If there’s an upside to the Rugby World Cup final, it’s that we’ll finally see the back of Dan Carter.
Yes, it’s true New Zealand breeds rugby players like sheep. And there will be others to plug the gap. But Carter’s precision boots won’t be easy to fill. Indeed, we may never see his like again.
Pretty Boy’s been terrorising international rugby for 12 years. With 1,601 points to his name, he’s by far the game’s highest points scorer.
Not content with bringing his opposition to its knees on a regular basis, he’s also bewitched a legion of female fans with his twinkly brown eyes and evergreen looks.
Twice he’s been voted New Zealand’s sexiest man. OK, so it was a toss-up between him and this guy, now sadly departed. But he’s also made it as high as No.11 on the list of the world’s sexiest men.
So he’s a bloke men want to be and women want to ruck. I can’t stand the guy.
I can pinpoint the moment my antipathy for him ticked over into something pathological. It was ten minutes before full-time.
We’d gone to half-time down 16-3. Over in the US, Jarryd Hayne checked in for an update. He was minutes away from becoming a news story in his own right.
During the half-time break, the commentators noted with suitable gravity that the Wallabies had to score first in the second half.
The All Blacks scored first after the break. Now we were down 21-3. The game was threatening to turn into Wallabies on toast.
Then Kiwi fullback Ben Smith pulled on Drew Mitchell’s leg like it was a wishbone and earned himself 10 minutes of self-reflection.Embed from Getty Images
We made the most of our chances. We scored once and then again. Rupert Murdoch’s new girlfriend Jerry Hall cheered. I’m not sure she had one clue what was going on. I’m not sure Rupert did either.
We narrowed the gap to four points. Like Josh Lyman in West Wing, we had momentum, baby, we had the big mo.
And then with 10 minutes to go, Daniel Bloody Carter got hold of the ball. Calm as you like, he potted a long-range drop goal. There went our momentum.
I’ve read that when he was a kid, Carter was gradually demolishing his parents’ home with his attempted kicks over the roof.
So for his eighth birthday, they bought the half-acre block next door and set up some full-sized goal posts. I hope you’re proud of yourselves, Mr and Mrs Carter. You seem to be.Embed from Getty Images
Now we needed another converted try just to get to level terms. It was a bridge too far.
So it was not our year and losing sucks. But there are silver linings to this game. Lots of them.
First, it’s only a small trophy, barely bigger than the Ashes urn, hardly big enough to drink a beer out of. Nothing to get excited about.Embed from Getty Images
Second, when you consider some of the refereeing decisions, like that blatant forward pass, we played unbelievably well against 18 men.
Third, as our own David Pocock points out, there are more important things in life. Like climate change.
Fourth, we put the Kiwis to the sword in the netball. This is more important than rugby.
Fifth, the cricket starts this week. This is more important than rugby.
Sixth, if Michael Cheika can take the Wallabies from rugby dogs to World Cup contenders in a year, the engravers may as well carve our name into 2019’s Cup right now.Embed from Getty Images
Seventh, despite his reluctance to consider retirement, there’s no way All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will be lining up in 2019. He can barely get into a haka squat now.
And eighth, we can finally bid farewell to Dan Carter. Sod off, Pretty Boy. Enjoy your retirement.
I don’t know about you but I feel like we won.