The World Cup Final today was a great game of rugby which the French, having been lucky to be there, were unlucky to lose.
The 'haka' is starting to annoy me though, and not just because to my jaundiced eye its various components, when taken together, look like someone trying to perform cunnilingus on a large and somewhat resistant sheep.
More to the point, I thought the pre-match archive TV footage of awkward, embarrassed, uncoordinated (and all white) New Zealanders going through the motions in the amateur days (Barbarians vs. All Blacks, 1973) was in fact a more honest rendition, if less suited to telly, than today's pumped-up, fuck-you testosterone overdose posing as cultural meaningfulness - and I say that with no intention of offending Maoris.
New Zealanders out there: do you think that if another team were, just for once, to show their bottoms in response to the haka, you might take it in good spirit rather than blathering on about 'disrespect'? Because I fail to see what respect the All Blacks show their opponents when they do it.
In fact, since the IRB show no signs of outlawing this most unsportsmanlike activity, I suspect that other nations will just have to develop their own pre-kick-off rituals:
England: Morris dancing. That should put the fear of God into them. Their opponents, I mean.
Ireland: a collective jig and reel incorporating stylised weeping motifs, unless the opponents are England, in which case they just shoot them.
Scotland: as Ireland, but keeping their arms in the air while dancing, bringing them down again to shoot the English.
Wales: as Ireland and Scotland, but without the dancing, and if their opponents are England they offer them their guns.
France: a kind of collective strut, a sort of sautéed funky chicken performed while farting in their opponents’ general direction.
Italy: running away from their opponents towards their own try line as fast as they can in a disorganised rabble, with a few sneaking back to ask if they can swap shirts now instead of later.
Japan: a mass hara-kiri, this being preferable to yet another 100-point deficit by half-time.
Canada: a mad dash around the periphery of the pitch by the 7 players in the team, asking spectators if they have Canadian grandparents and if so, would they like to play?
South Africa: I'd rather not go there if you don't mind.