By The Spotter
“Those blardy garlic munchers haven’t got a hope against our boys on Sunday, we’re gonna cream them, mate” said Al Blacksrule of Levin. “We can’t possibly lose, not with our lovely boys Richie and Daniel out there” explained Ida Goodfeeling of Fendalton, Christchurch. “Those smart aleck Frenchies are going to meet their Waterloo” trumpeted G. Iveittothem of Nightcaps, Southland.
A sampling of the mood of the nation just now? Perhaps not that far off the truth from what I have deduced from general comments this week; we still don’t really seem to have learnt much about the folly of disregarding our opponents before critical matches at the World Cup.
Go on, I dare you. Off the top of your head, name five starting members of the French team for this weekend. I can’t. Can you? Doesn’t that more or less demonstrate that we are again falling into the trap of underestimating just about the most dangerous of all possible foes?
Maybe I just haven’t been listening enough, but be it media person or layman, I have yet to hear anyone really attempt to analyse where the areas of strength lie in this French team. And about the only thing I’ve heard in relation to their weaknesses is that “their tight five was bordering on soft and was generally crap” against Ireland.
You honestly wouldn’t blame a neutral living here for thinking that only a team bedecked in black will be emerging from the tunnel at the Millenium at around 7.55am our time this Sunday.
To tell you the truth, I have also paid scant attention or done much study around what France will bring to the table.
The probable reality, and it’s no doubt a part of human nature, is that the great majority of us are simply very passionate or patriotic, or more than likely, both. Allied to the fact that the All Blacks are almost always deserved favourites leading into any clash. Therefore, we usually default to blindly following the logic of expectant victory.
Additionally, I suppose that it is often so hard to second guess how the Tricolors will perform on any given day, that we have kind of given up on any reasoned analysis of them, so that could be why I have not heard anyone say very much about them. Although we know they always do grow an extra (frog) leg for any game against us.
All we can really hope then, is that the great gruff one and his lieutenants Mr Smith and Mr Foster have properly done the business we have neglected to discuss very well. Rest assured they probably have and let us just hope that we have the presence of mind to deal with the most unexpected of situations out on the pitch should they arise, as they horribly did eight long years ago.
I do however believe that those ruins of 2007 will not affect us. I foresee a definitive physical statement from these 2015 All Blacks and a win by more than the margin of a try.
*For a reaction to this or anything else in the world of sport, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org (‘To Paul’ in the subject line).