This is a week where fully formed ideas have become wedged somewhere between the thalamus and the frontal cortex, I offer instead a potpourri of half-baked thoughts.

1. If you're sticking the boot into Richie McCaw and Dan Carter for having an opinion on the flag because they're "just" rugby players, then you're the worst kind of person - an intellectual snob without an intellect.

2. If, however, you're sticking the boot into them because the first actual opinion they've ever had on anything is such an obvious patsy play for a PM that spends an embarrassing amount of time in winners' changing rooms, then be my guest.

3. But now you've opened the door Richiel McCarter, I'd be keen to get your thoughts on a capital gains tax on second homes.


4. I've spent the past month or so travelling twice a day under the existing and proposed new flags and it has driven me to a state of... apathy. For years I have wanted a flag that represents what we have become as a nation, not what we once were; now I look at those big beach towels fluttering away and just couldn't give a toss. Sorry, Richie.

5. Anyone seen Tim Southee and Trent Boult lately? If so, please urgently contact New Zealand Cricket, 8 Nugent St, Grafton, Auckland 1023.

6. New Zealand were simply outclassed this summer and there are some worrying signs they have swiftly reached the end of the golden weather. Ross Taylor's absence exposed a glaring lack of choice for back-up batsmen, there is no spinner to speak of and when the ball is not swinging the attack looks pedestrian.

7. How long are we going to cotton wool Adam Milne before introducing him to test cricket? 130-135km/h might be okay at home against Sri Lanka, but it just ain't gonna cut it against the best batsmen in the world.

8. Yeah, I'm pretty bloody disappointed by the Black Caps' test performances this summer.

9. One more cricket thing: If I was Kane Williamson, I'd say "no" to the captaincy. Seriously, the last thing he needs is to be the one batsman standing between his team and defeat and captain all at once.

10. Big move America's Cup. You have to wonder whether the nationalistic fervour we experienced during the last America's Cup was due in part to it being one of the few remaining high-profile events on free-to-air telly. It's a coup for Sky, but I'm not sure the sailing community as a whole will be popping corks.

11. Well done Breakers. I hear a lot of kvetching about the quality of the Australian NBL, but consistent success is something to admire.


As the latest incarnation (some would say abomination) of Super Rugby starts, it's worth going back to where it all started, and what better place to start professional rugby than... Palmerston North?


I'm buying... Hagley Oval
It looks great on telly and enough Cantabs care about cricket to make it look a picture every day. More Hagley, less University, please.

I'm selling... Mt Smart Stadium
Yeah, yeah, it's got a reprieve and all that. The beloved (until they start losing) Warriors have been handed the keys until 2028 but it's still a dump and it still offers a lousy match-day experience. Hopefully this signals nothing more than a temporary solution while a decent rectangular stadium is built in the central city.

Every now and then someone writes a match report on deadline that makes you just go: "Damn, I wish I'd written that." Tip of the cap to the Sydney Morning Herald's Greg Baum for this gem from day one at Hagley Oval.


Last week I promised it would be my last bet if I lost again. Murphy's Law, it came in. I'm not going to make such a bold claim this week, but if the difference between what I have spent and what I have collected ever exceeds $60, I will pull the pin for the year. There you go.

Last week: Baylor to beat Iowa State head-to-head @ $1.55. College basketball comes through at the crunch.

This week: A Super Rugby multi. Brumbies and Waratahs to win at home and the Sharks to beat the Kings away. That should net me $23.80 and bring me back to parity or thereabouts.

Total spent: $40 Total collected: $15.55