Rugby in crisis

Our national game is in a crisis of getting-it-stuck-in-the-fly proportions. No NZ team in the Super 14 final, more All Blacks out injured than out on the piss and a beloved ex-All Black stirring up a race war.
Haden in his playing days, when it was 14 moustaches per team – and that’s it
Sporting agent Haden, whose stable includes legendary sporting figures like Sale Of the Century’s Jude Dobson, talking very loudly’s Chris Harder, eating’s Peta Mathias and erm, Stu Wilson, blew the lid off the Crusaders’ ‘manual’ with his race-based selection claims. Other sporting manuals around the globe are now living in fear of similar outings, as can exclusively reveal:
Springbok manual – one player on the ground wondering what fresh hell this is and that’s it
England manual – one RWC 2011 touring party that should feel right at home and that’s it
Crusaders manual – fifteen fellas a *bit* too keen to get their kit off and that’s it
Co-incidentally, Haden made his controversial comments on a show with a ‘three fuck-knuckles per episode – and that’s it’ policy.
Meanwhile, the All Black injury outbreak is reaching crisis point – in The Good Old Days™, when you could break a full backs’ nose without fear of television-enabled-reprisal, Colin Meads played with a broken arm, Grant Batty played with a funny name and one lock even took his place in the lineout while suffering from death.

Modern All Blacks, however, suffer new ailments like “Adidas poisoning’, ‘Powerade knee’, ‘Xbox’ and ‘Bench sickness‘. Getting potential All Blacks to play club rugby on Saturday backfired spectacularly, with Luke McAlister and Stephen Donald both going down with ‘Soft-cock’s elbow’.

Our playing stocks are at breaking point. Long gone are the days when you’d put the cat out and find four or five All Blacks sheltering on your stoop. Efforts to increase playing stocks by releasing All Blacks into lakes and the bush only seem to have made the problem worse.

Add in the fact South Africa has more big, scary players in hot form than Victor Matfield has leg hairs, while Australia has the best coach on the world by far, along with a crop of young players coming of age together and OH MY GOD WE’RE FUCKED, WE”RE TOTALLY TOTALLY FUCKED. In response, Graham Henry drove his vee-dub to an abandoned warehouse, had a beer and a smoke, danced around a bit and named his squad. And it looks pretty good. Relax, people, and that’s it.

Growing the game

So we’re taking the Bledisloe to Hong Kong. Again. Taking rugby to Asia sounds like it’d be cool, kind of like Indiana Jones getting on the razz in a Nepalese bar, but is more likely to involve a bloke called Charles Barrington-Unpleasant-Rolls boring your tits off with tales of the ‘barmy’ ‘army’ in a corporate box before vomiting on your shoes.
Getting a disinterested world interested in our interesting game is a challenge – Sporting Consultancy’s proposal involved Clive Woodward being driven through the world’s great cities on the back of a lorry, being repeatedly kicked in the nuts. Let me paint you a picture of the good people of Berlin, Chicago and Mumbai cheering the sickening thud of shoe leather on bollock and the yelping of a knight of the realm. They didn’t buy it.
In the meantime, we can all but dream of a world in the thrall of rugby – a World In Union:
The people of Iceland celebrate Sonny Bill Williams considering his All Black options with a traditional fireworks display.
Afghanistanis unhappy with the latest designs coming out of Canterbury New Zealand.
A Mexican rugby fan clambers to get into Yarrow stadium.
In other news, All Whites captain Ryan Nelson has been touring the country telling us how excited he is about the World Cup – but could he be MORE excited?
All the elements are there – his eyes are clear, not glassy or cloudy, legs crossed casually, and David Bellamy-like talking with his hands. Unfortunately for Ryan, the one audience member we can see is listing to one side, sleeping, or deep in thought, wondering if he left his copy of adult equestrian magazine ‘Horses For Courses’ out in the lounge where his flatmates might see it. With a few small tweaks, Ryan could be THIS excited:
This kind of energy would really lift New Zealand’s Football Fever™ (bought to you in association with Andrew Saville) to another level, and be handy for the All Whites if their matches go into extra time. Prepare the industrial sized tins of Sunny D, for the nation’s sake.

Links on Friday

This rally driver was doing great until he drives past some guy unable to keep his arse in his jeans. Features NSFW language in a badass Kiwi accent.

Footballers, learn from the great Totti – if you’re bothering to shave, get dressed and drive the Lambo to the ground, and if you want to foul someone, REALLY foul them. Don’t muck around.

The affectionate nickname for Marmite at the sportreview castle is ‘black death’. It’s horrible, team.

Are you a horse? It’s very motivating.