Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Irish Spring

I've been distracted by multiple projects and deadlines of late, and again, very little time for viewing the rugby, let alone blogging about it. Having said that, I watched an enthralling conclusion to this years' Six Nations championship decider between Wales and Ireland at Cardiff, and give a big round of applause to Ireland claiming their first Triple Crown/Grand Slam/Championship in 61 years. Ireland 17 Wales 15. Well done, and well deserved Ireland!

Not that the potato-eaters didn't breathe a sigh of relief at games' end. The lead changed twice in the last ten minutes, and the final play of the game was a 50 metre penalty shot in front of the sticks that would have given Wales the championship. The attempt was, in my opinion, taken much too hastily by Stephen Jones, and landed short. It would have been preferrable that he took his sweet time, as much as his allowance; and perhaps Gavin Henson, who has superior range from long-distance, might have been a better option. A quibble for debate by the Welsh, I suspect.

Now for the Lions . . .

Thursday, March 12, 2009

RWC 2011 sked released

Via Rugby Planet:

2011 World Cup draw announced

Thursday 12th March 2009

Thirteen venues across New Zealand have been chosen to host pool matches for Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2011 after the Match Schedule was announced in Auckland on Thursday.

Rugby New Zealand (RNZ) 2011 CEO Martin Snedden confirmed the Tournament will kick off at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday 9 September 2011 when New Zealand will play Tonga.

Auckland (Eden Park), Wellington and Christchurch have been allocated five pool matches each while North Shore, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Dunedin will each host three matches. Whangarei, Nelson, Palmerston North, Napier and Invercargill will host two matches.

Read the rest, here.

I'm personally disappointed to see the South Island get the short end of the stick. I realize it is much less populated than the urban centers of the North Island, but I would much rather see a minnow pool stage test played in Queenstown than anywhere near the North Shore. I suppose Eden Park is a motorway drive too far a drive for suburbanites from Takapuna and the East Coast Bays, but speaking as an outsider, who the heck would choose the apple orchards sterile new development of Albany over the Southern Alps and Lake District? Just askin'.

Complete RWC 2011 draw (.pdf), click here.