I feel I need to start with this: I don’t like Richie McCaw any more.
Four years ago I was firmly on the Captain Tackles fan train. McCaw was everything we liked in player. Smart, fast, big, at the edge of the rules and a work horse. He shone in the statistics that we like: first to the breakdown, tackles, test caps. He is the stereotypical All Black, all stoic and shit.
It feels like so long since that World Cup and now I’ve got a problem and I can’t shake it. Sports and politics, man. Yeah yeah yeah I know. It’s my problem to deal with.
The more the All Blacks align themselves with John Key the more I hate them. Remember this:
I liked Dan Carter when he was an underwear model who helped us score more points than Australia. As soon as he has an ideology then he’s got something I can disagree with.
So a litany of “Hey John Key just showed up in our locker room for a post-game beer” photos, with Richie always in the middle, began to slowly wear me down. Then the politician I strongly disagree with is on the cover of Rugby News as the All Blacks number one fan.
In my head the idea of the All Blacks as a national team is slowly pushed out and now they are a National team.
I figured this would all slide away when the team finally took the field against Argentina. Then Richie, always playing to the edge of the rules, and often over them, reaches out with his foot and trips a player. I was watching ITV so there was no New Zealand commentary to soften the blow, he just played dirty.
Past Hadyn may have shaken his head but let it go by; present Hadyn couldn’t. My mind was filled with swearing and anger at a player I used to admire.
The All Blacks win over Argentina and I feel a little better, but I think I’ve realised that I’m comfortable with this team losing the cup.
You may have done this and not even noticed. I know I did, but I wasn’t the only one…
Japan..... 🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵 what an upset... #RWC0215— ROY ASOTASI (@rasotasi) September 19, 2015
So the question had to be asked:
Twitter automatically suggests hashtags when you start typing, so how did a clear typo become a highly suggested tag for such a big event? Well if the organisers want to blame anyone, it should probably be themselves.
But you have to go all the way back to 2013, when the tickets for this World Cup were announced and the official RWC twitter account sent this out:
@hamo619 These are now working again, sorry for any inconvenience #RWC0215— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) November 27, 2013
Then in May of 2014 this:
And that was the beginning of the end.
If you’re wondering why so many people haven’t noticed what they are tweeting, it’s because humans have learned to read fast and you can still raed wodrs qiuckly even if there are small typos.
Upsets at the Rugby World Cup are rare. Japan’s game plan against South Africa was perfect: attacking the old players at a pace and saying “keep up”. Looking at that on the surface it seemed like they could beat anyone. But Scotland aren’t the same as South Africa, Japan had a short turnaround to the next game and Scotland had the advantage of seeing Japan play. I’m sure Japan will be back up for their next game though.
Seeing the celebrations after the game brought back strong memories of the final game Japan played at the last World Cup. JK’s team came away winless and after drawing with Canada. Fans in the crowd were crying, the Japanese media wanted Kirwan’s head and his soft spoken captain had to come to his defence.
The emotions after the South Africa game were raw and pure and the result of so many rabid fans with nothing to celebrate for so many years.
As Tim, a teacher, points out, there’s a generation of rugby fans coming through who have never known a losing All Black squad.
Tim realised in 2013, that the students he was teaching (10 year olds) had no living memory of a losing All Black team – this project is a way of reminding/refreshing ourselves of those memories – not just of the ABs, but of all the many teams and players that have been part of the rugby world cup since 1987.
We’d love to hear any of your stories too.