NEWSDESK: Barry Shovel, a half back capped six times for the All Blacks between 1967 and 1978 is not short of an opinion. Ask him about any issue of the day and he’ll give you both barrels and six sprigs down your back. Which is why journalists have been beating a path to his Te Waibotherau sheep farm gate, or the bowls club if it’s after half eleven.
“If there’s one thing wrong with this country, people are afraid to call a spade a spade,” said Shovel. “Back in my day, a man didn’t need a bloody car phone or America’s Cup yacht to have an opinion. It’s still a free country, despite what those woofters up in Wellington reckon – I call it how I see it, and if you don’t like it you can stick it in your tractor, get it up to 80kph, smash it into the pub and die in a flaming fireball. Or something.”
“Shovel has fast become the New Zealand sporting media’s go-to political correctness gone mad quote source,” said Media Expert Brian Sanctimonious. “His ability to churn out cantankerous, ill informed, traditional-values-based, borderline racist moralising sound bites is an easy way to confirm the journalist’s original hypothesis and fill three to eight seconds.” Some of Shovel’s most prominent quotes include:
“Adidas needs a high tech punch punch in the face” – High tech panels to be sewn to the front of the All Blacks’ jerseys
“If Fitzy needs a Hydatids shot, he knows where to find me” – Springbok prop Johan La Roux bites Sean Fitzpatrick on the ear
“It’s touch rugby’s fault” – NZ’s 2007 quarter final defeat to France
“It’s got Helen Clark written all over it” – Proposed red fern on All Black jersey to commemorate Christchurch earthquake
Recently, Shovel has branched out into broader social commentary, telling NewsTalk ZB’s Larry Williams “Next thing you know, they’ll make it illegal to drink and drive,” in a piece about the left hand turn rule review.