Opinion – Gordon Campbell
This close, nail biting victory – without the triumphalism that the All Blacks running riot over their opponents would have entailed – was the best possible result, politically as well. Defeat would have been intolerable, and would have seen the …
Gordon Campbell on the Rugby World Cup Victory
By Gordon Campbell
This close, nail biting victory – without the triumphalism that the All Blacks running riot over their opponents would have entailed – was the best possible result, politically as well. Defeat would have been intolerable, and would have seen the unleashing of some really ugly sentiments. Women’s shelters around the country would have been flooded. The narrow victory holds out the hope that while the nation will be able to celebrate, the national party – and the benefits for the National Party – will have been tempered somewhat, by the narrowness of the victory. Realisticaly, one cannot escape the feeling that if the game had gone on another five minutes, the French would have won. That’s despite the fact that coming into last night’s game, the French had been rated the worst team ever to make a RWC final. Phil Goff will be seeing analogies in this final, and hoping for similar miracles from the underdog during his own political final, on November 26.
Despite the narrowness of the victory, the All Blacks deserved to win the tournament. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to South African rugby correspondent Gavin Rich that at least, a RWC victory this time would mean that the national hoodoo would be broken, and New Zealand could then stop its obsessing about our 24 year long failure to win the Rugby World Cup. Rich laughed. No, it won’t change very much, he said. All you will have proved, he pointed out, was that you can win at home, with your home ground advantage, as you should. As other teams have done before. So the pressure will be exactly the same in four years time, Rich concluded, because New Zealand will have to prove that it can be just as good elsewhere, as it is at Eden Park.
And tomorrow, the accounting can begin on how much the national investment has been in the RWC, and how much has been gained. The $190 million investment in Eden Park in particular, will be very hard to utilise in future, once we wake up with the hangover. But that’s for later.