Queenslander Greg Clark cut his teeth as a sports broadcaster in Auckland for a decade before heading back across the Ditch in 1997 to become the premier rugby caller on subscriber TV. Clark, based in Sydney, was a sports jock of all trades in Auckland - doing everything from forming a radio duo with grassroots rugby man Richard Mason to calling league with ex-Kiwi Brent Todd on TVNZ. The 53-year-old Clark talks footy and broadcasting with the Herald .
Right, first things first, who's going to win the semifinal? And we're not talking France and Wales here ...
Last Sunday, I would have said the All Blacks, but now I sense a little more nervousness with a lot of speculation around Richie McCaw's situation and the Wallabies are in a pretty good space. I still lean towards New Zealand, but the Wallabies are winning games they used to lose.
The country is terrified that disaster will strike should it break apart - what's your handle on Mr McCaw's foot?
He's definitely not 100 per cent but they'll have to cut his leg off to stop him playing. You wonder the effect if he was forced off the field. This is a big decision for the All Blacks because he is clearly playing on one and a half legs ... Richie must know he can't give 100 per cent for his country and yet they rely so heavily on his leadership.
The Aussies have Kurtley Beale in doubt though.
He's not Richie McCaw and the Wallabies are more able to make a change. Australia should go with the fully fit fullback and they do have an experienced replacement in Adam Ashley-Cooper. Comparing Richie to Kurtley is not like-to-like.
Every rugby story must have a Quade Cooper element.
I'm a big fan of his wonderful ability although I would tone down the sledging of Richie McCaw ... but he's backed himself to rattle the New Zealand captain and he might have got under Richie's skin. Quade Cooper's talent is amazing and I expect him to bounce back after a pretty ordinary tournament so far. He is a breath of fresh air and will only get better. He is still young.
You've formed a terrific team with fellow commentators Phil "Kearnsy" Kearns and Greg "Marto" Martin.
Some things just work and we've had a great relationship throughout and also with Rod Kafer latterly. We ad lib everything - I call the plays and if it's a forwards moment Phil comes in, and if it's the backs Greg says his piece.
Australian rugby needs to make every post a winner - do you sense that pressure?
It is a different environment there and we often play second fiddle to the AFL and NRL. New Zealand and South African viewers may feel we favour the Aussie teams but you have to understand we are not normally the number one game. Our brief is to be not too technical and remember that a lotof the viewers are not diehard rugby fans. We do feel the pressure and want those viewers to come back again. We're riding the Wallabies hard - there would have been major ramifications for rugby if they hadlost in the quarter-finals.
What about ramifications for Robbie Deans?
I'm a great fan of Robbie's but extending his contract before the tournament was very interesting timing, you might say. There would certainly have been pressure on the ARU who showed so much faith in him and maybe that's one reason why you saw a rare piece of emotion from Robbie after the Springbok game.
We hear your son is doing well in rugby?
Cameron was born in New Zealand. He is contracted to the Australian academy for the next two years, specialising in sevens, and was fullback in the Australian schoolboys side which just beat New Zealand in Sydney.
Who were your sporting heroes?
In a rugby sense, players like Paul McLean and Mark Loane from Queensland.
Is there anything you would change in rugby?
Accidental offsides, when a player runs into a teammate and there has to be a stoppage, even though it didn't affect any of the flow. Viewers get frustrated with quirky things like that - anything that reduces stoppages is good.
What are your favourite commentary moments?
Any time the Wallabies win, especially against the All Blacks. I don't view this as a job - I regard this as a privilege.
The Wallabies' loss against Scotland [November 2009].
What about your own worst moments?
I'm lucky - I haven't dropped any famous clangers, although my colleagues will tell you that I mixed up a prop and a fullback once. I thought Kurtley Beale was Salesi Ma'afu until he started running with the ball. What really annoys a caller is overusing a cliche so I'm on the lookout for that. I usually watch the entire tape each Monday or Tuesday. I'm self-critical and pride myself on doing the homework.
Finally, here's your last chance for a semifinal prediction ...
If the Wallabies can get early points, get off to a flyer ... the bookies have slashed the odds.