Japan. Four years ago, the brave tier two team took on the mighty South Africa in Brighton and defeated them at the death. But now, against an Ireland team billed as the best ever, one which – at least entering the tournament – sat atop the rankings, Japan have outdone themselves. Down by three at the half, the Blossoms took the lead with more than twenty minutes to go and held off the despairing Irish fightback to win 19-12. Jamie Joseph, the Japanese head coach (until England steals him next year), talked about his team’s spirit, carrying them through, and it will; Japan looks likely to escape their group and will surely make the semifinals.
As I was saying, Japan looks likely to escape their group and will probably be thrashed by an unforgiving All Blacks side or a revitalised Springboks team out for revenge. But then again, who knows?
I have to admit I was pretty mad when I was given Uruguay for my office sweepstake. But then in their first game, I was inspired. They managed to overcome Fiji in what was a huge upset, and I suddenly regretted everything I had said. This is Uruguay. If they can beat Fiji, who knows how far they can go. Quarter-finals? Surely, at least. Semi-finals? It’s a long shot, but I believe. In fact, I now back them to go the whole way and…
Oh. They’re being thrashed by Georgia. Fantastic. Guess I’ll go support Ireland again.
Alright, fine, I get it. Welcome to living in New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup. Personally, I love the World Cup, but I understand if others are already tired of the rugby-centric news cycle, work conversations and pub quizzes. So, just for you (my two non-rugby-loving readers*), here is my new segment:
Let’s start with the States, as they are the masters of inventing new sports only they can play so they can be world champions. Right now, it’s the beginning of the NFL season and the end of the regular baseball season. So, why should you be watching these sports?
Well, the main draw of the NFL is the advertising. Seriously. A typical game has 60 minutes on the clock, most of it spent waiting for plays to begin, yet somehow, from kickoff until the last play, these matches take over three hours. So you aren’t actually watching any sport, you’re viewing countless ads as some sport happens in the background. But that’s the best part! Seeing the might of American consumerism pander in obscure ways to their public through ridiculous dancing, bizarre product placement and just general weirdness is an experience you’ll never forget.
Oh, I almost forgot about baseball. There’s no reason to watch baseball.
If you want to be boring and unoriginal, there’s always football. I mean always. It never stops. The clubs get a month break between seasons, but that’s always filled with international teams, pre-season money-gathering, and, if there actually, somehow, isn’t a game playing at that very second, there are transfer speculations and manager meltdowns and analysis and endless, endless analysis and aaaaaaaaaaaaah make it stop please someone make it stop
But if you want to not be driven *twitches* crazy by endless football, there are a variety of other sports you can follow (not including golf, which is not worth it. Trust me.). If you’ve ever watched boxing and felt, hey, this seems a bit tame, you’re in luck: the ice hockey season is beginning worldwide! If you’re not familiar with ice hockey, it’s like someone saw hockey and ice-skating from a distance and decided to stage an all-out brawl instead. Points are scored by knocking out opposition players’ teeth, your own players’ teeth, and putting a cylindrical rock in the back of a tiny net. In fact, if you’re looking for a new sport, I strongly advise ice-skating as the way to go.
But to be honest, just go watch the rugby. View every single World Cup game, despair as Canterbury wrap up both national titles, the Ranfurly Shield and defend the JJ Stewart Trophy. Go to a grassroots game. Most of all, laugh as Australia get knocked out of the World Cup by Uruguay, and be proud to be a Kiwi.
*Hah, like I have two readers.