Tim Walker’s France

Only around 24 hours now to the one Rugby World Cup match that’s worried more Kiwis than any other.

Of course memories of 2007’s quarter final exit at the hands of the French, or in fact last time’s final against France which New Zealand only won in the dying stages through a penalty kick by that pseudo hero, Stephen Donald, (let’s not mention his other kick earlier that year that cost the All Blacks what would have been their unprecedented unbeaten record), to come out just one point ahead, have been brought back to the fore.

This time though, despite France’s recent decision to, reportedly, oust their coach on the grounds that he was causing the team to underperform (the very same thing in fact that they did last time – is it an omen, is it nothing, who knows?) seemingly confused about whose ultimate efforts actually contribute to the full-time score, I’m not worried. A few possible reasons for that: either maturity is having a calming effect on me which, much as I wish that were true it clearly is not, or it might just be that my competitive streak has grown dull with age, but, no, that doesn’t sound any less hopeful. No, the reason is simple: I truly believe that in this 2015 Rugby World Cup, France has been comprehensively overtaken by the other European nations; England excluded but Ireland most definitely included.

After yesterday afternoon having a punt on the greyhounds (or ‘dogs’ as they’ve become known to the TAB), starting with $25 which I promptly built to $50, I closed the ‘Racing’ page and opened ‘Sports’…

Sports betting was where it all began for me; I remember the exhilaration of, each Friday, stopping in at the pub and lodging a single $20, long-odds bet on that weekend’s Super 12 rugby competition – Super 12, dude how old are you? – I won once, too. My one bet for the Crusaders to be losing at half time against the Chiefs, then to be winning at full time against the same team, flaunting odds of 12 – 1 (not as far out as most of my other bets but still), returned me almost as much as I’d lost in the two years of wagering those ridiculous bets.

…This time though, 2015 Rugby World Cup year, having learned that the best and really the only way to make money gambling is to bet small and regularly against high odds (no, for the record, I don’t think I ever considered one $20 bet once each week, ‘small and regular’), that is just what I did.

On one game I spread my $1 bets around the field, from ‘First Try Scorer’ – Brodie Retallick was paying $41, and he just might do it, too; to ‘Exact Winning Margin’ – 21 points to NZ paid $21 so that was nice; also, and this was a ripper, ‘Player to Score More Than Two Tries’ (I know, what the hell is that? It’s like you can bet on anything nowadays) – Nehe Milner-Skudder was paying an easy $13 for that one; ‘Last Scoring Play’ – a NZ drop goal, I can totally see happening right on full time as Carter prepares for the final, paid $26; shit, I could go all day and honestly, I damn near did. Realistically though, my entire stake was only $10 and get this, potentially, my winnings exceed $200…

Yeah, nice one, spoken like a true gambler, although in my defence, it has been over six months since I’ve had a punt on the greyhounds (dogs) and in fairness, after doubling my money almost immediately (aside from all I’ve gifted them over the years, I mean) essentially the money I’m gambling is the TAB’s anyway so, you know.

…It’ll never happen. I’ll be lucky if I even retain my stake; I know that and so does every person who’s bothered to read this far.

What is likely to happen though, is New Zealand’s prevailing over France on Sunday and given that I’ll have something on it (ten things in fact), well, obviously, I’ll find it all the more exciting.

Isn’t that how it works?



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Gum Blair

Photography by E Ting-Frugs


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