It’s been a fun competition, and I’ve been there for essentially all of it. I’ve seen most of the games (not the 5-12th playoffs, and I missed some games in Guildford) – but essentially I’ve seen the whole thing. Live. This is something I could not hope to say about the Rugby World Cup – it’s been great.
The idiot-produced banner was wrong. There has been some excellent Rugby, New Zealand have been on top form, often scoring at will (unfortunately, it has made their games one-sided). The England vs. Australia game was excellent. It can be viewed online – have a look at Holly Waterman’s run in the 41st minute (2nd half), it’s brilliantly nimble, and closely followed by some great work from Maggie Alphonsi. There were some really good saves – when Fiona Pocock made a brilliant break for the Australian line, in the 18th minute, the Australian, Nicole Beck, put in a huge hit and prevented the score. Unfortunately Pocock was injured in the process, and had to be stretchered off. Both women showed great skills.
There are games at Guildford to decide places 5-12, but the main event is at the Stoop. There are two games, France vs. Australia (the third place playoff) and the main event, the final – New Zealand vs. England.
New Zealand have a history in this competition, having won it for three tournaments on the trot (out of a total of five tournaments). To be honest, they seem to have been scoring at will against so many opponents, they look so strong, I’d be thrilled if England beat them, and a little surprised.
England haven’t been shabby, though – they’ve had some great performances, both individually and collectively. I hope they can rise to the situation.
Though I wouldn’t bet against New Zealand, I really hope to be proved wrong. I’ll be cheering for England…. C’mon England, it’s a home world cup!
The venue for 2014 is has yet to be announced. I’m hoping for Kazakhstan, it’d be an interesting reason to see a new country!