By MICHAEL DONALDSON - Sunday Star Times
Sunday, 23 September 2007
If I was in Edinburgh I'd be trying to sneak in a couple of quiet words with Graham Henry, who seems to have teleported himself to another time and place.
Instead of being the fiery- eyebrowed All Blacks coach, he's become a script-writer for an adaptation of an Enid Blyton book, where it's forever summer and the children get up to all sorts of mischievous games and pranks.
How else do you explain what's going on in the All Blacks' camp?
All this fun, fun, fun is hardly instilling any confidence in those of us left behind. From a distance it seems as if the French frolicking is hardly the preparation the All Blacks need in order to win the World Cup. Venerable scribes are of course contrasting all the pool parties with John Mitchell's "eat a lemon a day" approach at the previous World Cup. But has the pendulum swung too far? Have the lads forgotten what they're there for? Is it too much "Yellow Brick Road" and not enough "Highway to Hell". I can see it now. World Cup semifinal, Australia 23 New Zealand 15, five minutes left and the All Blacks have just knocked on, giving Australia an attacking scrum. At this point I can't tell you what will happen, but potentially Richie McCaw could say to Stirling Mortlock:
"Listen Stirling, how about we call off the rugby and play double or quits on our points total by having a kayak race?"
Mortlock: "What the @#$%^ are you talking about McCaw? That last tackle must have rocked your melon."
McCaw: "Nah, you don't understand. See, we haven't really trained for this but we're really good at kayaking and golf and games that involve throwing ropes and doing bombs in the hotel pool. So how about a bombing competition; you pick three of your best dive-bomb guys and we'll pick three of ours and Tony Spreadbury can be the judge . . . Or tiddlywinks, what about tiddlywinks, since Tana quit we've got really good at that . . ."
At this point George Gregan, as is his wont, comes across: "What's going on Stirlo? What are these jokers complaining about now."
McCaw: "You stay out of this George, it's between Stirling and myself. We're just trying to find an amicable solution to our current points crisis. Look, you guys have won two of these tournaments and we haven't won one since I was kid. it's not fair. Gawn, give us a break!"
Gregan; "Relax Richie."
McCaw: "Relax?! Don't tell me to relax. That's all I've been doing since we got here."
Gregan: "Oh well, back to the drawing board . . . still, look on the bright side, you've got four more years to get it right."
Not Paris, Oct 16, Reuters - All Blacks halfback Byron Kelleher has been banned from rugby for 12 months by a world cup judiciary after knocking out Australian halfback George Gregan during their semifinal in Paris last week.
Kelleher, who had been replaced by Brendon Leonard, rushed on to the field with five minutes to go and punched Gregan, who had to be stretchered from the ground.
Let's hope not.
-> I often say that we have different humours but I like this article... and anyway, Byron can do anything, as long as Bill goes back home with the guys, right???