Haiku reflections on Japan

That’s it for another 4 years.. to 2019!

No divers, or wimps,

referee respect, few yobs

a class sport in all

The rugby world cup is over now – boo hoo : (    New Zealand are the 2015 champions.    South Africa won third place.  I’m delighted the All Blacks won though Australia put in a good fight and almost caught up with them at one stage.   It was all over after Dan Carter’s drop goal after which New Zealand added enough points to stay clear of danger.

I was hoping Argentina would win yesterday but it was not to be.  South Africa were good in fairness to them and I felt sorry for Habana for not beating Lomu’s try-scoring record.  He seems like a good character that guy. Typically, the South African captain was reminded in the post-match interview of their first game defeat against Japan (Oh sorry I’m doing it too!).

England did a good job of hosting it (along with Cardiff, Wales, where many matches were held), if not quite playing it … ahem.  Thank you for such a good World Cup though it is more the players who should be thanked for that for playing such good, enjoyable rugby and giving us such surprising results.

It turns out Japan are in the clear with their world cup plans after all as they were officially unveiled, just the other day, as 2019’s hosts, by World Rugby.  It would be a bit cruel to take it off them after that and I’m sure Japan will get their stadium issues sorted.   The chairperson of Japan’s national rugby association revealed a lovely logo for their big gig in 2019, incorporating a sun rising from behind, what else but, Mount Fuji. Here it is:

Japan2019

What’s more, M. Leitch and A. Goromaru from the Japanese team can both boast a place in the official team of the tournament.

As I said last week,  Argentina has seen a huge growth in its fan-base, with people paying above the norm to fly to their world cup matches from Buenos Aires and other parts of that country I so want to visit.    Japan will probably have a few more million fans by 2019.

I’ve summarised in my haiku above some reasons why rugby is generally a very respected and enjoyable sport.   You can’t deny it is a world away from football in many aspects.  Football can be fun and exciting too but is often boring and the players get on my nerves for their play-acting (diving, pretending to be dying) and deliberately wasting time when the clock is ticking (though occasionally that happens in rugby too only people don’t get away with it as much in rugby) and other nonsense.  The referees get more respect in rugby even if the players don’t always agree with their decisions, backed up or not by TMO (football badly needs something like that).  The coaches aren’t allowed to scream instructions from the pitch generally, or hassle medics, even have them fired, for running onto a pitch to help a player of their team.  In football, coaches are sometimes as bad as the footballers for attention-seeking behaviour and rivalry with each other and that’s a bad sign.

Well, now for my own rugby world cup awards:

Best pre-kick ritual: Dan Biggar,  Wales (Creepiest looking – Owen Farrell, England)

Most admirable effort at a come-back:  Romania against Canada (they just nudged past Canada and won) followed by Ireland against Argentina (catching up from 17-0 but losing eventually).

Award for Admirable 13-man performance: Australia (against Wales, they held out for a long time)

Biggest Shock(s): Japan beating South Africa.  Runner up: New Zealand thrashing France (well, I was shocked anyway)

Most admirable minnows: Japan, Georgia, Canada

Most individual and heritage-minded management team  award: Samoa in their choice of traditional shirts

Smartest looking management team: Argentina.

Best try celebration: Romania (try against Italy, one player jumped sky high with joy, a joy in itself to see among grown men)

Best Kit: Shared between Wales (home and away jerseys, very stylish Wales), South Africa (home and away), All-Blacks, France (Red away jersey), Romania (white jersey, elaborate design)

Most necessary hair-style change: Ian Madigan, Ireland (from a ridiculous haircut to a shaved head which suited him better)

Most dour looking coach: Warren Gatland, cheer up Wales did well! And Steve Hansen – even after winning the tournament!

Most excitable coach: South Africa’s Meyer.

Most surprised looking person, post-match: The man of the match for Georgia against New Zealand, Mamuka Gorgodze, and the now-fiancée (we hope) of the Romanian player who asked her to marry him after the Ireland match.

It being a tournament with plenty of really fit, rugged men it was hard not to admire at least a few of them and to come to a decision about who was the best looking but in the end Victor Matfield for South Africa is the one I thought was best looking.  Very Chabal-esque but a bit cleaner looking.  Scott Spedding for France not too far behind. The best looking player usually for France was not on the team or even in the squad unfortunately (yes, I’ve changed this paragraph quite a bit!).

Most annoying sight in the looks department: So many lumberjack beards.

Worst sore loser awards:  Uruguay got a bit rough at times when they saw they were losing. Though their ‘everybody in’ try celebration against Fiji was really heartening and at least they had team spirit …

 

Bring on Japan ….

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