Guide to the Glasshouse
"Yuppy" Sam Timbs competes in the Dunedin half marathon
last Sunday. He finished 199th in the open men's field of
312. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Welcome, everyone. Welcome to New Zealand's first and greatest
Enjoy the stress-free experience of driving in "rush" hour.
Marvel at our lovely buildings, our spectacular scenery, and
our range of delicious eateries. Gasp at the two-bedroom
houses on the market for under $950,000.
And, of course, behold our mighty new stadium. Some things
first-time visitors need to know about the covered colosseum:
1. It's UNBELIEVABLE. Awesome. Extraordinary. All those words
and more. It is almost certainly the only venue in New
Zealand that actually takes your breath away - but don't
panic: there is oxygen inside the big tent.
2. Awesomeness costs. A lot. Dunedin ratepayers stumped up
the biggest share of the $200 million, er, $250 million it
took to build the House of Panes. We weren't all delighted
3. That's natural grass (with a little bit of other stuff
mixed in) growing under the fixed, transparent roof. A world
first, apparently. Don't even think about walking out on to
it, though, or an angry little bloke called Coryn will chase
you with a stick.
4. It can get REALLY LOUD inside the Glasshouse. The sound
bounces back off the roof.
5. Dunedin had snow this week but, again, do NOT panic. It is
warm(er) inside the dome.
6. The first major rugby game played inside the stadium was
between North Otago and West Coast. A couple of the Coast
front-rowers looked like two Springboks glued together.
7. They reckon a good rugby player can hoist a ball 30m off
the boot. The internal height of the main roof, in the
middle, is 37m.
This is the 40th All Black test in Dunedin - 38 at
Carisbrook, one at Tahuna Park, now one at the Glasshouse -
and the latest an All Black test has been played in the city.
It beats, by one day, the previous record. In 1946, the All
Blacks beat the Wallabies 31-8 on September 14.
That was the first All Black test after World War 2. Not
surprisingly, an entirely new All Black XV was selected.
Those were the days
The Springboks will be in New Zealand for all of six days -
three in Auckland, three in Dunedin.
It's too easy to bemoan the death of the traditional tour in
modern rugby, but there is still something romantic about the
notion of an international team spending weeks in a country,
and playing in some far-flung towns.
In 1994, the Springboks played 14 games in New Zealand.
Brilliantly, they opened with a game against King Country in
The Boks even played Hanan Shield Districts (South
Canterbury, Mid Canterbury and my beloved North Otago) in
Timaru. The Hanan Shield team had future Otago favourite
Brendan Laney at centre, future North Otago coach Barry
Matthews at halfback, and one player from the Old Golds,
Kurow winger Hayden Hunt.
It is simply unimaginable now to have a North Otago player on
the same field as the Springboks. Progress is not always a
Congratulations to this very special Otago Boys' High School
team that has qualified for today's national First XV final.
But what a shame - what a crying shame - the match is not
being played in Dunedin, perhaps as a curtain-raiser to that
other rather important game in the city.
Why should St Kentigern College get home advantage?
You certainly have to feel sympathy for Otago Boys', which
has been the away team for most of its major clashes this
Perhaps Sky Television has had a say. But won't all its top
technicians and gear already be in Dunedin?
Finally, if the stadium turf had been an issue, the schoolboy
game could have been scheduled for the day AFTER the test.
No more Newby
Happy trails to Craig Newby, the much-respected former All
Black, Highlanders and Otago loose forward.
Newby announced his retirement this week due to a nagging
The 33-year old played 29 games for Otago after transferring
from North Harbour, made 74 appearances in Super rugby, and
earned three All Black jerseys.
Newby rounded out his career with 84 caps for the Leicester
Tigers. He was part of premiership-winning squads in 2009 and
2010, and captained the side in the 2011 final.
Totally committed on the field, and a salty character off it,
Newby tweeted: "It was a fantastic journey and I would not
change a thing. Well, maybe look after the knees better."
Newby was keen to stay working in rugby in England, the BBC
reported. A coaching career appealed.
I'm unashamedly a fan. Not only because he married a North
Otago girl, but because of a famous interview on live
television during which he said: "Now maybe Hayden Meikle
will write something nice about us in the ODT."
The football draft
The second major Otago Daily Times sporting draft has
finally begun. Colleagues, Twitter friends and one actual
footballer (Patrick Fleming) have joined The Last Word for an
epic English Premier League fantasy season.
Eleven full draft rounds, from a pool containing players from
all the world's major competitions, were conducted over a
The Fifa 12 rosters have been updated on the Xbox 360 and we
are ready to start simulating.
Smarter ice hockey brains than mine will have firmer opinions
on the controversial goal that sealed the New Zealand league
final in Queenstown.
Canterbury import Valery Konev produced a radical move during
the shootout, doing a 360deg pirouette before scoring the
The Southern Stampede argued a key rule - that the puck must
be in continuous motion towards the goal - had been breached,
but to no avail.
The story, with accompanying video, made it to the Yahoo
website this week. Writer Greg Wyshynski informed his readers
(sigh) that "the latest dust-up comes from the land of sheep,
Lord of the Rings exteriors and Australian personality
Ageless Otago runner Val Muskett has finished 139th at the
world 24hr race in Katowice, Poland.
She covered 183km, 969.53m in that time. She was the second
New Zealand woman home and the team finished 14th.
Birthday of the week
Italian cycling great Fausto Coppi would have been 93 today.
"Il Campionissimo" - the champion of champions - won the Tour
de France twice and the Giro d'Italia five times.
An Observer feature a few years ago reported Coppi was open
about his drug-taking. His preferred method of ingestion was
swilling "la bomba", a mix of caffeine, cola and amphetamine