OPINION: By reference to history and science, we predict which way Saturday's crunch game in the Rugby World Cup is likely to go.
1. The semi-final falls two days after the New Zealand release of JoJo Rabbit, the new movie by acclaimed filmmaker and Hurricanes talisman Taika Waititi.
The last time an England versus All Blacks game was played two days after the New Zealand release of a new movie by acclaimed filmmaker and Hurricanes talisman Taika Waititi was on June 21, 2014. Then, the All Blacks beat England 36-13 in Hamilton.The film was What We Do in the Shadows. It is about vampires, who prefer black attire, which augurs well for an All Blacks victory.
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2. On October 15, 2015, Boris Johnson made global news when he bulldozed a Japanese child in a game of touch rugby. This happened just a few days after England's humiliating exit at the pool stage of the Rugby World Cup they were hosting. Now prime minister, Johnson is performing a similar bulldozing approach in British politics. That augurs well for an All Black victory.
3. At its essence, rugby is a game of running and catching. The last major sporting clash between England and New Zealand is instructive in this regard. While few can remember who "won" the game, the men's Cricket World Cup final saw England players caught six times and run out twice.
New Zealanders were only caught four times and weren't run out even once across 50 overs, which augurs well for an All Black victory.
F**r is bad luck in Japan, so there is no Omen number f**r in this list, which augurs well for an All Black victory.
5. Saturday's game is played in Yokohama. Through the city flows the famous cherry-blossom-tree-lined Ōoka River. Starting on the wing for the All Blacks is George Bridge. For England, George Ford is at 10. A bridge is a more modern and efficient mechanism for crossing a river than a ford, which augurs well for an All Blacks victory.
6. Members of the All Black team yesterday visited a Japanese branch of Coffee Supreme.
This is what English rugby players call their homespun cafe:
Also, long black and flat white, etc, augurs well for an All Blacks victory.
7. All Black Kieran Read leads out the side today on his birthday. Happy birthday, Kieran! October 26 is also the birthday of famous English poet Andrew Motion.
When Motion was poet laureate, he wrote a "rap poem" to mark the 21st birthday of rugby fan and royal person Prince William. It went: "It's a childhood gone / A step towards the crown / It's a trigger of change / A stretching of the range." And then it went: "Better stand back / Here's an age attack / But the second in line / Is dealing with it fine." These are just facts, and they unquestionably augur well for an All Black victory.
8. There has been a lot of mindless obsessing over the haka, and even more mindless obsessing over an irrelevant columnist somewhere saying something about the haka. This has been the case every time New Zealand has won the World Cup, which augurs well for an All Black victory.
9. Cats are beloved in Japan, and often take on a mystical quality. The people of Japan mostly only like dogs if they're cat sized dogs.
In Friday's New Zealand Herald, political editor Audrey Young said that the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, on announcing new plans for agriculture and carbon emissions, "looked like the cat that got the cream" and was almost "purring".
By contrast, the prime minister of Britain, which reportedly includes England, looks exactly like the Dulux Dog. How can that not but augur well for an All Black victory?
10. Cats are beloved in Japan, and often take on a mystical quality. In the All Blacks' 2005 World Cup semifinal victory over England, Jonah Lomu ran over a Catt, and I'm not sure really where I'm going with this but it definitely augurs well for an All Black victory.
Toby Manhire is the editor of The Spinoff.