The all new Rugby Park, Hamilton
Crusaders 34, Chiefs 27
It didn't take more than one look at the Crusaders' away strip for the "dress like England, play like England" comment to be voiced. This was closely followed by discussion of the fact that England are currently rated the best team in world rugby (a northern hemisphere calculation by chance?), and further views that at least we should have strong if boring forwards.
Damn it if we didn't even get that.
But I am getting ahead of myself, first the scene - Cone Stadium; and players - the usual suspects but with a new contributor, young BC, complete with red & black booties.
Back to the game - actually I don't want to talk about it. We was crap. We were extremely lucky that most of our crap was in the "holding onto our own ball department", and not so much in the "Big Defence" department! Otherwise things would have been much worse!
I don't know what was wrong with the forwards, except for lack of support and plain dumbness in letting someone rip the ball off you in a rolling maul - twice!
Best team try was the Chiefs, best individual effort from Gibbo - what the set move was I don't know, I just thought he ran onto the ball perfectly and made chumps of the Chiefs defenders!
Doesn't matter, the boys won... so lets talk about the real issue of the game: the "away strip".
This year we are lucky, as it does actually have some red in it, red that you can just see at a distance. Remember the lovely away strip of about 2 years ago, that had a band of 3 tiny red stripes at chest height. Well this year if you are really lucky you can actually guess that this is a Crusaders strip.
Well in this game we got to enjoy the Crusaders' away strip in the worst posible environment, where the opposition wear a strip that is mostly black and red with a bit of yellow!
It's not the Chiefs' fault, but do you think they are happy with a jersey that seems to minimise one of the three colours that they are famous for. Maybe yellow is "out" in Germany this year?
The result was spectacular, at least for me, I spent much of the game forgetting that we were in white. When Gibbo broke the first line of defence on the way to scoring his try, I almost yelled for somebody to tackle him!
I'm actually hoping that this is was the problem with the Crusaders forwards, that they subconsiously fell off tackles because they thought they were tackling their own team!
Actually, I think it must be more serious than that. But thankfully there is something to rouse the troops this week.
It isn't the cheery thought of how tough training is going to be after two lack-luster games. Nor the enjoyment of hearing another sports talk-back expert lament the lack of a Todd Blackadder to sort them out.
No, they have the perennial motivating moment for any Cantabrian, the thought of beating an Auckland team!
Yes folks, Fitzy's boys are a-coming, and there will be tears before bedtime next Saturday evening.
I'm hoping that any tears that I shed will be as a result of a back slapping injury as the Crusaders' bonus point try is scored!