Aisle be Back: The RWC quarter-finals

17/10/2019
  • By Kevin McCarthy

Guy who writes this blog has to confess he’s going to be stuck on a commercial plane flight right through the All Blacks’ quarterfinal against Ireland. Seriously.

How do you manage to organise that rugby-watching apocalyptic scenario, you might ask. Or less politely, is he a complete idiot?

Let’s say it’s complicated. It all starts in the Falkland Islands about 10 days ago. In between there a snow flurries, a first week in a new job, being adrift in a zodiac raft, penguins, an eye infection, a medevac to Chile (thank god for our health insurance), and well, some rugby watching.

I’ll unpick that again. I’ve been off the blogging for two weeks (sorry ed) while my partner and I packed up in NZ and flew to the Falklands, in the deep South Atlantic. I’m going to be head of communications for the island’s government for two years.

Hence the (unseasonable) snow flurries,  and the penguins. A few days in, we were lucky enough to visit a nature reserve island, and see our first rockhoppers close up. The zodiac transfer back did turn exciting in the deepening twilight, but thanks to some awesome exertion by our crewman, we regained the main launch.

That should be enough for week one. But then my partner found an inflamed eye probably triggered by the long-haul flight, was getting worse. The islands have an excellent hospital for the 3000 or so inhabitants, but simply can’t have specialists for everything.

That’s why there is a well-versed medevac process to South America and with local doctors and our Kiwi-based insurers in discussion, it was decided we needed to be careful, and fly out.

Thus just six days IN, we’re heading OUT. The weather in the Falklands is challenging for aircraft at times, so the craft of choice is often a fast jet with medical crew on board. So on Friday night, we flew out of the RAF and army base at Mount Pleasant (spoiler alert, some Falkland Islands names we suspect are occasionally a little on the ironic side).

Can I just briefly mention it was a Learjet? 40,000 feet, 400 knots, direct to Santiago. Oh well, what an experience, for all the wrong reasons. Let’s conclude by saying it was the right call, and my patient thankfully is on the mend.

However no Learjet for the return trip and the once a week flight back to the Falklands is right during the first set of quarters. Unless perhaps, I ring the insurers and pleda mental distress. Might be worth a shot?

Seriously, we better not lose.

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Breaking news from SANZAR. Let’s kill the Sunwolves off in Super Rugby just as Japanese rugby becomes a world force.

Oh well, too late to rethink that one I guess.

As for the Scots, they used to be a favourite second team. Those plucky over-achievers, peppered with some world class individuals. Dudded at the last world cup.  In short, they had a lot of PR capital.

All of which they have flushed down the proverbial this week with the dumbest of stunts, threatening legal action over their possible match cancellation, while the Japanese were wearing deaths and destruction from a deadly natural disaster.  Read the rules, you presumably did that two years ago? Suck it up.

Throw in a bit of Kiwi bashing (and thank you Italy for your gratuitous bandwaggoning) and the Scots at least can claim early leadership in the most disappointing world cup effort to date.

All the world was cheering on Japan anyway. I never doubted they would win actually, because they are playing high-quality football and at a great tempo.  No doubt you will notice the similarities to how the Highlanders have always played, so Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown had done fantastic work.

The All Blacks would have been proud of any of the Japanese tries, so job done.

Can they sustain it against the Boks.  You know, they just may. What a story.

+++++++

I’m not going to say much about NZ v Ireland. Suffice to say we all know that it’s now sudden death and the All Blacks have learned that sometimes we’re the ones who die. I’ve got the feeling that we’ll still have an edge in conditioning and pull away in the last 20.

England v Australia. Wow, the clash of the unlovables. Let’s pick Australia just for the hell of it. England haven’t been tested yet, whereas Australia have.

Wales v  France. I’m taking over from a Welsh supporter in my job. But I’m not just being nice to her when I pick Wales. They have that find a way to win grit.

And Japan v South Africa? Come ON the Brave Blossoms. More run and gun, get those big Bokke boys sucking it in. They’re just Ireland in disguise.

That’s all from me,  except  a shoutout for the Lions as they host the first semi of the NPC against Canterbury.  Most weeks that would definitely lead the news.

So good luck to all and see you on the other side.

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