All Blacks, Springboks

Dan should’ve gone for the drop!

The end of last night’s test against the pretend-Springboks was a case of deja vu all over again.

The dreaded 2007 quarter-final against France, I mean.

Did you notice?

80th minute. Scrum inside the Springboks 22. Right in front. All Blacks put-in.

Try or drop goal?

Answer: both, actually. They should have tried for a drop goal.

It would have been the perfect chance for Dan Carter to test his drop kicking in a live test pressure situation, as he’s apparently been doing in practice. Maybe one of his last before the World Cup.

(Dan may have a record 1200 test points, but only 6 of those have come from drop goals.)

And of course, it was the ABs’ failure to go for the three pointer when down by two against France in 2007 that made us fans despair about the state of our boys’ top two inches.

Last night’s failure to do the same was not exactly reassuring.

Now I know what you’re thinking. What pressure? Last night they were up 40-7. Not down 18-20. What difference would another 3 make? 

Well, a bit, actually. In fact, it would have made history. If they’d known their history.

You see, the record winning margin in the 90 years of tests between the two countries is 36 points. (NZ 52, SA 16 in 2003.)

And 40-7 is a margin of 33 points.

See what I mean?

If the All Blacks staff had studied their history — and going into a test against the weakest Springboks team in history they should have — they could have used the goal of matching the record to simulate the pressure of a tight World Cup match.

But no. They did what they did in 2007. They tried for a try. And failed. 

It doesn’t augur well for what they might do in a tight final in November.

Am I being too grumpy after such a massive win?

Probably. It’s late.

But Aussie next week will be a whole nother story.

UPDATE: It’s now next week, and Dan’s just dropped a goal! — his first in five years. Good to know he can take expert advice.

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Religion

Pastafarian infects Austria with humour

Driving licence of Niko Alm
The BBC reports that an Austrian atheist and member of the the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (AKA Pastafarians) has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as “religious headgear”.

Does this mean the birth nation of that other Führer (is that really the ideal first word for an official document?) has suddenly unearthed a hitherto unknown Austro-Teutonic strain of humour?

Possibly. A friend who lived there says Austrians are like the Irish — known for their sense of humour. (Though only, I fear, by the Germans.)

Actually that may be right: they have a town in Austria called Fucking (a sister city, I dare say, of Intercourse, Pennsylvania), where the Brits — and no doubt the Irish — keep nicking the signs.

But last I heard, the Austrians were not amused.

Before we conclude that Austria is undergoing some sort of post-Pythonesque renaissance of rib-tickling, the story goes on:

After receiving his application the Austrian authorities had required him to obtain a doctor’s certificate that he was “psychologically fit” to drive.

Clearly the bureaucracy remain untouched by the new craze.

But I do like the sound of this religion, which is, predictably, American.

The group’s website states that “the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma”.

I like that. Do I detect a subliminal message in all this for our Islamofascist brothers? Not necessarily…

In response to pressure for American schools to teach the theory known as intelligent design, which some Christians favour as an alternative to natural selection, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote to the Kansas School Board asking for the pastafarian version of intelligent design to be taught to schoolchildren.

Seems their religion-ridicule is non-denominational. And fair enough. So is mine.

(Though I do reserve the right to gently poke fun at moronic, medieval, misogynistic Muslims for their discourteous bombings, beheadings and unsporting insistence that all their pretty girls dress like Darth Vader.)

The next step, Mr Alm told the Austrian news agency APA, is to apply to the Austrian authorities for pastafarianism to become an officially recognised faith.

I may join. Better still, I wonder if they have a New Zealand diocese? If Brian Tamaki can be a bishop…
I particularly like their religious artworks.
And also the HateMail section on their website where godawful Goddists can abuse His Noodliness for mocking their imaginary friends.
Like this guy.
Peace and light.