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Aisle be Back: ABs v Springboks preview and NPC Round 5

Representative Rugby | 13 September 2018 | Kevin McCarthy

Aisle be Back: ABs v Springboks preview and NPC Round 5

I really wish I was back in Wellington this weekend. Catch a bus, if you still have them, and head to the Stadium. Because there’s nothing more fun that watching All Blacks v Boks.

Or at least that’s how the world used to turn.

Now you look at the Boks with something approaching pity, and that’s just wrong.

They’re talking damage control and that may be written off as a ploy, but they seem to be deadly serious about it.

The puzzle is how the pretty competitive Bok side the lost 24-25 at Newlands at the tail end of the championship last year is now looking as likely as the side which shipped 57 points to NIL at Albany three weeks earlier.

Different coach of course but Rassie Erasmus is discovering two things – England right now isn’t a benchmark, and Argentina actually aren’t too shabby, having put together two strong performances.

Indeed you wouldn’t bet on the Wallabies right now, would you.



Pretty recently I predicted that the RWC would catch the bloating disease of the round ball footy equivalent, and sure enough, it’s looking to go to 24 teams instead of 20.

I guess I still have bad memories of 1999 when they had a terrible extra round to find the last eight which involved some sides in midweek matches. That was never repeated, so we have four groups of 5 now. 4 groups of six is probably unwieldy.

So six groups of 4? How do you get eight from that without another of those repecharge qualifier rounds for some? Well, the football world cup in the US of A did a round of 16, basically two from each group, plus the best four other sides on results.

Apparently that would work within the same time frame, and most positively, groups of four would mean much fairer scheduling of matches so the minnows aren’t forced into ridiculously short turnarounds compared to the tier one countries.

There’s some other reason I have bad memories of 1999 but I’ve forgotten.


The Lions have to, and should, pretty much keep on winning from here, as right now they’re sitting okay – but with an extra match played.

This Saturday they play Counties Manukau in the match for the Jonah Lomu Memorial Trophy. 

It feels like a throwback to the last century, but the most interesting clash is Auckland away to Canterbury.

Now that would have been a sell-out a while ago. Now maybe 5000 might turn out.

But hey Auckland are top of the table for now. Could it be the great revival? Let’s see once they sample the southern hospitality.

In more throwback news, one scribe called for more daytime test rugby. Or any daytime test rugby.

Bravo, and just what I’ve been urging and urging. Won’t make a blind bit of difference.

His only error was to say the last daylight All Blacks test in New Zealand was the famous 2000 John Eales test in Wellington. Right city, but the All Blacks in fact played Canada in the 2011 RWC pool play there. I remember it well – we were at the start of the unfolding Firstfiveocalypse and the hopes of the nation rested on Colin Slade that day.

And somewhere while that happened, Beaver was catching whitebait.

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