I have also been watching the advertising for RWC with some amusement. I spotted the ads for the "rugby heaven app" on Stuff the other day and enjoyed the short article on them from Bosco Peters over at Liturgy.co.nz. Rugby is often described as NZ's state religion (although perhaps less so now than formerly?): there's certainly priests (Dan Carter, anyone!), theologians (who are busy pontificating over the airwaves at present!), and a huge lay presence (also busily pontificating...). But there's also those who don't really care less about the game (notably about half of my office, who are English and think that games should be played with a round ball instead of a pointy one).
All joking aside, I have spent some time over the last week or so making my final pre-Cup picks for the games. I'm going on record now:
- Australia v Fiji
- England v France
- South Africa v Italy? (not quite sure about SA's competition here)
- NZ v Argentina or Scotland
- Australia v England
- NZ v South Africa
- NZ v Australia, NZ to win but very close
- South Africa v England (B final), South Africa to win
The really embarrassing thing will be if we lose to South Africa in our semi.... or worse still, if we lose to our opposition in the quarter (I'm picking Italy for that one, but there is a slight chance Scotland will come second in that pool). But given the recent TriNations results, a loss to South Africa is a possibility - not one I want to entertain, of course!
So there you are. My picks. It will be interesting to see how close I am once the competition starts!