30 Aug

O'Neill At It Again
by WAJ
30 Aug 2007

Only 8 sleeps to go!

Yep the latest out of the mouth of big John is to push for a challenge
competition between the top sides from the ARC and the ANZC.

So what are
the benefits, or not as the case may be, for each country – NZ: a bit of
money, more games in an already long season, help to improve the depth
of Australian rugby.

Australia: a bit more money (and they are chewing
through their WC profits impressively), more games for their younger
undeveloped players against good opposition.

So do we want to continue
helping them improve their game, or have we done enough over the last 20
years?

I watched a few of the NH WC warm up games over the last couple of weeks.
I don’t know how much you can take out of it as all teams are giving
players game time, but France look good – everyone else pretty much
crap.

Engerland stop at #9, and you can’t win with 9 men, Ireland
struggled like hell against Italy and lost to Scotland, are only 80%
without O’Driscoll and have a crap scrum, Wales are straight out awful,
Scotland have monster forwards, and thus will be a good workout for the
AB’s, but nothing else. Italy were the best of this lot, excluding
France, great scrum and bloody tough up front, again good for us, no
backs of course – they should have beaten Ireland.

They will all lift
when it starts for real, but I just cannot see the top 4 being anything
other than France, Aust, SA and us.

And what is with these dickheads who commit a foul act these days. First
the Hawkes Bay prop and now the Waikato lock. In these days of maximum
media coverage and stiff penalties for foul play why would you even go
there? Both of these players’ seasons are effectively over. Dumb, dumb
and dumber still!

The player who has most caught my eye so far this season is Isaac Ross.
Jock’s boy has All Black written all over him. Big, strong and athletic,
wins lineouts against the throw, scores tries on the wing from cross
kicks etc etc.

And so to the games:

Hawkes Bay v Auckland – HB have been the Cinderella story of the season
to date no question, but tonight the bubble will burst big time.
Unfortunately for HB they will meet an Auckland side on the rebound from
a disappointing performance against Taranaki and will come to play.
Auckland are superior in all aspects and the final score will reflect
that.
Auckland 13+

Counties Manukau v Wellington – The only hope for CM is whether Wellington’s
poor away form continues. But then CM are no Hawkes Bay and thus expect
a comfortable Wgtn victory. Thought Nonu looked the best he has been for
a while until injured last week, and you can tell this because he throws
a decent pass or two. If he plays his match up with Ta’auso will be the highlight of the game.
Wellington 13+

Otago v Southland – Aah yes the derby to end all derbies – who can roll
their R’s and enjoy a kilt on a cold windy day more. Both have been
disappointing so far and have struggled in their wins and been shocking
in defeat. I fancy Southland here in a close one. They like nothing more
than stuffing their northern neighbours and this passion will be enough
to get them up in a game of two very even teams. I feel sorry though for
the new Highlanders coach though having to pick a team from this lot.
Southland 1 – 12

Tasman v Bay of Plenty – So Caleb Ralph plays for his umpteenth team
against the team where it all started. And he is in the right team this
week as well. BoP can’t buy a win, and against an honest side who know
how to win when the opportunity beckons, will remain rooted to the
bottom of the table.
Tasman 1 – 12

Northland v Taranaki – 2 mid table teams who are pretty evenly matched.
But Northland have been pretty solid at home so far this season. Their
defence has held up well and they kick the goals to keep winning the
clutch games. A win will go a long way to cementing a top 8 position and
against a Taranaki team who are gutsy but seem to forget to win they
will be too strong.
Northland 13+

Waikato v Canterbury – Can’t wait to see this – just a pity it won’t be
until next Thursday for me :-( Has all the makings of a classic. Two evenly
matched forward packs, with Canterbury perhaps having a slight edge at
the set pieces, and Waikato in the loose. Canterbury look to have the
edge in the backs(with 4 ex-AB’s of recent vintage) however and the Duck
needs to take those around him under his wing if Waikato are to win
this. Can the inexperienced midfield hold up. Expect Tuali’I to run at
them a lot, and the Waikato loosies will need to work overtime to help
out here. The battle of the 1 5/8′s is a cracker and whoever plays
better could determine this game. I think Canterbury have too many
options.
Canterbury 1 – 12

North Harbour v Manawatu – Attendance records and TV ratings could be
under threat here – how low can they go? Is anyone evenly remotely
interested?
North Harbour 1 – 12

Regards Waj

19 Aug

That New Wallaby Jersey
by Paul Waite
19 Aug 2007

For those of you who don’t follow rugby fashion that closely, we are pleased to be able to bring you pictures featuring the new Australian Rugby jersey, specially designed for this years World Cup. The jersey features the latest cushioning technology designed to give the player wearing it a huge advantage in front-on collision during the game.

