That being the case, I should be totally distraught following the end of a 42 year-old relationship. You see, since 1967 I’ve been religiously following the All Blacks and can say, hand on heart, I’ve not missed an All Blacks test on radio or television, until now.
Initially, my love affair began by listening to Bob Irvine’s radio commentaries. And since the advent of the first live telecast (the third test against Australia in 1972), I’ve never missed a test match (either live or catching up with replay the following morning).
The first test I can recall listening to was the 75th Jubilee match against Australia at Athletic Park in 1967. That was test match number 131. By my reckoning the All Blacks have now played 457.
That 326 match sequence was finally broken last weekend. Admittedly I was on the road and had little or no chance to watch the England test, but I’ve had plenty of opportunities this week and have not availed myself of any.
I hope I’m not losing my love for our national game. I keep telling myself it’s because the viewing time of 3-30am is not very user-friendly but if I’m being completely honest it’s because the All Blacks end-of-season tours are becoming somewhat ho-hum. Don’t get me wrong, they barely register on the Super 14 super-boredom scale, but some mid-week games would certainly spice up proceedings.
Just think back to the roaring success (even though they were deathly silent when we kicked for goal) of the Munster mid-week match on last year’s end-of-season tour. Imagine throwing in Llanelli (or whatever they’re known as these days), Wasps and Harlequins in with the likes of Munster for some mid-week magic?
The All Blacks already have a 33-strong touring party (34 if you count the man with the most unlikely of All Blacks names, Aled de Malmanche) so why not chuck another three on the bus, have a test match squad of 22 and mid-week team of another 15?
I’m sure you’d get the support of Ben Smith, Tamati Ellison, Mike Delany, Brendan Leonard, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Jason Eaton, Anthony Boric, Wyatt Crockett and four million couch potatoes.