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Martin Devlin: Lessons from the weekend


By Martin Devlin

Published: 9:37AM Monday July 25, 2011 Source: ONE Sport

Things we learned from the All Blacks v Fiji test:

- Fiji are not going to win the Rugby World Cup.

- The All Blacks might well, but are going to have to play a lot better than what was seen last Friday night. Mind you we're always a bit rusty in the year's first hit-out aren't we?

- Carisbrook should've shut up shop three years ago after the first "farewell Test" we played against France. For no other reason than it's a tired old smelly t-shirt of a stadium full of holes, covered with ingrained stains and whose loss of all elasticity long destroyed any last romantic hopes of maintaining a look, form or shape of anything that may've once resembled its proud and original purpose.

- Perhaps that's why it was only half full. Because the rest of the people already said their "goodbyes" in 2009. Or went along again last year for the second of the "farewell Tests" against Wales.

- We learned that Dunedin does have the odd mild night in winter and that an afternoon kick-off would probably work there really well or at least attract more than 17,000 fans to the new Forsyth-Barr stadium which looks absolutely brilliant.

- And cost about $200million for the whole thing including the permanent roof, which is at least $100million less than what's been spent so far on re-building Eden Park not including the temporary scaffolding.

- We learned that Sitiveni Sivivatu, fit and in-form, remains our most potent attacking wing three-quarter, but he was never invited to a kava session with his countrymen afterwards.

- Conrad can beat Ma'a in a straight sprint proving bright orange disco boots don't make you run faster than black ones with yellow stripes. Yet they do look quite silly. Defying logic as to why a grown man would want to wear them other than wanting people to notice that he was. Quite silly then.

- Sadder than Fiji's scrum even! Which might've worked better if they'd scheduled more than just one solitary practice before taking on the All Blacks. Or regarded the occasion seriously enough to consider arriving in town with a bit more than just 48 hours to spare.

- Mind you nothing we saw, not a skerrick, not a bit, not a jot will matter squat or have any bearing on anything at all in the actual World Cup.

- Perhaps the only thing we were ever going to learn from a match that's outcome was, for us, always going to be a hiding to nothing anyway.

-In the end we dished out a bit of a hiding while they scored a shade more than nothing.

Things we learned from the Australia v South Africa Test:

- The side we saw run out in Sydney quite probably won't be the same Springbok side we see at the World Cup. If it is they've suddenly become Scotland.

- Although having half your country's pro players out injured doesn't help does it Mr de Villiers? Not that there is even an isotype of empathy for his plight emanating from this particular keyboard.

- The Wallabies' first choice XV is actually quite different from the one that didn't front up against Manu Samoa.

- Quade Cooper's illness must've been one of those weird mystery 24 hour things you just can't explain. Or a half-baked attempt at a smokescreen that no-one fell for.

- We didn't learn that Morne Steyn likes to kick the ball alot. Because we already knew that.

- But we discovered if you're born in South Africa and choose to play second five or centre it's because you obviously don't like holding, catching or running with a rugby ball.

- A name like Flip van der Merde normally signals you're of Springbok origin.

- In the same way a name like Bismarck du Plessis does.

- John Smit suddenly looks like he's played over 100 Tests and borrowed his lineout throwing technique from Corey Flynn.

- We learned that full-sleeve arm tattoos are now as common as fluoro-coloured boots.

- And that a week is a hell of a long time in international rugby, which our All Blacks are about to find out this weekend if we don't reproduce a scoreline against the Springboks similar to what the Wallabies just did.

What did you learn from the rugby this weekend? Comment below.

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