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All Blacks need to lie back and think of England

Get him onside, sir: All Blacks great Richie McCaw.

Get him onside, sir: All Blacks great Richie McCaw. Photo: Getty Images

Oh come on you All Blacks.

If the Wallabies do you on Saturday night in the first Test of the Bledisloe Cup, like we hope they will, you must lie back and think of England. It
might hurt less.

I refer, of course, to that wonderful three-Test series against England in June. You started ordinarily in that series, too, very nearly losing the opener, but then roared on home like the beauties you are.

Dreaming of roasted Kiwi. <em>Illustration: John Shakespeare</em>

Dreaming of roasted Kiwi. Illustration: John Shakespeare Photo: John Shakespeare

And whatever happens, at least you are part of a grand occasion. As Gordon Bray has noted, there hasn’t been a buzz about rugby like this for about 15 years, and the excitement is palpable.

You are a fantastic team, with 17 Test victories in a row, and it will be a privilege to watch you play – and even better if our blokes can put an end to that streak. We only ask one thing.

Richie! I mean, Sir Richie! Will you please bloody well get back onside, you cheating mongrel!


Bravo the National Rugby Championship. Just when we were all starting to miss the Super Rugby comp, along comes this comp of nine hyrbid teams from the tier below, who will play out a mini comp over the next three months.

Most interesting will be to see how the new scoring system will work. For years rugby has suffered from the ludicrous set-up that a successful penalty for a hand in the ruck 40 metres out is worth 3/5ths as much as a scintillating try in the corner. This, when we all know that the dividing line between a great game traces the exact contours of the dividing line between how much running with the ball and how much kicking there is.

TFF has been banging on about it for years, pushing the solution of the wife of a Fitzphile from Orange. When he talked to her about it, she looked up and said the magic words: “Try = 10 points.” BINGO! With such a scoring system rugby would not have to suffer the constant and frustrating inanity of having 29 of their finest athletes stand around uselessly for two minutes while one bloke has a go at kicking it – something totally inimical to the philosophy of the game, which values collective effort in matters grubby above all things.

Now the NRC doesn’t quite get there, but it goes close, by reducing penalty and drop goals to two points – I would have made them one point – while making conversions worth three points to take the value of most tries to eight points. The inevitable result is we will see more running rugby, and I applaud it.

The only thing I don’t get, Bill Pulver, is why increase the value of the conversion? The most skilful tries of the lot are the ones in the corner, in extremis, while the runaway beneath the posts is just bubble gum – momentarily pleasurable, but no one talks about them on Monday morning.

And who thinks the act of kicking the conversion should be worth 3/5ths of the TRRRRRRRRY! Making tries of all descriptions worth seven points, and the conversion one point would be consistent with the structure of the rest of the game.

Still, it is a hell of a start, and will give this comp added interest.


But enough of the vainglorious vaunting of rugby union. It’s time to get back to our regular programming of the bagging of rugby league. For there has been an amusing riff trending on Twitter this week of #unlikelyNRLheadlines. My favourites include:

Robbie Farah: It's all my fault;

Man of the match doesn't use the term ‘'full credit'’;

Josh Reynolds: Let's face it – it is my go;

Darren Lockyer wins The Voice;

Toovey: ‘I’m actually quite okay with the decisions the referee made tonight’.

And the winner is ...

Prime Minister Todd Carney stands firm on prohibition.


You understand how tennis works, right? Great. So here’s the question, but you must answer quickly. When you play me and send down your booming aces, what is the minimum number of serves for you to win the set? QUICKLY, I said!


TFF had a lot of fun this week writing a satirical piece for my Thursday column, on how sure I was the All Blacks would win the Bledisloe – the whole thing turning on me being the Kiss of Death, trying to use my powers to nobble the brutes. Nobody could possibly take it seriously. But, sure enough, on the grounds there’s one born every minute, on Thursday morning an email came from one Daniel Shannon of Waterloo: “As usual ... Fitzgerald opens his mouth and shit de verbal ensures. Nice one u wanker, didn’t you play a few tests tests all blacks? Or was it the walls? U were shit on the paddock and your a shit journo. F--k off 2 new Zealand u f--king traitor." Dan from Waterloo.

