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All Blacks 2004
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Christian Cullen: A Kiwi Legend
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Here are a few pieces of writing I've found on various sites that I enjoyed reading.
Thanks to Maggots Rugby Club, Didds, Wes, Rugby Buddha, and a few others

A Forward's Testament To A Back
Son, in this world there are scrums. And in those scrums you need forwards. Are you willing to do it? As a forward, I have more responsibility than you can ever fathom. You use words like "drunk" and "out of shape"; those words are the very backbone of a life I spent drinking and partying in, and you use them as a punchline. You weep for your wings and centers, and curse the forward. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of knowing that the front row, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, wins these games you play. Truth? You can't handle the truth, because deep down in places you don't talk about in your selection meetings, you want me in that scrum; you need me in that scrum. I neither have the time nor inclination to explain myself to a back who scores on the very blanket of ball retention that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just bought me a beer and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you crawl into that scrum and get dirty. Either way, I don't give a damn who you think is responsible.

Don't Ruck With Me!

Rugby is a game played by men with odd-shaped balls.

Sure, "Scrum" is a weird name, but "Assault and Battery" was already taken.

Aggressive by Nature/Rugby by Choice

They wear numbers because you can't always identify the bodies with dental records.

There isn't winning or losing in rugby - only surviving.

Trample the weak - hurtle the dead.

Beer was invented to keep props from taking over.

"Support your Local Hooker... Play Rugby!"

Donate blood - play rugby.

At baseball games they play organs. In rugby they donate them.

Better to have lost at rugby than to have won at softball.

Join a game where there are no players and spectators, only perps and witnesses.

Whoso sheds his blood with me on this field shall be my brother - Henry V

Black and blue with pride - play rugby.

Rugby: If it wasn't a game the police would be called in to break it up.

Girls Just Ruck Better

Ruck and Roll

Rugby Players Wear Numbers Because You Can't Always Identify Them By their Dental Records Alone

Soccer: A game for gentlemen played by hooligans. Rugby: A game for hooligans played by gentlemen.

Soccer is a gentleman's game played by thugs. Rugby league is a thug's game played by thugs. Rugby Union is a thug's game played by gentlemen.

I went to see a fight and a rugby match broke out!

Screw ESPN. If you really want to see stars, play rugby.

Yes, Mum, I'm 40 and still playing RUGBY!

Whoever said giving birth is the worst pain there is has never seen his team lose in the Tri-Nations.

The 10 Commandments of Rugby

1. Thou shalt not hesitate at the breakdown, but be mighty in the seizing of your rightful ball; for though it is written that the meek shall inherit the earth, this is in truth but a poor translation. The meek shall be trampled into the dirt is more to the point.

2. Thou shalt not speak profanely of the Whistler, nor question the purity of his birth, even though he be blind to the transgressions of the evildoers among thine enemies at the ruck and the maul, and whistleth them not.

3. Thou shalt not smite thine enemies with an clenched fist, yeah, even in retaliation; for it is written that the Whistler and the Flag Waver shall assuredly be blinded to the coward which delivereth the first punch, only to see that which avengeth it second. Believeth thou then that what goeth round it shall surely come to pass again, and verily, in the fullness of time, the evil among men shall surely be found at the bottom of the ruck.

4. Thou shalt not kiss thy teammate on the mouth, even when he hath scored; for such is an abomination unto the iRB, especially he that kisseth in tongues, unless it cometh to pass that thou shouldst play with the circular balls, for then it is truly expected of thee.

5. Thou shalt not take the Word of the Lord thy Coach in vain, for blessed is the Word of that Lord. Verily, thou shalt wonder at His mighty wisdom and sticketh thou then to His Game Plan lest He acquainteth thee with these of his disciples who labor in the lower grades.

6. Thou shalt not chip nor kick for touch if thou be numbered amongst the props or if thou wear any jersey below that of the number 9; for this is an abomination unto the Word of the Lord thy Coach, and surely shalt thy soul and thy body be His at training, perhaps in everlasting pain.

7. Thou shalt not run across the field with the ball in hand, but see that thou runneth straight ahead upfield; for it is written in the Word of the Lord thy Coach that the touchline is the best defender.

8. Thou shalt not kick the ball to the hands of thine enemies unless first thou maketh it to bounce; for then the Spirit of the Bounce of the Ball shall bring confusion among them, and if thy heart be pure, shall command that it bounceth back unto you.

9. Thou shalt not pass the ball to a brother thy team-mate about to be smashed by thine enemies, unless it be known to all men that he oweth you money, or hath porked someone dear to your heart, in which case all shall be forgiven and then, verily, thou mayest pass to him right slowly and on high.

10. Thou shalt not vomit upon the brethren of thy team after the game, nay even though thou hast partaken right fully of the waters of Guinness or of the entrails of pigs in a pie or of the beans which baketh right slowly in an earthen crock, for this shall be deemed unmanly in the eyes of thy brethren, and they mayest do it unto you.

