Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that the Rugby World Cup is on. That’s why there are so many men in too-tight t-shirts clustered outside all the pubs with a pint in each fist, talking about sports. Oh, wait, that’s all the time. 

At any rate, it’s on. It’s competitive. And with New Zealand the reigning champions, it’s a stressful time to be a Kiwi residing in London, for a number of reasons…

It’s sometimes easier simply not to talk

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The thing about the New Zealand accent is that it’s kind of distinctive. Except from Australians, all of whom I can assume are currently suffering from my same affliction. I can’t currently open my mouth to order a pint without someone with hairy forearms leaning interestedly on the bar, telling me his opinion on Ritchie McCaw’s thighs. For the next 40 days, I am a mime. Or, Emma Watson as Hermione, because that’s the only English accent I can do. 

It’s frankly dangerous to wear white

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New Zealanders are pretty good at finding each other, no matter where in the world we are. It’s something about the accent; like the way only other dogs can hear above a certain register. As such, for the duration of the cup, it’s just not in my best interests to do ANYTHING unpatriotic, which includes: wearing white, associating with British people, going out in public without a fern inked under my eye, singing anything other than the National Anthem at any time.

Everybody assumes you care

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New Zealand’s national identity is, for better or worse, enmeshed in a bunch of large men in tight shorts scrapping over some big skin. As such, inevitably, everybody assumes we’re all equally invested in the outcome of every single match. Which I am not. Except that it’s in my best interests for us to win, since productivity increases and domestic violence decreases when the All Blacks win. Yes, really.  

Everyone assumes you’re personally associated with the All Blacks

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In fairness, in a country of 4 million people, 6 degrees of separation is pared down to about 3. But still – if you think I’m going to pass on to Dan Carter your opinion on his penalty technique, I’m not. I did serve him a sandwich once, though. It had bacon in it. He liked it.

 Everybody tries to bait you

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No one’s ever successfully defended the World Cup. Your team is full of desperate has-beens clinging on for validity, for one more success story. You’re cheaters. You’ve got an easy pool. I DON’T CARE GIVE ME A BACON SANDWICH.  

Relationships with sports-oriented English people are basically impossible

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My boyfriend is both British AND personally interested in the outcome of the Rugby World Cup. If I actually care about any of it, I think we would have come to blows by now. As it is, I just drink his beers and close my ears as he accuses All Blacks of filthy cheating, occult practices and other evils.

The next month feels interminable

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