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.
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?”
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.”
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.”
Following their thrashing at the hands of the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday night, Wellington based Hurricanes fan Callum Webb is reportedly relieved that he can consider the season over after one game.
“Not many people realise how hard it is being a Hurricanes fan,” said Callum while he contemplated the serenity of the harbour from his Khandallah townhouse. “Each year we’re told things are going to be different, that this will be the year we go all the way, and it always ends up in defeat and disappointment.”
Glancing down into his luke-warm cup of Nespresso coffee, Callum continued, “Last year was the worse. Mark Hammett had successfully trampled our hopes into the dust when he left, and we honestly didn’t expect much of Boyd at all. But then the Hurricanes went and got us all excited, played some great rugby, got us our first over home final, were overwhelming favourites. Our expectations went through the roof, we’d forgotten all the things we’d been taught from past golden runs. We should have remembered how it all ended. These are the Hurricanes after all.”
We go outside, where his Hurricanes top is hanging on the washing line drying on an usually sunny and calm Wellington afternoon.
“It’s easier this way,” Callum reassures himself in front of me while reaching up and holding the sleeve of his Hurricanes jersey. “Losing the first game so badly means I won’t bother to put any emotional investment into the team this year. If you do well, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you crash and burn…”
“I can’t do it bro, I just can’t do it,” said Matthew Bridge as he contemplated making a smart arsed remark about the Wallabies chances in the Rugby World Cup final against the All Blacks this weekend. “If I start laying down the smack against all my Australian friends, I just know I’m going to jinx the boys and the Wallabies will bloody beat us.”
Matthew’s story is the same as that afflicting many New Zealanders this week as they contemplate the days until the All Blacks meet the only team to beat them in 2015. It seems that fans have learnt from 2003 when, going into that now infamous semi final against the Wallabies, their sky high confidence and cockiness towards Australians backfired on them when they went to work on Monday.
“I used to think that me winding up fans of opposition teams didn’t have an impact on how the All Blacks played, but after 2003 and 2007, I’m not so sure anymore,” said Matthew. “I’m also a Hurricanes and Wellington Lions fan, and after talking down at the Highlanders and the Magpies, and we lose to both of them, I’m really not sure I have it in me to smack talk the Wallabies this time around.”
“The last thing I want is the entire country blaming me for jinxing the result.”
For their part, Wallabies fans have been busy posting photos of all the trophies they have won in matches against New Zealand sides recently, including the Rugby League World Cup, the Netball World Cup, the Rugby World Cup, and the Rugby Championship.
“Stone the flaming crows, I’m not worried what those little sheep shaggers think,” said Convict McInbred when asked whether he was worried if his posting a photo of a kangaroo jumping on a kiwi might cause the Wallabies to lose.
A newly published study by Otago University has discovered that fans who shout abuse or encouragement at their favourite sport team through the TV can actually have an impact on how well their players perform.
The study which was conducted by using ITM Cup games featuring the Wellington Lions, where researchers could be sure nobody else would bother tuning in, has revealed that when fans are watching their side on TV and shout abuse, encouragement, correct the referee, or throw cans of Tui at the screen, it lifted the performance of the Lions by an average of 7.9% versus games where nobody was watching.
“As a society we’ve always intuitively suspected that haranguing our sports teams through the TV would positively impact their playing ability, but it’s great to finally have proof that it does have a measurable impact,” said Dr Lorraine Wallis from Otago University.
“We measured how the Wellington Lions performed in games with no fans watching on TV, fans watching but in silence, and fans who were vocal in recommending how the team could play better, and we were amazed at how much of a difference a bit of armchair coaching could actually have.”
“Thankfully we didn’t have to control for people turning up to stadiums to watch the games, as no one attends ITM Cup games anyway,” added Dr Wallis.
While the study found that shouting at the TV was effective, it unsurprisingly revealed that like most things on Twitter, tweets were useless.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa has lashed out at recent media focus on Rugby Union player Richie McCaw being a cheater, demanding that people acknowledge he is the greatest cheater in the history of sport.
“Fuck you, Richie’s cheating has nothing on me,” Costa said in a fiery press conference this evening London time following the Football Associations decision to charge him with violent conduct following a controversial match against Arsenal at the weekend.
“Fuck, what more do I have to do? I pushed Koscienly around and got away with it, and managed to get Gabriel sent off. This Richie McCaw person, he is an amateur. See how he got caught, to cheat you have to get away with it on the field. This McCaw, he did not. He is fucking useless. That’s what he is.”
“The guy hasn’t even collected anywhere near as many yellow cards as me. He’s a nobody, just a fucking nobody.”
Costa then proceeded to upend the table he was sitting at before leaving the room.
Costa’s comments come on the back of team mate Kurt Zouma saying “Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot.”