We join the rugby world and the world at large in expressing our sadness over the death of Nelson Mandela. RIP Madiba.
Manchester, England: Some of us hoped, some of us believed and others thought that maybe they would get lucky again (or Australia would choke). The truth though is a fickle mistress as New Zealand found out last Saturday. The Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) 2013 final will be remembered for being one of the most perfect games played by any one team in the history of the sport. This was not the best Australian team ever to play, nor was it even the best they have fielded this year, (injuries saw to that) but in terms of clinical efficiency and defensive steel, this was how every coach hopes their team will play.
And the Kiwis? The team that had steamrollered everybody on their way to the final (ok, maybe not the English), what of the former champions? Outclassed. Simply put. They just could not make yards against a smaller but more dogged Australian pack. So used to simply running over people, they were baffled when they could not make those simple yards up the middle of the pitch. Even the almighty Sonny Bill Williams (SBW) just could not get his arms free.
People say defence win games and its true, just watch this game. I don’t know HOW the Australians scored 34 points, they just did! Their attack was varied and their defence was tighter than a steel trap. The kicking game from Jonathan Thurston and Cameron Smith was faultless, pinning the Kiwis back and building the pressure. And as is always the way of it, even when it went wrong and the ball got dropped or a kick skewed in the wrong direction, they capitalized and scored. Brett Morris and Cooper Cronk will testify to that!
The poor Kiwis, their dynamite winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, broke his leg in the first 5 minutes. Their backs could not match the dynamism of their green and gold counterparts, SBW just could not string his miracle passes together. It was like watching an old muscle car. All the power in the world but the body was just not good enough to put the power down on the track. The Australians on the other hand were a top of the range highly tuned automobile, slick and quiet, efficient and sleek, but put the hammer down and it becomes a speck on the horizon.
Stand and applaud ladies and gents, one of the most perfect games of rugby league we will ever have the fortune to witness. All hail the Kangaroos.
Following the tournament the BBC (British Broadcasting Corp) named its team of the tournament. Some fans may be outraged at the lack of Kangaroos on the star studded side, especially Billy Slater. However, it speaks volumes of the team as a whole that they accomplished their feat with the squad that they did. Several players are star players for their club but accepting smaller roles in the Kangaroo system in the name of team dynamics and success. They achieved success and their goal but unfortunately it will go amiss by some pundits.
Here is the BBC Team of the Tournament
1. Anthony Milford, Samoa
2. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, New Zealand
3. Dean Whare, New Zealand
4. Greg Inglis, Australia
5. Marika Koroibete, Fiji
6. Kieran Foran, New Zealand
7. Danny Brough, Scotland
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, New Zealand
9. Cameron Smith, Australia
10.James Graham, England
11.Sam Burgess, England
12.Sonny Bill Williams, New Zealand
13.Paul Gallen, Australia
Isaac Luke, New Zealand
Ben Westwood, England
Ashton Sims, Fiji
Mose Masoe, Samoa
Well ,that covers your RLWC 2013. I will be back next week to give my thoughts on the guest article submitted by Ryan Day, earlier this week on the heritage law and the RLWC.
That’s it for now… feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann, Jaime Loyd and Declan Yeats, respectively.