All Blacks lose, NZ declares national day of referee bashing

All Blacks after defeat to FranceWhile the postmortem being carried out by rugby fans in Ireland enters its second week, New Zealand will question what exactly went wrong in the 80 minutes of play at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium for another four years. By 2011, the results of the autopsy may produce something resembling a solution to why the All Blacks have come up short, like they have in the last five RWCs. This time, anyone placing money against the All Blacks winning in France, would have found themselves in a taxi direct to the mental asylum. They weren’t red-hot favourites, they were boiling-over.

Why, then, are we sitting here examining yet another All Blacks team that have fallen before the final hurdle? In fairness to Irish fans, journalists and players, while blaming the team and the backroom staff, we have not yet fingered the blame at referees, jerseys or forward passes. Granted Waffler has been known to criticise referees in the past, particularly ones that have given bad decisions, but I would never go as far as to set up a Bebo page on which to transmit the entire ire of a nation to one referee. Far fetched? It’s happened. Poor Wayne Barnes. He looks about 14, and his actual age isn’t far past that. But Waffler, for one, didn’t find a case large enough that warrants the hatred being poured at the guy from the All Black fans.

TV3 in New Zealand reports this evening that criticism of the referee has reached the dizzy heights of government with the acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen (Helen Clark is in Wales) wading into the ‘controversy’ and proclaiming the result would have been different ‘if it wasn’t for a couple of refereeing decisions’. Jaysus that’s almost prophetic! Waffler isn’t too sure if Wayne Barnes understands what kind of standing he has in NZ. Suffice to say, next time he arrives in Wellington, he may be lynched.

But trust a guy with the most Irish sounding name to grab NZ by the shoulders and give them a good shaking. Paddy O’Brien, former NZ test referee, has come out in support of Barnes and has told the country to ‘get a grip’. That’s it Paddy, you tell ’em.

And it’s not just the referee being scapegoat central in the Pacific. THAT horrible grey jersey (Silver, my arse) has also been showcased as another reason the All Blacks have failed. They weren’t even All Black!! Instead, the spirit and passion that the black jersey gives to whoever wears it simply was non-existent. Hmmm, it’s a new one on me, I have to admit. Waffler does have a few supersticions regarding jerseys.

For one thing, Ireland have never won a soccer World Cup match in their alternative white jersey. Italy at Italia ’90? Mexico and Holland at USA ’94? Spain at Korea Japan 2002? Just a thought. Then again, we could have just been beaten by a better team.

Nevertheless, the All Blacks are now getting an absolute slating in the New Zealand press. On TV3 here, Trevor Brennan suggested that the team may need to strap on their lifejackets and swim home. They won’t be getting first class. TV3 in New Zealand are still examining the mess left by Saturday’s defeat. Waffler stumbled across their ‘Sunrise’ programme online. There, a panel discussion was taking place in studio. The fantastically named Rod Cheeseman told us 45% of their audience blame the referee for their trouble. The girls were saying everyone should be nice to the All Blacks as they come home on Wednesday. “Nobody died.” True, but the lads? “I blame the media!” Jonah Lomu was wheeled out by their ‘team in Paris’ and asked those important questions:

Mike McRoberts: Jonah, who’s to blame for the All Black defeat?
Jonah Lomu: The French. They beat us.

All Black tattooInsightful. And who said the media was to blame? I know, and everyone was hoping Lomu would shout “Barnes! Barnes! Off with his head!” Alas, no luck for TV3. Instead, actual analysis came from Lomu and he arrived at the conclusion that the rest of us in the northern hemisphere have arrived at – France were simply hungrier, took their chances and Sebastien Chabal’s hair is better than Jerry Collins’.

Those in the media are now counting the cost of the defeat. Adidas may collapse? TV3 will lose millions in advertising? Shares in Dan Carter will plunge? Who knows? All I do know is I feel sorry for Kris Allen (pictured, left), an All Black-til-I-die sort of bloke. The New Zealand Herald reports that Kris was dared by fellow students to get a tattoo. Together with the fern, it states:

NZ AB’s
B2B RWC Winner
2007 – 2011

Apart from the atrocious grammatical error, Kris says the defeat on Saturday hurts more than the tattoo. Still, there’s always 2011…

PS: Waffler was fascinated by France’s reaction to the Haka. Just keep your eye on Chabal’s face – and he wasn’t even in the starting XV!

But wait a minute. Haven’t I seen this before??

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~ by waffler on October 8, 2007.

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