In anticipation that I might write something glib about the Wellington-Canterbury clash of provincial rugby titans (and given there is a high likelihood of me missing the game due to drinking plans) I thought I had better put something up now.
But first (sorry rugby fans) the great Mike Alstott of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had his retirement ceremony this week. Shame they spelled his name wrong (see the orange jersey beside the cheerleader). Or did they?
"The orange jersey is from his rookie year (1996). For his first two home games, his jersey was misspelled. [So the typo in the retired jersey] was intentional. It was the first jersey he ever wore in the NFL."
I think that's pretty awesome.
Now, to the rugby. For those who may be thinking of wagering some of your hard earned cash on this weekend's match here are some cold-hard facts you may want to consider:
- Wellington has won 19, lost 15 and drawn two of its 36 National Provincial Championship / Air New Zealand Cup matches against Canterbury.
- Wellington last won a domestic championship when it beat Canterbury 34-29 in the 2000 NPC Final in Christchurch.
- Wellington is appearing in its seventh NPC / ANZC Final in the last 10 years.
- Canterbury has scored 98 tries in all NPC / ANZC matches against Wellington.
- Wellington is playing its 37th NPC / ANZC match against Canterbury to equal its record number of matches played against Auckland.
- The two teams did not meet in the 2008 round robin, but Wellington beat Canterbury 20-12 in a pre-season match in Christchurch. (yeah that doesn't actually mean shit, but it's still a fact!)
- Wellington's 105 tries in NPC / ANZC matches against Canterbury is only exceeded by the 107 it has scored against Taranaki.
- Rodney So'oialo is in line to play his 50th NPC / ANZC match on Saturday and his 55th first class fixture for Wellington.
- Wellington has won 13 and lost five of its 18 NPC / ANZC matches against Canterbury in Wellington.
- Wellington's only loss to Canterbury in six championship matches at Westpac Stadium was the 2004 NPC Final, which the visitors won 27-40.
- Wellington is the only team to appear in all three ANZC Finals, but this is the first one to be staged in Wellington.
- Victory by Wellington against Canterbury would result in its 21st successive NPC / ANZC win at Westpac Stadium.
- Wellington is playing its 50th NPC / ANZC match at Westpac Stadium, with the record currently standing at won 36, lost 13.
- Wellington beat Canterbury 36-23 in the 2006 ANZC quarterfinal and 26-21 in the 2007 semifinal.
- Bernie Fraser holds the Wellington record for most tries against Canterbury in NPC / ANZC matches with seven.
- Jimmy Gopperth holds the Wellington record for most points in all NPC / ANZC matches against Canterbury with 64.
- Jon Preston is the Wellington record holder for most points in an NPC / ANZC match against Canterbury with 22 at Wellington in 1994.
- Wellington's highest score against Canterbury in an NPC / ANZC match is 48 at Athletic Park in 1990.
- Wellington and Canterbury met in two previous NPC Finals – in 2000, in Christchurch, won by Wellington 34-29 and 2004, in Wellington, won by Canterbury 40-27.
- Wellington has won 19 of its last 21 ANZC matches.
- Wellington has lost just one match this year, which equals its previous best season in 1987.
- Canterbury was the first team to play Wellington in an NPC / ANZC match at Westpac Stadium, in 2000, won by Wellington 27-20.
- A win to Canterbury would be its 12th of the season and establish a new record for the province, beating the 11 it won in 2001.
Thanks to Sam Rossiter-Stead for the list
UPDATE: ok, I totally forgot about the cricket. We won, just. And Australia won... oh no wait, they suffered a record loss. Stink.