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Hurricanes seen practicing Heimlich Manoeuvre at training

In preparation for their Super Rugby final clash against the Lions on Saturday night, the Hurricanes were seen today at Rugby League Park in the company of local ambulance staff who were demonstrating to players how to perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre.

“Obviously in previous years we haven’t been properly prepared for an entirely predictable closing or blockage of the windpipe,” said Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd, “So under my watch I’m not leaving any stone un-turned this year.”

Wellington Free Ambulance staff donned team jerseys during the three hour session to ensure that Hurricanes players wouldn’t hesitate in reacting to signs that any of their fellow teammates were experienced signs of restricted breathing on Saturday night.

“Keeping the esophagus free of blockages and allowing air to pass clearly through it is a hugely important focus for the team this week,” said captain Dane Coles.

“It was great having already gone through these drills with the All Blacks at the last World Cup, which meant I was able to devote more time to helping some of the younger guys in the side,” added Coles.

For his part assistant coach John Plumtree said that he’d learnt all too well in his previous stint coaching the Wellington Lions that such drills were vital preparation for a final.

“Unobstructed airways are key in a big match like this,” said Plumtree. “It’s vital that air remains circulating at all costs otherwise the team will not succeed.”

At the conclusion of training players were also seen being issued with new team jerseys with specially designed wider collars in a move team management said would help reduce the change of choking.

Hurricanes put on extra bandwagons for influx of jumpers

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The Hurricanes have been forced to purchase additional bandwagons to accommodate the anticipated influx of people who have suddenly discovered they are Hurricanes fans following the teams defeat of the Chiefs in the weekend’s semi-final in Wellington.

Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee said that while the franchise had easily accommodated the Blue’s handful of fans who were early season arrivals on existing bandwagon space, the recent surge in numbers first from former Crusaders, then Chiefs and Highlanders supporters has meant the Hurricanes have had to find additional space.

“Obviously at the start of the season we had excess bandwagon space due to the exodus of fans following last year’s choke and the departure of players who were clearly past their best but fan favourites,” said Mr Lee. “But as the season’s progressed and the team has looked more and more like actually achieving something, we’ve had steady demand for bandwagon places.

“And now that all the other sides have fallen short, the demand from jumpers has been unprecedented. Last year we had a small surge of bandwagon demand, but with the Highlanders in the final everyone assumed we’d fall short so it was manageable. Now that we’re up against the Lions, everyone’s forgotten how good they’ve been all season and for some reason they think the Hurricanes have a chance,” continued Mr Lee.

Bandwagon jumpers are easily identified via their multiple and vocal proclamations that they’ll be going to the final combined with obviously false attempts to play down their excitement by feigning that they don’t really understand sports.

Co-worker insufferable after winning Super Rugby picking competition

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Reports are coming in that Wellington office worker Gavin Connelly is completely insufferable this week after coming first in his work place’s Super Rugby picking competition. Gavin’s co-workers allege that he hasn’t shut up about his victory for the past two days, and they just really want him to shut the hell up.

Gavin’s obnoxious attitude started on Friday when he realised that he was within reach of obtaining an unassailable lead over his closest rival if he got his picks right over the weekend. As a result, he spent all of that day strutting around the office reminding the rest of his team of the position he was in on the ladder and how the pressure was all on Bess from Accounts to try and make up the gap.

Having already burnt through all his goodwill then, as well as loudly proclaiming his picks for everyone to hear (which they didn’t) Gavin then sent an email to everyone in the picking competition at 12pm on Sunday immediately after the Jaguares vs Lions game to point out that mathematically there was no way anyone could chase down his lead in the post-season.

This was followed up on Monday by Gavin hitting reply all to the official email from the competition organiser, announcing Gavin’s victory, where Gavin showed a complete lack of class by joking that he was “available to help with all your sport betting needs, for a small price.”

Mr Connelly then proceeded to lord his victory around the office at every opportunity, including interrupting Monday’s team meeting just to remind everyone of his victory.

“Sure, good on him for winning,” said Bess from Accounts, “He did really well to wrap up the competition three weeks early and he’s entitled to a little celebration, but now we’ve got to put up with him riding this pony for the rest of the year. I really just wish he’d shut the hell up already.”

Gavin was unavailable for comment other than pointing out how he had to go post about his win to all his friends on Facebook.

Hurricanes fans happy, but awaiting inevitable choke

Dane Coles

Long-suffering Hurricanes fans have allowed themselves the briefest moments of joy this weekend as their team somehow finished as minor premiers of the 2016 Super Rugby season, before they return to anticipating the inevitable choke that comes with the Hurricanes and post-season rugby.

After an odd Saturday evening where the Hurricanes thrashed a typically hapless Crusaders side, forcing Hurricanes fans into the uncomfortable and complicated situation of both cheering for the Highlanders, but not too much as to ensure they didn’t get a bonus point try during their clash for the Chiefs, they awoke from their post-match hangovers around 1pm to discover that the Hurricanes were on top of the table.

While they were pleasantly surprised with the result, having previously written off the 2016 campaign after the embarrassing loss to the Brumbies in round one, Hurricanes fans spoken to by Sportbox have calmed down from their weekend high and are now coming to terms with the unrelenting advance of fate.

“It’s great and all being top of the table and getting a home quarter final,” said often-quoted Hurricanes fan Callum Webb, “but it’s important to be realistic. Even if we win this weekend, and even the weekend following that, we’re just delaying the inevitable – we’re going to choke when it counts and we’ll still be the only New Zealand franchise without a title.

