That was some Super Bowl.
Unlike most New Zealand NFL fans, it seems, I do not have a
particular fondness for the Baltimore Ravens, so the result
was nothing to get too excited about.
But the furious San Francisco 49ers comeback, Beyonce's
performance and the bizarre power outage combined for another
fine spectacle on the greatest single day in sport.
Which leads me to the obvious question: Where would the All
Blacks line up if they were to dabble in the NFL?
Quarterback: Richie McCaw. The prevailing wisdom is
that quarterback = first five. Glamour position, field
general etc. But I like Richie in this spot. He's tough, he's
got great vision and he's a leader.
Running backs: Julian Savea and Ma'a Nonu. It's all
about carrying the ball and breaking the line.
Wide receivers: Hosea Gear and Israel Dagg. The speedy
men out wide who can break into space and, er, catch a
Tight end: Kieran Read. Can handle the physical battle
up front but also has real ball-handling ability.
Linebackers: Keven Mealamu and Liam Messam. Dynamic
athletes, light on their feet, sniffing for opportunities.
Safety/cornerback: Conrad Smith and Ben Smith. Willowy
athletes able to cover ground quickly and keep their eyes on
Offensive/defensive linemen: Tony Woodcock, Owen
Franks and Ben Franks. Stick your head down and push.
Kicker: Dan Carter. Why not take a sabbatical to do
the best job in world sport for a season?
The other major question left lingering after the Super Bowl
had nothing to do with power cuts or how people can possibly
like Ray Lewis.
It is, obviously: Who have been the best sportsmen called
Colin? My hastily compiled list follows.
Colin Meads. An easy choice for No 1.
Colin Bland. The South African revolutionised the art of
fielding in cricket.
Colin Slade. Cross your fingers and cross your toes. Here's
hoping our Colin will lead the Highlanders to glory.
Colin Cowdrey. Michael Colin Cowdrey, Baron Cowdrey of
Tonbridge, was the first cricketer to play 100 tests.
Colin McRae. The late Scottish driver dominated the world
rally circuit and lent his name to a fine video game series.
Colin Montgomerie. The Scottish golfer was known for being a
bit miserable and not winning a major. Excellent Ryder Cup
Colin Kaepernick: Didn't win the Super Bowl but the young
quarterback is going to be a star for a long time.
Allen key to Seattle
Did you get a glimpse of superyacht Octopus as it sailed past
Dunedin on Tuesday? Nice, huh?The yacht is owned by
billionaire Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, who also
has strong sporting links.
Allen owns the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and the Portland Trail
Blazers (NBA), and part-owns the Seattle Sounders (Major
Wikipedia informs me Allen was named the Seattle Sports
Commission's sports citizen of the year in 2011. The award
was promptly renamed the Paul Allen Award.
Sailing awayYachting is a magnificent sport, and New Zealand
has a magnificent history in that sport.
The Last Word will keep tabs on Team New Zealand as it
prepares for the Louis Vuitton Cup later this year, and may
even get mildly excited if the black boat looks like doing
But you just wonder. You wonder if the time to be involved in
the America's Cup has passed. You wonder how a Government can
possibly justify putting $36 million into a yacht race, when
that money would be better used to erase child poverty, or do
something about our shameful abuse statistics.
Not at all broken
What a contrast in recent weeks between two New Zealand teams
playing in Australian competitions.
The Phoenix has staggered and stumbled its way through a
series of limp performances and part-owner Gareth Morgan's
outbreak of foot-in-mouth disease.
Meanwhile, the Breakers have rattled off 10 straight wins and
are sailing beautifully towards a threepeat.
It seems to me as if the Breakers have entered a sort of All
Black zone. It's not IF they win but by how much. They're a
remarkable success story and should be getting more attention
than Morgan, Zac Guildford and Sonny Bill Williams combined.
Horses for courses
Our story earlier this week on Dunedin rider Anya Durling
winning a national dressage title should have included some
other extremely important information.
Durling was part of an exceptional Otago team that won the
Helen Holden Memorial Trophy, which has been competed for
annually since the early 1970s, for the first time.
Durling and Rosari Guest Star (level 5 national champion)
were joined by Hielke de Graaf and All White (level 5 reserve
champion), Gillian Edgar and Cordacious (level 4 reserve
champion), and Wendy Butler and Millstream Magic (level 7
All are kept busy by non-equestrian employment, and Butler
and de Graaf also have to fit riding in around motherhood.
Jolly well done.
Kudos to the kids from the Brighton club who excelled to
finish second overall at the southern region junior
life-saving championships at Warrington last weekend.
Proud stalwart Scott Weatherall reports it is the best the
club has done at the event. Brighton won 45 medals (team and
individual), comprising 25 gold, 14 silver and six bronze,
finishing second overall, behind Sumner but in front of local
powerhouse St Clair.
Leading performers in the 12-strong team included Ali Adams
(eight medals), Gabrielle Trotter (seven), Rowan Whyte and
Cameron Porteous (both six). Brighton also won the six-person
relay to end the competition.
Birthday of the week
Football guru Rinus Michels would have been 85 today.
''The General'' played for and coached both Ajax and the
Netherlands, and is widely credited with inventing ''total
football'' in the 1970s. Somebody call Gareth Morgan!