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The World Cup (of tea)
For New Zealand, 2011 will be remembered as the year of The Cup. In fact it is probably more accurately the year of two cups.
First the mighty ABs won back the Rugby World Cup after 24 years and a load of tough campaigns. The team had its ups and downs with several last minute subbies having to be brought into the latter stages of the competition as a result of injuries suffered to key players.
However through strength, skill and fortitude they won the final game and now are the proud holders once more of a much coveted cup.
But perhaps the 2011 cup that will be remembered the longest in New Zealand will be the one that was allegedly filled with tea and which Prime Minibrain Jianqi supped with his buddy and sometime ACTor Banquo.
That cuppa will be remembered as a symbol of another team of New Zealanders (let’s call them the NDs (National Disgraces) who thought they were actually as invincible as the All Blacks, just a 12 months ago. The NDs are a composite team who thought they had that cup within their grasp and nothing could stop their inevitable progress towards retaining the trophy.
However like the ABs the NDs suffered a few injuries during pool play. A couple of players had been cut from the squad before play had really begun, such as scrum half (wit) Pansy (I got it) Wong who pulled a travel perk and wing (nut) Rodders who suffered a nasty back injury at training and was replaced by Dong Rash who came out of retirement with the promise of a good NZRFU job off the field after the tournament was over. Several other subs fell off the bench; foolback David Garrish was sent to the sinbin for foul play and ultimately red-carded out of the tournament and loosie Hevva who suffered hurt feelings in the early rounds was knocked out later in the tournament, ending her cup final hopes. Middlingfielder Bosco John was stretchered off in the semis and centre-of-attention Banquo was hastened in to the final.
A lot depended on how well captain Jianqi could settle Banquo into the squad, so they decided to do some one-on-one work. However the skipper (of important questions) decided it would be a good opportunity to get the press along to watch. He felt this would build the tiny centre-of-attention’s confidence and encourage the punters to get behind them in the final.
It all started very well and the press arrived and many great photos were taken of the two smiling players as they went into a huddle to discuss tactics, er I mean the weather.
Sorry slight slip there, for a moment I forgot they were NOT discussing tactics at all; simply shooting the breeze about the merits of Earl Grey, English Breakfast and how lucky we were to be all living in such a free and beautiful land.
Things were going very well until a fly dropped into Jianqi’s cup. Actually it had been there all the time, but he hadn’t taken any notice of it up until about 8 minutes into their team talk, I mean friendly chat. Presumably he had been too distracted by Banquo’s charm and wit, and in between making sure his best side was always facing any potential cameras.
What happened next was to dog Jianqi for the rest of the tournament. Instead of simply pulling the fly out and putting it on the table, he chose instead to have his cup removed. But then in a bizarre act of paranoia he began to wonder if the fly might have been a bug. The more he thought about it over the next five seconds his fevered wee brow became sweaty and clammy and all his sins came back to haunt him.
“I’ve got to have that fly back,” he squeaked to his flunkies who were flunking about at the time. Immediately scores of men from the union with dark suits and glasses to match were scrambled to find where the fly had got to.
Such was the power of the skipper, that within minutes they established that the Press team now had the fly in its possession. “You must not listen to that fly,” the increasingly rattled skipper shrieked.
The puzzled Press captain asked why not and Jianqi said “Because you put it there deliberately to spy on me and it might have listened into my innocent chat that didn’t mention overthrowing any other senior team leaders and wasn’t rude to another team’s supporters.”
“If that is the case then why are you afraid I will listen to the fly (always supposing it can talk)?” joked the bemused Press player.
“Because you did it deliberately and it’s not fair,” blubbed Jianqi. “I’m going to tell on you – I’m going to get the policeman to come and put you in jail and my mate’s bigger than you.”
Sadly it is a line little Jianqi has recycled in many ways over the last few days as the day of the final draws increasingly nearer. The enraged and increasingly demented skipper has sidestepped the press with far more agility than he showed earlier in the tournament preferring instead to send his big forwards in to rough them up and put the fear of God into any other opponents. However it increasingly looks like it is all building up for an NDs v Press final. The ND’s might have got off lightly against the Press in their Pool play, but the Press has some heavy forwards, even though some of them have been a bit sluggish and slow around the paddock up until now.
Mark my words this will be a brutal final – the Press always hold back their best moves until the final match.
Your humble correspondent Phil Ossifer