana Umaga lead it sent shivers down the spine. It's a shame they toned the throat-slitting action down a little though. I hope we see this haka during the World Cup at some point.

And WOW, Canada impressed against Wales. 5 minutes into the second half, the Canadians were up 17-9! Impressive rally by the Welsh to come back and win 42-17 thanks to substitutions (bringing on players who should have started on the field, not the bench!). Nonetheless, the Welsh were very unconvincing. Sure, they'll still finish second unless Australia seriously chokes and/or Canada pulls off some major surprises, but they won't get past the quarter-finals. Canada now are looking quite good to give Fiji a run for their money. Keep in mind, whoever finishes third out of Canada and Fiji automatically qualifies for the next World Cup, so they'll be wanting that third place badly ...
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:09 PM   #85
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Well, South Africa downed Samoa 59-7, but that certainly doesn't tell the whole story. I didn't intend to watch this game (I'm still tired from staying up so late for last night's rugby!) but I ended up late doing essay bibliographies so I put it on. The Samoans really pushed the South Africans in the first half: 9-7 at the 18th minute. But from then on in, it was one way traffic. Perhaps it should have ended on 52-7, as I think Honiss should have ended the game about a minute before the last try.

I think that despite the scoreline, England should now be VERY worried about Samoa. South Africa look certain to pound the Poms on the 14th, and then on the 22nd we have what will likely be the second place decider between England and Samoa. I'm not yet ready to call an upset, but it'll be an intense game. England frankly look shithouse and don't deserve to go anywhere.

What annoys me is that the piss-poor English team and Samoa simply being Samoa means that no matter which of them goes to the quarter-final, it's a massive gift to Australia. The Aussies will almost certainly top their group (come on, they have just Wales to beat) and an English or Samoan opponent in the quarters will mean they'll coast into the semis undisturbed. Meanwhile, New Zealand may have to deal with France. Bah!
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:52 PM   #86
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Originally posted by Axver
Meanwhile, New Zealand may have to deal with France. Bah!
i wouldn't be too worried about that scenario after watching the last french performance...
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Old 09-09-2007, 03:28 PM   #87
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This is a poor start for Ireland.
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Old 09-10-2007, 02:42 AM   #88
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(Sorry, the first part of this post ended up being a bit of a diatribe about Aussie rugby, feel free to skip through to the questions at the end..)

Agreed with the earlier post about the lousy Australian commentary. At least we won't have to watch or listen to Gordon Bray, who somehow manages to make the basic act of talking look like hard work. He had the especially annoying habit of becoming overly excited when Wallaby (Australian) players - some in particular - were running at a defence line which had them easily covered. It seemed a disappointing surprise to him every time that they didn't bust through..

Actually that sort of sums up the disproportionate expectations that Australian rugby followers in general suffer from, and it is largely due to the game's carefully crafted image here. I can see how Australia is competitive to a point at the international level, having some degree of domestic competition, yet the number two ranking has me a little baffled, or otherwise fearing the worst for the international state of the game. Rugby union is still a class-exclusive game within Australia, played predominantly at private schools and universities. It's not difficult to see the evidence, listening to Bray's ridiculous banter about a "symphony-like" backline movement (ie, a vanilla string of passes) or the forwards charging ahead "in concert" (ie, standard one-off rucks grinding forward). It's as if he's pandering to the "old boys club" by trying to speak their language. Meanwhile, the grassroots support for juniors doesn't seem to be there as it is with sports such as soccer, cricket, and even rugby league. Speaking of league, poaching players such as Tuqiri, Rogers (I know), Sailor, and Tahu, and throwing them into the mix of a union squad won't work anywhere near as well as throwing in some talented play makers and changing the way that the whole team plays around them; the league converts are genuinely talented ball runners, but are most effective when capitalising on broken play situations, or charging into space created by a clever play maker. Without the opportunities opened up by creating doubt in the defence line or a carefully weighted kick ahead, they're simply running the ball up like the rest of the team, except at a higher price..