Of course, I had to reply.

Dear Dan,

Ahem. In this momentarily post-Mike Carlton era, allow me to say how much I value your note, your readership and – now that I think of it – your whole persona. It is true that on one construction of your highly literate communication, you were being a tad on the abusive side, but look ... I am absolutely fine with that. Please feel free to send more eloquent and uplifting communications of this nature, and I’ll be sure to hold my face still, while you slap me around, OK? And never strike back! Thank you! You are most welcome!

Peter Fitz


Twelve serves. If you said 24 serves on the reckoning that it is 6-0 therefore 6 x 4, give yourself an uppercut. You only had to serve three times, remember?


The late, great Robin Williams, doing an impromptu stand-up routine at Sydney’s Sugarmill Hotel in 2010: “And Australian Rules ... where did that come from? Is it that we live so f--ing far from anywhere, we can just make shit up!?”

Rory McIlroy, on how breaking up with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki just before their wedding has been responsible for him winning back-to-back majors: “I think what happened has been for the better in terms of my golf. I’ve put a bit more time into it and it has refocused me. I mean, what else do I have to do now?”

“Grub”. The nickname of Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds, suspended this week by the NRL for kicking and tripping opponents in last week’s match against the Broncos. It’s like defending a murder charge when the judge knows your nickname is "Killer".

English golfer Ian Poulter tweets last Sunday from New York: “Booked 6 business seats for my wife & nanny to fly home & @British_Airways downgrade my nanny so katie has no help for 10 hours with 4 kids.” One of the twitterati instantly replied: “Thoughts with you at this dark time Ian.”

Tim Gilbert on Weekend Today: “Adam Scott has been a big mover, shooting a 66 to shit in a share ... to sit in a share of 10th place, four shots ... sit four shots off the pace ... that’s where he SITS.”

Josh Reynolds after a rough night against the Broncos: “I might have the nickname 'grub' but I don't go out there to do those things.”

Ten years later, many of the Olympic venues in Athens are in ruins. Former Athens 2004 spokesman Stratos Safioleas: “The Games were a lost opportunity, no doubt about it.”

Eleni Goliou, who runs a grocery store in the capital: “They spent money they didn't have – our money, taxpayers’ money – on a big party. You see any money left for a celebration?”

England cricketer Ian Bell, when briefed after a match that he would likely be asked about Moeen Ali’s “Save Gaza” wristband: “Who’s Gaza?”

All Black coach Steve Hansen on Kurtley Beale's selection: “I was dumbfounded by [the selection] a wee bit. I thought 'why would he do that?' ... If you really think about it, the other guy [Beale] is under contract and league are chasing him so you might start to think maybe the ARU has told him he's got to pick him.” Mind games!

Judit Polgar, the greatest female chess player of all time, upon her retirement at the age of 38, after being the top-ranked female player for 25 years, on whether there is a female world champion on the horizon: “I hope in the next 20 years. But I'm not sure she's been born yet.”

Gordon Bray, about to call his 70th Bledisloe Cup match: “I'm feeling the sort of buzz that was around that [first] game in 2000. I think it's going to be breathless; both sides will be hell bent on having a crack and it will be the last man standing who wins.”

Bray on the contentious selection decision at five-eighth: “I’m thrilled to see Kurtley Beale there, too. It's a bold move but Ewen McKenzie's made a few of those and it says to the players, 'We are going to back ourselves' – they have to do that if they want to have any hope.”


Wallabies. Taking on the Kiwis on Saturday night. Can they build on the Waratahs' momentum?

Tiger Woods. Now has not won a major since the 2008 US Open. This year he’s had two "did not plays", finished 69th in the British Open and now missed the cut in the US PGA. It’s over.

Ricky Stuart. It seems to be all closing in, for a man with such a resumè. His Eels came last in 2013 and it looks very much like his Raiders are now heading for last this year.

