Duncan, Justin and David are up early to provide thoughts & insight, live, as it happens, as the All Blacks play Wales in Cardiff.
Pre-match controversy as commentator Tony Johnston points out a problem – there’s a bit of “Jew” on the pitch. Not sure what it means, but I thought we had this problem under control. To the anthems:
NZ Anthem: Not bad.
Welsh Anthem: Man, it’s like everyone in the 70,000 strong crowd knows every word to this song. This must be what it’s like when Snow Patrol play ‘Chasing Cars’ at Glastonbury – stirring stuff.
Haka: what the F*** is happening!?! All Blacks perform a rousing version of Kapa O Panga, after which both teams stand in an extended stare-off. No one’s sure what to do. Nonu can’t stop spitting. Referee has to break up the stare-off – looking oddly like a third wheel on a first date. This is going to be intense.
2.35: It’s 3-0 to Wales after Nong (still visibly rattled and spitting mad from the Haka incident) throws a high shot at Jones (I’m assuming that’s his name). Jones (probably) slots it from in front. Nice one Nong.
4.46: All Blacks are hot on attack. Slick hands, nice offloads, a glaringly obvious knock-on not called – but Wales hold on (impressive defense) and are awarded the relieving penalty.
5.10: Sivivatu has wasted no time in lowering socks to the ankles. Not a good look. Harry Cundy would not be impressed at all…
7.19: Attacking scrum to Wales – let’s see what they’ve got. Nothing, penalty to NZ – WAIT! Penalty has been reversed – WAIT! Penalty un-reversed. Not sure what’s happening out there.
9.00: Another penalty (the third for Wales). The ref needs to piss off, respectfully.
10.12: What is going on with the side of Kaplan’s head? He’s got male pattern baldness, but there’s something else going on at the side. Mmm, interesting, as Telf would say.
11.30: Wales look up for this. Kaino slipped and Shane Williams snuck through, penalised and now it’s 6-0. One of the Welshman has a massive shiner… The camera just panned to Joe Calzaghe, who demolished Roy Jones Jr a couple of weeks back… Are these two facts connected? Probably too early to tell.
14.20: This is just an aside, but I know we love a good redemption story, and credit to him etc, but when I we going to bench Jimmy Cowan? The guy concedes at least one stupid penalty a match, and this All Black side only really kicks on when Weepu takes the field. End the madness. Carter hits an easy three. He was wide open there, poor defence. 6-3.
17.20: All Blacks “starting to open up a little bit”. Nice move leads to penalty about 27 metres out. Off the post! This crowd might be rattling Carter
17.45: Muliina loses footing slightly. Dew factor starting to play up.
21.00: Wales fresh on attack. Looking very slick, and very, very fired up. Williams trys to send a message to Jones… misses tackle. Penalty for Wales.
22.19: It’s 9-3 to Wales. McCaw is sucking some big ones, the oranges can’t come soon enough, Graham Henry will be blowing up deluxe (Costo, we salute you).
24.05: A bit of a scrum-off. The ABs destroy the Welsh scrum as the crowd launches into song. Cowan, busy listening to the big tune, is penalised for an incorrect feed. Amateur stuff Cowan.
26.06: We can now confirm that TJ was talking about the “dew”, not the “Jew”. Easy mistake, totally understandable, and forgiven.
31.14: Wales are looking sharp, attacking with vigour. Meanwhile, Sivivatu knocks on after the whistle – we’re looking a little rusty. I blame the dew.
33.50: A mini-break down the left hand touch line, and Mils puts boot to ball. A wasted chance? Perhaps, but the clearance from the Welsh fullback Jones is superb.
34.47: DRAMA! So’oilialoo is hammered by a head-high swinging arm from the Welsh loose forward Jones. Ref misses it completely and awards a scrum to Wales. Commentators are restrained, but we’re all thinking the same thing here – that haircut is messing with Kaplan’s head.
36.57: McCaw’s ears are bleeding (“not a good sign”, Shamy), and he’s slipping off tackles. Thankfully another Welsh attacking play is nullified as Jones is penalised for using his hands in the ruck. One minute until half time.
39.23: Penalty to the ABs, right in front. Carter limps up to take the kick – my God, is it possible that he looks even more handsome than ever? He slots it and it’s half time. 9-6 to Wales as the teams make their way from the field.
40.00: The All Blacks will be a bit shell-shocked, Wales came to play, and we were a bit limp really. Kaplan’s hammering us, but you can’t really argue with the majority of it, and we need to come with a bunch more fire in the second half.
40.00: They’re replaying that extraordinary post-haka standoff, one telling shot of Ali Williams looking nervously over his shoulder, unsure of what to do. This was a moment of incredible sporting theatre, no doubt, but I really hope it doesn’t catch on. Would get very contrived, very quickly.
40.00: David’s extremely excited by the above shot, wants to pan around it with Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek playing… It is a bit of a “why can’t I quit you?” moment. That’s Nonu he’s staring at, trying to decode his beauty, and failing, as we all do, eventually.
