The Big Three still look… big (Rugby World Cup updates)

17 09 2007

New Zealand, South Africa & Australia are performing as expected, and nothing seen has changed any predictions of the All Blacks, Springboks & Wallabies making the semis of the Rugby World Cup in France.

France defeated Namibia 87-10

Viva le Francais!But finally a Northern Hemisphere team has looked like a team that’s come here to play. France’s defeat of Namibia at a hefty total of 87-10 puts the Irish performance in dire perspective. Ireland managed eke out a win against Namibia 32-17.
But they haven’t been alone.
Thus far we’ve had England only just managing to put away the US 28-10 then getting a thrashing to the tune of 36-0 from South Africa.
Wales struggled against Canada, then was soundly beaten by Australia – despite a home ground advantage & quite a few dubious decisions in their favour.
Ireland had to be licking their lips post France’s opening day loss to Argentina, but their performance against the two ‘minnow’ teams in Namibia & Georgia has been anything but encouraging. Verily, they were damn lucky to walk away with a win against a courageous Georgia.

France looked well under-done against Argentina, but this win against Namibia exhibits just a little of what was expected from the Northern powers, but up to this point, has not been forthcoming.

A good win, but only what was expected. Read the rest of this entry »


The great divide widens – huge gap between NH & SH in Rugby World Cup

16 09 2007

Rugby World CupLast night there were 3 games:

  • New Zealand 108 defeated Portugal 13
  • Australia 32 defeated Wales 20
  • Ireland 14 defeated Georgia 10

The All Black dismantling of Portugal is no surprise. Verily, the only surprise in that match was that the Portuguese managed to get a try.
The Welsh losing to Australia doesn’t surprise either – was expected, and although a spirited second half saw the Dragons narrow the gap, on current form no amount of local-crowd advantage was going to help.

The Irish need more ballsBut that the Irish only just managing to beat a huge-hearted effort by Georgia is astounding. Ireland came into this World Cup with aspirations of making the semi-finals, perhaps even the final. The performance thus far of Ireland has left a lot to be desired. Eking a win out against Namibia (winning 32-17), and last night’s performance against Georgia could not have them feeling good about upcoming matches against France and Argentina. Read the rest of this entry »

Island Nations hold court in France (Rugby World Cup updates)

13 09 2007

So another group of games have gone by, and 3 tightly contested games they were! After watching some absolute canings, it was good to have a day where the results were all decided by 10 points or less…

Tongan Taufaka

Tonga 25 def USA 15 – the media wrap-up on this had the US going in as favourites, the Tongans cast in the role of ‘underdogs’. Sorry, despite a spirited performance against England, I had stated earlier that I didn’t think the US would win a game here this World Cup… and nothing I saw in the first match changed that. And again… despite yet another spirited performance by the Eagles, the Islanders always looked more creative, more threatening. Statistically, the US had the better of Tonga, but rugby’s not a game of mere stats alone. Samoa looked more threatening when they had the ball… the US content to simply try and bull-rush the ball through the Tongan defense, a tactic that ultimately led to their defeat. Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding Rugby: Other War Dances

31 08 2007

I’m posting this after getting a request as to what other war dances exist that are performed at the beginning of Rugby… after doing my piece on the All Black haka, Understanding Rugby: The Haka.

So, there are a few other pre-match dances that occur… the Fijians perform the Cibi, the Samoans the Siva Tau, and Tonga have the Kailao.

Without a doubt, the Haka of the All Blacks is more renowned, but others are definitely more war-oriented. The Haka is a dance of celebration, of life-over-death. Each of the others is an actual war-dance.

The Cibi
The Cibi has origins in the warring between other pacific island nations, and was used first in the Fijian national team’s pre-match warm-ups during a tour of New Zealand in 1939. They went on to become the only nation ever to tour New Zealand, and remain undefeated.

Ai tei vovo, tei vovo Make ready, make ready,
E ya, e ya, e ya, e ya; Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Tei vovo, tei vovo Make ready, make ready
E ya, e ya, e ya, e ya Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Rai tu mai, rai tu mai Look here, look here,
Oi au a virviri kemu bai I build a war fence for you,
Rai tu mai, rai ti mai Look here, look here,
Oi au a virviri kemu bai I build a war fence for you,

Toa yalewa, toa yalewa A rooster and a hen
Veico, veico, veico They attack, attack, attack
Au tabu moce koi au It is forbidden for me to slumber
Au moce ga ki domo ni biau Except to the sound of breaking waves

E luvu koto ki ra nomu waqa Your ship is sunk below,
O kaya beka au sa luvu sara Don’t think I’m drowned too?
Nomu bai e wawa mere Your defence is just waiting
Au tokia ga ka tasere To crumble when I attack

A short, of-average-quality clip of the Cibi

Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding Rugby: The Haka

6 08 2007

With the Rugby World Cup just around the corner, With Malice… will explore some of the history of the game. Today, the haka.

Ka mate!  Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!So, the Haka. Why? Why do the All Blacks do the Haka at the beginning of rugby matches? What’s it’s purpose?

The Haka is simply a traditional dance native to New Zealand’s Māori people, and there are many different kinds of haka. But for all intents & purposes, we’ll be looking at the ones performed by the New Zealand national rugby team: The All Blacks.

The All Blacks perform two haka – the ‘Ka Mate’ and the ‘Kapa O Pango’. The Ka Mate is the traditional haka, and it was first performed as part of the pre-match ritual for the All Blacks in 1906, and is basically a celebration of ‘life over death’.

Here are the words to the Ka Mate, with translation…
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora! I die! I die! I live! I live!
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora! I die! I die! I live! I live!
Tenei te tangata puhuru huru This is the hairy man
Nana nei i tiki mai Who fetched the Sun
Whakawhiti te ra And caused it to shine again
A upa … ne! ka upa … ne! One upward step! Another upward step!
A upane kaupane whiti te ra! An upward step, another.. the Sun shines!!

And as performed by the All Blacks…

Read the rest of this entry »

Riddle me this: Rugby World Cup reviews – pool B

6 08 2007

France 07More looks at the Rugby World Cup… who’ll take the honors in Pool B? Will the Wallabies progress far? Read on, and find out… from the pen of The Riddler!

World Cup Pool B rundown

Seeded number two for the world cup based on their runner up effort from 2003. They have the best record of any nation in term of world cup wins having hoisted the trophy in 1991 & 1999. However the current Wallaby side is but a mere shadow of those squads. There is no doubt they have the talent to potentially go all the way but far too many ifs and buts.

There are questions about their tight five. While performing better this year, they are still a few rungs below the top sides. They rely heavily on certain players like Gregan, the injury prone Larkham, Mortlock, Giteau and Latham yet if one or two of them go down it leaves a gaping hole. They are a force not to be under-estimated when at complete strength but over a seven week tournament and after a long super 14 and tri-nations season, keeping everyone intact might be a bit of a stretch. Another concerning aspect for the Wallabies is their horrendous away record. At home they are one of the most fearsome sides in the world but away from home they are very ordinary. Only win of note away from home since 2003 was in 2005 over the Irish but they have lost to NZ, SA, France, England, Wales & Ireland away. This is in complete contrast to the 1991 & 1999 squads who boasted excellent away records. If the world cup was being played in Australia they would be a red hot chance but with their poor travelling mentality I cannot see them progressing past the semis. They should take out this group and set up a clash with
England in the quarters. Read the rest of this entry »