Back comes Beauden
All Blacks great Beauden Barrett has signed a new long-term deal with New Zealand Rugby with a view to playing in his fourth World Cup in 2027.
Glass half full: It’s Beauden! Talented, cheeky, experienced and versatile. What’s not to like?
Glass half empty: He will be 36 at the next World Cup!
Full: A reminder Johnny Sexton was 38 in France this year.
Empty: A reminder Ireland got knocked out in the quarterfinals yet again.
Full: With Richie Mo’unga chasing the big dollars in Japan, new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson will be delighted to have an experienced first five at his service.
Empty: First five? Beaudy boy has barely played there in a black jersey for years.
Full: Barrett will provide a vital mentoring role to Damian McKenzie and Stephen Perofeta and other first fives coming through.
Full: Razor will know what he is doing.
Empty: Let’s just see about that.
The eligibility debate
All Blacks captain Sam Cane reignited a VERY familiar discussion when he touched on the subject of our national team selecting players after they head overseas.
I still think it is a matter of when, not if, this change happens.
Doom-sayers will have you believe New Zealand rugby will collapse if we allow All Blacks to be selected from overseas, but I have never subscribed to that theory.
Besides, it is basically already happening thanks to the sabbatical system — Beauden Barrett, Ardie Savea and Cane himself are all going to miss Super Rugby and waltz straight back into the All Blacks.
I think it can be done sensibly. Perhaps start by opening up selection only to those who have given at least five seasons to a New Zealand team in Super Rugby, and who have at least 25 tests under their belt.
The world will not end, folks.
Another week, another two elite athletes deciding to "step away from the game".
Wellington Phoenix star Chloe Knott dropped a bombshell when she walked away from professional football, citing the lack of pay and rather nebulous concerns about "culture".
That was followed by Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio deciding to miss the Nations Cup, though that appears to be purely a workload issue.
It is becoming increasingly common to see athletes withdrawing from teams or tournaments at the top level.
Worryingly, they are mostly women, suggesting there are still major systemic issues for sports to address to look after females.
Must do better
A quiet karakia, please, for the White Ferns as they seek to avoid a rather humiliating T20 series sweep at the hands of Pakistan in Queenstown today.
Our women’s cricketers have been extremely underwhelming of late, and while public interest does not seem to be massively high, there must be some hard questions asked about why things are going so wrong.
The bigger worry might be where this team is heading when the ageing stars like Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine get to the end of their careers.
Mitchell Johnson’s bizarrely vicious serve at former team-mate David Warner hogged most of the cricketing headlines this week.
But I can’t help but feel we all missed the most important story.
I write, of course, of the big clash between the Delhi Bulls and the New York Strikers in the Abu Dhabi T10 competition. Yes, T10.
Astonishingly, the Bulls were dismissed for just 31 in 9.3 overs. That is especially bad when you consider they had the likes of Quinton de Kock, Ravi Bopara and Dwayne Bravo in their ranks.
Also: T10 cricket can get in the sea. Utter junk.
Justin Nelson, the former boss of the National Basketball League turned Sky Sport revolutionary, could be on to a winner with his latest bright idea.
The Commonwealth Games are slowly dying — cities are falling over themselves NOT to host the event.
Nelson’s suggestion, seen on the social media platform made even worse by that weird rich guy, is to have 20 events in 20 Commonwealth countries over 10-12 days with rolling TV coverage.
That might be the coolest idea yet I have seen for the future of an event that can still be so much fun but has got economically bloated.
Happy trails to a bloke I know called Lyndsay Crossan, celebrating his 70th birthday this weekend in the magnificence that is the Waitaki Valley.
He disagrees with me about Valley being the premier rugby club in North Otago but is otherwise a stand-up bloke, and will forever be linked to immortality as he helped coach Richie McCaw in the junior ranks.