Sunday, July 26, 2009

Whoops, my/our/your bad.

Okay. This weekend has had two things that kept me awake - The rugby and the F1.

Firstly, all best wishes to Felipe Massa, who is still in an induced coma after an operation on his fractured skull.

And... Rugby. We, well, sucked. I've seen few posts around blaming the referee for our poor performance, and while the constant whistling was annoying, (especially for those of us who like the new ELV's) and often a bit shit, we need to take responsibility for the fact that if Ruaan Pienaar didn't suck worse than our catching that would have been a complete rout.

Not sure how we're going to do next week, but hopefully we can do a wee bit better, and the boks persist in not picking Morne Steyn.

And to continue with the F1 - wow. Quaifying was a nightmare, though Fernando Alonso got pole. And then his team promptly fucked up the pitstop, didn't put the wheel on properly and it came off. Which, in current circumstances was probably not a wise plan. The FIA have banned them from the European GP for excessive fail.
The European GP is in Spain. Which would mean Alonso not racing at home, unless he changes teams.

And which team could he go to? *cough* It's not as if there's a spare seat going... *cough cough*

Anyway, Lewis Hamilton won. Which is a nice change from Jenson Button.

Kimi Raikkonen needs a haircut.

Friday, July 24, 2009

He's back!

Dan Carter just played his first game of rugby since snapping his rubber band Achilles tendon six months ago.

I pity whichever team was facing Southbridge -- you don't expect a club side from a two-horse town to contain one of the best players in the world, and I doubt they got much warning.

Dan admitted that he'd been a bit more careful than usual, but he's feeling okay and hopes to play for Canterbury next week in the NPC.


Sunday, July 19, 2009


Brief Yay, I have just five minutes.

YAY - for The All Blacks proving half the country wrong. Including me. We love yous all. Especially Richie.

YAY - For England doing amazing things at Lords. We love that you're making Ricky Ponting angry.

And in the wise words of Jimmy - "It's not who wins or loses, it's who gets felt up."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hold the Phone, They WHAT?

Some idiot with an air rifle has been shooting at riders in the Tour de France.

WTF, over?

I ain't comin round here no more, there's peices of me all over this floor

So, Andrew Flintoff is retiring.

The hard-hitting, pedalo-riding, game-winning lager lout first introduced to us in 2000 as Fat Freddie. He's finished.

I wanted to think of something really insightful, a way to pay tribute to a great player, a wicked entertainer, and by all accounts a good bloke.

But all I can think of is this - No matter who you support, Freddie on a good day was like none other, and there are few more watchable, cheerable or heroic.

We'll really bloody miss ya Fred.

Friday, July 10, 2009

When in Rome

Hello possums! Last weekend I went on an expedition to foreign climes, namely a hop across the ditch to Melbourne to watch a friend of mine get married. (And it did happen -- matrimony was definitely the winner on the day! I wish a long and happy life to Glasshopper and his new wife K.)

I love Melbourne and I'm rather fond of Australia, as it happens, on the grounds that it's just like New Zealand except for when it's really, really not.

One of the things I really love about Melbourne is that nobody follows rugby there -- everybody's into Australian Rules Football, aka "rules" or "footy".

How much are Melbournians into their footy? The first time I visited, I found myself with a bit of free time and had a look through a local paper. The page headed "Religion" held... the footy results.

Last Friday night I found myself in my hotel room with very little inclination to go out, and that Melbournian phenomenon, Friday Night Footy, on the TV. Collingwood vs Essendon, one of the great grudge matches between two famous teams. (Hell, even I've heard of them, and I'm a New Zealander.)

So I watched the game.

All of it.

All two hours of it.

Why, you ask?

Well, there are 22 reasons per team, each in superb physical shape, wearing singlet tops and tiny shorts. And doing a lot of running and jumping and kicking. Seriously, what's not to like.

And it's different enough from rugby that I was riveted for the whole time, trying to work out how the game play went. No, really. I watched for the game play. As well.

Interestingly, every single Australian I talked to about it said "That was a crap game!" I don't know enough about how the game works to know whether it was crap or not. It was entertaining, and I'd like to see more of it.

And not just for the singlet tops and tiny shorts.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

If this had happened in a novel, we'd have said it was implausible

I have a story to tell you. Settle in. You might want to get a cup of tea or something else nice and soothing. Gin is a good choice.

After the second test in Wellington, the one the Brat attended, some of the French rugby team went out on the town, as you do.

The next day, Mathieu Bastareaud appeared with stitches in his face and said he'd been attacked by five big brown guys. The police, aghast, started an investigation. Bastareaud went home to France. New Zealanders were horrified that something like this would happen here -- we love our rugby and we are as flag-wavy as the next guys about it (and consider that the next guys are Australia), but it's a bit beyond it to go attacking opposition players.

Now, I thought about posting something when this happened, but had this niggly feeling that there was a bit more to it, so decided to sit on it all for a while.

Fast-forward a few days. Bastareaud goes on holiday to the Caribbean. NZ police keep the investigation going. Then the manager of Bastareaud's club, Stade Francais, went to the media and told them that Bastareaud had told him that he'd lied about being attacked. Yep, that's right -- he lied, so he wouldn't be chucked off the French team for getting really, really pissed, doing a PFO[1] and whacking his head on the bedside table, resulting in the stitches in his face.

So, a person could be forgiven for thinking that's enough WTF for one week, right?

This has turned into a clusterfuck of massive proportions. Rumours are going round France that it wasn't a bedside table Bastareaud hit his head on, but rather a fist belonging to another member of the French rugby team. The whole matter has been referred to the French rugby disciplinary board, and it's going to be interesting to see what comes out of the investigation.

No matter which way it comes out, the person this has been hardest on is Bastareaud himself -- not only did he get injured (even if it's still not clear how), he lied to police in New Zealand about what happened, may be part of a coverup of appalling behaviour on other players' parts, and is currently in a psychiatric ward after apparently cracking up under the strain and attempting suicide.

The poor bastard. I genuinely wish him well and hope he feels better soon -- this is not a good state for anybody to be in.

But wait, there's more!

For an extra dose of WTF, the French government has apologised for Bastareaud's behaviour. Which is cool. Unutterably cool. Seriously, seriously cool. And marks a sea-change in the way the French government treats appalling acts of awfulness committed by its citizens in other countries.

See, I am old enough to remember the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, for which the French government has not yet apologised.

I'm sure there's more to come out of this whole sorry mess. Let's hope it includes Bastareaud's full recovery. Even if his international rugby career is effectively over, he does deserve that.

[1] Pissed, Fall Over