As 2013 looms in front of us, Steve Hepburn looks into the
crystal ball and predicts who is going to grab the glory.
• The All Blacks will beat France in the opening
test at Eden Park but will then lose in Christchurch, where
the temperature will be so cold even Bob Parker's glasses
will be frozen over. The All Blacks will then go to New
Plymouth for the decider and wipe the floor with the Frogs.
In the superbly named Rugby Championship, the men in black
will win all their home games but lose in South Africa. They
will still take the title. Argentina will beat a tired
Wallabies team at home for the Pumas' first win in the
• New All Blacks will be Charles Piutau, Matt Todd,
Brad Shields and Ben Afeaki. Ali Williams will somehow remain
in the black jersey despite not winning a lineout all season,
and hitting one ruck in May. Liam Messam will fade along with
Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Ben Franks. Zac Guildford will not run
naked on a Pacific Island.
• The All Blacks will tour the United Kingdom and with
a squad of 32 will win every game except the last one. But,
thank god, it will not be to England.
• The British and Irish Lions will beat the Wallabies
2-1, after losing the first test. The team will be dominated
by Englishmen but the UK press will still moan that Mike
Tindall has not been selected. Quade Cooper will play but
have an absolute shocker. James O'Connor will finally get on
the field and have a stand-out series. But he will have a
clanger in the deciding test when his hair gets in the way of
a high ball.
• Richie McCaw will come back from his sabbatical and
will immediately re-assume the test captaincy. On his break,
he will climb Mt Everest, swim the English channel, solve the
Israel-Palestine stand-off, and wine and dine three
Victoria's Secret models. And because he is a Kiwi bloke,
dump them and get back on the rugby field.
• The Highlanders will make the top six and will set
up a final against the Crusaders in Christchurch. On a wet
night in the garden city, the home team will win thanks to a
poor refereeing decision by Chris Pollock, who is just fresh
off The Hobbit set.
• Andrew Hore, Tamati Ellison, Josh Bekhuis and John
Hardie will have stand-out seasons. Colin Slade will play the
bulk of the season but will be hit by a large sea lion tossed
into the St Clair salt water pool by a freak wave. Slade will
be badly concussed but break no bones.
• The Chiefs will be badly hit by injury and finish
mid-table, the Hurricanes will start well but fade, and the
Blues will start poorly and then fade further.
• Otago will improve but fall again at the final
hurdle in the championship. It will challenge for the
Ranfurly Shield but, like the previous 55 years, it will end
the season without the prized trophy.
• In the NRL, the Sonny Bill Williams sideshow will
continue. He will miss a large part of the season because of
injury and the Roosters will just squeak into the playoffs.
SBW will refuse to play for the Kiwis and have three boxing
bouts, winning them all, against opponents with an average
age of 52. Through it all he will stay ''humble''.
• William and Kate will not name their new baby Sonny
• The Warriors will just miss the playoffs and Shaun
Johnson will have a standout year. Kevin Locke and Dane
Neilson will also play well. Manly will win the title.
• The Southern Steel will surprise and have more wins
than losses. The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic will be the sole
New Zealand side in the playoffs but lose in the semifinals,
when Irene van Dyk is done for using drugs to disguise those
grey hairs. Melbourne will win the title.
• The Silver Ferns and Australian Diamonds will split
their 16-match series, eight apiece.
• The Breakers will lose to Perth in the finals as the
Australians gain revenge. At home, the Otago Nuggets will
make the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Antoine
Tisby will be the top rebounder in the league but the Saints
will be the champions. The Nuggets will go out in the
• Manchester United will win the Premiership with
ease, Everton will win the FA Cup and Barcelona will win the
Champions League. Jose Mourinho will resign and flirt with 10
clubs before returning to Real Madrid.
• The New England Patriots (American football), the
Miami Heat (basketball) and the New York Yankees (baseball)
will win titles in American sport. The ice hockey season will
• New Zealand rowers will continue to win big, a
Chinese 13-year-old with shoulders bigger than Texas will
storm the world swimming championships, and Usain Bolt will
lose a couple of races.
• And, in an utterly surprising turn of events, the
America's Cup will end up being decided in a court room. That
is one prediction which will surely be right.