SPOILERS ALERT: If you dont want to know that New Zealand won the World Cup, England didnt impress and the magical Quade Cooper was more Debbie McGee than Houdini, do not read on. Of course if you are reading this there is a good chance you are a rugby fan and knew all that, or at least I hope you did. Its quite interesting now to review this dvd several month on from the tournament, with the dust settled and the rose tinted glasses firmly in place, we are taken back to New Zealand by the good folk of SKY Sports NZ. Anyone that watches sport dvds, more so the official ones, will understand my hesitation at getting too excited when putting this one in the dvd player. Regularly they are unsubtle cash-ins by someone clearly with no understanding of the sport. Thankfully the SKY Sports NZ of course know a lot about rugby, what with the television over there saturated in it, so we should be in good hands. The dvd begins not surprisingly at the beginning, with the pool games covered at speed. All 40 games are done and dusted in 40 minutes, with the big games of each pool garnering the most focus leaving the minnows of the tournament with fleeting un-commentated montages. Not a surprise but still a bit of a shame as its the little stories and battles between the likes of USA and Russia that add depth to any good sports event. Thankfully the passion of these smaller teams does come across in the brief moments given to them, be it the travelling fans or the ecstatic reaction of a player scoring against a big side. The soaring official World In Union tune fills the gaps, providing a soundtrack that is both uplifting and offers that feeling of nostalgia now when it is played. I must admit I wasnt sure about it when it was commissioned a couple of competitions ago, but now I quite like it, though I know that isnt a group consensus amongst fans. At 105 minutes long, 48 matches are condensed quite quickly into what if were honest is not by definition a review, more an extended highlights show. Those who are here for the rugby will find their appetite sated. Those wanting to see more off the festivities off the field and the way the country was transformed into a two month party will be disappointed as the action does not venture outside any stadiums. It isnt in the same category as the Living With the Lions dvds of recent years as there simply isnt enough time to explore the behind the scenes stuff or focus on any team in depth. The dvd is quite refreshing in that respect though as it makes it all about the rugby with no mention of any off field stories like those that blighted England in particular, leaving a bad taste in the mouth. Here the men in white are just another team playing some rugby that in hindsight was not good enough and the quarter-final exit now seems more than apt. As well as offering more than we saw via ITV (my least favourite sports broadcaster) it manages to give samples of the atmosphere, electric and loud with the final moments of key games given a full airing as a reminder of the palatable tension on those occasions. It is the moments you have forgotten or missed that capture your attention the most. The way Shane Williams is like a magnet to a try scoring opportunity, that Ireland were twice close to beating Australia by almost 20 points and how good Israel Dagg was. Oh, and South Africa really should have beaten Australia. Then there are the ones you do remember. Same as when it happened, my stomach sunk when I saw that tackle by Warburton on Clerc, I winced when Aaron Cruden hyper-extended his knee in the final and I smiled when his replacement Stephen Donald, the unlikely hero who wasnt even in the original squad, lined up the crucial and ultimately winning kick. The semi-finals and final get almost a third of the dvd to themselves, but only still allowing for extended highlights rather than any actual reviewing. Given the intention to sell the dvd globally, I suppose it is understandable there are no opinions or analysis, but it would have been nice to have something like that tailored for each country or region. The conclusion I can confirm is still the same. Visuals 2 out of 5 Disappointing rendering on the menus noticeable instantly and the video resolution is poor even on a small screen. Feels a bit sloppy which is a shame. Audio 3 out of 5 Fairly standard voice over linking between matches, turn it up loud to hear the boos and cheers to add to the experience. Extras 4 out of 5 70 minutes of try highlights from the tournament offer an even more stripped down approach. No new commentary, just replays of the action as broadcast. But if you are here for the rugby it is no bad thing, with some beauts to salivate over in the group stages. Presentation 2 out of 5 Cheap and cheerful menu with only two options, rendering grates the more you look at it. Overall - 3.5 out of 5 Your enjoyment of this dvd will lie purely in your enjoyment of rugby. Think Match of the Day without anything involving Gary Lineker and the two Alans for the football minded amongst you. It provides a window back into the tournament and your feeling will be dictated by how involved you made yourself when it was taking place. If you missed it then it is a perfectly nice rugby dvd. If you were there or crying in your local early on a Saturday morning at some point then you will find yourself smiling at the memories it invokes. Either way a must see for rugby fans and a worthy addition to any rugby dvd collection. Just a shame about the video quality. Rugby World Cup 2011 Official Review is on sale now.
Follow @BallInTouch on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest rugby news and columns.
Jeff Ball is a Geordie with a Newcastle Falcons season ticket, a rugby coaching badge, a bias for Newcastle United on Playstation games and was terrified by Jurassic Park as a child. For more of his personal musings following him on Twitter @JeffreyBall
If you have any comments about this story please post a comment.