Deserved NZ Humiliation Leads to Wallaby Glory

Could be a great final. Might be some amazing trys scored. May be outstanding action-packed thrill a minute stuff. Just a shame that no one in Australia and New Zealand will get to see it, unless they have cable and unless they're prepared to stay up late or get up early (of course you could record it or watch a reply but as anyone into sport knows that doesn't count).

And who can we blame? New Zealand.

By Graham Henry forcing New Zealand's provinces to rest their All Blacks for the first seven rounds of the Super 14, the New Zealand coaching staff have not only shot themselves in the foot by condemning their best players to being injury prone and under-prepared, but they've deprived the Antipodes of the pleasure of at least getting to watch the final (and the semis for that matter).

So Australia's teams didn't make the final? So what? While Australia's best (and by this I don't mean you Peter Hewat - quit whinging and score some tries for a change - and while you're at it try kicking goals when it counts) are taking a good hard look at themselves in the room of mirrors, New Zealand's best (and that's not much) are nursing their wounds after flogging their guts out at altitude and being humiliated. Again. And we didn't get the pleasure of seeing it.

And they know it. Why else would seven Crusaders get into a brawl outside a Christchurch nightclub after their loss to the Chiefs in the final round? Because the pressure's on and I can hear the choking from here. Why do you think Ali Williams went on a 10-day bender across two continents? Because he's an All Black. And he's shit scared.

So South Africa get the dream final we've been waiting for. As William Webb Ellis flew down the sideline in 1583 or whatever it was he no doubt was thinking to himself, "one day they'll play a final of a Southern Hemisphere provincial Rugby tournament in South Africa between two South African teams, and in the best spirit of the ball-in-hand game, one of those teams will make the final through only scoring points off the boot".

The good news of course is that we now have both South Africa and New Zealand exactly where we want them. With the All Blacks shooting themselves in the foot by resting players, now the South Africans will get a few months of strutting and boasting as only South Africans can. As the Cricket World Cup taught us when the South Africans entered it ranked no 1 in the world, there is no confidence like overconfidence. Let's just hope that the South Africans win the Tri-Nations. The best bubble is an over-inflated bubble, because when it bursts it makes even more of a mess.

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