DURBAN – World Rugby’s frustrating failure to have a back-up plan in place for adverse weather conditions was scathingly summed up by Sergio Parisse, the Italy captain and one of the game’s greats.
After hearing that Italy’s game against the All Blacks tomorrow had been cancelled, the disappointed Parisse said: “If New Zealand needed four or five points against us it would not have been cancelled.”
100 percent, Sergio. You can also bet the rent money that if England needed to beat France (in the other cancelled match) to advance to the quarter-finals, the match would have been moved to a safe venue.
Just a hint of the possibility of it being cancelled and England coach Eddie Jones’ howls of indignation would have been louder than the typhoon. France has been quiet on the issue because they know that the two points they are being awarded for the cancellation are probably two more than they would have got if the game had been played, but as far as Italy is concerned, the message is that they don’t really matter.
As Sergio says: “Sure, everyone might think that Italy versus New Zealand being cancelled counts for nothing because we’d have lost anyway, but we deserved to be respected as a team.”