This may well be the golden period of 140 years of rugby played in NZ.
The Mitre 10 Cup, provincial rugby’s showpiece is exceptional this year. The standard of most teams is better than it has ever been. The unabandoned attitude with sufficient skills to execute, most of the time, is wonderful to watch.
I must be a rugby tragic as I find myself “in anticipation” of watching lightly populated provinces like Northland, Taranaki, North Harbour, & Tasman do their thing with aplomb. They are simply flourishing! Canterbury according to commentators were unbeatable until last Sunday when Wellington gave them a good old fashioned thumping by 60-14, a record victory. The wind was howling which added a further challenge, but the match was scintillating.
Our Super Rugby teams were on the whole superior & the Trophy has been returned to the Crusaders who have dominated this professional competition with their 8th title.
The NZ women’s rugby team, the Black Ferns, scored 6 excellent tries in the World Cup victory over England. 41-32 This is very much an amateur side playing against the most professional women’s rugby team in the world.
The All Blacks continue to smash the record books. They are at another level presently & hammered this message home against the Springbok who have been their greatest adversary over the last 100 years with a dominating performance in all areas of the game & a record 57-0 .
It would be easy to get carried away but New Zealanders are not that way and appreciate the gap will close. The game in this country has its challengers, and it is inevitable that there will be transition and the graph will undulate as history has proven in the past.
We are on a high though and these results are not an accident. There is a formidable structure throughout the length and width of the country. Every little town has a rugby club which is normally the epicentre of the community. We grow up with the game, man, women & child. It blends our society together like no other. We have embraced the opportunity to develop our own, our good athletes into better people, and better rugby players. We have analysed the direction of the game & what is needed to excel at the highest level.
When Kiwi’s travel overseas – and let’s face it this is necessary as we are an island at the bottom of the world – we hear little of NZ unless the All Blacks are in town. This team sets an admirable standard which we are not only proud of, but inspired by & able to feel good about ourselves.
We felt pretty bloody good in this household last weekend.
- Murray Mexted, IRANZ Managing Director