“It feels real nice too” said a Wallaby back-rower, who wished to remain anonymous. “Whenever I’m feeling bored during a game I can just cop a quick feel to give me that needed lift”.

The players have also noticed another advantage which they discovered during some warm-up games the Wallaby squad were having.

“When you run right at the defence you usually have to protect the ball from being ripped when going into contact, but this jersey makes it all so easy” centre Stirling Meatlocker explained to a rapt press conference. “They’ve all got their eyes glued to your tits, so you just bust right through the defence before they remember what they’re there for.”

But prop Matt Dumpling wasn’t sure. “I don’t see what the fuss is about” he said. “I’ve known about this effect for years and never needed a special jersey for it.”

Others have rubbished the jersey, saying that it goes against the true Green ‘n Gold tradition. “It makes all our blokes look like a bloody load of tits!” complained a frustrated John Squeals.

However former All Black great Pinetree Meads disagreed. “They’ve always looked like a mob of tits to us, so I reckon it won’t affect things much in the Bledisloe” he said.

Matt Gateaux likes the new jersey too. “It’s amazing how many fans try to push a few bucks down your front when you’re signing autographs after the game” he said. “As long as you steer well clear of all the pervos and pooftahs and keep your back to the wall you’re fine” he added as clarification.

But what about the new technology the jersey contains? After apologizing for his limited English, Professor Dolph Goggleheim brought in as chief consultant by Canterbelly Cleavage, the jersey’s inventors, explained. “If you look at this – how you say – cross-section of the garment you can see the layer of material on the outside which does all of the work and absorbs the force on it”.

Simultaneously handing out brochures for his exclusive breast augmentation clinic based in Zurich, the professor continued. “We have found that the best shape for resisting – what is the word – advances is the same as the female breast”. The professor then paused, searching for yet better words to describe his breakthrough to the Rugby World. “The Wallabies will find that other players will hit on them a lot with these breasts, but they will always be repelled in the end!” he exclaimed, beaming at the stunned audience of formerly hardened Australian rugby journalists, some now weeping openly.

The press conference then degenerated into somewhat of an hiatus as two very large men escorted the protesting professor off-stage, to be replaced by the Canterbelly marketing director for Australia Bruce Willis who gave a more standard presentation on the jersey.

“We have had everyone modelling this jersey” he said. “These days the merchandising is more important to the ARU than the actual rugby, and we have been careful to market this special jersey with the aim of selling it into as many markets as we can.”

Willis then showed a set of slides to illustrate his point. “First of all we see here Angelina Jolie relaxing in a special lightweight version of the jersey intended for the hotter climates like Southeast Asia and the Gobi Desert”.

Waving his laser pointer and causing temporary blindness to the few not already struck blind by the sight on the screen before them, WIllis continued.

“There is also a rumour that the ARU is seeking to negotiate with Angelina as a replacement for Lote Tuquiri, because they reckon she could stand Richie McCaw on his head just by looking at him wearing that gear.”

“In this next example, we have Robbie Williams modelling the jersey on the beach, which should ensure that either all his fans buy the jersey, or everyone who hates his guts, or people who like tats and tits – either way we’ve got all the bases covered”.

Willis then paused and looked up at the picture on the screen as if for the first time. “We aren’t quite sure what Robbie was doing with his right hand there, but I’m sure you can all hazard a guess.”

Willis then turned to his audience to draw proceedings to a close,

“And finally here’s a picture of Gazza just being a complete twat as usual. He should get himself a Wallaby jersey – he’d look a lot cooler.”

The press conference then broke up, with most journalists leaving on foot but several being wheeled out by para-medics, under oxygen masks.

John O’Neil, when asked whether he thought his team were now the laughing-stock of World Rugby, failed to reply.

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

Haka editor-in-chief. Please do not feed.

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