Just before taking my United Airlines seat to San Francisco from Auckland today, I take note I'm not going to see the final two Rugby World Cup matches in Japan on Friday and Saturday.

That's because TV One will not be showing the final All Blacks v Wales encounter on account of not just a nation's expectations but also the assumption that New Zealand were going to be in the final on Saturday.

Perhaps the other factor is my belief the misfiring black machine and England have already played the final and rugby will be the winner no matter who lifts the Webb Ellis Cup.

I don't subscribe to Spark and, in hindsight, I'm pleased about that.

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The time difference aside, I have reservations about where I might be able to see the matches on TV at some watering hole in Frisco — despite gaining a day in the United States — while sightseeing a good part of California, barring the patches in the grip of an inferno.

Needless to say, I'm expecting the All Blacks to lick their wounds to smother the Dragons' flame purely on principle because Steve Hansen and his men won't be entertaining any thoughts of fronting another media scrum in a melancholic mood.

As for the final, it's the Poms' match to lose because South Africa just didn't cut it for me in their semifinal victory over the Welsh.

While I believe rugby-dom is richer for the All Blacks not nailing a three-peat, I'm somewhat perturbed at the prospect of watching a dour spectacle in the final, if the Springboks v Wales semifinal was anything to go by.

For all the New Zealanders' myopic selections and politics, even the most ardent rival spectators won't dispute that the All Blacks set the code alight with electric encounters.

Attacking rugby is the diet of the Kiwis, just as it has been for the best of the other members of the Rugby Championship — Springboks, Argentina and Australia.

England have brought a powerful and uncompromising brand of footy that not only entertained masses but also left them stunned.

Here's hoping England won't be drawn into playing the Springboks dour match in the final of the Ruby World Cup in Japan on Saturday. Photo / AP
Here's hoping England won't be drawn into playing the Springboks dour match in the final of the Ruby World Cup in Japan on Saturday. Photo / AP

Will England remain loyal to that hallmark or will they be sucked into playing a win-at-all-costs match?

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I don't believe South Africa adhere to the edict of dreary engagements.

Coach Rassie Erasmus strayed from the razzle-dazzle blueprint to find loyalists who prescribe to the dictum of winning no matter how ugly it looks.

Frankly the second semifinal bored me to tears. Fox terrier Faf de Klerk spiralling bombs behind his back brought smiles to Erasmus and his stable of coaches.

From where I was watching, it was painfully obvious they had been sucked into playing the woeful Wales' way.

Will they do that against the Poms?

De Klerk could prove me wrong but my guess is the mobile English forwards and bolshy backs will swallow such servings to dismantle the Boks with an up-the-guts approach even though Erasmus has the propensity to roll out an arsenal from his bench to maintain a potent presence on the park.

Having deposed the All Blacks, the champions elect must ensure the game doesn't degenerate into a moribund ritual in the next four years while masquerading as the world's best.

Many will decry Wales coach Warren Gatland for labelling De Klerk's box-kicking tactics as effective but unspectacular rugby, but he's spot on.

With Welsh pivot Dan Biggar and Springbok counterpart Handre Pollard slotting penalties and conversions with mind-numbing regularity, one could have been forgiven for thinking they had had a few beers with Grant Fox in the All Blacks coaching stable.

It's a little rich for All Black Sonny Bill Williams (centre) to play the 'brown boys' card but that is not to say he isn't making a pertinent point in terms of future coaching stocks. Photo / AP
It's a little rich for All Black Sonny Bill Williams (centre) to play the 'brown boys' card but that is not to say he isn't making a pertinent point in terms of future coaching stocks. Photo / AP

Romanticising De Klerk eyeballing Welsh lock Jake Bell as they questioned each other's pedigree made me chuckle as well but let's not get carried away with moments where the Davids are mindful there are enough Goliaths in their camp to run to their rescue if things get out of hand.

Besides, there's a fine line between bravado and boorish behaviour that could result in yellow cards. I reiterate, ill discipline will cost any team a game.

As for Welsh stalwart Alun Wyn Jones, it was painfully obvious, even against Fiji, that slowing down play to the extent of killing the ball is his mantra and the rest of the dire Dragons followed suit through a misguided sense of loyalty.

Regrettably Gatland must take responsibility for that and Erasmus for his moment of weakness in trying to stave off the guillotine back home.

Coaches draw the lines of engagement, which takes me to Sonny Bill Williams' premature parting shot on New Zealand Rugby needing to pick mentors who are of Māori or Pacific Island descent to build a better rapport.

It's a little rich coming from SBW, whose selection cost the place in the midfield of someone of the ilk of Ngani Laumape.

That is not to say SBW isn't making a pertinent point.

I will go even a step further to suggest coaches should be picked from other catchment areas and not on the assumption that if the Crusaders are doing well then the All Blacks will prevail.

That ritual has been part of the New Zealand tapestry for too long and is out of touch with reality.

With the ABs' demise, does that mean mentors who have brought relative underdogs out of obscurity on to the RWC stage should have an upper hand during the interview process?

Logic doesn't just suggest that but demands it and the protagonists owe it to the game.

Someone of the ilk of Jamie Joseph — a bloke I had interviewed at a flat parked outside the defunct Carisbrook Park in the halcyon days of Otago NPC rugby — fits that mould.

I'm no fan of a united nations of Japan but it can't be easy trying to conduct symphony with players from myriad cultural and philosophical backgrounds.

That takes some acumen so good luck to Joseph, who has come a long way.

Someone of the ilk of Jamie Joseph (foreground left) ideally fits that mould of what SBW is alluding to in the future of the All Blacks' coaching equations. Photo / AP
Someone of the ilk of Jamie Joseph (foreground left) ideally fits that mould of what SBW is alluding to in the future of the All Blacks' coaching equations. Photo / AP