Wellington man has supported the Phoenix since 1999

SRNZPA: Wellington resident John Soddentrouser dismissed the Phoenix fan club Yellow Fever as ‘johnny-come-latelies’, claiming to have supported the team since 1999. To Soddentrouser, following a football team that didn’t technically exist for many years is the mark of a true fan. “I was there home and away. Not my fault if they don’t play any games, is it? Where was everyone else? Lightweights.”

Soddentrouser, who lives alone, has thoroughly hated every second of the Phoenix’s debut season. Game day for him begins by drinking alone at a local Cosmopolitan Club, before arriving three hours early to be first in line for tickets. He reserves particular disdain for the merchandise stands, spluttering “I MADE MY OWN jersies. Made my own. There was no merchandise stand in my day. Shit.” Soddentrouser quietly seethes throughout the match, before leaving at half time to beat the traffic. “I don’t know why I bother, mate. “Where was this Yellow Fever shower in 2001? You wouldn’t catch those guys sitting alone in an empty stand for the afternoon like I did. They’re not real fans.”

The LA Galaxy match was the season’s low point for Soddentrouser. “Half of them couldn’t name a single Phoenix player – I was there when there were no players to name, mate. It’s just not the same anymore.” Soddentrouser announced he’d probably stop following the Phoenix at the end of the year and support the Nelson Backboards, a basketball team that would probably join an expanded Australian basketball league in “2013, maybe 2015.”

Office voice of doom really looking forward to work on Monday

SRNZPA: Christchurch product manager Tom Hopping spent Sunday planning his Monday morning at work, following the All Blacks’ shock World Cup exit. “I knew all along we’d lose – now is my time”.

“First off, I hope I run into number one Graham Henry fanboy Dan from accounts in the car park, I wanna get stuck into him about the rotation thing” said Hopping. “Then, I’ll make coffee really slowly in the kitchen just to pick the sales team off with a few ‘I told you so’s’. I’ll get straight on the email after that, I can cover a lot of ground fairly quickly that way”.

Hopping has maintained the All Blacks would fail to break the 20 year World Cup hoodoo since 2004. “I was packing myself after the Lions tour, we were looking pretty sharp for a while there. I’m rapt everyone’s dreams are shattered now”.

The water dispenser or the photocopier were both candidates for morning tea from 10.45 to 11.00am. “At the water dispenser, people would have to listen to me for, I’m guessing, about 30 seconds on average. I can’t get that kind of time at the printer, unless there’s a paper jam. That could buy me a good couple of minutes. I’ll just have to make that call on the day”.

‘Heads will roll’, ‘Gutless wonders’, ‘It’s ’99 all over again’, along with strangled choking noises will form the basis of Hopping’s Monday morning arsenal. “So many people are wrong, and I’m right. Monday’s going to be the best day ever. I hope no-ones away sick, but I ‘spose I could clean them up Tuesday or Wednesday”.

Lunchtime would signal the peak of Hopping’s cavalcade of vindication – “I’m going to get a phone card and give Millsy a bell on his mobile, he’ll be just getting off a plane in Paris. Hopefully he hasn’t heard, and I can break it to him myself, that’d be the icing on the cake. Isn’t it great to be alive”?

Steve Hansen tells press conference the usual bag of shit

SRNZPA: Assistant All Black coach Steve Hansen reached deep into his cliche supply this morning (NZ time), telling a packed press conference “France could be the surprise package of the quarter finals”, while rolling his eyes. “They’ll have that extra motivation playing away from home, it could relieve the pressure they face in Paris” he expanded, giggling a little. “We’re not fooled by their slow start – anything can happen, just look at ’99”, trying to disguise a laughing fit as coughing. He went on to add “They’re well coached and LaPorte will’ve been studied the tapes all night. As a panel, we greatly respect his innovative and astute tactical approach”, while merrily making the ‘wanker’ sign with his wrist and hand.

