From the grandstand The Cups

Col Hennessy Well this next week will feature two significant cups in Australian sporting history. Next Tuesday we have the Melbourne Cup which is now a state holiday in Victoria (as is the AFL grand final procession). Some people DO have their priorities right. However if I was to give you a tip, for the race, it would be this. Back one of the foreign horses. Obviously, I don’t know much about the racing game but isn’t it a shame that most of the horses (at least 20 of them) are bred outside the country. Gone are the days when the best local breeders and trainers pitted their skills against each other. Now to the Rugby world cup to be held this weekend. This really will mark the end of the football season as we know it (apart from the A League of course) although if the truth be known, most of the NRL clubs return to training on Monday. Wow, what a season. It got that name because it was played in a ‘season’ – winter. Now games are played as early as February, but that’s a story for another day. The All Blacks are rightfully favourites for the final but Australia do deserve to be there and can win if the stars align (not just the playing stars). If we were to play the All Blacks say ten times in the year, we could probably expect to win three times (maybe more if those games were played outside New Zealand). So what has to happen for next Sunday to be one of those three occasions? This is not “coach-speak” but more the thoughts of a supporter. Firstly NZ has to be below their best on the day, and so far this tournament they have been. Forget the quarter final against France (which was reminiscent of 1914 and 1939), they have not been as dominant all year really. The Wallabies firstly have to be at full strength with Pocock and Falou playing. They then need to be playing like they have been for the most part with the ball in hand. They have scored some wonderful well constructed tries. Most importantly though they must eliminate the silly errors they made against Scotland who were gifted 20 points without doing much themselves. We also need a bit of luck and a good start, like we did against Argentina. Remember almost 25 years ago we scrapped into a final against the All Blacks after a somewhat lucky quarter final win against Ireland and then and won the trophy. History has a habit of repeating itself, especially in sport.