Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011

The rugby world cup in New Zealand has just ended and although I'm the last person to care about sports, I'm glad I was here for the event.

Not only for the fact that a rugby world cup isn't every day, but because it was a one-time opportunity to see New Zealand so totally excited and it's something not every visitor will have the chance to see. The atmosphere was really great, almost every car had (and many still have) their team's flag sticking out of the windows, people would talk about the games in bars and on the streets, even foreigners whose country didn't play or was eliminated were discussing which teams they support and why, and the locals were really excited and confident about the All Blacks, the NZ national team, winning the cup on their home ground (their last gold is 24 years old, from 1987).

It was a boost for the economy, too; apparently, they sold 250 millions of dollars worth of tickets and over a hundred thousand foreigners came here just for the cup, so imagine the income it generated for hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

All this considered, even I, a sports ignorant par excellence who shouldn't wach a game for the risk of unhinging his jaw yawning, was somehow drawn into the general atmosphere. Not that I followed the cup as if my life depended on it, but I pride myself for having seen the first and the last game, and for enjoying it!

That's right, I watched the very first and the very last match, although I'm oblivious of what happened in between. I even went to Hagley Park in Christchurch to see the final on the big screen, and I was as tense and excited as every Kiwi around me, wishing NZ to get the gold (it only makes sense, since they were playing on home grounds). And they got it!

It's therefore a bit sad that it was such a close and in my opinion somewhat sour victory. In the second half, the French fought like lions and showed a much more impressive performance than the All Blacks, who just about managed to hold them back (great defence, though). On the other hand, the best conclusion is probably that both teams were very strong and their forces almost equal, with the scales tipping slightly in favour of the All Blacks. France almost got it and even with the second place, they can go home with pride.

Either way, the last 30 minutes of the game were really, really intense and even a sports ignorant like me was tense like a guitar string until the last second. Too bad there are no "almost winners" in sports, just winners.

Well done New Zealand!

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