A Melburnian Reviews a Rugby Match

Below, what passes for a review of a Bledisloe Cup match in The Melbourne Age…

  IN A week that saw the Philippines upset Guam 39-11 in a nail-biting clash in Manila, international rugby buffs were edgy with anticipation as they swarmed into the MCG for last night’s encounter in the first round of the Bledisloe Cup.

"I’m sure it’s going to be a physical battle," hinted New Zealand captain Richie McCaw.

By the time the match began, I had learned that the New Zealand team is called the All Blacks, on account of their distinctively sombre outfits. Because they wear green shorts, the Australians are known as the Wallabies.

After the pre-match spectacular, the All Blacks performed their traditional haka, a nerve-tingling war-cry based on the novels of Janet Frame. The Wallabies responded by taking off their warm-up jackets while the crowd sang Waltzing Matilda.

Then it was on. Right from the outset the Wallabies displayed a keen determination to get hold of the ball and throw it backwards and forwards among themselves while moving in the general direction of their goal. As expected, the All Blacks proved formidable in the tight. Or something. Beats me.

By half-time, the Kiwis were demonstrating a clear superiority. I could tell this because their score was higher.

In the second half there was an exchange of penalties and Josevata Rokocoko took the ball cleanly off the tail of the line-out and cleverly off-loaded into the dress circle. Or something. Perhaps the loose head prop was involved. Or possibly the inside centre. In any case, the upshot was a Wallaby turnaround and they got the ball over the line more often.

When the siren went, the score was 20-15 in Australia’s favour and the Wallabies crowd went wild. For a moment, I thought the tableware was ours. But apparently that won’t be decided until next month.

Oh, and the boundary umpires are called linesmen. They have little white flags.  Me too.



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