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Asia Minute: Australia New Zealand Rivalry Takes Center Stage in Rugby’s World Cup

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The 2015 World Series gets underway later today - when the Kansas City Royals host the New York Mets. The phrase “World Series” is a little misleading, since apart from the Toronto Blue Jays, all of the Major League baseball teams are from the United States. There’s another “world” sports event coming later this week—and it’s a focus of attention in the Asia Pacific. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Australia and New Zealand will be competing again later this week.  In some ways, they never really stop—this rivalry of neighbors rages across the Tasman Sea.  But on Saturday, the two will compete for the very first time in the finals of the rugby World Cup.  And whether you’re a fan of the Wallabies or the All Blacks, this is serious business.

Perhaps you’re already familiar with the Australia New Zealand competition.  New Zealanders will point out that nearly a decade before traveling to Hawai‘i, Captain Cook landed on their coasts—and mapped them—a year before doing the same in Australia.  They will also speak of natural beauty, and point out their country was not colonized as a penal settlement.

Australians will talk about size, economic influence, and New Zealanders who move to Australia in the name of opportunity - as many as 40-thousand a year, including at one point actor Russell Crowe.  Those in the smaller country like to quote their former Prime Minister Rob Muldoon, who said that New Zealanders who move to Australia raise the cumulative IQ’s of both countries.

Both countries are former British colonies - so it’s appropriate on some level that Saturday’s rugby final will take place at Twickenham Stadium, in southwest London.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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