“After so many seasons, with so many disappointments, it’s just easier to consign this post-season to the dustbin rather than expending vital energy and warmth on getting excited about it.”

Mr Webb was clearly already moving on from the Hurricanes impending loss as he tried to move the conversation to new topics.

“Anyway, wouldn’t you rather talk about our amazing cafe per capita ratio? Or maybe some of the great craft breweries we have dotted around the city? Or what about that one, single calm and sunny day back in February that caused us all to post photos and claim that you can’t beat Wellington on a good day?”

Blues: Sonny Bill a perfect match for our over-rated, under-achieving culture

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Auckland Blues’ coach Tana Umaga has welcomed the announcement that hype-machine Sonny Bill Williams will be playing for his team in next year’s Super Rugby competition, highlighting the fact that Williams was a “perfect match for the Blues over-rated, under-achieving culture.”

“When you look at all the potential and hype surrounding the Blues each year, and compare that with Sonny Bill Williams, you’ll find the two are very similar,” said Umaga at today’s press conference in Auckland. “So it was only natural that Sonny Bill would want to align himself with the Blues so that we can let down the country and Auckland together.”

For his part, Williams said that he was excited by the opportunity to be part of a side that fails to live up to the immense talent at its disposal, “I really feel like I’ll be right at home here,” Williams said. “Ultimately, the Blues are a great parallel for how my rugby career has failed to ignite despite my massive athletic ability and natural ball skills.”

Williams also added that he finds it “comforting that the Blues switch coaches nearly as often as I switch codes.”

Desperate Martin Guptill takes highlights reel to IPL CEOs

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Martin Guptill has been sighted desperately showing highlight reels of his summer of batting to IPL executives after the Blackcaps’ victory over Pakistan where he smashed 80 off 48 balls in Mohali overnight.

Guptill, who was seen leaving Kings Punjab XI headquarters in Mohali post-match carrying an iPad that appeared to be playing clips of some of his fireworks over the summer.

“I just don’t understand,” said a dejected Guptill as he waited for a bus back to the team hotel, completely unrecognised by passers by. “You show more consistent form than Brendon McCullum over two summers and take apart some of the best bowlers in the world, and still nobody wants to sign you up for the IPL.”

Guptill continued, “The way the IPL executives look at you, with those dead eyes. It’s like they don’t even know I smashed 237 not out in the World Cup, or that I regularly destroyed the attacks of Sri Lanka and Pakistan over this summer. The didn’t even see what I just did to Pakistan.”

Before boarding the bus, Guptill did observe that, “About the only time I got a reaction out of the IPL executives was when I got out my wallet to check I had enough money for the bus fare. They looked pretty disappointed when they saw how empty it was though.”

Dunedin armchair expert confident of being next Highlanders coach

Older man in armchair with newspaper

As the Otago Highlanders get their search for a new head coach underway, Dunedin resident and well regarded armchair expert Jim McGinity is quietly confident that his application will be successful.

“I’ve been watching the rugby since before you were born,” Mr McGinity said from his St Clair Beach porch this morning. “Heck, I was listening to rugby on the wireless probably before your parents were even born, that’s how experienced I am.”

McGinity, who neighbours believe to be aged somewhere in his 80s, shouted to passing media today that he had put his hat in the ring for the job and that he was confident of being a shoo-in.

“Otago teams need real southerners leading them, not those wee ponsy Aucklanders,” Mr McGinity called out from his rocking chair. “Ain’t no ones job but a true southern lad, and I’ve been waiting for my chance to tell those lads to pull their heads in and tackle that damned Cantab bastard for years now.”

While most of our interview with Mr McGinity was incoherent, his daughter Mable McGinity was confident he’d be a great addition to the Highlanders coaching team.

“Well, I’m not rugby expert myself, but some of my strongest memories of Dad growing up was of him with a Speights in one hand, remote in the other, shouting abuse at Otago in the old National Provincial Championship,” said Mable. “He always seemed to know what he was talking about, that they needed to make a certain tackle, put their back into it, to get up and be a real man, so I’m pretty sure he’s got a good chance.”

Punters at the local sports bar were equally as enthused.

“Yeah, old Jim is a pretty wise old head,” said Stephen Hogan, a former Otago University student. “I remember stories at Uni about when he was head coach of the Thirsty Thirds. A tough guy, but really knew his stuff, and wasn’t afraid to down a Speights with the boys.”

Other potential candidates for the Highlanders’ head coach role weren’t willing to comment on McGinity’s application, aside from current assistant coach Tony Brown who fondly remembered him.

“Old Jim McGinity? Yeah I remember him, he was pretty pissed off that time we burnt a couch on his front lawn.”

Manawatu man plans to use “Skudder Step” to avoid next walking collision

Manawatu Man

Palmerston North resident Ryan Suddy has hatched a plan to use Nehe Milner-Skudder’s now famous “Skudder Step” to avoid a collision the next time he and another pedestrian are walking towards each other.

“What usually happens is we both zig, and then we both zag, and then we both zig again, and we end up nearly colliding, exchanging an awkward laugh, and then going on our way,” said Mr Suddy. “Next time I get in that situation I’m planning to break out the old Skudder Step, and just hit the gap and blitz past them before anyone gets embarrassed.

“I’ve been practicing it in my hallway all week, it’s going to work,” added Mr Suddy.

For his part, Milner-Skudder was glad his exploits on the rugby field were inspiring people, but suggested that he was “hoping people might aim a little higher than avoiding walking accidents.”