Editorial: Hoping for repeat of 1987 win


Before  last night's game, I decided to jot a few notes for today's editorial.

It was tough, given the tenor of the piece hinged on whether the All Blacks triumphed or if this morning they'd be commiserating by indulging in the boozy tradition of Mad Monday.

Thankfully my household joined the rest of the nation in collective fist-pumping at 10.45pm as the team made their first Rugby World Cup final in 16 years.

Of course there's a distinct possibility next Monday this editorial will have a less celebratory tone - but let's not go there. Notwithstanding the mercurial French may or may not turn up for Sunday's final, there's a feeling our biggest obstacle to getting our mitts on the Webb Ellis Cup has been overcome.

On writing my notes I hankered back to every All Blacks world cup exit since the tournament began:

1987: Victory. Watched the game with my parents and family in Waipawa. Much hot savories and screaming.

1991: Lose to Wallabies in semifinal. Raucous Massey University dormitory. Our common room nearly came to blows after Wallabies fans stormed our dormitory on final whistle waving a blow-up dingo.

1995: Lose final to South Africa. Watching at university rugby teammates' flat in Palmerston North. Our fullback leaves the room with three minutes to play as he can't bear watching.

1999: Lose to France in semifinal. Watching with wife and newly born son in a windy Wellington flat.

2003: Lose to Wallabies in semifinal in the middle of moving back to Hastings with young family.

2007: Lose to France in quarterfinal. Didn't see the match. Indulged too heavily in the Kelt Capital revelry the night before. Shamefully too hungover to get up for the early morning upset.

I'll confess that for about two decades I've been somewhat ambivalent about the national game. That is, why as a nation we see such a true reflection of ourselves in this team. I often wonder if it's at the expense of other national or cultural touchstones.

But writing the above chronology made me feel a little differently. The team's history runs parallel and often interfaces with Kiwi families' histories. That can't be snubbed.

This Sunday will spark yet another entry in my world cup chronology. Here's hoping it will read very similar to the first.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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