Sunday, July 19, 2009

having the last laugh...

Further to Saturday’s win against the Aussies at Eden Park, it took me great pleasure to outwardly, proudly, display a smug look on my face as I read this article reflecting on Henry's almost last minute call to name Stephen Donald at 1st V for the game.

Those (and there are A LOT of you) who have knocked Stephen Donald since even before he was named in the ABs were hopefully indulging in a sweet piece of humble pie after the game on Saturday.
I'm pro-Henry, and I'm pro-Donald. And while I'm stoked McCaw is back, I'm even more pleased to see Donald proved he was worthy of his place at 1st five on Saturday despite McAlister recently having emerged back on the NZ scene.

I get the sense Donald is yet another 'old school' player that the All Blacks should be lucky to have...we just don't quite know it yet. Henry and Smith are old school leaders; you can't help but stick with their calls. McCaw beyond doubt screams old school with his leadership, stapled eyes and hustle; Smith is a solid, consistent old school AB, Woodcock and Hore can also wear the title with ease. It's not the instinctive flair that keeps me watching a game of rugby (although this does provide for great spectator sport), or working on following what I can of the rules and non-NZ players (there's a line as to where a girl can recall all the phrases. I get lost with that 'breakdown' one), it's the presence of these players who simply get on with the game. Sometimes they're the heroes, sometimes their day in the sun is contained to being another strong link in the chain. That's just me, and I know the team is better for having both show ponies and the stout and true-blues, but I guess I reckon Donald showed that despite the media frenzy surrounding him, he just got on with it. Good on him.

I guess all in all it was great to have a good old fashioned Trans-Tasman clash and while I was gutted to have to watch the replay and rely on text updates from my friend, I suppose there's nothing more satisfying in a game of rugby to see your team fall behind earlier on in the piece, and do nothing but man up, dig it in, and go gung-ho in order to take it out.

Stephen Donald: at the risk of blowing out with a super gay pun, but channelling Joe Cocker on this happy occasion: you can leave your boot on.

Nice work lads, best of luck against the 'boks!



  1. Disagree! One halfway-good test doesn't make a great All Black! The backline is stunted because he can't get the ball out fast enough, he is average at best at goal kicking and every time he goes to clear my heart is in my mouth as to whether or not the ball will skew off the side of the boot, go straight up in the air (twice!) or get charged down. He is a worker, I'll give him that, but at the top level I think we need someone who can do more than just 'get on with it.'

  2. I think your points can be duly noted Aaron, and have been by, well, everyone! I suppose what I was trying to say is that while there have been shaky moments with Donald this season, in 2008 his Chiefs campaign established him as a solid player. I believe Henry is looking long term, and knows that we can't have a 1st five that 'will do' while Carter is injured/out. Therein lies half the problem- we've been spoilt with Carter- that goes without saying.

    Surely it's worth having these 'heart in mouth' moments in big matches THIS year as opposed to RWC 2011? Public remember the last RWC we won/lost, and can harp on for years about it, but we won't always go on about that French test we almost won in Wellington, or that win over the Aussies we had...just.

    I'd be happy to concur should his form not improve over the next 24 months...but I have faith that it will!


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