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Will Black Ferns be only team to bring home cup?

Will the Black Ferns be the only team to bring home the World Cup? See what Eye to Eye's panel of experts think ....

Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson

The All Black team which trounced the Wallabies on Saturday night 26-12 and saw New Zealand win the Bledisloe Cup and take the Tri-nations title should bring home the rugby World Cup too, according to Eye to Eye panellists Melodie Robinson, Louisa Wall, Clint Brown and Phil Kingsley Jones.

"I don't care who's in the final as long as the All Blacks win the World Cup and finally put this bogey to bed. To me it's up to whether or not this group of players want it more than anyone else. They hold their own destiny in their hands," said Brown.

Which is more than can be said for New Zealand's national women's rugby team, said former Black and Silver Fern Louisa Wall.

"The issue in New Zealand is we don't have the leadership in the NZRU. There's no dedicated person on the board who's responsible for women's rugby … we don't have an infrastructure. Where's our women's strategy?" asked Louisa Wall.

Eye to Eye host Willie Jackson suggested the reason people don't take women's rugby seriously was due to the perception that women's rugby players were either lesbians or beauty queens. Former Black Fern and Miss Canterbury Melodie Robinson was shocked.

"Who cares what your sexual orientation is?" she asked.

Robinson fronts Friday Night Football, 365 and Prime Rugby and is reputedly the country's first female rugby commentator. Her age and gender provide a unique perspective on what's traditionally been a male dominated sector. Jackson admitted his own brother refuses to listen to female rugby commentators.

"Most sports journos are males so they're only going to push and cover the sports you guys follow. You guys are old men. Every person my age and my generation - it's pretty much the norm," she said.

Phil Kingsley Jones acknowledged the skill of the Black Ferns, who have won three consecutive Women's World Cups.

"The final of this year's championship was the best that could have happened to women's rugby because we watched it. The problem they have is not enough good nations play in it. You've got to have competition," he said.

The former agent of the world's most famous Pacific Island rugby player Jonah Lomu agreed Pacific Island players had made local and international rugby more competitive. Melodie Robinson agreed that was positive.

"I get brassed off when people in the UK say we're poaching pacific islanders. For Maori and Pakeha kids there are so many options, if they want to play sports they will - the reason is, they're picking everything else," said Robinson.

The panel successfully predicted Saturday night's All Blacks win - let's hope their predictions for the World Cup are on the ball.

"Wales will beat Australia so we won't have to worry about them. It will be the All Blacks, Springboks and France," said Kingsley Jones.

"The All Blacks and France, but who knows?" suggested Wall.

"It's going to be really tough. I reckon it will be the All Blacks and Ireland. France is going to go down to Argentina in the opening pool match," said Robinson.

This week's Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson can be viewed on line by going to: and clicking on the Eye to Eye icon. Willie and his team welcome your feedback, so send us your views on the programme.

Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson on TV1 every Saturday at 9.30am. If you miss Eye to Eye in the morning, you can catch a repeat of it on Maori Television on Saturday at 9pm.


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