Expecting to be bored to tears by the Rugby World Cup extravaganza, I had planned to leave the country for the duration.

Unfortunately, my misguided frolicking late last year has led to me being detained in Auckland awaiting the arrival of the stork.

I could hardly disappear to a remote island in the Baltic to study medieval church architecture, when I might be required to boil kettles of water or provide reassuring succour to those engaged in the gestation process.

Trapped in the middle of these conflicting events, I am now constantly being interrupted by people who misguidedly believe - because of my age and media connections - that I can succinctly answer unfathomable questions on the dour-looking Mr Henry's game plan for leading his team to glory.


I have spent more than 50 years vainly trying to become a fully-fledged New Zealander, cultivating a taste for whitebait fritters, mutton and pavlova, wearing a Swanndri and rolling my own smokes during my days of addiction.

However, I have always fallen short on the essentials of Kiwi DNA. I cannot face oysters and am totally uninterested in the national game.

I once found myself seated at a table at a charity function with several former All Black captains.

They were aghast to be dining with a wimp who'd never attended a live match, forcing me to accept an invitation by the then-captain to be the guest of honour in the All Blacks' private box to view a test the following weekend.

I don't recollect anything of the game - even who won and lost - but I do recall that the alcohol and sausage rolls served by the NZRU were exemplary.

This week I was asked to purchase a couple of small flags to attach to my car, displaying support for a chosen team.

Unfortunately, the country I most admire, Iceland - noted for its cavalier approach to conducting financial business in a manner not dissimilar to the hapless South Canterbury Finance company - doesn't play rugby at international level, so I shall continue to drive flagless during the event.

My current nightmare is that my latest contribution to the world's population will be born in the same year as New Zealand winning the World Cup, leaving me with little option - if it's a boy - to name him after the All Black captain. Whoever that is.