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The agony and the Ecstasy

The All Blacks are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the World Cup. According to media reports this week, the Kiwis have enlisted the assistance of an expert to help predict weather patterns for the tournament, which in turn may influence team selection.

According to these reports, the expert produces his forecasts based on movements of the moon and the planets.

Now I in no way mean to denigrate such a practice, because our own Kitch Christie also had a super weatherman to cast an eye over the heavens in 1995.

But it just seems ludicrous that New Zealand might be concerned about the weather — they routinely play their rugby in some of the most appalling weather conditions known to humankind. They, more than any other team, should be prepared for any potential weather pitfall.

There is no doubt that they are a nervous team. It has, after all, been 20 long, lean World Cup-less years for the Kiwis. And they have it all to lose, once again. No wonder they want a weatherman to help protect against any rain on their parade.

While the All Blacks have been leaving no stone unturned, the Wallabies have been turning out the stoners (again). Kicking coach Andrew Johns eventually came clean after being caught with a recreational pill, and any chance of him going to the Cup is gone. So, the kicking coach managed to kick himself out of Cup contention. Ah, the agony and Ecstasy of international sport.

Elsewhere in that region of the world, Fiji have omitted wing Rupeni Caucaunibuca from their squad, who is under a cloud after testing positive for marijuana. He has played some provincial rugby in New Zealand in the past, and maybe took a longing for the land of the long white cloud too literally.

And the Boks? So far so good. Let’s hope that they take the high road to the final by more conventional means.

Let the games begin.