Don't let the pre cup dirt suck you up

By ANENDRA SINGH - Sports Editor

Ever bought a vacuum cleaner off the showroom floor?

Shiny in its brand-spanking myriad-colour state, it promises to suck up everything in its path with a promise of: "But wait, there's more!"

It's like buying a second-hand car. The salesperson will build the pitch to a crescendo before eloquently dropping in a few clangers to cover any flaws that may crop up after a year's driving.

"You must understand that this machine is intended for domestic use, not commercial," is the usual line with the promise of a one-year warranty for the suckers.

You'll find yourself nodding in agreement even though you promised your spouse you wouldn't let anyone con you into buying something you never intended to return home with.

Several months later, the gleaming vacuum cleaner hasn't lost its sheen, but its "suckability" starts coming under scrutiny.

You find the foot lever on the stick end to switch from carpets to wooden/tile surfaces has lost its stickability, never mind how hard you stomp on the damn thing.

Perhaps the most frustrating part is finding the hose coming off at every conceivable joint after a year (just when the warranty expires), prompting the salesperson to nonchalantly offer a replacement for $80 - almost one-third the value of the descendant of the 19th century invention - or perform a spit-and-paste job for $20 until the next time.

Now that's how I like to perceive the performance of all the dress rehearsals for the Rugby World Cup starting here next month.

Of course, I'll break from the perennial journalistic ritual of crystal-ball gazing despite the overwhelming evidence of recent results among giants such as the All Blacks, Wallabies, Springboks and France.

No, I'm not about to shave my eyebrows off, become a vegan and live at the foothills of Mt Ruapehu if the ABs fail to etch their name on the William Webb Ellis Trophy for the second time since their inaugural conquest in 1987.

What I'm prepared to say, though, is if everything looks as clear as mud that is because it is.

Sure the ABs are seemingly a country mile ahead of everyone else on the paddock.

Isn't that how it always is every time the World Cup comes around?

The New Zealand Rugby Union display cabinet is often chocker with every conceivable piece of silverware but the all-important one.

Once filthy words to utter, the "rotation policy" is back with a vengeance as Graham Henry makes his troops play Roman chairs, making even the spectators dizzy with excitement just thinking about who will be the chosen ones.

While the Wallabies and Boks have belched smoke and stuttered to a shuddering halt, the mean Black machine knows no bounds as it purrs from one new frontier to another like a juggernaut.

If Robbie Dean's men needed a distraction, Samoa gave them one.

In doing so, the South Pacific Islanders also gave a timely fillip to the prospects of filling up the stadiums around the country when the "minnows" play.

While the Boks' camp resembles a graveyard of gleaming vacuum cleaners, who knows what motor coach Peter de Villiers has in the big room for the big suction.

He prefers to go off on a tangent on the "New Zealand B" team, poised to lock horns with the Boks in the Tri-Nations dress rehearsal on Sunday (3am NZ time).

He does have a point. Why isn't the media venting its spleen about nine pivotal players, including Ritchie McCaw and Dan Carter, robbing South African fans of a spectacle?

Ah, slick move. Rile up the masses and deflect any undue attention from the players.

New Zealand's red herring was a godsend, taking the heat right off the boys' techni-colour dream boots.

But nothing comes starker than the debacle over black shirts with NZRU's parent sponsor.

If that wasn't enough, England, Scotland and Japan spiced it up with their alternative black shirts.

The Australian Rugby Union has re-signed Deans as coach until 2013 - peace of mind but not sold on the Dingo just yet for the next World Cup.

Will the NZRU follow suit on Henry?

What about the South African Rugby Union on De Villiers who, for all sense and purpose, is wheezing like a leaky vacuum cleaner hose right now?

Steady on now.

Aren't we just getting too far ahead of ourselves again?

- Hawkes Bay Today

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