SRNZPA: All Black management has softened their hard line stance on
the All Black wives’ and girlfriends’ access to the players’ rooms. “Partners can visit rooms for nookie only” said Steve Hansen. “That’s it, though. Once the show’s over, they’ve gotta go straightaway. Darren Shand will be strictly monitoring this area”.
All Black management is concerned partners’ demands for attention and cuddles or reports on that day’s shopping could jeopardise chances of bringing home the World Cup for the first time since 1987. “No man wants to hear about cute shoes or stunning cafe au laits, that’s just brutal” said Hansen.
A member of the touring party, who did not wish to be identified, described the policy as “bloody sweet”, adding “This is better than home – you can make the sweet, sweet love and get back to playing Xbox straight away. I wish it could be the World Cup all year ’round”.
SRNZPA: Go directly to jail; collect $200 with referee’s approval. The IRB’s power will soon be felt on family occasions and rainy days in baches the world over, as Rugby’s governing body moves into freelance rules consultancy. “The IRB rules committee offers solid experience in rule changes. Hey, we do it every three or four weeks” said IRB chairman Syd Millar at the unveiling of Monopoly’s experimental rules, being trialled in Australia’s B competition.
“The new position of a compulsory, non playing referee / banker will add new levels of consistency” explained Millar. The referee will have a range of powers, including harsh fines and deciding who makes the tea. For severe transgressions referees can force players to leave the room for a while and think about what they’ve done. Referees will be supported by neutral observers, who sit in the corner of the lounge and take notes for later review. There will be a blanket ban on owning both utilities and railway stations, which is designed to open up the game and allow it to flow, adding interest for new Monopoly markets. “Families and new players alike will learn to love the ‘depowered’ Community Chest” Millar added.
Critics of the ‘Old Kent Road’ laws, as they’re known, say they’re a thinly veiled tactic to blunt New Zealand Monopoly troupe All Hats’ captain Ronald MacKay’s game. MacKay plays to the very letter of the law, with moves that try the patience of Monopoly’s governing body. “We’re not comfortable with the direction of the game in the southern hemisphere, it’s becoming basketball on a board” said International Monopoly Board head Ralph Stevens. “That’s why we set those pedantic IRB arseholes loose”.
The IRB’s rules consultancy unit is also working with Tennis on a proposed new scoring system of Love / 15 / Touch / Hold / Engage.
SRNZPA: Australia’s Matt Dunning has announced he will speak no French during the 2007 Rugby World cup, being staged in France. “French is for woofters” he said. “I tried it in ’05, all that tu est le merde for brains or what ever – it’s not right”.
Dunning remains confident of making himself understood. “I always have a picture of four beers and a ham sandwich with me anyway, I’ll be fine” said Dunning. He went to explain team mate Lote Tuquiri was probably a garlic munching French wanker with a name like that, so he could do the talking for both of them.
SRNZPA: A recent trough in New Zealand offices’ productivity levels is being attributed to the All Blacks’ recent form and their chances in the upcoming Rugby World Cup according to a recent survey. Pollster Fred Britten said “Our survey shows the average New Zealander in an office environment thinks about Rugby every 6 seconds. That’s second only to food. Work comes waaaaaay down the list right after ‘I wonder what happened to that funny looking guy in high school. You know, that guy.'”.
“I just can’t be arsed. Doing any actual work holds about as much appeal as driving to Bluff with Stu Wilson” said Hamilton accounts receivable clerk John ‘Wiggo’ Wigg. “Seriously, how can they expect me to process historic invoices when there’s no settled pairing in the centres? That’s grounds for a PG right there.”
‘Talking about the weekend’s game’ ‘Worrying’ and ‘Fucking around on the Internet’ all polled higher than ‘Work’ in office workers’ daily activities. In extreme cases, workers are taking annual leave for personal reconditioning programmes, consisting of ‘breaking in’ new Plasma TVs and burying fears deep, deep down underneath oceans of cheap draught beer.
SRNZPA: Dave from Greymouth will lead the All Blacks to the World Cup. In a shock announcement today, the three wise men of New Zealand Rugby have handed the hopes and dreams of a nation to regular Radio Sport callers. “It was an obvious choice” said Graham Henry. “Listening to the radio on the way back from the airport I was staggered, quite frankly. It seems our sharpest Rugby minds were in the lounges, garages and pub carkparks of New Zealand, not at the game.”
The new panel underwent a rigorous selection process. Head coach Dave from Greymouth is a regular contributor to Radio Sport’s midnight to 4AM Ruckin’ Rugged Rugby Graveyard show. “It’s fair to say I don’t sleep much. If at all.” said Dave, who lives alone. Forwards coach Ryan from Manurewa proved his coaching credentials with a 23 minute rambling tirade against Reuben Thorne in the early hours of Monday morning. “When he used the word ‘invisible’ three times in a sentance I knew we’d found our man. Particularly as Reuben wasn’t even playing.” said Henry. Backline specialist Des from Waitara makes the move from coaching the Waitara Possums’ 2nd XV to the All Blacks. “I’ve been banging on about how I’d fix the All Blacks for years”, a claim confirmed by his wife, five sons, the postman, Dipak in the Dairy, and regular patrons of the Waitara Tavern’s public bar.
The new regime has no shortage of coaching theories honed over hours of talkback. Hair product and dreadlocks are out and number 4 buzzcuts are in. The media will be banned from talking to players, with the coaches speaking exclusively to Murray Deaker. Team talks will now be delivered over the phone on a conference call. Ryan from Manurewa outlined the new panel’s collaborative style: “We’re not afraid of getting experts in to help. Like Glen from Huntley – he’s a leaguie, but his ideas on the Warriors being gutless wonders is something we can learn from.”
“We know talkback callers are often labeled blinkered, fickle cretins. Many are. But believe you me, if we don’t bring home the World Cup, I’ll be first to ring Willie Lose and demand my own resignation.” said Des from Waitara. The new panel is upbeat about their chances in France this spring. “If any French git waiter gets clever with me he’ll know all about it” said Dave from Greymouth, who’s heard a beer could cost as much as fifteen bucks, which is daylight bloody robbery, adding he hoped they weren’t holding their breath for a tip at those prices, which were just about as bad as he’s heard they are up in Auckland.
SRNZPA: Alinghi Tactician Brad Butterworth blamed Team New Zealand’s first place finish in this morning’s America’s Cup race for his team’s failure to notch win number two. Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker manoeuvred the black boat in front in the final upwind leg and clung on to level the series 1-1. “Initial analysis tells us when they got in front and finished ahead of us, that was the boat race.” said Alinghi tactician Butterworth, whose personal record of 16 consecutive America’s cup wins was broken with this morning’s defeat. “The brains trust is pretty sharp at picking these things up.”
Butterworth admitted years of experience in the America’s Cup pressure cooker counts for little when the boat finishes in second place. “Our tactics only pay off when we cross the line first. It’s plain sailing from there. But if you get into a situation where they’re ahead at the end and get the gun… that makes it very tough indeed for us to record a win. We spend hours and hours on the little things, they can be the difference between winning and losing. Traditionally, finishing order has been a key strength of Alinghi’s but we’ll have to look at it tonight, alright.”
However, the American’s Cup veteran remained stoic, saying “We’ll go back to base, haul the boat out of the water, and look at the tape to see what’s in the way of victory. The bit I’ll focus on where NZL92 crosses the line first, that seems crucial.”
TVNZ commentator Pete Montgomery agreed with Butterworth’s assessment. “Traditionally, In A Dogfight Like This There Can Be Only One Victor That Enjoys The Spoils. For The Folks At Home, Usually That’s The Magnificent Boat That Finishes First” said Montgomery before being lead away for a thorough hose down before race three.
SRNZPA: It was revealed today that French Rugby coach Bernard Laporte had heated words with Wellington IT helpdesk worker Matt Coppins early on Saturday afternoon. Coppins, a student working part time at the City Life Hotel to support his studies, felt threatened and professionally undermined by Laporte’s tirade. “He was having trouble connecting to the Internet. I came up to his room to help, and he got all worked up and that. He kept smacking his his laptop and going ‘Tres slow! Tres slow!’ I couldn’t get a word in.” said Coppins. “It wasn’t the connection, it was his PC. I asked him if he’d run AdAware or defragged lately, but he didn’t want to know.”
The incident soon got personal, as Laporte lambasted Coppins’ performance. “Même John Connolly est moins retardé que vous!” was just one of the insults that quickly saw the air turn blue. “He had a lot of sand in his vagina alright, going ‘I’ll finish you, tu est sheeet-for-brains kiwi mother-fucker!’ or some shit. He was being a real wanker about it, but that’s cool, bro, he’ll feel bad about it when he wakes up tomorrow, for sure.”
Coppins was keen to downplay the incident, saying it was all part of the job. “People want their PCs to work, sometimes they just take it out on the helpdesk guy.” Upon finishing his shift, Coppins went straight home to stick the knives on before watching the All Blacks cane Laporte’s France side from the couch of his Mount Victoria flat. “It was pretty sweet, the guy’s a total cock rash.” said Coppins.
Coppins’ manager, City Life Hotel IT Helpdesk Supervisor Jon Higgins is backing his man 100%. “Matt might be a lazy student layabout, but he knows his way around a PC alright. Probably because of all the porn he looks at”. Higgins wouldn’t comment specifically on the incident, saying his views would be made clear in a damning report to hotel management.
The IRB have moved swiftly to maintain public interest in weakened touring teams by introducing a minimum of one freaky-looking guy per team. France’s Sebastian Chabal was picked out by the cameras ahead of Saturday’s France v New Zealand international, and the IRB think they may just have stumbled on a winner. IRB Chairman Syd Millar said “Focus group testing showed the Kiwi public reacted very positively to Chabal picking up on his ‘mad, staring eyes’ and ‘feral, caveman-like appearance’. Now, when Northern Hemisphere team can’t be arsed sending any decent players on tour, the freaky-looking can create real interest for the rugby public.”
IRB Marketing manager Seamus Healy said “Our great game prides itself on having a place for men of all shapes and sizes, and that goes for the freaky-looking too. Just look at some of the greats of the game, who’ve represented their countries with distinction such as Vuninbaka, Janie De Beer, and John Eales. At school and club level the freaky-looking have long been embraced, and it’s time the international game got on board.”
The new rules, which are being trialled in South Africa, state teams must include a minimum of one freaky-looking player, one that’s pretty ugly, with a spare freak on the bench that can play hooker or half back. Millar said “Freaky-ness can be defined as having an unusual physique, having a distinctive haircut or running style, or even unusual accessories like gloves or pantyhose. Keith Woods looked a lot like Uncle Fester from The Addams Family, so he could be classed as freaky-looking, for example. We’re totally open on this.”
Rival codes American Football and Equestrian expressed concern about Rugby pillaging their stocks of freaky-looking athletes, but Healy was quick to reassure them that Rugby had “Stacks of freaks of our own. Stacks”.
SRNZPA: She’s a hard road finding the perfect city, but the people of ‘Tagotown agree they’ve come pretty close. New Zealand’s newest city has risen from the ashes of the intense debate between the region’s rugby folk and the usual gang of lefty whinging soft cocks. The pro-stadium faction took matters into their own hands and erected a wall between the former Dunedin and their new home, ‘Tagotown. The wall runs from east to west through the the Octogon, and is comprised of worn out tackle bags and couches, many of which have been set on fire.
Wall foreman Steve Hotten laid out some of the city’s founding principles in an oration to the ‘Tagotown people upon the wall’s completion. “It’s pretty farkin simple. Number one – we’re building a stadium. Number two – we support Otago. There’s no number three. If you wanna wear bone carvings, go to Dunedin.”
‘Tagotown has rapidly become a fully formed community with it’s own culture and traditions. It’s a throwback to a quieter, simpler time, where cheerful, brutal mob justice rules. Entry to the city limits is obtained by answering questions on the mid 90’s Otago sides’ most glorious failures, and torpedoing a Speights can in under 4.6 seconds. Drinking and driving is legal here, and whale is back on the menu at local eateries. Every Friday at lunchtime a student from Auckland is pelted with fruit and eggs while being driven down Dave Latta Drive in stocks, to peals of laughter of local townsfolk.
Lord Mayor Laurie Mains praised the special spirit that’s created ‘Tagotown. “It’s extremely heartening to see this kind of initiative from the people of the South – it makes me bloody proud to be a southern man.” He said, adding “We were poisoned the night before the ’95 final, and it wasn’t my fault that we lost”.
The editor of the Otago Daily Times said the paper would be largely unaffected by the change.
SRNZPA: Being World Cup favorites doesn’t get you out of doing dishes. That’s All Black manager Darren Shand’s message to the class of 2007. “These guys reckon magic fairies come in here and clean up” explains Shand. “People say this is a special team, but they’re not special at cleaning up, I tell ya. Sometimes I want to pick the wet towels off the floor and throw them in the bin. They’d soon learn then.”
Players arrived at camp to find notices reminding them to wash their own dishes, and keep noise to a minimum near Steve Hansen’s room after 8.30pm, amongst others. “WINNING All Blacks are TIDY All Blacks!!!!” and “SEATZ ARE NOT FOR FEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” are typical examples. “It’s just an informal way to remind everyone of their duties. I’m not the big boss around here, though, so I chucked in some fun themes and clip art.” said Shand.
Two examples of Shand’s notices. Click to enlarge.
“It’s really vexing” said player spokesman Anton Oliver. “It’s like he’s trying to establish a totalitarian autocracy around here. His spelling and punctuation are pretty fucked, and that capitalisation…”. Aaron Mauger was equally unimpressed. “They’re just so fucking preachy, it’s ‘do this’, ‘do that’ and ‘everyone’s gunna burst into tears if you don’t clean up’. It’s like having your Mum at camp. At least Mum would bring some baking. MAYBE I could handle this from someone like Colin Meads, but from Benchy… it’s not on.”
This early player irritation contrasts with 2006, when Shand didn’t start pissing players off until midway through the Tri Nations.