It was well worth getting up early to watch the Canterbury Crusaders rugby team play the Cape Stormers in South Africa. I did tape the game but was up at 6am to watch the game before my church activities at 8.30am.
The fact that the team hasn’t been able to play a game in Christchurch because of the earthquake damage made this year’s season look like being too big – but now they are set to play the Queensland Reds in Brisbane in next weekend’s final – yet another away game.
Who knows whether they will prevail then but they have climbed a very steep mountain and the summit is in sight.
It is hard to pick one or two outstanding players this season – almost everyone in the team has stood up in different ways at different times – but surely Zac Guildford has done enough to earn a starting position for the NZ All Blacks World Cup team. His combination of skills – speed in attack, quality of defence, and his hunger to get involved in the action whenever possible, is in my mind a few rungs ahead of his competitors for the jersey.
I am glad not to be a selector, but the following Crusaders would be in my starting All Black team: Guildford, Ritchie McCaw, Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Ben Franks, Andy Ellis, Dan Carter, and Sonny Bill Williams. I would have Brad Thorn, Matt Todd, Sean Maitland and possibly Wyatt Crockett and Kahn Fotuali’i in the reserves. The squad might also have room for Corey Flynn. That is 15 of the 30 strong squad. What a team! And wouldn’t be great if Israel Dagg made it back from injury as well.