Alright, I understand that when it comes to the All Blacks, there are certain non-negotiables regarding legacy, tradition and mana.

I also understand the jersey is a source of enormous pride for Kiwi rugby fans and that any administration daring to mess with it risks a backlash.

Which is what happened this week, when the rugby community had a meltdown after the unveiling of the new All Blacks away jersey.

Here's what really irked me about this debate - the basic lack of understanding of why the ABs need an away strip.


It can be traced back to 2007, when France, sponsored by Nike, thought what the heck, let's go to dark blue and take on New Zealand's black jersey, sponsored by adidas. That's my conspiracy theory, anyway.

The net result was the All Blacks wearing those awful grey jerseys in that awful quarter-final in Cardiff.

So a change had to happen. Some punters need to take a deep breath and just chill out.

We'll get over it and move on, just like we did when AIG became a permanent brand on the All Black jersey. The outcry could be heard all over the country but does anyone even notice it now? That debate died when the All Blacks continued their incredible winning run.

I remember at the time interviewing All Blacks from five different decades to see if they were annoyed by the corporate branding of the All Black jersey. I went to Sir Colin Meads, Andy Haden and Sir Brian Lochore, who all fully endorsed the change for economic reasons.

I then went to the phone lines on my NewstalkZB radio show and asked the 'fired-up' punters to react. Not one person called. Who argues with two knights who are such legends of the game?

My final point is this: adidas do not simply go to some highly-paid fancy designer and hurl the new design on the All Blacks and their management team. The players are across the process from day one and effectively they get to sign it off.

It's no different to when they changed the jersey lettering to grey for the 2015 World Cup. The leadership group had massive input into that.

So of course you can hate the new jersey if you want but as far as the All Blacks go, I just want them winning. Their away jersey is just not that big a deal as far as I'm concerned.

Cricket no better than the rest

I often wrap up my weekend show with a segment called 'what we've learnt'. Well, I learned cricket is not the so-called 'gentleman's game' and never has been.

Faf du Plessis has been the most debated cricketer of the past week. He's divided the cricketing world. You all know the deal: lolly in mouth, saliva from lolly applied to red ball, red ball then hoops around - at least that's the plan. That's ball tampering 101.

So this second-time offender was found guilty but not suspended. The cricket world reacted in much the way they did when the video evidence first emerged of du Plessis and that lolly.

But here's the far bigger issue than the allegations against one man. This goes right to the heart of what is supposed to be a gentlemanly game.

That's rubbish. It's not and never has been. Players worldwide this week confirmed bowlers have been applying whatever they can to the ball to make it rock and roll for decades. Unless you were Adam Gilchrist, batsmen don't walk. Fielders claim catches that aren't. Bowlers and fielders create one unruly appealing racket when they know it's not out, just to push the buttons of the umpires and batsmen.

It's not fair and it's not right but it is cricket. That's a fact. Let's stop trying to pretend cricket is different to all the other sports where people often bend the rules in the name of winning.

Why are our league teams soft?

Yes, leaguies, it's time we told the truth, faced the facts, and put these performances in the collective basket they belong, called soft.

Since the Warriors last made the finals series five years ago, we've been tearing our hair out trying to work out where these limp, mistake-riddled performances come from.

Remember the 42-0 thrashing to Melbourne and that horrible performance in New Plymouth, where the only real passion we saw was Issac Luke's haka to his whanau?

Now we have the Kiwis, who never looked like getting out of first gear in the UK. We heard all the usual media mutterings, that the brotherhood of the Kiwis was alive and well, and that this unit "has never been tighter".

Then they played some football. It was awful. The completion rate in the Four Nations final was embarrassing, as was the scoreline.

This Kiwis team should be too good for that. We have depth now, with so many Kiwi-born players in the NRl, yet we have a national team that, like the Warriors, appears to lack the fundamentals of sporting success, attitude and passion. How is that possible in a final?

I travelled with the Kiwis in 2014 for that amazing tournament where they did play like an international side. Now most of that goodwill has been undone. It's not OK any longer for the Kiwis to produce the poor performances they did in this campaign. Is David Kidwell the right coach? I don't know. Should the NZRL be reassessing his role? Absolutely. The time for niceties in New Zealand rugby league is over. It's time to start winning. Simple.