2010 was an interesting year in sport. Two of the highlights stemmed from 2009 where my longtime team minnows Southland Stags won the Ranfurly Shield in New Zealand domestic rugby, so 2010 saw them defend it proudly. While the All Whites (New Zealand Football team) qualified for the FIFA World Cup and stunned the world by going through the tournament unbeaten despite their lowly ranking, although they didn't make the Second Round. The All Blacks were a highlight all season long for their consistent performances.
So what was your highlight of 2010? I would suggest that the All Whites performing so well at the FIFA World Cup was more rewarding than both the Stags and the All Blacks. Do you think the Halberg Awards will recognise the achievements of the All Whites.
The first proper defence for the Southland Stags was against their arch rivals Otago. It was a local grudge match and I went down to the cold and deep south to support the boys I grew up with. It was a sellout crowd and such a tight match. Otago were unlucky to lose, but you couldn't take anything away from Whopper and the lads. The Stags were the darlings of the ITM Cup with home wins against Otago, Counties, North Harbour and Auckland and sitting pretty on top of the table in the competition, but lost momentum when they lost the Shield to Canterbury late in the season and finished seventh. At least they made the top seven and beat Otago who got last, but it still didn't make losing the Ranfurly Shield any easier after seeing the affect that having the Shield made to the small province of Southland.
The All Blacks were impressive this season only losing one match in Hong Kong to Australia when nothing was up for grabs. They showed the benefit of consistent selections and with the Rugby World Cup less than a year away, if they can retain the combinations they built on this season, they will be unbeatable at home.
These two matches ended 1 all draws. The All Whites went into the FIFA World Cup as major underdogs and one of the lowest ranked sides. They scored a late equaliser against Slovakia thanks to a late Winston Reid header. Then they stunned former World Cup holders Italy early on, before conceding a penalty and drawing one all. They drew their final game nil all against Paraguay but didn't qualify for the Second Round despite being the only team unbeaten at the tournament.
So, which of these highlights of my 2010 do you think was the biggest success of 2010?