Four talking points from the Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney - and a shout out to the excellent execution of a great idea.
They call it trash talk because it is garbage
Former Wallabies have long made a point of turning up the volume when an All Black test looms. In 2003, 11 years after his own test career was over, it was Sam Scott-Young. Before the World Cup semi-final, Scott-Young offered advice on how the Aussies could disrupt All Black first-five Carlos Spencer. "Get ahold of the snotty little guy with the tattoos, niggle him, smash him in defence, mess up his hair, and he'll get cranky and start looking for who's coming at him next."
Now we have a current player mouthing off. Caleb Clarke's marker Filipo Daugunu says there's a target on Clarke's head: "Our aim is to kick to him and contest. For him to catch so we can smash him. Can't wait to hit him".
Daugunu is a very good player. He may be a good man. But someone who cares for him should quietly tell him that macho posturing before a game just makes him sound like a dick.
The Hosk has some great role models
All Blacks No 8 Hoskins Sotutu's range of skills is not such a surprise when you consider two major influences on his rugby.
Start at home with his father, Waisake, a flying three-quarter for the original Blues in 1996, and for Fiji., and it's little wonder Hoskins started his rugby as a wing.
Fast forward to the start of his professional career, when he crossed paths with Jerome Kaino. Kaino, Sotutu says, was happy to share advice, and watching Sotutu it's obvious that being massively physical was one suggestion.
One of the most shattering tackles I've ever seen was at Newcastle in 2015, when in a pool game with Tonga a massive Tongan forward snapped up a loose ball and charged at the All Black line. Kaino was the player he targeted.
The collision was like nuclear fission on a footy field, as Kaino's waist high tackle almost cut the poor guy in half.
Good on you, Patrick!
Patrick Tuipulotu wasn't making trouble, just stating facts, when he told Stuff a Pasifika team in Auckland is overdue and would be successful.
"The population in Auckland is pretty busy in terms of a lot of Pacific Island nations. You'd probably get more supporters there than to a Blues game at Eden Park. It's something that would be received really well and would be something pretty cool that a lot of fans, not only in Auckland, but around New Zealand and Australia would jump on board."
Amen to that.
If you were at Eden Park in the plague years of the Blues, when getting 10,000 people in was considered a big night, you'd have seen that without the loyalty of Pasifika fans they might have been lucky to get 5000 through the turnstiles.
Seeing a revitalised Blues at Eden Park one weekend, and a Moana Pasifika side there the next, must surely be a dream that needs to be realised.
Wallabies' Pasifika flavour
If any proof is needed of the massive influence of Pasifika players on world rugby, have a look at the Wallabies.
Eight of the Australian starting 15 in Sydney have meaningful Pacific heritage. Take their new test first-five Noah Lolesio, who was born in Auckland, but grew up on the Gold Coast, for example.
When he made his debut for the Brumbies at the end of January, he was keen to explain the photographs of him with five wreaths of chocolate around his neck after the game.
"In Samoan culture, this is a sign of celebration. If someone graduates uni or school, or, for example, has a debut game, I get given these to put around my neck. It's always chocolate. I'm sure my family will dig into this after."
Finally, take a bow everyone involved in the riveting TV3 programme Match Fit, which is that rare beast - a New Zealand television show you never hear a bad word about.
Taking a group of former All Blacks game enough to reveal what the ravages of time have done to their once finely-tuned bodies is a stroke of genius that could have gone badly wrong if the men involved weren't so honest.
Having the likes of Buck Shelford, Sir Graham Henry, Frank Bunce, Eroni Clarke, Craig Dowd, and Kees Meeuws show the way to better health for men is a wonderful step.
Retirement villages in New Zealand are not full of more women than men by accident. In 2019 New Zealand Statistics said Kiwi women live three-and-a-half years longer than Kiwi men (83.5 years to 80 years).
Match Fit won't change that overnight, but it's a damned good step in exactly the right direction.