Anyway, sorry I didn't mean to get sidetracked by a rant on Aussie rugby, but to summarise: it's lame yet surprisingly competitive, somehow.

A few thoughts/questions on the World Cup, and rugby in general:

- Is this a World Cup in name only, much like the cricket? It seems that a lot more work needs to be done to develop the game in "strong" countries such as Australia, let alone the nations which are competing in the World Cup yet on the whole barely look sideways at the game of rugby. Is the gulf widening? Just as with cricket, should the number of teams be reduced?

- It may never come to this, but there's the issue of resolving tied games in the WC:

Shootouts will decide matches

Thoughts? How about the idea hinted at where players could progressively be removed from each side, to create more space and opportunity for scoring? I would be interested to see how this might apply in other games, such as soccer..

- Drop-goals: 3 points too much? Is the game weighted too favourably for teams which are prepared to grind away in the rucks and/or kick their way into enemy territory, then hand off to an ace drop-kicker who has the ability to drill one within forty metres or more? Not singling out any team or individual in particular! Seriously though, what's to stop the game being built around that style of attack more and more in the future, if the kicking talent can be developed?

- Likewise penalties, is 3 points too much for them? If the game rules aren't applied very consistently across the crew of international referees, it would be all too easy for different interpretations of some of the more technical infringements to cost teams a LOT of points.

- What were Italy thinking, turning their backs on the Haka?? (They should've at least had their mobile phone cameras out for the occasion.. )
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:28 AM   #89
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i wouldn't be too worried about that scenario after watching the last french performance...
The French can be unpredictable though. Plus, I think they want revenge for the way New Zealand destroyed their second-string side earlier this year.

Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy
This is a poor start for Ireland.
That's a gigantic understatement. Either Namibian rugby has improved in leaps and bounds, or Ireland went to fucking sleep! 32-17?! And I thought Scotland letting in a try in their 56-10 defeat of Portugal was bad! Now I am absolutely convinced that Ireland unjustly won against Italy a fortnight ago.

I think the most glaring indictment of Ireland's result is that O'Driscoll and O'Gara were playing. Sure, Irish rugby lacks depth and seems wayward without them, but the fact they were on the field really should have ensured a thumping. In any case, this bodes well for Argentine and French ambitions.
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:54 AM   #90
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I feel this is going to be a long post ...

Quote:
Originally posted by Zihua
Agreed with the earlier post about the lousy Australian commentary. At least we won't have to watch or listen to Gordon Bray, who somehow manages to make the basic act of talking look like hard work. He had the especially annoying habit of becoming overly excited when Wallaby (Australian) players - some in particular - were running at a defence line which had them easily covered. It seemed a disappointing surprise to him every time that they didn't bust through..
Truer words about Aussie commentary have not been spoken! I particularly hate how they rope in a token Kiwi for Bledisloe Cup games, but it usually tends to be the least intelligent and articulate Kiwi in the entire country. And when it's not a woefully thick one, it's somebody who's weak-willed and just lets the Aussie commentators jabber on with their nonsense.

Channel 10 really were hilarious after the NZ vs Italy game. I loved how they were trying to talk down the All Blacks' victory by pointing out that Australia didn't let in any tries against Japan. Hmm, wonder why? Probably has something to do with the fact Italy's 9th in the world and Japan's 18th, below even Romania and Georgia!

Quote:
I can see how Australia is competitive to a point at the international level, having some degree of domestic competition, yet the number two ranking has me a little baffled, or otherwise fearing the worst for the international state of the game.
I have concerns for the international game too, mainly due to the complete dominance New Zealand manages to apply (post-1987 World Cup semi-finals excluded). Unless you're South Africa and maybe Wales, you really can't say you've ever been consistently competitive with the All Blacks. Australia's current success makes a bit more sense when considered in historical context. I maintain the Wallabies at the moment are a flash in the pan and are already showing signs of serious decline.