“I mean, you could say we’ve been number one for three years at least, we’ve thrashed them over here and at home recently, they couldn’t even get it together to beat Argentina in their own back yard, still don’t know who their best team is, and we’re playing them in Wales. That’s all very well, but I’m not going to sit here and say “we’re going to thrash them” said Hansen, while nodding vigorously and mouthing “Yes, yes we are”.

England commentator’s partner utterly sick of England’s magnificence

SRNZPA: Kate Harris, partner of UKTV Rugby commentator Alan Brampton is sick to the back teeth of the indomitable spirit of the men in white. “People at home might think he only goes on and on about England during the game, even if they’re being totally shafted. The thing is, he’s like that the WHOLE time. Superb England this, lionheated bravery that. Jesus wept.”

While impossibly blinkered cheer leading with little connection to actual events on the pitch may endear Brampton to ITV audiences, Harris feels it’s a sticking point in forming adult relationships. “He’s impossible. Alan’s got to be the only man in Britain with a framed photo of fucking Clive Woodward beside his bed. That’s just not right, is it? I’m not telling you what he says about Martin Johnson when we make love”.

While Harris has learned to cope with Bramptons’ harping on by tuning right out, social situations are a potential mine field. “You just can’t have a conversation. We had some old university friends of mine over for dinner, my god, it was a disaster. Toby asked Alan what he made of Gordon Brown, and he started going on about a stirring effort from the World Champions that should put the game beyond the grasp of the valiant but limited Italians. I mean, what the ruddy hell is that? Toby and Jemimah just looked at each other like ‘what the…?!?’. I just knew Jemimah got on the phone to our friends as soon as they left to laugh about me. I wanted to die”.

In hindsight, Harris feels the warning signs were there from the very start of the 18 month long relationship. “I met him in a rugby club, the fact his last wife left him just after the World Cup in 2003 should have been a big, big red flag”. Harris maintains the outlook for their relationship is not great “It’s the total lack of touch with reality that gets me. Let’s face it, England are fairly crap, aren’t they?”

World Cup in brief

Whakatane man claims “I’d be as good an All Black as Robinson”
Retired farmer Rob Sweeny today laid down the gauntlet to All Black lock Keith Robinson, who has battled injury for much of this World Cup. “All Robinson’s done so far is walk around in a tracksuit and talk to reporters about his leg. I can do that” claimed Sweeny. “I can stand on a scrum machine, get on and off a bus and walk by the pool with me shirt off. No farkin’ worries”. When informed Robinson has been providing tactical insight to fellow locks Ali Williams and Chris Jack, Sweeny responded “Even better, bring it on”.

Christchruch man struggles to recall what Justin Marshall said in paper.
Early on Sunday morning in the Backout bar, engineering student Daniel McNiven came up short in his attempt to totally blow away fellow student Callum Hedley’s contention that Graham Henry’s rotation policy would pay dividends. “I’d read Marshy in the paper saying that Henry wasn’t letting combinations develop and consequently, when the players are in pressure situations, that could cause crucial mistakes that’ll cost us dearly on on both attack and defence. I can remember now, but when I needed it, all that came out was ‘Combinations… fuck'”. When pressed, McNiven confirmed alcohol may have played a role in his recollection failure.

French to All Blacks: "We will steal your girlfriends"

SRNZPA: French efforts to win the World Cup are moving from the playing field to the bedroom, launching a campaign to distract the All Blacks by stealing their girlfriends. Experts believe the players’ unrelenting focus on World Cup preparations, not sweet nothings whispered in ears, could leave them exposed to a brigade of oily French marauders. The news will come as a bombshell to Dan Carter’s girlfriend, hockey player Honor Dillon, and whomever Ali Williams is knocking off this week.

Alarm bells are ringing in the All Blacks’ camp at the potentially disastrous consequences sudden, unexpected heartbreak could have on the campaign. Despite smelling mainly of garlic, onions and cheap aftershave, French men are renowned for their sensitivity to a woman’s physical and emotional desires, compared with our Kiwi fellas’ grunting emotional unavailability. Tactics at the French gits’ disposal include admiring the starry lights of Paris by night, getting caught in the rain and seeking shelter in a cafe, browsing second hand bookshops wearing a beret, and speaking French, the language of love.

