Aisle be Back: Remembering past Rugby World Cups

  • By Kevin McCarthy

Anyone else out there remember parts of their life by what or where they were when a rugby world cup happened? There’s been eight so far.

Since honestly nothing much is happening, while we wait for the last pre-cup hit outs, and for SBW to be injury hit – no, sorry, injury free – then here’s my dawdle down memory lane.

1987 the final: Slough, West of London, where they based The Office. Me and a mate watch. I can’t work out what time of day it was, because the game was an afternoon one. But it was light outside. My pommy flatmates don’t care.

1991 the semi: Yeah that train crash. Back in NZ, home town. I do remember having been in Oz on holiday not long before and getting razzed by cocky Aussies. Turns out they were right.

1995 the final: Wellington, Lovelocks Bar.  3am is it? What a never ending night. Actually went to work afterwards (at radio station) and wrote about it for the news. Good for processing the grief.

1999 the semi: I’d rented an enormous power sucking plasma TV that filled the lounge, and hosted a string of blokes for breakfast fry-up. One mate decided after Jonah scored early in the second half that he could safely drive the 20 minutes to work, game in the bag. By the time he got out of the car, it was. For France. He was also working for radio, rushed to Lovelocks, and literally got a guy on tape crying.

2003 the semi: I mean, Stirling Mortlock doesn’t look that fast but his intercept kills us off. What a great journey Mitch, scrambled midfield and all. But honestly, surely someone can run down Mortlock. He’s not that fast.

2007 the quarter-final: I’m actually there – in Cardiff. So is Wayne Barnes. Guess who plays the bigger part. Anyway,I get to be taunted by Welsh fans, get to meet a Foxy at 3am in the apartment complex I’m squatting in with a journo friend, get to make a miserable journey back to London. Oh yeah, what did Foxy say? He wondered if we were overthinking things in the lead-up seasons.

2011 the final: I’m actually at freaking Eden Park. What a night. I can declare at fulltime that at least now I can die happy. But what a second half, we’re behind the All Blacks goal-line and you feel like the French are constricting and strangling us. But those last 30 seconds of screaming drive it, drive it. Yeah like I say, I can die happy.

2015 the final: Back to Lovelocks. Never felt we’d lose even when the Aussies came back.  A good feeling to pitch out on dawn streets in the city and try to hunt down some breakfast. I kept thinking what great boys were in that team. McCaw, Carter, Kaino, Nonu and Smith. Great boys, great performance.

2019? Who knows what match of course. But I do know I’m not going to be watching in New Zealand.

Great things world cups.

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