Oval Talk

  • All Blacks exact revenge: What the Papers said

    With the All Blacks overcoming
    their first real hurdle in the 2011 World Cup, New Zealand papers are full of
    praise for the team in the aftermath of a 37-17 win over France.

    After much talk of the 2007
    World Cup meeting between the two sides being forgotten, when France condemned the
    All Blacks to their earliest ever exit at the quarter-final stage, the papers
    are jam-packed of talk of revenge and a job well done.

    "French fried" screams the back
    page of the New Zealand Herald,
    while the front page has the equally evocative "French toast and the icing on
    the cake".

    "Having had four years to

    Read More »from All Blacks exact revenge: What the Papers said
  • How to watch the Rugby World Cup

    It's good
    news-bad news for rugby fans.

    The good
    news - well, the great news - is that the Rugby World Cup is kicking off at

    The bad
    news? It's kicking off in New Zealand.

    While we've
    nothing against the land better known as The Lord of the Rings Film Set(TM),
    its inconvenient location on entirely the wrong side of the planet throws up
    one major problem for fans of egg-chasing. Namely, the ridiculous kick-off
    times insisted upon by locals who don't want to play rugby in the early hours
    of the morning - and the resulting need for fans based in Europe to have to get
    up at those same

    Read More »from How to watch the Rugby World Cup
  • New Zealand are smart, not cheats

    It's now just a few days away but it seems New Zealand are getting a little paranoid ahead of the World Cup. Or at least that's how it looks after their reaction to being called cheats by an English expat journalist now living there.

    The Kiwi media and websites were so angry about Mark Reason's comments that the former New Zealand international Colin Meads was asked to wade into the situation.

    Meads, so often the enforcer when the All Blacks' good name is called into question, said there is a difference between gamesmanship and cheating.

    Indeed, New Zealand are not alone with taking part in

    Read More »from New Zealand are smart, not cheats
  • ‘Psychic’ sheep makes it two from two

    We had a psychic octopus
    during last year's football World Cup in South Africa, so it's only fitting
    that the rugby World Cup has thrown up something of its own.

    Meet Sonny Wool, the 'psychic'
    sheep that has stepped into the shoes of Paul the Octopus and has been making
    waves by predicting the outcome of the All Blacks' matches.

    After successfully picking
    New Zealand to beat Tonga in their opening World Cup match (who didn't see that
    coming?) last Friday, Sonny also backed the home side to repeat the feat against
    Japan. And what do you know? They did - winning 83-7.

    At the Bowen Early

    Read More »from ‘Psychic’ sheep makes it two from two
  • Team-by-team guide

    For your definitive team-by-team guide to the Rugby World Cup, click on the team names below:

    NEW ZEALANDhttps://media.zenfs.com/en-GB/blogs/ept_prod/oval_talk-765907200-1315318166.jpg



















    Read More »from Team-by-team guide
  • Rugby takes a back seat

    You might think that in
    order to become the star of a World Cup tournament, you have to score a
    handful of stunning tries or kick your team to victory.

    You might think that, but
    you'd be wrong.

    After drawing the biggest
    cheer of the night on Friday at Eden Park when he exposed his chest (the All Blacks beat Tonga 41-10 in case you've forgotten), barely a page of the newspapers in New Zealand have been free of Sonny
    Bill Williams's face.

    Or more precisely,
    barely a page of the papers have been free of Sonny Bill Williams's naked torso.

    Williams's right shirt
    sleeved ripped during the match

    Read More »from Rugby takes a back seat
  • Precious Kiwis need all-black history lesson

    Whoever came up with the idea of an all-black England second kit must have a large smile permanently etched upon their face.

    The plan has worked perfectly: the mind games are in full swing with the World Cup now just five weeks away.

    There have been plenty of Kiwi complaints this week, largely from UK-based sycophants who cannot believe the level of 'disrespect'.

    When did this turn into the fourth chapter of The Godfather, exactly? Why shouldn't England play in black? New Zealand do not possess any pre-ordained right to the colour.

    New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, disagrees - and

    Read More »from Precious Kiwis need all-black history lesson
  • Meet the men in charge

    Oval Talk runs the rule over the eight men who will be looking to lead their nations to World Cup glory.

    Graham Henry (New Zealand)

    Widely regarded as one of the best coaches the game has ever seen, Graham Henry's task is unenviable.
    The 65-year-old manages the most talented rugby nation on the planet, and with the Rugby World Cup taking place on home soil this year, anything less than a first title since the inaugural event in 1987 would be deemed as a failure.

    The former Wales and British and Irish Lions boss is currently the longest serving leading national team coach having first taken

    Read More »from Meet the men in charge
  • Opening ceremony sights and scenes

    With the rugby World Cup kicking off with a look back at New Zealand history, we thought we'd bring you the best photos from the opening ceremony.

    In the battle of the hakas, Tonga were the first to take the stage ...

    But, unsurprisingly in Auckland, New Zealand got the bigger cheer of the two.

    The ceremony began with a traditional call to arms ...

    ... before the boats arrived ...

    ... and a traditional haka began.

    A great display of rugby prowess as a school boy fought off fully grown men to score a try.

    A huge Webb Ellis Trophy was also one of the features of the ceremony, as the

    Read More »from Opening ceremony sights and scenes
  • Where the World Cup will be played

    12 different stadia will be used to host rugby matches at the 2011 Rugby World Cup:

    AUCKLAND: Eden Park (Capacity: 60,000 - Matches: 11)

    One of the most famous sporting stadia in the world, Eden Park will make history on October 23 when it becomes the first venue to host two Rugby World Cup finals.
    It also staged the final of the inaugural tournament in 1987 and the first game of the competition on May 22 of that year.
    The All Blacks won both matches and will be hoping that history repeats itself on a ground where they have not lost since 1994 and where they have won around 80 per cent

    Read More »from Where the World Cup will be played