Hail to the Chiefs


Early Sunday, my Chiefs will take on the Bulls to play for the Super 14 title this year.

It’s fair to say I’ve fallen out of love with the S14 recently, the extra teams making it an un-neccesarily long slog (have rugby administrators never head of ‘fast game’s a good game? This goes for the Tri-Nations too). But the Chiefs’ run to the final has bought me right back. After Friday’s semi final win in the fog, I may even have got over excited.

With first up losses to the Crusaders, Warratahs and Sharks it seemed like another underachieving season loomed before a long string of wins (including a narrow loss to the Bulls in Pretoria, portend fans) put us back in contention. Top of the table in fact. To take the semi spot, and make the final we had to beat the Hurricanes (twice) and the Brumbies – and we did, by 8, 3 and 4 points. Winning close ones that count is totally un-Chiefs like. It’s been absorbing and nailbiting. Not to mention bloody *brilliant*.

So now the final and the Bulls in their lair. And a pretty bloody scary lair it is too, going by the rabid fans the cameras pan across (yes, I know about people in glass houses and that). The Chiefs’ last three matches have been in Hamilton, at night, and in the wet. How we cope with being in South Africa, dry, and in broad daylight will be the test. Forget that Sivi’s out, we’ve had injuries all season and still done the job. This team has a great forward pack, a magic back three and a willingness to attack from anywhere. It’s  all orchestrated by Stephen Donald, our next All Black first five (until the other one is fit), who’s done more than anyone to get us there.

Finals are a cliche lover’s dream – we all know it’s 80 minutes of Rugby, anyone can take it on the day and full credit to everyone concerned. Go on you Chiefs, I hope you bloody do them.

Thanks to Naly for the photo.

Championes and loseriones


Despite ten years of trying, 1999 may yet be Fergusson’s greatest moment. John Terry’s Moscow slip meant the old hairdryer has won a Big Cup with two different teams, but Man U looked tired, out of ideas, and not at all like repeating this morning. Fergusson tried his trick of throwing on an ex-spurs striker, but Berbatov headed his only chance miles over the bar, to the exasperated looks of this team mates. It would have helped if he’d opened his eyes.

Well done to Barcelona, who thoroughly deserved the win, despite Tierry Henry repeating his CL Final sitter-miss from his Arsenal appearance. The wonderful Messi showed Maradona-like leaping ability and technique to get to his header. He definitely got the better of Ronaldo.

As an aside, I prefer Beckham’s free kicks, shaping like a gentle draw on a par three to Ronaldo’s thunderbolts, more about leg strength than technique. But that’s just me. As a Tottenham fan, the Champions’ League is more about voyeurism than any legitimate criticism anyway.

Float like a butterfly, swear like a farmer

Funny Bill Williams is fighting Auckland builder Gary Gurr tonight. Gurr has reportedly made his name knocking out nightclub bouncers, and is providing high comedy with his chip-on-shoulder quotes:

“Do I enjoy fighting? Fucking love it!”

“I want to go in there, punch him in the head and knock him out. ” Seems reasonable.

MC: “You seem angry mate, what’s up?” Gary: *stony silence* “The guy’s a dick”.

Gurr is a Kiwi champion and is doing his country proud. You HAVE to see the interview and weigh in verbals.

Giro d’Italia stage 12 photos

Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia took place around the Cinque Terra, five villages on the Italian Riviera with some of the most spectacular scenery around. The course drew criticism from the peloton for its’ hills and tight turns. Belgium Knee Warmers has video and defence of the course:

Stage 12’s mountainous time trial was one of the most exciting stages I’ve seen in a Grand Tour in the last five years. The course was breathtakingly gorgeous and over roads any cyclist would kill to ride on as a closed course. Shouldn’t the course of a Grand Tour take in roads that are at once challenging, thrilling and precarious? Certainly we don’t wish harm to come to the riders (e.g. Pedro Horillo), but roller races aren’t nearly as fun to watch.



Balls’ book compo entry

Top Cricket blogger JRod has written a book: The year of the balls 2008: a cricket disrepsective. He’s running a competition to win one with 200 words or less on how CWB is ruining Cricket. Here’s my 198:

*Camera tracks past a pack of grizzly bears on crack patrolling the grounds of a darkened Hollywood hills mansion.*

PA: Mr Cruise?

Tom Cruise: This had better be good – Katie bluescreened again, I’m doing a complete re-install.

PA: You heard of Cricket?

Tom Cruise: Was I a Cricket player in Days Of Thunder?

PA: No…

Tom Cruise: Vanilla Sky? Fuck it, what you got, amigo?

PA: This… Cricket blogger is starting his own religion. Sehwagology.

Tom Cruise: You’re Fucking Kidding Me! That JRod shitheel usually peddles analysis as insightful as Andrew Flintoff ordering a post-Ashes win breakfast kebab! Now it’s a fucking religion?

PA: There might even be a T-Shirt.

Tom Cruise: I. Will. End. Him. Actually, fuck that. I’m going to end Cricket. Get me L. Ron’s reanimated corpse on line one…

*Cut to 2011. Montage of Richie Benaud sighing in a food court, Ian O’Brien blogging about scrapbooking and Lords being used for rolla-lawn before cutting to a hi-fi clearance outlet.*

Virender Sehwag: See this system here? This is Hi-Fi… high fidelity. What that means is that it’s the highest quality fidelity.

*Customer leaves, buzzer sounds as we see The Ashes propping the door open. Credits roll*