By Peter FitzSimons, Sydney Morning Herald
I thought you’d never ask.
As a matter of fact, I hoped you wouldn’t ask.
But seeing as you have, let’s get to it.
I predict, we’re going to lose, horribly. Disaster. CatastroFFe, with two ‘F’s for FAIL. It’ll end up 60-0 to them if we’re lucky, and even then we’ll be lucky to get to nil. For you see, every freaking year, for the last freaking decade, at this exact time, I have confidenlty predicted a Wallaby win, only to end up with so much egg over my face that I could make an omelette that would feed Africa. (Pass the salt, Buddy, you’ve dined with me, before.)
Not this year. This year, in extremis, I am going to use my special powers at the Kiss of Death to predict a THUMPING ALL BLACK WIN. For you see, they are so much better than us. They’re New Zealanders, for starters – always a good start. Stronger, brighter, faster, better.
They’re a team with 17 wins on the trot – right on the edge of a record-breaking streak of 18 – led by their blindside flanker, Richie McCaw. Back when Jesus played fullback for Jerusalem, when Moses first made headlines in the centres by splitting the Bethlehem defence like the Red Sea, Richie played in the backrow with Lazarus. You can say what you like about him, but you can’t say he isn’t experienced. And I know that means Richie’s been around since the Dead Sea was only sick, and you’d think he’d be slowing up around about now, that somewhere deep inside him there is a voice whispering . . . Richie . . . Richie . . . you’ve done enough . . . you have nothing left to prove . . . but I say NO! I say Richie McCaw will show you all! And so will the All Black coach Steve Hansen. Sure his predecessor, Sir Graham Henry, has been knighted, just as Richie will be knighted the day he retires, and even though Steve’s been there since day dot, it is most likely he will get DIDDLY-SQUAT, because it’s all been done before. But if you think that might make Steve a tad bitter at the unfairness of it all, because he is demonstrably every bit as good a coach as Sir Graham, if you think that might make him lose focus, then you are quite mistaken. I know Steve. Steve is half of a half of a half of mate I’ve mine. He would never come to the conclusion that no one respects achievement that comes too easy and when you win 30 straight the whole thing just looks too bloody easy, because . . . well, just because. Steve Hansen is a champion, and will show you all!
Yes, coach Ewen McKenzie, over the past seven matches, has coached them to seven straight victories, but that is a combination of sheer luck and … dumb luck. And of course you think that following the stunning form of the Waratahs in recent times, and even the Brumbies – with no hugely significant injuries to weaken the squad – it must mean that our blokes are at the top of their cycle, and that Ewen will be spoiled for choice. You’ll think she must be a bloody good team that can take a bloke like Bernard Foley who is in the form of his life, who has guided the Waratahs to victory by kicking the nailbiting goal to beat them all, and leave him on the bench. You’ll think that when you have a bloke like Israel Folau at fullback who is clearly the world’s best in his position, as is Michael Hooper, as is Adam Ashley Cooper, and when you put it all together with the fact that our blokes are playing at home in front of a crowd already pumped up on the Waratahs’ recent triumph . . . then we HAVE to be a great chance.
But you’d be wrong.
For I am the Kiss Of Death.
And just like the Phantom, I only have to make a call, and sporting results change.
And I am telling you, the All Blacks will win on Saturday night in a canter.
For I am the Kiss Of Death, and I have spoken.
(Good luck, Ewen. I have done what I can.)
Peter FitzSimons is exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.