The List: Worst excuses for losing

By Chris Rattue

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. Photo / Getty Images.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. Photo / Getty Images.

Australia's rugby coach Michael Cheika was angered by referee Nigel Owens' failure to stop play after the ball hit a Spidercam wire during the third test loss to England in Sydney.

Cheika has a fair point, no doubt about it. This incident clearly demands that nine more sub clauses be inserted into rugby's rule book.

But here's a question. Would Cheika have stated this so strongly had the bounce of this ball gone the Wallabies' way and led to victory? Defeat can twist the mind all right.

We check out some of sport's great excuses.

1) Hot and cold air

Scotland's kicking coach Duncan Hodge blamed the weather after Chris Paterson missed a few kicks against Romania in Invercargill during the 2011 World Cup. Like there isn't bad weather in Scotland? Apparently northern hemisphere stadiums are a lot bigger and keep out the wind. As for: "Back at home all international games are in enclosed stadia..." Last time we looked, Murrayfield didn't have a roof.

2) A grey area

Alex Ferguson was a colourful character who saw most things in black and white, but he saw red when his team played in a grey strip at Southampton in 1996. Southampton's first-half dominance and 3-0 lead had nothing to do with Southampton, according to Fergie. He reckoned his players had trouble spotting each other in their grey strip and had them change into blue and white at halftime, happily copping the $20,000 fine. They still lost. United were winless on four previous occasions wearing the grey strip, and it has never been seen again.

Midfielder Lee Sharpe said: "The manager just stormed in and said 'get that kit off, you're getting changed' ... I don't think he liked the shirt anyway."

3) Balls

Newcastle manager Kenny Dalglish sprung a surprise excuse when the premier league side drew with Stevenage in a 1998 fourth-round FA Cup tie.

"The ball were too bouncy," Dalglish claimed. But wait, there's more. Dalglish had actually endorsed that brand of ball, and it bore his signature.

4) Bullseye or bulls#@!

England's Mervyn King blamed the wind for losing a match in 2003 - the interesting thing being that King plays darts, a sport widely regarded as taking place indoors.
After his World Championship defeat to Raymond van Barneveld, King claimed the air conditioning was affecting the flight of his darts.

King turned up the heat on the venue, saying: "The air conditioning doesn't affect Raymond because he throws a heavier dart and a very flat dart."

5) Cop out

Kiwi William Ward was beating his junior Wimbledon opponent Miles Kasiri and telling the Brit all about it. "I'm toying with you - you are so untalented," the Telegraph reported him as saying at the 2004 tournament. Then a topless serial streaker named Naomi McDonald raced on to court 19, and somebody's toys went out of the cot as Kasiri raced to victory. We can't find any reaction from Ward to this losing streak, but an eye witness claimed the police reacted slowly because they wore incorrect shoes for a tennis court. Now that is a poor excuse.

6) Tall story

The New York Knicks basketballers accused a hotel ghost of ruining their sleep after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2010. In the Knicks' defence, they are not the first team to blame "Effie the Housekeeper", who apparently drifts around the Skirvin Hilton picking on basketball players by making noise in the wee hours. "Everyone in the league knows about her," said one Oklahoma player.

7) More hot air

Zambian tennis player Lighton Ndefwayl had a raft of excuses after losing a 1992 match to Musumba Bwayla. We'll let Ndefwayl tell the story.

"Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia."

8) Media magnet

Some in Spain blamed the presence of Iker Casillas' girlfriend, journalist Sara Carbonero, for distracting the goalkeeper when Switzerland scored a goal during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. And to be fair, she was standing behind the goal.

9) Blade ruiner

Figure skater Johnny Weir turned into Johnny Weird after bombing at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. "I never felt comfortable in this building. I didn't feel my inner peace. I didn't feel my aura. I was black inside." Must have been a rare off day for Italian architecture, which is often very good.

10) Bolt hole

North Korean football coach Kim Kwang-min blamed lightning after a loss to the United States in the 2011 women's World Cup. He claimed about half the team were struck during a training session before the team left North Korea. That old line.

- NZ Herald

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