The All Blacks are now playing catch up, learning key romantic French phases like “Ici, ayez une chemise de polo d’Adidas, je l’a obtenue libre” (Here, have an Adidas polo shirt, I got it free), “Là où sont mes chaussettes propres?” (Where are my clean socks?), and “La jeune mariée d’emballement est sur le câble ce soir, bébé” (Runaway Bride is on cable tonight, baby).

In a rearguard action, All Black legend Colin Meads is being rushed to Paris to chaperon the player’s partners, organising a series of bingo and bridge nights to distract them from any skinny, cigarette smoking fuckwits. Meads has promised to deliver any French arseholes sniffing around “a farkin’ backhander right in the Eiffel tower”.

This tactic is not without precedent. In 1986 the French attempted to steal Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford’s girlfriend after brutally ripping open his nutsack during a test match, for the love of all that’s holy. Luckily, they were intercepted at an after match function and ran off into the night, chased by Shelford (gingerly) and All Black officials.

IRB clamps down on backline ‘jiggery-pokery’

SRNZPA: IRB top brass moved moved swiftly to stamp down on the early RWC backline flair and skill, fast-tracking new laws that ban flair altogether. “Rugby Union is scrums, dropgoals, stern reprimands from the ref and dirty songs on the bus ride home” said IRB chairman Dr Syd Millar. “This backline jiggery-pokery belongs in the 70’s. It’s as unacceptable in this day and age as wearing sideboards down to your jaw, or being Welsh.”

Extra emergency law 6.09, paragraph 3, which comes into effect immediately, reads: ‘Ball emerging from scrum, line out or ruck must be A. kicked out or B. proceed in an orderly manner from fly half to inside centre, outside centre, then possibly a winger, in that order. The full back must not get involved under any circumstance.’

“Referees will be on the lookout for side steps, wipers kicks, or forwards carrying the ball further than 5 metres” said RWC head referee Paddy O’Brain. “For example, Jerry Collins’ chip ahead against Italy would have earned him ten in the bin, not five points.”

William O’Shanter of the Morning Empire welcomed the IRB’s bold move. “You didn’t see England 2003 fart-arseing about with cut out passes, double arounds or dummy runners, did you? The Twickenham faithful simply won’t stand for bloody colonials running around our chaps. They must enter the fray and let the claret flow. Or something.”

New Zealand Rugby analyst Stu Wilson was quick to wade into the the debate, saying “Well fark. Ireland. The Irish. Big drinkers. Big, big drinkers. Don’t tell me about Dublin pubs. I know, mate. Shiiiiiiiiit. ’78 grand slam tour. Say no more. What was the question again?”

MacKay hails first nose clearance of Rugby World Cup 2007

SRNZPA: Having hailed the first lineout, scrum, points, penalty and knock-on of Rugby World Cup 2007, popular TV3 ‘Rugby’ ‘Editor’ Hamish MacKay was quick to salute the 23rd minute snot torrent produced by Argentinian loose-head prop Rodrigo Roncero in Friday’s tournament opener:

“Well hello sailor! The big man’s stepped up to the plate and blown one right out of the park! Watch the replay Grant Fox… one nostril… now two… He’s electrified this big crowd with a bit of the old nozzle-razzle-dazzle. You played with some of the great snot-showmen over the years Foxy, in fact we’ve got one sitting to the left now, AJ Whetton…” This was followed by a prolonged period of dead air with barely audible muffled thuds.

Red faces all round as cylinder contains body parts, not turf

SRNZPA: There were red faces at the All Blacks’ farewell at Auckland Airport last night. The team was presented a cylinder supposedly filled with turf cuttings from all 1071 of their predecessors home grounds. But when the container was opened, it was discovered to actually contain cuttings of the 1071 All Blacks themselves.

“Ohhhhhhhhh, that makes a bit more sense” said Adidas Cylinder Ambassador Peter Harvey-Withers. “That fax DID get a bit smudged, but I never double checked. I got some funny looks going into all those cemeteries with a shovel and saw, let me tell you. What a turn-up, eh?”.