• Wayne Perkins

A good old-fashioned spanking.

Well, that was just a good old-fashioned spanking, six of the best, trousers down.

And no, I’m not talking about Labour’s recent poll results or my failed attempt to get elected to the local community board but of last night’s rugby test between England and the All Blacks.

England, in my opinion, outplayed us in every facet of the game and while it is tempting to say that the All Blacks played badly, they played badly because England made them play badly.

A friend of mine had said before the game it would be, using a Lord of the Rings analogy, a battle of the Orcs on steroids and the fleet-footed Elves. In many ways, he was right although there were some pretty fleet-footed Orcs from what I could see.

It just goes to show the old rugby cliché remains true, that you can have all the firepower you want out wide but a game is won or lost in the forwards.

It was a great game, and while results didn’t go the way I had hoped, it was very enjoyable watching a team (England) playing so very well.

It will be a travesty if they don’t win this world cup but, as this game has shown us all, reputations and history count for little and it ultimately boils down to just fifteen men against fifteen men.

I’m not particularly upset. The better team won on the day.

Sport is just sport, and amongst all the real problems and battles that humans face, as they go about their lives, it’s nice to remember that rugby is actually just a game and in the grand scheme of things means virtually nothing.

What I really did like was Steve Hanson’s magnanimous attitude in defeat.

His statement “Sometimes sport is not fair, but in this case it was, the better team won” was a gracious factual account of the situation and surely he was living out Kipling’s famous words, “treat triumph and disaster just the same”.

But the comment that will rank as perhaps his most authentic and maybe even prophetic, will be the comment that I will choose to remember him by as the All Black coach.

“There is no shame in getting beaten by England, they’re a good team, so there is no shame but there is a lot of hurt, and that hurt or adversity will feed a lot of future All Blacks teams. So we’ll find one positive out of it”.

I think you might be right Shag. This All Black team that has done us so proud over a good many years now was born out of some pretty decent spankings. Onwards and upwards All Blacks.

Well done England. You were a pleasure to watch.

Good luck for the final.

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