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Aisle be Back: Black Ferns semi-final and All Blacks v Wales

The Black Ferns sing the national anthem. PHOTO: Sky Sport.

  • By Kevin McCarthy

Nothing captures the current zeitgeist of rugby than to watch the Black Ferns and the All Blacks sing the national anthem.

The All Blacks, pretty uniformly, sing with well, not gusto, and with the demeanour of men facing if not the gallows, then certainly an uncomfortably intimate body part examination.

The Black Ferns let rip however with big grins and plenty of zest. It’s infectious. You would have thought they were off to a training run, rather than the quarter final of the world cup.

Perhaps the semi-final will temper that as they face their bete bleu, France. But somehow I don’t think it will.

The All Blacks I guess won’t be showing any change of gear either. This is deadly serious stuff. Letting the Welsh break a 69 year drought is not worth contemplating – even with a team shown to be capable of history making results this season.

The bigger picture here is that really, we need the Black Ferns to get to that final. If you want to look at how rugby can reconnect with its fan base, look no further than this tournament. A family vibe, cheaper tickets.  All in the upper North Island of course – imagine if they’d let it roam further afield.

Another reason. Let’s see a team built on attacking football and well, having fun, outlast the muscle game. All credit to England and France for playing to their evident strengths, but rolling maul tries suggest a paucity of ambition. No doubt the women’s game is going to grow, and you can see the next event in the UK being several scales bigger, but how many rolling mauls can you and fans embrace.


Can we get Japan into The Rugby Championship soon.

They’re clearly a world class side, able to foot it with big guns on a good day.

Combine that with a great and different style, and a very big home fan base, they’re the mythical rising rugby power that the US may never be.

Not sure of the practicalities, but surely it has to happen.


Yes, we are all clamouring for an ANZAC team to be formed to play the Lions come to Australia.

Can’t wait to see a meaningless match added to the season.

Presumably, it is how we get the Australians to shut up for a while about how disadvantaged they are. You will notice the big talk of going it alone from super rugby has subsided.

Incidentally, there apparently once was an ANZAC team that played the Lions a couple of decades ago – I didn’t recall that, so it must have been memorable.

Rugby administrators need to build on traditional rivalries and teams. They’ll trump every time this rush to create some ersatz new product.



But wait, there’s more. The All Blacks XV will play Ireland A this weekend:

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