West Tigers. Those who thought they hit rock bottom a while back were wrong. Last weekend they lost 64-6 to the Cowboys.

English Premier League.
 One of the biggest shows on turf kicks off for another season on Saturday night. Be still my beating heart.

Wallaroos. Eliminated from the Women’s Rugby World Cup in the group stage, after losing to France, with a record TV viewing audience of 1.8 million in that country. Our female ruggers played wonderfully well regardless, and did us proud.

Aussie Rules the World. The movie about Brett Kirk’s international mission to take AFL to the world has just been released to rave reviews. 

Alistair Keller. The 20-year-old from Booleroo Centre has made the decision to raise money for the Cancer Council and HeartKids by way of a 24-hour shearing marathon. The event will be held at the Melrose Showgrounds on October 25-26. If interested in donating, google shearforhope.

Cameron Percy. Australian golfer closer to earning his PGA Tour card after winning his first Tour title – whatever that is – on Sunday. Percy birdied the final two holes for a one-stroke victory over four players.

Crusaders. Really, guys? Your idea of fun is to go to Africa and shoot wild animals? And stand over the fallen beauty brandishing your guns. Disgraceful, disgusting and a stain on your team’s otherwise good name.

Steve Mortimer. By the by, TFF hears that the former famed Bulldogs and Kangaroos halfback has been very generous with his time by regularly visiting The Glen, a fantastic hostel for Aboriginal men battling alcohol and drug dependency at Tuggeranong. 

Tyson Goldsack and Steele Sidebottom. Having mentioned last week the wonderful names of Collingwood players Jack Frost and Tim Broomhead, I neglected to put in their equally evocatively named teammates, and now correct the error.

Lewis Roberts-Thomson. Two-time Sydney Swans premiership player announced his immediate retirement from the AFL.

RIP Eric “Nooky” Tindall (1944-2014). The famed “Dirty Red” played more than 300 club games for Drummoyne, captained Sydney and the NSW Waratahs, and played for the Wallabies in 1973. Died this week from “early onset Alzheimer’s”. Vale. 

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz


  • Gordon is right.

    I haven't seen such excitement and confidence in the Wallaby camp since 2013.

    Date and time
    August 16, 2014, 1:43AM
    • LOL. Good one. Sadly so true.

      Date and time
      August 16, 2014, 10:23AM
  • Under the NRC scoring system the Crusaders would have won the Super Rugby final 28-27.;

    Date and time
    August 16, 2014, 2:15AM
    • ...and if my Auntie had balls....

      Lewis Winders
      Date and time
      August 16, 2014, 11:01AM
  • 2 points for a penalty outside the 22, 1 point drop goal, penalty kick for touch restarted by tap kick in place of line out.

    Taree Sth
    Date and time
    August 16, 2014, 3:07AM
    • Fitzy, given that the question is all about being a pedant, and with even more respect than Dan gives you, you did ask 'what is the minimum number of serves for you to win the set?', which is 24. ie 12 served by you (and won by you), 12 from me (and lost by me).
      Perhaps you should have written 'what is the minimum number of serves YOU HAVE TO MAKE for you to win the set?', which is 12.

      Date and time
      August 16, 2014, 5:20AM
      • Najaf 1 Fitz 0

        Date and time
        August 16, 2014, 5:13PM
      • Correct. If there was a comma after '...for you (comma), to win the set' then maybe Fitz would have been right. But there wasn't so 24 serves is right as you suggest as that would be the 'minimum'.

        Date and time
        August 16, 2014, 6:57PM
    • It's Sir Saintly Ritchie actually who hovers over we mere mortals in his glider reaching for the heavens like a god silhouetted by the glorious South Island sun on his quest for yet another holy grail of 18 straight test wins. When the great one enters the arena tonight the crowd should bow as one in unison and pay proper homage to his majesty.

      Go the Wallabies!

      Jervis Bay
      Date and time
      August 16, 2014, 7:01AM
      • There's a rugby game on? Rugbys 3 fans must be pumped

        Date and time
        August 16, 2014, 7:36AM

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