Thank you, Michael Cheika. Thank you for supplying radio gold for the best part of a week. In this sporting world where rugby media conferences are utterly boring, Chieka's outburst after the Eden Park test was one I was gutted to have missed. It's fair to say he took on everything All Black and just went for it.
But here's the thing about Cheika: talk to people who play for him or coach with him and they say he's a good bloke. Andrew Mehrtens was his kicking coach at the Waratahs and is glowing in his praise of Cheika the man and Cheika the coach.
Remember, he doesn't need to work. He's worth squillions, a self-made fashion mogul, no less.
When Cheika took over as coach, he apparently marched into a management meeting and delivered his opening statement, which went something like this: "I don't need to be here. If you aren't on the same page, you can f*** off." That's Michael Cheika.
I agree with Chris Rattue in his Herald column - Cheika may not be a great coach right now, but he's makes rugby interesting.
Spending money to make money
I'm a sports guy so I'm biased when it comes to any debate around the Government backing sport.
Investment in Team New Zealand was a divisive issue but I maintain New Zealand got more than its money back in a series of campaigns which were ultimately flawed. But as is always the case with these stories, it wouldn't matter if it generated $1 billion, some would still be opposed. It's only sport, after all.
While we all look back on the 2011 Rugby World Cup with rose-tinted glasses and remember how we really did become a stadium of four million, don't forget the pre-tournament angst. Many thought the money spent upgrading Eden Park was wasted. The tournament will be a flop and tourists won't come in the numbers predicted, some said. Well, they did, and for six weeks, this country rocked. Remember the 2014 Cricket World Cup? A country united again.
Not much has changed despite those successes. The lefties jump on their natural timber soap boxes and just complain, saying sport is a waste of taxpayer money.
As John Key pointed out this week, when it comes to a world title fight receiving government backing, it comes down one simple thing: does it return that value in exposure to the rest of the world? In my opinion, it does.
In the scheme of government budgets, funding for the Joseph Parker fight is chump change. For me, a lot of this opposition comes from a perception of Duco and Dean Lonergan, that they are all about themselves and loading their back pockets. Surely that's what every good promoter is supposed to do. But without the backing of Ateed, the NRL Nines wouldn't be played in Auckland. Is that what league fans really want?
Sometimes you need to spend money to make money. I don't have a bloody clue about boxing, but I love Joseph Parker and I love big events that are new and different coming to New Zealand. It adds to the perception that Auckland is a truly global city.
Sport is just as important to New Zealand as the arts, music and the rest. Tell me any other events that united this country like the Rugby and Cricket World Cups... all I can hear is silence.
Has there ever been a year of sport like this?
It is truly the year of sporting fairytales and drought breakers.
Hurricanes win their first Super Rugby title
Leicester win their first Premier League title
Fiji win their first Olympic gold medal
Cleveland Cavs win their first NBA title
Cronulla Sharks win their first NRL title
Bulldogs win the AFL (the last time was 1954)
North Harbour win the Mitre 10 Championship
There will be another drought broken after the World Series, given the Cleveland Indians have not won since 1948 and the Chicago Cubs since 1908.
- Anyone else need some serious counselling when they saw the tweet of Maria Tutaia and Israel Folau announcing their engagement?
- Would it have been a better look for Aaron Smith to front the media before he left for Chicago? This is not about adding further angst for the guy, but rather New Zealand Rugby not shying away from issues which have hurt the game of late.
- Should the All Blacks just give away goalkicking? It's not going very well and we're scoring an average of 40 point a game.
- If the bookies did not bug the All Blacks hotel and the All Blacks didn't do it, who's left? This is a fascinating story.