Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Am I slightly cynical or did the “Project Manager” Roger Clark play a blinder with the late-Friday afternoon announcement of the demise of Highlanders coach Glenn Moore?

It was rugby’s worst kept secret but the timing on the eve of the final Carisbrook test meant that any backlash, sympathy or disappointment at Moore’s non-reappointment was buried by the occasion.

Throw in all the hoopla around the Soccer (I can’t bring myself to call it football) World Cup and Moore’s axing was confined to the small print of the papers and the end of sports bulletins in the electronic media.

I have a degree of sympathy for Moore. He had, without doubt, the least talent to call on of any of the New Zealand franchises and during his unsuccessful three year tenure I would hate to think of the number of games lost within the seven-point margin.

Jamie Joseph looks odds-on to be his replacement for one of the tougher jobs in New Zealand sport, with Simon Culhane his assistant. Geographically that’s a good Otago/Southland split and it leaves David Henderson free to plot Southland’s defense of the Ranfurly Shield.

Besides if the Henderson/Culhane combo was chosen alongside Project Manager Clark, then the Highlanders may as well pack up, relocate to Rugby Park Stadium and call themselves the South-Landers. Leicester Rutledge could manage the side, Jimmy Cowan and Jamie Mackintosh already call the shots on the paddock, so only the appointment of Craig Morton to carry the drinks (and he’s had plenty of practice) would be needed to complete the Southland mafia.

And then what would become of the new permanently-enclosed Dunedin Stadium? At $180 million-plus it’s a hell of an expensive hot-house for growing tomatoes post the Rugby World Cup.

* Like many fair weather fans I’m loving the Soccer World Cup, if not the nocturnal viewing times. The beautiful game is aptly named because of the athleticism, balance, grace, poise and pace of its proponents. Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo in full flight is a thing of beauty and off the pitch the females in our office tell me he makes Dan Carter look like an ugly duckling!

Like many workplaces we have an office sweepstake on the World Cup. Currently of the 14 entrants, I’m second-to-last, having used the FIFA rankings as the basis for my predictions. Our receptionist, who made her random selections on the good looks of the South Americans and the nice sounding names of various countries is leading the pack.

And therein lies the beauty of the beautiful game! Easy to watch, easy to understand and easy on the eye.

P.S. Here’s my favourite English soccer joke:

Fabio Capello was wheeling his shopping trolley across the supermarket car park when he noticed an old lady struggling with her bags of shopping. He stopped and asked, "Can you manage, dear?" to which the old lady replied, "No way! You got yourself into this mess, don't ask me to sort it out."


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