Courtesy of the ticket lottery almost a year ago I am in England for the big match, my first time at Twickenham for many years. One of those bucket list occasions, to attend a world cup final in almost any sport but especially one that I played and then watched most of my life.
Also an opportunity to catch with family and friends who I am connecting via a couple of days of folding bike touring around very wet but gorgeous Autumnal landscapes. “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” indeed.
Very tempting to bike to the game too, but I will content myself to arriving by train tomorrow so a few beverages can be consumed, got to get into the spirit of the occasion after all.
Now the final dilemma. Who to cheer for? England long gone, the other home nations fallen by the wayside leaving an Antipodean challenge between New Zealand and Australia.
Logically I can say I am a neutral and I am looking forward to an amazing match, even better if it goes to extra time. Emotionally I can say that English sports fans will always cheer for the underdog, which in this case is probably Australia because New Zealand have been so good.
Of course it is also fun to wind up the Kiwi half of the family and various friends all around the globe, although they tend to have a bit of a sense of humour bypass when it comes to rugby. You can easily substitute the word rugby into one of the quotes of Bill Shankly, the legendary Liverpool football manager, who said of the round ball game “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that”. (Murray, Stuart – are you reading this?)
But I have conferred with my English colleagues at work, I have had DNA testing done, read the small print and we categorically agree.
It is NOT possible to cheer for Australia. Can’t be done, won’t be done.
Yes we can hope for a nice, tight exciting game. Or we can hope that the All Blacks give the Aussies a right good kicking, that would be just fine. Game on!