Thursday, 18 June 2009

I love test weekend. A few beers, a bash of golf and some male bonding.

As was the case for last year’s Springbok clash, Dunedin came to the party for test weekend. The Octagon on Friday night was humming and, straight off the plane from the Mystery Creek Fieldays, I had the good pleasure of the company of some of Invercargill’s finest business elite and some of Riversdale’s rugby royalty.

Lights out at 2-30am turned into a rude awakening at 7am for tee-off at Balmacewen at 8am on a gloriously fine Dunedin morning, the first such occurrence since February.

My first hack for a several weeks resulted in a well-compiled 98. And as lousy as that sounds for a 12 handicapper it was still good enough to defeat Rugby Southland’s dynamic duo of Roger Clark and Craig Morton for the beer haggle. The result was a damning indictment of all involved!

Worse was to follow. Behind us was a foursome causing much consternation for the Balmacewen officials, almost resulting in a red-carding for slow play. Greg Mulvey, superb gentleman that he is, would have to be the most pedantic golfer to have ever pulled graced a green.

Watching him painfully standing over the golf ball going through his pre-shot routine, conjured comparisons to the David Bain jury, which was much quicker to deliver a result. And while Mulvey’s playing partner, Wayne Sutherland, is no Usain Bolt on the fairways, by comparison he’s a lightning bolt.

Following the golf was a client function where guest speaker Laurie Mains said Adam Thomson, fine player though he is, was too loose and would not make enough breakdowns. Bingo Lozza!

Then it was on to Carisbrook which, like the Octagon 24 hours earlier, was electric. Dunedin mayor Peter Chin belted out a splendid rendition of the national anthem. I haven’t felt such nationalistic fervor at a test match since the third British Lions test of 1993. Then the game kicked off and ruined it all.

As disappointing as the All Blacks’ performance was, it wasn’t the low point of the evening. That belonged to the dickheads on terrace who pelted the magnanimous French side with bottles as they tried to complete a much-deserved victory lap of Carisbrook. Not much better was the booing of the French goal kicker.

As a rugby nation we have some growing up to do. On and off the field.


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