SRNZPA: Being World Cup favorites doesn’t get you out of doing dishes. That’s All Black manager Darren Shand’s message to the class of 2007. “These guys reckon magic fairies come in here and clean up” explains Shand. “People say this is a special team, but they’re not special at cleaning up, I tell ya. Sometimes I want to pick the wet towels off the floor and throw them in the bin. They’d soon learn then.”
Players arrived at camp to find notices reminding them to wash their own dishes, and keep noise to a minimum near Steve Hansen’s room after 8.30pm, amongst others. “WINNING All Blacks are TIDY All Blacks!!!!” and “SEATZ ARE NOT FOR FEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” are typical examples. “It’s just an informal way to remind everyone of their duties. I’m not the big boss around here, though, so I chucked in some fun themes and clip art.” said Shand.
“It’s really vexing” said player spokesman Anton Oliver. “It’s like he’s trying to establish a totalitarian autocracy around here. His spelling and punctuation are pretty fucked, and that capitalisation…”. Aaron Mauger was equally unimpressed. “They’re just so fucking preachy, it’s ‘do this’, ‘do that’ and ‘everyone’s gunna burst into tears if you don’t clean up’. It’s like having your Mum at camp. At least Mum would bring some baking. MAYBE I could handle this from someone like Colin Meads, but from Benchy… it’s not on.”
This early player irritation contrasts with 2006, when Shand didn’t start pissing players off until midway through the Tri Nations.