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.
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.
Sonny Bill Williams shocked the Rugby League community today by going back on his earlier decision to make himself unavailable for the Kiwi’s Rugby League World Cup defence and has declared he is ready and willing to be part of the squad after reflecting on how much money and the guaranteed additional media attention actually meant to him.
Williams issued a statement today which clarified his decision in more detail, “I know it seems like I mucked people around,” Williams said in the statement, “But after taking some time over the last day to reflect on the importance of money in my life, I realised that helping the Kiwis win another World Cup would further enhance my earning power and will keep the media spotlight firmly where it belongs, on me.”
“As a result of how important money is to me, and my desire to accumulate vast quantities of it, while maintaining a media profile that makes all other local sports stars seem minor by comparison, I will now play for the Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup,” the statement added.
Williams expressed some regret for whichever player he replaced in the squad of 24, “I know some guy will have to miss out on a place now because of me, which sucks for them. But really, if they’d spent as much time building up unjustified hype around their profile and sporting abilities like I have, they wouldn’t have gotten themselves axed to make way for me. So they can only blame themselves.”
When finally reached for comment around why Williams took so long to change his mind, his manager, Khoder Nasser, said that “Sonny Bill didn’t want to be eaten by rats. He’s a lion you know, a big lion that roars. Sometimes it takes a lion a long time to wake up and realise they should go catch that gazelle. But rats do things by instinct, lions think things through. Roar. Yes, Sonny Bill likes to roar.”
Nasser then added, “If Mufasa wants to box against Sonny Bill, he’ll need to stop voicing clips on CNN and pretending to be Darth Vader.”