Despite being knee deep in rugby bacchanalia as recently as late last year, it seems that as a nation we Kiwis can’t get enough of the game with the oval ball and the eye gouging. Super rugby is BACK and people in offices around the nation have stopped bitching about the weather and updating their FaceSpace statuses for literally seconds to discuss their teams’ chances and laugh at the Blues.
Speaking of which, ‘they’ ‘say’ that when Auckland rugby is strong, New Zealand rugby is strong – but when Auckland rugby is a shambles worse than an unsupervised Ali Williams press conference, it is very, very funny indeed. Enhancing a team more interested in haircuts and swaggering with the Hurricanes Two may have seemed like a fantastic idea last year, but looks as smart as a broccoli milkshake now. Chief exec Andy Dalton has been merrily piling on the pressure in the media to no effect (unless he wanted them to get worse, in which case he’s a genius), while Pat Lam unfortunately can’t get his players to respond. Once again, the city with possibly the richest rugby resources in the world is performing like a glue stick in a tournament they should be winning regularly.
Meanwhile, down south the Highlanders have looked bloody solid, mainly due to ‘Jamie Josergetics’, a brutal pre-season training regime involving head coach-administered tough love up and down Baldwin Street, contract pre-dawn ultra-violence scarfie flat inspection work for Dunedin landlords and the ‘Undie 500’, where the loser of a beep test is forced to eat 500 pairs of underpants. That kind of shit can either draw a team together or explode them apart, but under Joseph’s watchful eye, everyone is too terrified to explode. Meanwhile, the Crusaders are doing exactly what the Crusaders do, winning games in the first part of the season, before winning games in the second part of the season, with the twin boosts of a new stadium in Christchurch and a false eye gouge allegation to make them angry.
sportreview.net.nz’s biggest disappointment this season has been the Hurricanes – after last season’s high comedy both on the field and online, sportreview.net.nz was expecting fireworks, walk outs, tweet outs and dreadlocks grown in Hurricanes Two solidarity. Turns out they’re actually going pretty well under Mark Hammett, his famous Crusaders-style ‘work’ ‘ethic’ means winning games instead of picking up the ‘best laughing stock’ gong.
In the Tron, the razzle dazzle One Direction midfield paring of Kahui and Williams are only part of the story, with the young up and comners like Robinson, Nanai-Williams and Kerr-Barlow providing more excitement than the General Lee turning up on Hood Street on a Friday night. Every mum’s favorite man child Aaron Cruden is looking more man than child, assuredly guiding the Chiefs to the top of the table. Pre-season, the Chiefs’ biggest question mark was their forward pack, which they’ve answered with a fuckin’ awesome forward pack, who out-Crusader-ed the Crusaders in Napier. We Chiefs fans have long wondered how we’d go with a decent coach, the answer is ‘pretty bloody well’, ta very much.