You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Taieri did what it does best and escaped with a win with a last-gasp penalty to edge Varsity which performed well above this writer’s expectations, and with a truckload of players out to boot. Harbour did enough to beat a gallant Southern outfit and unleashed a couple of new stars in the process in Tufui and Fine. The Sharks gifted Kaik with 21 free points but were never really in it and succumbed by 20 at the Sandpit. GI was just a shade too good for AU at the Toolbox but the Ponies will knock a few over.
So what is with the new Super rules? Does the NZRU just pay the NRL a royalty and just use their rules (which don’t work) because we have forgotten what rugby is about? Here I am, foolishly thinking rugby has been the most popular game in New Zealand since 1871 because we have catered for all physical and mental characteristics. It didn’t matter if you were short, tall, fat, skinny, fast, slow, muscular, plump, intelligent, thick, there was always a place for you in the great game. Now, unless you’re 100kg-plus and can carry the ball and smash into contact (isn’t that league?) you can’t play rugby any more. No wonder players are leaving in droves. However I digress.
1) Golden point — seriously, what a joke.
2) No more 5m scrums we now have a dropout — seriously??
3) The captain’s challenge which can take up to five minutes — seriously. Drop these inane, stupid league rules and return the game to the big list above or just call it league.
Around the grades
All Colts rugby returns this weekend after having Easter off and we have 20 teams across the two grades which is fantastic. In Prem Colts, it’s very early days but the two big players in the Sandpit could be Dunedin and Kaik who have already drawn in round 1. A word of caution in that the same two clubs make up 50% of the 12 teams in Championship Colts. While great for them it could be disturbing for the remainder of the clubs.
Down on the farm
Central and North Otago finally kick off this weekend (where have you been?). The “Jacko” sponsored 747 has been decommissioned in the North and for the second year running he is relying on “local” players but I use the term loosely. Watch out for Old Boys — I’m tipping an unbeaten season. In Central it’s hard to go past the big four of Cromwell, Clutha, Arrow and Wakatipu. The big game on Saturday will be the Goats (Crom) and the Bulls (Arrow) that’ll give us a gauge.
So Mike Kerr, the Elon Musk of Highlanders sponsorship, was wining and dining sponsors at a pre-season Landers game in Timaru and waxing lyrical about his massive entertainment budget and was bragging about the size of it. When it came to paying for the round Kerr realised he’d lost his black Mastercard. He searched high and low and in his desperation he begged his Crusaders counterpart, ‘‘Dougy’’ McSweeney to put a plea over the address system. Dougy gave him an absolute “send up” over the loudspeakers, much to the mirth of the crowd. Turns out “Faulksy”, the marketing assistant, had it all the time, much to Kerr’s horror.
So Cam Burrow, at 25, is chairman of the Sharks and captained the Prems against the “Mountain Men” at the weekend and led the tackle count. Good effort, you think. No, he’s been dropped this weekend.
Destroyed poor old Reggie from Southern last week and just pipped Lindsay Roulston from Heriot with a perfect score. Lindsay will be hard to beat as he amassed 55 points, only five off the maximum. Up against Ken Hodge from Varsity and Pete Gallagher from Cromwell so it should be a stressless ride. The Hawks (12-) should account for Varsity and remain unbeaten at the Cockabilly Cauldron. GI (13+) should be too strong at Bastion Point for Zingers to eclipse last season already. I’m tipping the Magpies (12-) to upset the Mountain Men at home. The Sharks (12-) have no chance against the Eels at the Jellypit but I have to have something to talk about out there.
The Maggots (13+) too strong against the Cromwell Cavaliers. Clutha (13+) will sail away from Matak.
Wakatipu(13+) won’t be contained at Molyneux Park by Alex. The Goats (12-) just get it done at home over the Arrow Bulls.