Thursday, 27 October 2011

(Presumably) How the First Haka Happened.

So this week the French rugby team have been slapped with a fine of 2,500 New Zealand Dollars (No idea how much this is in real money. Probably about a tenner). The fine was given because the French team failed to respect the All Blacks Haka ceremony. 'Failed to respect' in this case meaning 'stood near and held hands'.
What with this being slightly topical and having absolutely no other ideas for this week's article I thought this would be an interesting time to study the Haka. Look into it's history and origins and try and uncover how it came to be used by the New Zealand team.
But that sounded like a lot of work so I just made up this instead. Enjoy!

New Zealand Player: Hey, Sorry coach. Do you have a sec?
New Zealand Coach: Sure. What’s up? You guys all set for the match?
Player: Yeah we’re ready. But the lads and I wanted to….  You know what? Forget about it! Never mind.
Coach: What?
Player: No…you’ll only laugh.
Coach: Spit it out man! The way you lads have been playing lately you can do whatever you want. Hell! You could do a fucking choreographed dance number for all I care!
Player: Really? Because that’s actually exactly what we want to do.
Coach: Haha! good one! What do you really want? Hookers? It’s hookers isn’t it?
Wrong  sort of hooker

Player: No, I’m serious. We had a team meeting and we decided that we want to do a little dance before the match.
Coach:…... Are you sure you don’t want hookers?
Player: No thanks, we’ve got our hearts pretty much set on the dance thing. We’ve been practicing and all.
Coach:  Well… I can’t say that it's not a bit weird but I suppose there’s no harm in you guys doing a bit of a team building dance in the changing room before you go out on the field. Whatever you need to do to get motivated.
Player: Actually, we want to do it out on the pitch.
Coach: … You, as a rugby team, want to go out in front of thousands of people, as well as the opposing team, and do a dance?
Player: Yeah, we think it will be intimidating.
Coach: Well the thought certainly scares me.  Look, the ship hasn’t sailed on the hookers.
Player: No thanks. We think it will help psych us up and get the crowd going.
Coach: What about if we get you cheerleaders to do the exact same thing?
Player: Nope, I think the crowd would prefer to see 15 twenty stone men prancing around instead.
Coach: Okay, fine! You can do it this once.
Player: ......We were kinda hoping that we could make regular thing of it.
Coach: What? Do a dance before every game? Won't that get really irritating during the World Cup if we have to watch you guys express you're emotions through interpretive dance before each mach?
Player: No, I don't see this ever getting old.
Coach: Look, How the fuck am I going to explain that to the match officials? ‘Sorry ref you wouldn’t mind if my lads did a bit of a quick chorus line before we start?’
Player: We’ve thought of that. We’ll just say it’s a Maori war dance. They have to let us do it if it’s cultural.
Coach: Why the fuck would they let us do a Maori war dance before a match?
Player: Because we have players of Maori heritage on the team.
Coach: We have players of English heritage on the team. That doesn’t mean we’re allowed do the fucking  a fucking Morris dance before each game.
Player: But the ancient Maori warriors would do it before each battle!
Coach: Ancient Celtic warriors went into battle without any clothes on but you don't see the Irish team coming out bollock-naked!
Although female attendance would increase 1000%

Player: Please coach! We’ve been practicing really hard!
Coach: Jesus! Are we really so good at this sport that we have time to practice choreography?
Player: Pretty much.Yeah!
Coach: Look, will people not think this is a bit…gay?
Player: Coach this is a sport where large men stick their heads between each others arse cheeks. Dancing is going to look pretty tame in comparison.
Dancing would actually butch up this situation

Coach: I suppose you’re right.
Player: Besides, look at the fucking size of us. Who’s going to say anything about it?
'Say Something. We dare you'

Coach: Okay I’ll see what the officials say. Does the dance have a name?
Player:  Yeah it’s called ‘How Angels Kiss Adoringly’

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Ireland's World Cup Journey (Told Through Awesome Photos)

So Ireland's World Cup journey came to an end on Saturday when Wales discovered a way to neutralise Sean O'Brien (personally I'm guessing kryptonite scrum caps). Wales will now go through to the semi finals against France happy in the knowledge that, after surviving tackles from the likes of Paul O'Connell and Stephen Ferris, they are now legally unkillable. The Welsh defence on their own tryline was so airtight that NASA is considering using Sam Warburton as the door on the International Space Station.
Now that Ireland are making their trip home however I thought I'd take this opportunity to take you through my favourite pictures from the Irish campaign.

That is Paul O'Connell's game face. It's an extremely effective offensive weapon because it's a lot harder to make a tackle when you've just shat yourself. 

Brian O'Driscoll and Rob Kearney d├ębut their new 'suprised kitty' celebration dance.

On a list of places where I wouldn't want to put my fingers 'Paul O'Connell's mouth' is up there with 'a beehive', ' a bear trap' and 'Snookie's vagina'.

