The photo on the front of yesterday's RugbyHerald struck a chord for followers of rugby with a Star Wars fetish. One correspondent pointed out the similarity to a scene from The Empire Strikes Back. In one of the photos above, an eager young apprentice Jedi is instructed by his 900-year-old master in how to overthrow an unjust, evil empire. The other photo shows Luke Skywalker and Yoda. "Hey boss, how can we beat the Bokke in the semifinal?" "Hmmm. Win the breakdown, you must ..."
Zac Guildford's boozing got us wondering about an all-time All Blacks partying XV. These are the players whose drinking caught the eye of the public - and the Hawkes Bay Head-Case didn't even make the cut. Here's the best we could come up with:
All Blacks Party XV
15. Mils Muliana
14. Doug Howlett
13. Ron Rangi
12. Tana Umaga
11. Stu Wilson
10. Andrew Mehrtens
8. Jerry Collins
7. Xavier Rush
6. Jerome Kaino
5. Troy Flavell
4. Keith Robinson
3. Keith Murdoch
2. Norm Hewitt
1. Bruce McLeod
If we missed someone out, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll update the selection.
Yesterday's Herald story on the 10 hottest studs of the World Cup failed to include Dan Carter or the Romanian front rowers. Carter won't mind; he and fellow hunk Richard Kahui are famously modest about their good looks.
Over in the world of soccer, the players are less encumbered by modesty. Here's Cristiano Ronaldo explaining why some people don't like him: "I think that because I am rich, handsome and a great player, people are envious of me. I don't have any other explanation." Yep, that's what it'll be, mate.
What World Cup?
A Kiwi on holiday in Oz was discussing rugby with some locals. One said: "The World Cup's on soon isn't it? Are there any games in New Zealand?"
Public Nana No1
Our friends at nzherald.co.nz ran a poll gauging the public feeling towards Quade Cooper - aka Public Enemy No1 - and the support he received from his nana.
Donald Wright had the best idea for bringing an end to the clash between the McCaw and Cooper clans: "I think Nanny Cooper and Nanny McCaw should settle it in the mud-wrestling ring."
Over at thenewtasman.com, public relations fiddler Phil Quin has concocted a possible press briefing from the Minister of Bad Manners.
Here it is: "I would like to extend my heartfelt apologies to the members of the Australian Rugby Union contingent for my behaviour at the corporate facilities at North Harbour Stadium during the Wallabies' frankly unconvincing win against Italy.
"My conduct was unbecoming a government minister, let alone one charged with the duty of hosting overseas guests even if those overseas guests happen to be Australian.
"The barrage of abuse I hurled against not only the playing fifteen, but the very character of Australia and Australians - while at times hilarious and often technically accurate - was not acceptable, and for that I sincerely apologise.
"'Cheating convict scum' is not an expression I should have used. If I had my time over again, I would allude to Australia's past as a convict colony, along with its historical propensity to violate the rules and spirit of rugby, in a more dignified fashion.
"I have called James O'Connor - who I can confirm is absolutely not Justin Bieber's gay twin - to apologise directly. Similarly, I tweeted an apology to Quade Cooper.
"Finally, to the catering staff at the box, I would like to thank them for their encouragement and occasional applause during this unfortunate episode. I will autograph the remainder of your drink coasters today and get them sent over right away."