Notes on the Rugby World Cup Final (and why I can’t lose)

A quick post on this event because it’s the only important thing over here at the moment* and it’s a matchup between my home nation and my adopted nation. But first, some groundwork:

Rugby is not my favourite sport, and thus, this game isn’t as important to me as it is to a lot of other people, for whom rugby is their favourite sport.

I do live in South Africa, but I am English. Therefore, I support South Africa in each and every sport and endeavour, unless they are playing against England, in which case, I support England. This is not an unreasonable stance: if any Saffas want to take issue with it (and there’s usually at least one who does), then they should consider their approach on an equivalent scenario should they be living in the UK. But then, even if they foolishly and disingenuously argue that they would drop the Springboks and follow England religiously, I still think my method makes sense.

It makes sense to me, anyway. And that’s really all that matters.

So yes, despite being in South Africa and being surrounded by South Africans tomorrow, I will be supporting England, cheering them on, hoping they are successful in tackling, running and scoring, and generally feeling optimistic that they will win the game. (A little assistance for anyone that hasn’t quite grasped the idea of “supporting”, there.)

But… (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) because of my lack of passion for egg-chasing generally, and because I’ve been here for almost 16 years now, I’m not 100% invested in my choice of prospective winner. If it were football and I’d only been here for a few weeks, I would be, but it’s not football and this is my home, so I’m not.
For context, the “big game” for me this weekend is Sheffield United v Burnley.

What I’m saying (and here, you might argue that I’m getting a bit soppy) is that because of the absolute state that SA is in at the moment, because we are faced literally each and every day with ever more tales of crime, corruption, general misery and impending economic disaster, I would dearly love a bit of good news. We all would.

It’s an old adage that sport unites, but it really is true. The passion and support that the Springboks’ World Cup run has generated has brought the nation together – it always does – and left the naysayers at the extremes of the political spectrum outnumbered and thankfully, thoroughly outvoiced.

And so, should South Africa defy the odds and lift the trophy tomorrow, I will really not mind too much. More than anything since JZ resigned as President, and more than anything until JZ is convicted on all those corruption charges, that would really make a huge positive difference to this repeatedly battered nation.

In conclusion, I really can’t lose tomorrow*.
I might as well just drink beer and have a good time.


* T&Cs apply

Brian’s Rugby World Cup Comment

Busy though I am right now, I am still occasionally finding time to catch up with the stuff that I would normally catch up with. Regular readers will know that this includes Brian Micklethwait’s blog, and I rather enjoyed his recent take on the Rugby World Cup, replete as it was with this sort of observation:

…freed from the torture of hope, I find I am settling down to enjoy the rugby

Because yes, for the neutral, this has already been a great tournament. But the fact is that there aren’t many neutrals out there. Or rather, there weren’t. However, with England out, the pressure (for the English people, at least) is off and we can get down to the business of just enjoying the games for the sheer joy of it. Not that egg-chasing fills me with sheer joy, if I’m completely honest. I’ve only watched two games: Canada v Romania on the plane on the way over here (live TV on an aeroplane – what a time to be alive) and – as briefly documented on here – England’s dead rubber against the might of Uruguay.

But even though England are out, I might watch some more over the next three weeks because it will be good to watch – as Brian tells us:

We may be crap at playing these games, but we invented them all, and we have lots of great stadiums.
We know how to organise a game, even if we can no longer play it.

To be fair, I’m a little iffy on that last bit. One of the Tier 1 nations was going out of Pool A, and would Australia or Wales have been quite so ridiculed and vilified had it been them? Probably not.
When the Quarter Finals happen, and Tier 1 team A lose to Tier 1 Team B, will we all laugh at them too?
I doubt it.