I've finally worked out why we won't win the World Cup this year.
Because I'll be watching it.
Strange but true, I've watched every RWC since 1987, but in 1987 I
didn't watch a game, not even the final. In 1987 I was 22 with my first
proper job since Uni, I had money, I was living in Wellington, going
out all the time and chasing a young woman who would become the future
I was also a bit meh about rugby. Having played it, watched it and loved
it as a kid, we'd had the 1981 tour meltdown, and if that wasn't
embarrassing enough we'd shaped up for another overseas tour of Sth
Africa, one that the country finally forced the NZRU to back away from.
In response, two giant ***heads called Murray Mexted and Andy Haden
teamed up with Pinetree, donned brown (incredibly suitable) and had a
shit private tour of apartheidville on their own. Sure, we had a crop of
exciting new players coming through after 1986 but I really just wasn't
My flatties watched every game, arseholed me for going out instead, but
I didn't care. On 20 June 1987 I'd been out on the rugged Wellington
coast near Makara having a few quiet ones and most probably trying to
convince the future Mrs Os that we'd be better off back in her lovely
clean little flat between her nice crisp sheets. When we got back to
town I found out we'd won the Rugby World Cup. "No surprises there" I
thought, we'll always win the ***y thing. And that was that.
By 1991 the future Mrs Os was Mrs Os, I was in another job, back in
Wellington from overseas and taking a moderate interest in the RWC. I
presumed we'd win, even though the setup with Wylie and Hart was
patently ***y stupid. I was mildly shocked when the Aussies threw us
out. "Can't win 'em all" I thought... next time.
In 1995 I wasn't that confident. I thought the Aussies and French would
do better than us. My oldest boy had been born 3 months before, and for
the first time I actually volunteered to get up in the middle of the
night to grab him and watch the games live. I have great memories of
sitting up with him watching the pool games, and best of all *that*
England game. I swear he loved it, even at that age, and he's a sports
nut to this day
My dad's retirement do was on the Saturday of the 1995 final. He got a
nice send off that night. We came home and enjoyed a beer or two while
everyone slept. We watched the match live together, probably for the
first time in 15 years, just like we did when I was a kid. That was the
last time I'd ever watch a night game live with him as well, to this day
I feel we really should have won it, for that reason if nothing else.
By 1999, the 'our turn' nerves were really starting to kick in, and we
got the biggest kick in the guts possible. An absolute freak of a game
from the French, ***. We also got Kevin Roberts and the
beginning of the stupid NZRU marketing of the ABs that has plagued us
ever since. 2003 and 2007 were just more of the same and so here we are
in 2011, back at home, and seeing if we can repeat 1987.
As I said, it probably won't happen, I'm obviously the Jonah. I'll be
there watching this time again, actually at the games for each of the
Nelson ones, both my boys will be watching too. They have 100%
confidence that we're going to win this time, poor bastards, they don't
know the awful truth about their dad...
The funny thing is, this RWC feels like a South Pacific one rather than
an NZ one. Fiji, Tonga and Samoa are so intertwined in NZ society now.
I'll be cheering for every Pacific team that plays and would be almost
as happy to see one make a semi-final as I would to see the ABs win the
thing. Funny how life changes things eh?