Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rugby League World Cup: Ireland vs Tonga

The World Cup in 2007 had finally got me hook, line and sinker on the game of rugby which up until then, I wasn't interested in much beyond the 6 Nations. It was probably a good thing to occur before we left for New Zealand in Otcober of that year as it is both an obsession and a national past-time.

As a full-time Ireland rugby union supporter who had only recently begun to enjoy watching other unrelated countries battle it out on the field, I was introduced to the game of rugby league which seemed somewhat pedestrian and tame compared to union.

There were no line-outs and the rucks seemed to be token gestures. I attempted watching a few games of the NZ Cup but I found it boring and not worth my time, although in hindsight this may have been the problem.

Over the course of the year spent in the land of the never-ending rugby game, I had the opportunity to catch the occasional league match but it wasn't until relatively recently I've taken a more keen interest culminating in the, unfortunately rather dull, grand final between Manly and Melbourne.

However, what better chance to get into league than the World Cup itself and on my very own doorstep no less!

This year was Australia's chance to host and we had bought tickets for both Ireland games in the Blarney Army section and were only a few rows back from the front/middle section yesterday.
Fantastic support from the crowd which was acknowledged by the players and I think it gave them a lift at times. The Tongans were very frustrated during a lot of the game and had 3 of their players sin-binned and it could easily have been more. The lead changed 6-7 times from what I read and it was certainly nail-biting. When Tonga scored the clincher around the 76th minute, they purposely time wasted by moving all their players back leaving no one up at our end to take the conversion.

Then on the remainding plays they faked injury and slowed the ball up to an extremely unsportsman like way that obvioulsy drew derision from the Irish fans.

An exceedingly disappointing finish but an exhilarating game to watch and if we can put on a similar performance against Samoa it should be another cracker.

Photos to follow shortly...


Anonymous Lou said...

Best game of rugby i've seen in ages and a nice surprise that Ireland can actually play! It's just a shame that Tonga had to conclude the game in such an unsportmans-like fashion.

7:17 pm  
Blogger Skry said...

That does sound a bit naff alright. I know Ireland lost the Six Nations last time for playing too long and risky into the final minute, but honestly I like a team like that.

I was so annoyed at the time, but really you should go out and play for the whole match, all 80 minutes. That's just how the game works, and all that timewasting did remind me just hoe much the Tongan team can look like Italian football players when they want to.

A compliment for the Italians I guess, but not for the Tongans...

10:38 am  

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