Public enemy number one

The biggest villain in NZ sport isn’t Eden Park hot dogs or Stephen Jones’ Twitter account. Not since we turned on that stupid Tiger Woods for the way he treated the always-cheerful Stevie Williams has NZ been as united in its scorn for an athlete. Office prophets of doom around the country who’d put the boot into Adams like they were starting a troublesome motorcycle, immediately got in behind Adams and turned their scorn-lasers on Ostapchuk. guide to things Kiwis have compared Nadzeya Ostapchuk to:

 Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel (h/t Public Address)
 A very masculine man.
 A fridge / freezer unit.

The situation now is that Ostapchuk has gone totally troppo in Belarus, refusing to hand over the medal and alleging Adams is ‘totally’ on drugs. NZ’s sporting media were quick to move from their previous ‘reporting the news’ responsibilities to ‘defending Valerie’s honour’ responsibilities, labelling the accusations a ‘pack of lies’ and labelling Ostapchuk ‘troppo’ so that Adams didn’t have to. Adams’ ‘4 more yrs lol’ texts to Ostapchuk went largely unreported.

In the national game, Steve ‘sleepy’ Hansen faced off against Robbie ‘no mates’ Deans for the first time in the opening Bledisloe. Deans is as popular as jandal snot in Australia for his coaching ‘record’ in Australia, making a list of All Blacks Australians love to hate. In fairness to Robbie, ‘rugby public hating the national coach’ has always been a key factor in New Zealand rugby, so he appears to be on the right track. On Saturday’s performance, Deans has lured the rusty All Blacks into a false sense of security of full blanket, milo and Coro levels. If Robbie was hoping to turn the tables on NZ at world cup time, he obviously missed the memo that tournament took place last year, and you have to question the advice he’s getting.

Is this burning an Olympic flame?

We’ve had a pretty decent Olympics, to say the least. Gold medals! Aussie baiting! Learning about our propensity to measure ourselves against the rest of the world sporting-success-wise in unrealistic terms!

The per capita medal website gets mad revenue from NZ targeted banner advertising.

The 2012 Olympics has been a gold medal bonanza for NZ, but more importantly, we learned a lot about ourselves and each other, with Val Adams and Nick Willis manfully (and womanfully) coping with the expectations of a nation and a nation’s media in a much, much more mature fashion than the nation. To our credit, we’ve reduced the time in which we go from ‘teenager denied Fall Out Boy tickets by the man’ tantrums to ‘hey you guys, they’ve done their best’ over ‘lost’ gold medals to a few minutes, way down from 25 years as per rugby world cup cycles.

Our rowers were obviously our stars, but I was most pleased for Keirin rider Simon van Velthooven, who got the tied-for-bronze medal after an agonising wait against an absolutely top class field. And our equestrians, who exuded an air of wanting to get all the facking horse riding bore out of the way fast, so they could get on with getting on the lash, what. Bravo.

This has been dubbed the ‘social’ Olympics, ‘cos people are using the internet now and that, in the same way that trips to the loo with a smartphone are dubbed the ‘social’ ablutions. And so, sportreview presents a selection of Olympic links. Enjoy.

Boris Johnson welcomes you to London.

Legendary gold medallist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins = Tyres from Spaced.

The Atlantic’s essential photo site In Focus have shots from the opening ceremony and the Olympic flame’s arrival – and here’s the first from the games themselves.

How would you go in the 100m against Usain Bolt? Spoiler alert! Not very well.

100m live blog from Toby Manhire.

“Almost fucked out of it there” – Yachting commentary to beat all yachting commentary (link fixed).

Find out which Olympic athlete shares your physique. Sportreview is evidently the equivalent of a Serbian table tennis player, one that looks like he’d kill a man in a second.

Potentially more awesome that any Olympic event:  Nah, it was quite good – Hamilton man rides his BMX off a 60m bridge and lands in the Waikato River.


This feels unusual. The Chiefs’ normal role in the scheme of things is starting slow, get our act together mid-way through, knock over the NZ teams heading for the play-offs, then have a bitter, nothing in it, game with the Hurricanes. Which we usually lose.

Which is why the sight of our guys dancing around the Waikato Stadium turf in triumph is a bit of a shock. The 2012 Chiefs had a new coach, lots of new faces and supposedly lacked horse power in the pack, who’d struggle to get ball to the backline, who were full of good looking razzle dazzle, but unproven as a combination.

The office-worker-rugby-guy’s version of a MySpace self portrait

Turns out that was all bollocks. Rennie, Wayne Smith and Tom Coventry have created:

a) a forward pack that smashed the fearsome Crusaders in Napier early on, and turned over most everyone that came their way since (except for the *ahem* Crusaders in the last but one round)

b) a backline that survived Kahui’s season ending injury, with the new guys performing just as capably as the super stars, and super stars Williams and Cruden reaching new levels of, ah, super stardom, and

c) a team culture that from the outside (and on the Twitter) seems like family. Watch the team song, and AWESOME haka – it’s more feel good than Winnie The Pooh meeting ET

The Chiefs were consistent (pretty much) all season. Bouncing back from the thrashing by the Reds away was significant to me. They’d been flying high until then, and that was the point where the Chiefs of old’s wheels would have fallen off – but they didn’t, surviving even some late-season wobbles against the Crusaders and Hurricanes to secure the home finals spot. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a rugby match less than the one versus the Crusaders. They’re the Jason Voorhees of semi-final rugby – no matter how many times you chop their head off and throw them in the lake, they’re likely to be back two minutes later to jump out of a wardrobe armed with a meat cleaver.

But the Chiefs hung on, and rode their luck to get the home final. Despite some good work in the first half, the frequent-flyer Sharks had no answer to the Chiefs’ pack, and the backs did enough in the slippery conditions to take their first trophy, and becoming the third NZ team to win the title (I’m magnanimously not inserting a big Hurricanes-troll at this point).

Rennie has done OK for his first season to say the least. Even though we’re saying goodbye to some key players, the team is more youthful than McDonalds counter staff for the most part. Retallick, Tameifuna, Kerr-Barlow and Cane (who’s seemingly played more for the All Blacks than the Chiefs) are all at the very start of their careers, while Cruden, who seems to have been around forever, is actually only just old enough to shave. There’s no doubt we’ll miss Sonny Bill, both for his distracting presence on the field and the bums he puts on seats. It’d be great if he’s genuine about wanting to come back.

Still best rugby stadium in NZ cc @chiefsrugby

It’s a good time to be from the Waikato. I made it to two matches this year – the basketball-on-grass match versus the Blues at Albany, and the late competition match versus the Crusaders. Waikato Stadium is a pit of facepaint, flags, Waikato Draught gear and cowbells – hard to take if you support the opposition, but magic if you’re from round our way. The stadium is the right size to sell out regularly, and is just bloody LOUD – it’s a huge advantage to us, and it looked like a Hamilton-as-Rio cow cocky carnival last night.

And so, just after our netballers won NZ’s first transtasman netball trophy, the Chiefs are on top of super rugby for the first time. The only way it could have been any sweeter would have meant Stephen Donald somehow kicking the final points, but *cough* this’ll do. I hope it’s the first of a few more.