As the 2015 World Cup opens, we present an extract from Cory Jane and Scotty Stevenson’s Winging It: Random tales from the Right Wing recalling the closing stages of the last World Cup.
That bus ride to Eden Park on the evening of the final was unreal. Every street we turned into there were more people. Richard Kahui and I were bus buddies but I don’t think we even talked. We both just stared out the window, amazed. We let the whole scene wash over us, lost in our own heads. It was a surreal experience, made even more so by the fact ‘Kaks’ didn’t say anything.
The thing about Kaks is, he has no boundaries when it comes to privacy and that means no matter what you are doing, or what he’s doing, if he feels like a chat, he’ll start a chat.
Now, I’m a fairly open and relaxed kind of guy, but there are certain times when you don’t need to be chatting, and when the bathroom door should be shut, and one of those times is when a man is sitting on the lavatory, as he was when he started this particular conversation:
‘Cory, what was that move we had to learn for tomorrow?’
‘You know the one, and close the door, man!’
‘What? I can’t hear you, CJ, you need to come closer.’
‘I am not coming closer.’
‘Don’t be an idiot, get in here.’
‘I am not coming in there, Kaks.’
‘What’s the problem, CJ?’
The problem is you are taking a dump, Richard.
I don’t remember much of the first half of the final, which is why I am amazed no one has made a movie of The Try. Just imagine it! Ninety minutes of Tony Woodcock scrummaging and farming and five seconds of him scoring off a lineout move! Now that would be a box office hit. No dialogue required. (Also, I did not even get a mention in The Kick, so I’m a bit miffed about that.)
I may not remember the first half, but I remember everything about the second. The French had come back with a try and, with the score at 8–7, we were about to go through hell. For 30 minutes they came at us. For 30 minutes we scrambled, and tackled, and somehow held our nerve.
I don’t know how.
We were shell-shocked. At one point I turned to Izzy to ask him what the move was and he was as responsive as a boulder, which is nothing out of the ordinary for Izzy, but I could tell he was mentally and physically exhausted. Richard Kahui was yelling at him from the other side of the field, but we were all borderline catatonic. Robin Williams should have been out there. It was like a scene from Awakenings.
Somehow, we finally managed to get our hands on the ball. There must have been 10 minutes left in the match, but at that point I knew we had won. It just seemed to me that after passing that sort of examination of our desire and dedication, we simply couldn’t lose.
I got so excited about the thought that I even threw myself into the final ruck of the game — the first of my career — and when Andy Ellis kicked that ball into the stands, I yelled as loudly as I could, gave the world my greatest ever fist pump, and promptly collapsed in a dizzy spell. I don’t know if the cameras caught it because I have never watched that game again, but if they did, I must have looked like a complete tool.
Winging It: Random Tales From the Right Wing is out now on Upstart. Please help us by purchasing it from our excellent sponsor, Unity Books.