Supershorts: English wine

Carrying a case of cheap South African wine on his shoulder, Fabio Capello was questioned by Customs upon his return at Heathrow.

"What's that?" said the Customs officer.

"I got it for my team," said Capello.

"Good swap," said the Customs officer.

English control
A friend of SuperShorts has been playing Fifa's World Cup soccer game on PlayStation. "I was playing as England the other day and was amazed at how realistic it is ... Then I realised I'd accidentally turned my controller off."

That's enough of that.

Des does a number
Over in Sydney, Manly have dropped out of the NRL's top eight. Coach Des Hasler was asked how many points the 2008 premier needed to secure a finals berth. "Don't know. I'm not a mathematician," he said, a little peeved at the line of questioning.

Reminded that he used to teach maths as a primary school teacher, he said: "Just because I taught maths doesn't make me a mathematician."

Howzat, m'sieur?
Cricket is taking off in France, where the athleticism of a certain Aussie sex-text fiend appeals to the shoulder-shrugging Gauloise smokers.

"I saw Shane Warne for the first time," says French cricketer Vincent Buisson. "And I said: 'Anyone can do that. You don't have to be a super athlete. All you need is a good brain."'

Demand for Mandela
Wasn't it nice to see Nelson Mandela wheeled around before the World Cup final? Well, no, it wasn't actually, says his grandson, Mandla Mandela.

"We've come under extreme pressure from Fifa requiring and wishing that my grandfather be at the final today," he said before the big game, adding that the Mandela family wanted to be left in peace to mourn the death of Nelson's 13-year-old great-granddaughter, who died in a car crash.

"[Fifa] said that Sepp Blatter wished that my grandfather comes out to the final," said Mandla. "I think people ought to just understand the family's traditions and customs and understand we've had a loss in the family ... Their focus is having this world icon in the stadium, yet not really paying attention to our customs and traditions as a people and as a family."

Demand for Mandela II
Which is surprising because Sepp Blatter is a man of good taste and tact, as shown by the fact that in his pre-Fifa days he was president of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders.

First score
The TAB has Rene Ranger, Ma'a Nonu and Cory Jane pegged as their favourites to open the try-scoring at $9 in tomorrow's test.

Legend has it that a player taking the field in Wellington was first try-scorer in a provincial match a while back, with the TAB paying $8. The player - not the sharpest pencil in the case - walked into his local TAB and asked for his $8.

GOOD WEEK: The All Blacks lineout
Yep, we won all our own ball at Eden Park and even nicked two from the Bokke. But the best news for the All Black lineout is Victor Matfield has spent the week planning new lineout tactics - not on the training pitch, but on his laptop.

BAD WEEK: Lance Armstrong
The Tour de France is slipping away from the world's most abrasive Texan. And now US investigators are waiting for him back home, wanting to talk about possible fraud and doping charges against him and his associates.

Number of passes made at the World Cup by Spanish midfielder Xavi. That's six more than the entire New Zealand team managed at the tournament.

- NZ Herald

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