Seeing how the All Blacks were motivated by performing The Haka before their world cup games, the other nations were asked to suggest pre-match rituals of their own....

The England team will chat about the weather, wave hankies in the air and attach bells to their ankles for a while before moaning about how they invented the game,and gave it to the world, and how it's not fair that everyone can beat them now.

The Scotland team will realise they only have fourteen players and recruit a Jamaican living in East Anglia who has never been north of Doncaster.

The Ireland team will spilt into two, with the Southern half performing a Riverdance, while the Northerners march the Traditional route from their dressing room to the pitch, via their opponents dressing room.

Unfortunately the Welsh suggestion has been vetoed by the RSPCA.

Argentina will unexpectedly invade a small part of opposition territory, claim it as their own Las In-Goals-Areas and then be forceably removed by the Stewards.

Two members of the South African team will claim to be more important than the other thirteen whom they will coral between the posts whilst they claim the rest of the pitch for themselves.

The Americans will not be there until half time. In future years they will alter the records to show that they were in fact the most important team in the tournament and Hollywood will make a film called Saving No 8 Lyle.
Five of the Canadian team will sing La Marsaillaise and hold the rest of the side to ransom.

The Italian team will arrive in red sports cars, sexually harass the female stewards and then run away.

The Spanish will sneak into the other half of the pitch, mow it, and then claim that it was all in line with the European grass quotas. They will then curl up under the posts and have a kip until half time.

The Japanese will attempt to strengthen their team by offering good salaries to the key opposition players (over 35) and then run around the pitch at high speed in a highly efficient manner before buying the ground (with a subsidy from the UK Government).

The French will declare they have new scientific evidence that the opposition are in fact all mad. They will then park lorries across the halfway line, let sheep loose in the opposition half and burn the officials.

The Australians will have a barbie before negotiating lucrative singing and TV contracts in the UK. They will then invite their mates to come and live with them in Shepherds Bush before beating up all the women on the touchline.

"Someone in the team always knows someone who knew a back that volunteered to play prop once and now spends his days mumbling into his soup and watching the birds on the lawn."
"On a crisp fall day in 1823 William Webb Ellis picked up a football in his hands and ran with it. To this day, backs throughout the world hail this moment as the birth of rugby. Forwards, however, know that the game was not really invented until 1.5 seconds later, when Roland Dimrumple drove a squealing Mr. Ellis' face into the turf, kicked him in the solar plexus and told him to "keep his sodding hands off the ball"."

10 little All Blacks, standing in a line

Jonah's kidneys fell apart and then there were nine

9 little All Blacks, waiting at the gate

Leon had his head kicked in and then there were eight

8 little All Blacks, en route for World Cup Heaven

No one knows what Christian did and then there were seven

7 little All Blacks practicing their kicks

Andrew scored the most of all and then there were six

6 little All Blacks still with hopes alive

Anton did not fit the mould and then there were five

5 little All Blacks near the swinging door

Taine was much too versatile and then there were four

4 little All Blacks running round with glee

Byron came and passed and went and then there were three

3 little All Blacks wondering what to do

If Bennie's shoulder goes again, then there'll be two

2 little All Blacks, whose time is nearly done

After Tana's had his say, then there'll be one

1 little All Black not having too much fun

Add him to those who remain - our World Cup hopes are done!!!

A Song For Jonny - Andrew Motion

O Jonny the power of your boot
And the accurate heart-stopping route
Of your goal as it ghosts
Through Australian posts
Is a triumph we gladly salute.

O Martin the height of your leap
And the gritty possession you keep
Of the slippery ball
In the ruck and the maul
Is enough to make patriots weep.

O Jason the speed of your feet
And their side-stepping hop-scotching beat
As you touch down and score
While the terraces roar
Is the thing that makes chariots sweet.

O forwards and backs you have all
Shown us wonderful ways to walk tall
And together with Clive
You will help us survive
Our losses with other-shaped balls.

On the field there's not much glee

When a Springbok tackles a Wallaby

but what's the score when Springboks seize

Those poor defenceless Wallabies

Make no mistake, the gig is up

The AB's want to win the cup

If Wallabies lose, oh what a blow

They've lost their chance at the Bledisloe.

But we're aware that you're no slouches

So Wallabies you better guard your pouches

Them Boks are mean, they want a rout

One wrong move, and you've lost the bout!

An Ode To Mighty Mehrts

It was the early nineties legend has it
Running out in the mighty red 'n' black kit

The debut of a chicken legged fly half
Bowl haircut making the sight a complete laugh!

He'll get snapped in half in the first ruck!
Making a tackle expecting him to duck!

Sure he never was a great man on D
But shit what do ya expect from someone so wee?

Blinding speed and a thunderous boot
Feeling safe when a penalty about to shoot

Many years on with injuries taking their toll
Basically being put on the international rugby dole

The Toffee pops boy playing without refrain
Not the wit but of the active Mehrts brain

He's bound to still do Canterbury proud
Crowd chanting "Caaannneeerrrrrrrbbbbrreeeeeeee" so loud

Goodbye Mehrts you will be missed by all
Let's hope its not in the World Cup fin-al!

