Stephen Donald resting up on Kapiti Coast beach

NEWSDESK: Former All Black Stephen Donald has made himself at home on a Kapiti Coast beach. Donald, who was dropped from the All Black training squad this week, was discovered by Peka Peka Beach resident Gladys Coronation, who was out walking her dogs. “I thought I was seeing things, it’s pretty unusual to see an All Black in this neck of the woods. He seems content, but he’s just… sitting there.”

Coronation contacted the Department of Conservation, who are advising that people should remain at least ten metres away from Stephen Donald at all times, and that dogs should be kept on a leash. “Donald could deliver a vicious peck if he feels threatened. Best case scenario is that he eventually swims back out to sea,” said a DOC spokesperson.

The residents of Peka Peka beach have taken Stephen Donald into their hearts, and are taking it in turns to stand guard. “I’d love to throw a blanket on him and say ‘Just forget about fucking up in Hong Kong, bro’ but you have to let him be. You just have to let him be,” said local hardcase Gavin McEyebrow.

Some residents were concerned about Donald’s well-being and wanted DOC to intervene – the DOC spokesperson said staff were investigating long-term intervention plans if needed, but there was not a lot they could do. “There are no facilities in New Zealand that can care for Stephen Donald long term.”

The only other recording of an All Black living on a beach in New Zealand was Alan Hewson’s stint living at Southland’s Oreti Beach in 1985.

Millions of voices tweeting out in terror – then silence

The NZRFU HQ is on a secret mission to turn the dreadlock holiday Hurricanes into the Crusaders in the hope of being good at rugby and that. They picked the right man for the job – Mark Hammett, who comes from the Robbie Deans ‘what the fuck are you looking at? school of media relations is so embedded in Crusaders culture that his stools look a little bit like Grizz Wylie.

First job is the clear-out. All Blacks Nonu, an eye-liner-ed maverick that won’t listen to The Man, and Hore, a disappointing captain despite the ginger beard and that, are out. Dumping two current All Blacks is as bold a move as putting up a really, really cringey sign right beside your main airport, but it’s no surprise, the indications were were there all along if people had been paying attention:

More players are expected to go – hilariously, the enigmatic tweeter Corey Jane seems pretty disappointed not to be included in the first cut, and has been flouncing on and off Twitter in protest, when flouncing around a rugby field properly might be a better move. Throwing out All Blacks like a Dublin nightclub bouncer is a new thing for super rugby in New Zealand – all eyes will be on Hammett next year, if he hasn’t been made All Black coach by then.

Still, the latest challenge to the Hurricane’s title challenge is’s attempt to bring the team down from within. They’ve imported their very own Stephen Jones lite, Mark Reason, to provide some fist thumping, claret slurping, yorkshire pudding farting, jolly hockey sticks rhetoric to really set the cat among the grouse. This week, he aimed both barrels at Hammett and the wayward Hurricanes:

Nonu’s propensity for yellow cards and dissent is not acceptable. Hore’s drinking is not acceptable. Weepu coming back from injury overweight is not acceptable. Jane tweeting dissent is not acceptable.

Reason, who mysteriously googles very poorly and probably looks like an injured Piri Weepu, is obviously taking his ‘wind everyone up’ brief seriously, but he’s trying too hard. Outraging New Zealand rugby fans is  easier than locating a dickhead in Australia – we’re unhappy when we win, let alone when we lose. Most people’s abiding memory of winning the 1987 world cup is being upset at that dork waving behind David Kirk. Word on the twitter street is that Reason is only starting to rev the Land Rover, and will be full steam ahead trolling the rugby public by the time the world cup comes around. Thanks,, that’s just what we need.

Links on Friday

Totally wasted guy walks home. As awesome as it sounds.

If I was a suave Inter Milan supporting golfer, I’d totally wear these Nike Inter Milan Lunar Control Golf Shoes. I mean – LUNAR CONTROL? Who could resist?

Check this out for a sweet dismount – get in the hole!

ESPN sportsguy Bill Simmons has launched Grantland, his new sports writing site, featuring usual suspect Chuck Klosterman, among others. Would be handier with an RSS feed though.

Defending the Donald

Stephen Donald is the Marmite of NZ rugby – tasty to some, black death to others. His career’s misfortune is that he’s been forced to step into Dan Carter’s massive jockey’s billboard shaped shadow and attempt to pick up where the sleepy looking greatest first five ever leaves off. Not an easy thing to do.

There’s a line in Nick Hornby’s fantastic Fever Pitch about Tony Adams “struggling manfully with his limitations”. This is Donald to a tee, he just doesn’t LOOK like the most natural rugby player, all elbows and knee, excruciatingly mouthing “Focus… follow through…” as he lines up another scatter-gun shot at goal. And yet, he’s capable of moments of brilliancein the 2009 season, he was magnificent, all kick and regathers, surging runs through the middle, consistent goal kicking… but then he went and played for the All Blacks, personally taking the blame for losing the unbeaten record in the last minutes of the Hong Kong test.

Now, he’s as popular with All Blacks fans as Richie McCaw’s ankle injury. While not yet at full Philpott level, he couldn’t be less loved if he’d run Shrek the sheep over with his tractor. That’s why I was so pleased on Saturday night when he steered the Chiefs home (alright, in wobbly fashion) to a win over the Blues. So pleased, I tweeted the crap out of it:

Very pleased. And a bit drunk.

Donald looked delighted afterwards, and I was delighted for him. No, I don’t think he’s an ideal Carter backup either (the Herald is obviously jittery), but he’s what we’ve got until someone else steps up (when Slade’s jaw is fixed maybe?). Fuck it anyway, he’s first five for My Team – and he’s done a bloody good job for us. Screw you guys. I’ll be over the moon when Stephen ‘Beaver’ Donald is free to be what he truly is: a really good super rugby first five, without the pressure of being All Black backup, before taking the money and running to England, where he’ll win three or four Heineken Cups no doubt. Don’t listen to ’em Stephen.

Links on Friday – Jimmy Cowan

If you haven’t been to youtube and typed ‘Jimmy Cowan’ into the search box, you’re missing out on more comedy and violence than a Die Hard quadruple feature. The seemingly surly Southland scamp, when he’s not dishing it out like on this sneaky late hit on Jimmy Gopperth or smacking his own captain on the head, is getting it dished up to him by Bakkes fucking Botha in an alarming fashion.

Still, that doesn’t mean he’s not up for some fun, like kicking Dan Carter’s arse in a trick kicks competitiongetting Ma’a Nonu sent off for the laugh and having some harmless japes with the officials. Mind you, this is probably the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. Cheer up, Jimmy!


Take eight minutes to watch the story of Taupo’s Jed Milton landing the world’s first triple backflip on a BMX – fair play to him and his team for the planning, practise and production that went into the jump, and the Taupo District Council for letting him do it in a public park. Here’s a clip of just the jump.