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Friday, November 18, 2005

[Sports] The Yoink still hangs over us like the Sword of Damocles

Congratulations NZ, the Hosts of the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). Well, at least for now, we are.

You see, I have a theory. It’s strange that up until the count was in, NZ was trailing desperately in third place behind favourites South Africa and the potential of Japan. The bookies had all but written us off, offering something like 14 bucks. Yet at the eleventh hour some unknown force came to our aid and helped NZ sneak off with the prize.

As of Wednesday the generally agreed breakdown looked kinda like this:

(Each country has two votes)

Ireland (SA)

Scotland (NZ)

Wales (JPN)

England (NZ)

Australia (JPN)

France (SA)

The smaller countries Argentina, Italy, the combined Pacific Nations, get one vote each, but lets be honest, the IRB (England) have never trusted the Italians (ever), or the Argies (since the Falklands), and they are still angry that all the good Island players go to NZ, so lets just say they don’t even bother to count those votes.

As the Boks dropped off first it seems fair to assume that say, France, may have had a change of heart (we’ll be able to tell if we see a few end of year test series versus the Roosters over the next few years). So what then? The Irish would probably have thrown their vote in behind the Japs, just for shits and giggles, but the South Africans? Well they could have gone either way, but lets say they went with Japan, just to spite us. I’m not saying they would have, but it suits where this is heading.

That leaves Japan leading by two votes. So where did we steal those two votes back from? The answer? Why our old friends from over the sea, Australia. Now some of you may have forgotten but NZ were gifted co-hosting of the rugby world cup not 10 years ago, the 2003 finals to be shared with Australia. The cheeky buggers managed to shanghai the whole thing when it appeared NZ couldn’t provide “clean” stadiums, i.e. Stadiums free of advertising so the RWC marketing machine can rape all it can get from TV. etc. This was not actually the case and through some wheeling and dealing could have managed it but Australian Rugby Union chairman John O’Neil kicked up such a stink that the IRB got twitchy feet (they don’t like people risking the profitability of their biggest (and only, I think) cash cow. So in a panic, and with the ARU offering to gallantly ride in to the rescue, they abandoned silly old NZ and let Australia run a pretty awesome world cup. And while it would have been better if NZ had pinched the trophy, it was still semi satisfying to see Johns O’Neil and Howard seething in their seats as the Old Men of England made off with “Bill.”

But anyway so we had it once and managed, generally by our own silliness and bureaucracy, to lose it. Ha, but not this time we said. We’ll make everything right. There won’t be no red tape this time. Baring terrorism or act of God, we are going to host the cup in 2011.

I believe one thing stands in their way, a little community group known as the Eden Park Neighbours Association (EPNA). These guys complained for years about the erection of light towers at Eden Park for night games. There were 1100 objections from residents who finally let it go though not with out a fight.

The Resource Consent, which Eden Park obtained for night games, contained 45 conditions. And come time for preparations to be made to NZ’s sporting showpiece they will be there, probably egged on by some John O’Neil replacement. The EPNA will act as the Fun Police. And best be aware that if the Threshold Increment goes about 20% there will be no fun here!

And so with the development of Eden Park in doubt, and you can bet your sweet ass its in doubt (The world cup is good and all but the EPNA snobs won’t want a 60, 000 seat white elephant sitting empty for the rest of time, lets be honest, when will ever fill it again?), Australia will gallantly ride up again and generously offer to take over the hosting of the final. And seeing as they have the final, it seems only fair that they get a couple of pools as well and a semi, and what the hell, the opening ceremony too. Hence, the yoink.

But don’t get me wrong, this is the coolest and biggest thing to happen to NZ since the 1992 cricket world cup (screw the America’s Cup. Yes lots o money, but slow as a wet week, and as interesting as the Senior PGA). It will be awesome, if I start saving now, I’ll be in the queue to see any match I can. But until they blow up a million bucks worth of fireworks (EPNA will complain about that too, or at least have conditions on it – NO FUN HERE) I’ll be keeping an eye on the cost of flights to Sydney.


1 comment:

Tom said...

Christ on a bike! Haven't the good burghers of Eden Park heard of curtains?!?