This is one of my favourite pictures for a variety of reasons but mostly I think because of Will Genia's expression. Look at it. That's a face that's thinking 'I should have taken up cricket'

This might not look particularly impressive but it's worth posting because it's the last thing a lot of players saw before waking up in the hospital and asking what year it was.

This Russian player later took his own life. The knowledge that he'd been handed off by O'Gara was too much for him to live with. Fair play to R.O.G though, even Cian Healy looks impressed and his tackles have to be legally considered 'car crashes' so that his victim's insurance will cover the medical expenses.

This is a picture that perfectly encapsulates the concept of 'joy'. Looking at it comes with a hefty price though. And that price is the knowledge that you will never, ever look that cool or be that happy.

If you liked this why not check out the other rugby articles?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

An Interview with Declan Kidney (at Gunpoint)

Irish rugby coach Declan Kidney famously dislikes giving interviews but as we’re days away from Ireland’s quarter final battle against Wales I felt that it was my duty to my fellow fans to speak to him about his World Cup campaign. Luckily I was able to convince him to speak to me through a combination of flattery, bribery and kidnapping. Enjoy!

Me: Mr. Kidney. Welcome. I’m so pleased you agreed to do this. I know you’re not a great lover of being interviewed.

DK: Well, I couldn’t say no to a fan…especially one that didn't give me a choice. Can you please put the gun down?

Me: Soon, as long as you answer my questions.

Me: Now Declan. How worried are you about Saturday’s game against Wales? It’s widely considered that their young back line is one of the best in international rugby.

DK: We had some initial concerns about that but I believe that the fact that this game is being played here in New Zealand gives us a significant advantage over the Welsh.

Me: Because of the massive fan support that you have received so far over there?

DK: Well. That and the fact that New Zealand has 3 sheep for every one person. I expect that their team will be slightly sluggish from sheer sexual exhaustion. We're hoping to capitalise on that.
Pictured: Welsh Kryptonite

Me: Good plan. But since half your team is made up of Culchies is there not the danger that this statistic could become a double edged sword?

DK: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about that at first but then I remembered that Stephen Ferris emits a pheromone that causes all livestock to instinctively panic and flee so I don’t think it will be a problem.

Me: Now I heard that this week you had a spot of embarrassment at one of the local tourist attractions?

DK: Yes, Some of the team went on a tour of the sets from Lord of the Rings during their free time. Unfortunately when the other tourists spotted Paul O'Connell and the rest of the pack they mistook them for Ents. There was a small amount of panic I believe.

Easy mistake to make.

Me: I understand that that wasn’t the only awkward incident that one of your players was involved in this World Cup campaign.

DK: Yes, well there was some small delay to our travels when a small group of locals started worshipping Brian O’Driscoll as a god.

Me: Really? I didn’t think the Maori people were still so superstitious.

DK: Maori? This was at Dublin airport! We were delayed on the tarmac for three hours because some idiot from Blackrock tried to sacrifice his first born child to BOD.

Me: Oh my god! I’d say that was very upsetting for Brian.

DK:  Not really. He told me that he’s used to it at this stage.

Me: Now Declan, the World Cup is a long campaign, how do you keep your players properly motivated throughout its entirety?

DK: Well it requires different approaches for different players. For instance I’ve told young Conor Murray that if we get to the semi final that I will rent out a stretch Hummer for his Debs.

Me: And that works?

DK: I promised him a copy of Gears of War 3 if we beat Australia and look what happened there.

Me: Now you’ve been relatively lucky with injuries throughout the tournament, with the obvious exceptions of Jerry Flannery and Rory Best. How is Rory by the way?

DK: He’s improving, but slowly. The physios are saying that he’s only at about 70% fitness at the moment and it shows. He only broke 3 scrum machines at yesterday’s training.

Me: Obviously I couldn’t finish this interview without asking you about Ireland’s Half Back situation. Is the competition between Sexton and O’Gara causing problems in the training camp?

DK: The two men are good friends really. The media has blown the whole rivalry between them out of proportion. They are always giving each other tips on kicking and during the Italy match I saw Johnny shouting encouragement to Ronan during his penalties.

Me: Did you actually hear what he was saying?

DK: Well… No. But I’m sure it was just some words of support.

Me: I have it on good authority that he was shouting ‘Miss! You Cork bastard!’

DK: Haha, oh that’s just probably one of the little pranks that they play on each other.

Me: Pranks? Such as?

DK: Oh you know. The usual harmless stuff, trick phone calls, cling film on toilets, rat poison in the Lucosaide.

Me: Rat Poison!? Jesus Christ! Was anyone hurt?

DK: No. Luckily Jamie Heaslip drank it by accident and he can only be killed by fire or decapitation.

Me: Well Declan, thanks again for agreeing to do this and know that we're all behind you on Saturday. Best of luck!

DK: Thanks very much. Can you take these handcuffs off now?

Read more rugby articles:
If Irish rugby profiles were more honest (and inaccurate)