Good week for:

An unhappy spectator

An outraged punter leapt to his feet at Albany last Saturday and demanded a ticket refund from Blues coach Pat Lam. You might see someone jump to their feet at the sideline during tonight's Blues match against the Canes and complain to a coach about having to sit there watching such a rubbish match. Fear not - it'll just be Piri Weepu raging at Colin Cooper. Poor old Piri put aside his regular No 9 jersey to help out at first five-eighth during an injury crisis. Now the regular stand off is back and Alby Mathewson has made the No 9 kit his own. "Oi, Cooper! I want my money back!"

Southern sting


Hats off to Dunedin. The blue-and-gold mob have long relied on other provinces to supply their playing talent, now they've gone one better and have convinced the nation to chip in $15 million towards their new $200 million rugby stadium. Former Dunedinites now living in Auckland point out that the southern city isn't the grim, colourless dump of a provincial backwater with no culture, no nightlife and no future that it sometimes gets made out to be by the northern media. And to be fair, the last carrier pigeon message from Dunners back in 2004 reported that flat whites had arrived. So how can that limb-chilling town get its act together to build a beaut new stadium off its own back, while Auckland can't even figure out how to accept the Government's offer of a free one? Answers on a postcard to Mike Lee at the ARC.

What a bloke

We love Lowie. And the great man's new book, Me and My Little Blokes, is out today. It's heart warming to see a figure we've come to know through sport open up and talk about the stuff that really matters in life.

Bad joke alert

Usain Bolt goes to the clubhouse in Augusta and asks to become a member. The secretary says: "I'm sorry, Sir, we can't accept you here but there's a multi-racial club 10 minutes down the road." He replies: "But I'm Usain Bolt!" "OK. Five minutes down the road."

Bad week for:


Those canny folk running the Chinese National Games have come up with a rigorous drug testing procedure. Forget those fiddly blood and urine tests, up to half of the athletes competing at the Games to mark the 60th anniversary of the communist takeover of China will take a written test. "The exam is not to create difficulties for the athletes but to teach them how to protect themselves," said Games official Pu Zhiqiang.

Speedy sacking

There's no need for NZRU-style lengthy reports into sporting failure over at Sacramento, where Kenny Natt has been shown the door just one week after coaching the Sacramento Kings' to the NBA's worst record.

Bird's Nest bargain

Back in Beijing, the Bird's Nest Olympic stadium has slashed the cost of a trip to the winners' podium as the recession (not to mention the inherent naffness of visiting former Olympic venues) hits hard. For a mere 120 yuan ($31), visitors can don China's red and yellow Olympic uniform and mount the three-step podium for a faked medal ceremony complete with flower bouquet and phoney medal. Which is fitting really, given how much of the opening ceremony was faked.

To the letter

Jeremy writes in response to SuperShorts' tirade last week against the "G9" of provincial unions. "While normally I would agree with you about the 'G' plague infecting every gathering of two or more, in this instance I have to disagree," Jeremy notes wryly. "The 'G' in G9 stands for 'gullible' for the provincial unions believing anything the NZRU tells them." Touche!


Grim happenings the day after SuperShorts hero Rocket Ronnie O'Sullivan departed the World Snooker Championship, having warned that the sport could die a slow death. Rocket's prophecy was played out as Stephen Maguire and Mark King completed the longest frame at the Crucible - 75 minutes of dull.