40.020: Great work from Carter’s kick off, pressured Wales and we’ve got possession, All Blacks drive over the 22, looking more driven here, and Carter’s lining it up in good position after the Welsh concede a penalty.
43.00: 9-9 Out of nowhere we’re dangerously close to the Welsh line, Sivivatu to Nonu, Nonu to… a Welshman. Unfortunate, but it’s an All Black 5m scrum. Lavish praise for Kahui, which David’s grumbling about: “everyone’s always trying to give him handjob”.
44.39: Big scrum for all blacks five metres out. Nice push towards the line. Cowan kicks Soialo in the head – thankfully no penalty for this. Kahui is doing press-ups in mid field.
44.55: All Blacks fowards get over the line. We’re going upstairs for a look. I think that’s Kano over the line. Mex is excited about the “thrust of his thighs” – obviously still hot and bothered over Kahui’s tackle. No try! Bastards. Duncan call’s the replay “hopelessy obscured”. Third ump encourages players to pile up on the ball, knowing it will obscure any view of the ball. A good defensive tactic, based on camera position, rather than any on field event.
46.00 Cowan penalised for incorrectly putting the ball into the scrum. A five metre scrum. That’s the second time he’s been penalised for an incorrect put-in in this match, and this was is completely unforgivable. My faith in Cowan coming into this game was shaky, it is now completely gone and I never want to see him in the Black jersey again – not even a replica jersey. In fact, he shouldn’t be allowed to wear black again in any capacity – suits, jeans, shirts… they’re all off-limits from this point on.
48.47: Cowan sacked like a bitch.
52.19: Kahui does incredibly well to not knock the ball on from a horrific hospital pass (Dave isn’t happy). Piri Weepu is warming up on the sideline… thank the lord.
53.25: Kahui takes an impossible pass from Rokococo, and from the resulting ruck the ball is fired out wide to Nong who crosses the line for the first try of the match. You can put that down to sublime support play, and a safe pair of well manicured hands from Kahui. Carter adds the extras and it’s 16-9 to the ABs.
56.24: Nisbett compares the replacement lock for Wales (Jones?) to an NBA basketballer. He is a giant, but doesn’t appear to have the vertical leap to make it into the world’s most competitive basketball league (outside of the Panmure YMCA comp).
58.46: Just over 20 minutes to play and the game is opening up. David is registering his disapproval of the Kahui commentaries on this blog. There is some argument about his visibility in this match, but if Reuben Thorne taught us anything…
60.47: Some great play from the All Blacks, Rokococo makes the initial break, and some interplay between forwards and backs sees Ali Williams within 1 metre of the try line. Referee gets in the way though, scrum to NZ in front of the posts…
62.00: Penalty for collapsing the scrum. It’s right in front, Carter slots it and the score is suddenly 19-9 to the ABs.
65.39: All Blacks have been the only team in the second half. They had a real shot at this game at the break, but it’s like northern hemisphere teams view that as enough on these tours. All Blacks wins are becoming an assumption. Apparently the All Blacks have won every one of their line outs, that does not happen often.
67.00: Welsh lining up a penalty. When you’re 10 down with 13 t play, is that putting the cart before the horse? They’ve missed it anyway, James Hook living up to his surname.
69.24: Dave: “Kahui stands up from ground – a nation rejoices. Justin heads to teh bathroom mysteriously.” Think he’s got issues with Pretty Ricky Kahui? Carter misses a penalty, remains 19-9 with 10 to play.
70.00: Carter takes a Welshman out in midair, perhaps lucky to not become the customary AB sin-binning we collect on these Northern tours.
73:12: Great kick by Dan Carter over this “dewey surface”. TJ is really into the dew.
74:00: Penalty kick for Carter. Note: All Blacks are yet to concede a point in the second half since leaving New Zealand. Including Hong Kong. Carter converts. 22-9 All Blacks
77.21: Wales on attack, but they’ve shown very little this half. Nothings happening. This game is essentially over. Duncan and Justin are debating whether Kahui has hired a make-up artist. I’m pretty sure one of them just compared him to a thoroughbred horse.
79.29: Great back line move down the right wing. Rokococo has been good today. Unfortunate knock-on by Carter ten metres out.
81.19: TRY! Kano in under the posts. Tops off a great second half by the All Blacks. Good to see that we are learning how to finish, very encouraging.
It’s over. Final score 29-9, and another second-half pasting by the All Blacks. Log on to Dead Ball this week for a full statistical breakdown of the All Blacks’ second half heroics on this tour. No points conceded in the 4 tests thus far – is this some kind of record? Stay tuned…
Kahui is being interviewed by TJ. The cameraman has his face framed tight, and appears to have the shakes. Not surprising when confronted by a thing of such beauty. He just said hi to his Mum & Dad. The perfect end to a perfect face.
Gerard Butler is the All Blacks. The fair maiden is Wales:
And in honor of the historic teen-drama haka stare-off: