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NEWSDESK: The NZRFU announced today the re-appointment of the Graham Henry-led coaching regime until 2037. “We’ve often been accused of throwing the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to All Black coaching panels. This time we’re going to have the wee fella living with Mum and Dad until he’s old enough to rifle the liquor cabinet” said NZRFU CEO Steve Tew, before denying he was really, really high.
“I’m very pleased” said Henry, rubbing the leather elbow patches on his blazer, adding “This will give the players, and any of their kids interested in playing Rugby, real certainty”.
The All Black marketing machine has already swung into action, announcing a line of Wayne Smith driving gloves, Steve Hanson TV dinner trays and Ted’s Big Book Of Sudoku. A potential tie in with Werther’s Orignals is in the pipeline.
Radio Sport reported a 83% ratings drop-off around the time of the announcement as the majority of their listenership spontaneously combusted as one. South African media are reporting the re-appointment of Peter De Villliers until 2044 in a flanking manoeuvre.
Disaster averted, then. A vastly improved loose forward performance set up a close win, with Latimer and Reid both outstanding. More worrying is the Carter-less halves; Stephen Donald didn’t take his chances on a (let’s be frank) SHITTY Wellington night where tickets to the ground were a mixed blessing, while McAllister looks like he’s been doing mostly promotional work since 2007. Cowan was quiet for him and while Weepu looked good as a sub, can he do it as a starter? Outside them, it’s a little more re-assuring, with Nonu, Smith and Mils playing solid, professional Rugby.
Up in the coaches’ box, it’s all go. Traditionally, All Black coaches exhibit all the emotion of a tow bar, but last night Ted and team turned into S Club 7, unable to sit still, all clasped heads and reaching for the sky. They’re feeling pressure, team, and we’re only two games in. Playing a full strength, battle hardened French team at the time of year we’re usually playing a Scottish Lawn Bowlers’ selection was always going to be tough with all those players out. To me, the ABs were trying too much in both matches when keeping it simple may have been a better option. With Italy next, we won’t know how we’re REALLY travelling until the Tri-Nations now.
South Africa are lucky enough to have a time zone that suits UK TV, and the All Blacks and France would have been envious of the Lions and Springboks running out into strong Durban sunshine. The 2009 Boks are big, confident and clinical, and threatened to do a ‘Bulls’ to the Lions ‘Chiefs’ in the first 20 minutes.
This year’s Lions is a vast improvement from Clive’s Touring Cavalcade Of Arse we got in 2005, but in the first half they were happy to resort to the warm, familiar territory of the fucking idiotic. Silly penalty fans had a great afternoon, conceding for coming in from the side, niggling punches off the ball, you name it, all followed by a ‘who, me?’ appeal to Bryce Lawrence. It wasn’t until they’d all but given up and decided to have a pop that they looked any good – and then almost snatched it. The Boks would have got a hell of a fright. Test two should be a cracker.
SRPA: Leaving your best players out for a New Zealand tour used to be just for the likes of England or Wales. After a 101-14 loss, Manu Samoa at last took their place at the big boys’ table. With a forward pack as competitive as Ian Smith versus a Milo and an early night, and a backline with more gaping holes than a Stu Wilson bender recollection, Manu Samoa showed they’ve finally joined the professional era.
With several of the first choice XV unable to tour due to earning shit-loads in Europe commitments, the Samoans fielded a 3rd XV tonight in a thrashing worse than a paralytic arts student taking on Ross Murant.
“To come here and lose by 87 points shows the Samoans are ready.” said NZRFU CEO Steve Tew. “I’d rate it alongside ’07’s 61-10 toweling of France. Maybe even the 55-3 Wales debacle in ’03. We’ll definitely work with them to schedule more hidings in the future.”
Jubilant Manu Samoa Coach Niko Palamo said “Those boys did themselves proud representing Samoa tonight. Whoever they were.” The loss impressed the English press with The Times’ Stephen Jones purring about the Samoans’ indomitable spirit and the sheer magnitude of glorious, glorious defeat. He also demanded the Samoan’s immediate inclusion in the Six Nations at the expense of Scotland.
Fashion 101: Beyond the polo shirt
‘Staying humble on six figures’ Workshop
The leadership group – 10 reasons they’re not out to get you
Why you can eye-gouge All Blacks in the Super 14, but not in the breakfast queue Q+A
Clinic: Sobbing quietly on the bench away from the camera’s prying eyes
You’re no Carlos: Appreciating the short back ‘n’ sides with Grant Fox