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Aisle be back: The third Test and Super Rugby returns

Club Rugby | 13 July 2017 | Kevin McCarthy

Aisle be back: The third Test and Super Rugby returns

9.36pm Saturday, I text my partner: We drew!

She: Will they play another game?

Me: Yes! In twelve years time . . . 

So before we start the countdown, here are some random observations. No doubt you'll have your own. 

The Lions were a very good side. For that to happen is little short of a miracle, and a huge compliment to all involved.They were not a great side, but they had a wonderful stickability, a fair dose of flair, and clearly came up with a pre-tour strategy that they stuck with and bedded in. 

Warren Gatland was a good coach. Compared to Sir Clive, a stellar coach. Good enough to coach the All Blacks? Well, let's say his CV is looking much, much better.  Needs to watch his prickliness though; it's no job for the thin-skinned. 

The suicidal itinerary was the making of this side - tempering what they had, with the reality of what they might face in the biggest games. The NZRU needs to substantially weaken the itinerary next time round - time to bring back the Hanan Shield selection. 

The Auckland Herald no doubt will apologise for it's cartoon, the stupid epitome of giving the opposition something to seethe about. Okay, so the long wait begins  . . . 

The Lions said they had an edge in goal-kicking. And so they did. 

The All Blacks failed because of their goal-kicking - Yes, as well as dropping the ball, and a certain red card, and blah blah blah. 

It was a drawn series but the All Blacks seemed to have the edge across a range of stats - including that creaky Lions scrum. But not enough to make the difference. 

The All Blacks finally copped an opponent that could expose that this is still a team needing to replace the loss of a vast amount of experience. This is a timely kick up the proverbial, two years out from the RWC. 

The future's got a 1970s vibe - the Northern Hemisphere is where our real competition seems to be shaping up in the near future. I'm sceptical about the South African Renaissance, and the Wallabies, well, let's not dwell.  I quite liked the 70s, but only once I'd stopped living in them. 

Why oh why can't we have more tours. Nothing will match a Lions tour, but clearly it's something the game relishes. Find a way! 

And here's something to ponder. Somewhere out there is an eight-year-old, quite possibly the one running riot through your kid's junior rugby game every Saturday. Note down his name - he'll be the shock bolter in the third Lions test of 2029. 


So what did Jerome say to Romain ? Why is there no tape recording of this conversation.

Desperate for clues, I have been reading all 4,000 lines of the Song of Romain, the famous French mediaeval verse poem. Well, more precisely, the wiki version, written a few years later.

Actually it's the Song of Roland, but if I use it's proper name, then people will confuse it with world rugby's reffing overseer Alain Rolland, who isn't French but everyone thinks he is, when in fact he's Irish. Are you still with me.

Anyway in the Song of Romain, Romain is involved in a  late rearguard action, and he fruitlessly blows on his horn for help. But the help never comes.

Romain probably missed the fact that help was actually coming because he's too busy tooting his horn, while Jerome is chirping in his ear every five seconds.

It's scant consolation, but the villain (let's call him Jerome) in the Song of Romain is eventually torn into four pieces by galloping horses.

Which is probably a bit over-the-top punishment, although Radiosport callers will beg to differ.


Time for some real rugby. And they don't come tastier than Canes versus Crusaders on Saturday.

While you've been enjoying the cracking test series, the serious Super footy has been going on in South Africa and Australia. Nothing really appears to have changed as you suspected.

So just to recap, not even some Russian hacking can change the fact the Canes cannot overtake the Saders.

We can, however, stop them winning the overall competition, thereby guaranteeing in all likelihood, someone having to fly to the high veldt to play the Lions in the final.

I was reading in the paper this morning explaining the tweaked finals footy format. I confess I am none the wiser as to who goes where and who hosts whom. 

So I suggest we best just keep winning. Starting this Saturday and for the next three weekends. 

Simple plans are the best.


Lifelong All Blacks supporter Kev has followed the Hurricanes since they began. Last year his faith in them was rewarded when they won the title – can they do it again?

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