Australia was not at all a rugby force until the 1980s, partly due to the fact that they got continual experience in the Bledisloe Cup. If you spend decades playing quality opposition and have a decent albeit class-exclusive base, you're eventually going to hit a patch where good coaching combines with enough quality players. Australia's largely had that for the last couple of decades. But note the lack of depth. If they lose Latham, they're stuck with Huxley. Ashley-Cooper is a starting winger despite being shit. MATT FUCKING DUNNING IS ACTUALLY IN THE TEAM! When Australia had a string of injuries a couple of years ago, they lost 8 out of 9 games (I think the lone win was over Italy - just). Now people like Gregan, Mortlock, and Latham are reaching the end of their careers. Nobody of comparable ability really seems to be coming through. I'm sure Australia will linger around the top ten, I'm not saying they're about to become a Portugal, but I expect that in 2-3 decades' time, we'll still be talking about Kiwi and Springbok dominance, while Australia will be around where England and Scotland are nowadays.

Quote:
Speaking of league, poaching players such as Tuqiri, Rogers (I know), Sailor, and Tahu, and throwing them into the mix of a union squad won't work anywhere near as well as throwing in some talented play makers and changing the way that the whole team plays around them; the league converts are genuinely talented ball runners, but are most effective when capitalising on broken play situations, or charging into space created by a clever play maker.
Yeah. I think the only good league convert was Rogers and losing him back to league was quite possibly the worst thing to hit Australian rugby since Sailor and Dunning were picked for the Wallabies. Sailor was a hack, I've already made my thoughts clear on that. Tuqiri took far too long to become a solid player, though nowadays he's become one of the better Wallabies.

The new ARC should hopefully go some way to helping the development of real union players. Though with horrible team names like the Sydney Fleet and East Coast Aces, I can see why people would stay away ...

Quote:
- Is this a World Cup in name only, much like the cricket? It seems that a lot more work needs to be done to develop the game in "strong" countries such as Australia, let alone the nations which are competing in the World Cup yet on the whole barely look sideways at the game of rugby. Is the gulf widening? Just as with cricket, should the number of teams be reduced?
While this is the case, I don't think it's as severe as in cricket. I mean, in cricket, outside of the big eight, you might as well just not bother unless Bangladesh has a good day or Mugabe finally fucks off in Zimbabwe. In rugby, if you don't talk about the All Blacks for a minute, teams as far down as #12, Fiji, can be competitive (hell, Fiji are the best 7s team in the world except possibly for New Zealand!). Even #13, Canada, has been a quarter-finalist before and I think has a degree of potential. A 16-team World Cup is fair. It gives the top 10-12 a good bash, and brings in some minnows who can give the top teams a run, especially those currently in a slump (looking at you, Scotland). 20 teams ... well, it's questionable. I'm still in favour of it. You couldn't go to 24 though.

Quote:
Shootouts will decide matches

Thoughts? How about the idea hinted at where players could progressively be removed from each side, to create more space and opportunity for scoring? I would be interested to see how this might apply in other games, such as soccer..
I doubt any rugby game would end in that, but if it does, I question its fairness. Think of a game that ends tied at 30-30. Team A scored six tries but converted none of them; team B landed ten out of ten penalties. While that's an extreme example, it shows that a team whose defence leaks like a sieve and whose attack is insipid could nonetheless win due to having a quality kicker. Reducing players would be an interesting idea, but I haven't really thought about it.

Quote:
- Drop-goals: 3 points too much? [...]

- Likewise penalties, is 3 points too much for them?
I think 3 for a penalty is fair, as it should be worth more than a conversion. Maybe conversions from right out front should be worth only one, but definitely a conversion from the sideline deserves two, so three for penalties. However, drop goals are harder than either conversions or penalties, so I actually advocate four points for a drop goal. There is the problem of teams structuring their play around drop goals, but a good defence should make that less of a threat, and an offence based on drop goals will never be an equal substitute for an offence based on scoring tries.
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