The Rugby Recruiter's Handbook
Step 1: Nominate the biggest, ugliest player you have to be your rugby recruiter. Usually he is in the tight five. He normally, when recruiting, has a few other forwards in tow. He must, when recruiting, have drunk the prerequisite twenty schooners or pints of beer.

Step 2: The recruiter, warmed up, scans the room looking for potential candidates. Obviously he is sexually satisfied or all the available women have told him to piss off. I look for talent until the night is lost. Not, it seems, the rugby recruiter.

Step 3: Identify suitable rugby candidate. The recruiter abandons any subtlety whatsoever and wanders over to the candidate, introduces himself as Crusher, Killer or Bruiser. Crusher then skulls his full schooner of beer and then says:

Crusher: G'day! (Offers handshake.) Crusher.
Candidate: G'day!
Crusher: Let me buy you a beer.
Candidate: (Holding a 3/4 full schooner) Naaah mate, I'm right.
Crusher orders two schooners and ignores the candidates reply.

Step 4: Crusher, at this stage moves closer to the candidate and invades his personal space. Usually because Crusher is huge, ugly and supporting fifteen stitches above his left eye from the day's game, the invasion of the candidate's personal space attracts TOTAL undivided attention from the candidate:
Crusher: What are you doing Tuesday night?
Candidate: Nothing. Why?
Crusher : Come for a run with the boys.
On the word boys the reinforcements - the other forwards; big, ugly and in numbers -move in. The candidate smiles at this brazen standover technique.

Step 5: Candidate: No, mate. [Insert amazingly valid excuse here.]
(The candidate smiles, he may even break into a bemused grin. Like he's your Dad and you're nine years old and in BIG TROUBLE)
Crusher: What's so funny?
The Candidates smile vanishes and he usually starts back peddling racking his filing cabinet for a brain looking for the UN Guide for Diplomats file. Crusher knows he has the candidate on the back foot and keeps to his "You talkin' to me?" DeNiro mode.

Step 6: The Candidate now has several quick rounds with Crusher and his mates and is foolishly trying to keep up. This is getting the candidate drunk fast. Soon all powers of rationalization and sanity will be lost.

Step 7: During the deliberating rounds of beer, Crusher keeps asking why you can't go to training. He tells you time and time again that it's the game they play in heaven, and why you would be perfect for something known as The Front Row (in my case).  The candidate listens to be polite. Crusher at this stage will hand the candidate an empty schooner and says "I'm thirsty." Crusher is up to schooner 26 for the night and is only now starting to feel it. The Candidate is on Schooner 10 and shot to hell. When the Candidate returns from the bar he discovers to his horror that the mates he did come to the pub with have disappeared. It's just him, Crusher and his rugby mates.

Step 8: The Wager. Unfortunately, unless there is a fire drill, a fire escape, or if you must start one, a fire, it's too late now for the Candidate. Crusher challenges the candidate to a wager that the candidate in his inebriated state can't possibly accomplish. If the Candidate wins Crusher will leave him alone if he loses he turns up to training.You may think this is nonsense. You are wrong. The first time for me was Arm Wrestling, the second a rigged coin toss and the third and fatal time a game of pool.

Step 9: The Loss. The candidate when he loses (there is no *if* he loses), becomes frighteningly sober. Crusher shakes his hand the unwritten gentleman's contract and seals the deal. With Crusher's ham hock for a arm wrapped around the candidates shoulder he guides him back to the bar and buys the Candidate another drink. Now and only now, does he introduce you to the reinforcements who have been close by all evening. Of course, one or more of them knows where you live and would be happy to swing by and pick you up on the way to training on Tuesday.

Step 10: Arrival at the pitch. The candidate - now freshman (or more accurately freshmeat) - is welcomed at training and then asked to perform amazing feats of skill and  ability. Of course the candidate tries but is hopeless. Except for the blokes that play position number nine who are universally annoying and never ever shut up, the team appreciates the candidates effort. In particularly they like the fact that they can scrum, tackle, maul and ruck against him and he drops like a sack of potatoes every time. At the end of the night the fresh meat is sore but something other than his ribs snaps inside of him. It wasn't too bad. It wasn't too good.

Step 11: Conversion. Unsure about what exactly happened last time the candidate known universally
as New Bloke despite telling everyone his name 400 times returns to his second training session of his own free will. Usually the candidate New Bloke has a minor victory against his recruiting player in my case Crusher. To celebrate the candidate's revenge on Crusher the candidate goes to the clubhouse or pub after training with the team. As the candidate is a forward (he does not change his clothes as is the tradition) smelly as it is.

Step 12: Assimilation. After training for a couple of months and maybe a game or two the candidate is now known as Tank. Tank is at the pub on a Saturday night after the game, and has 20 schooners under his belt and still feels sober. All the talent is hitched up to someone. Tank looks across the bar and spots someone who'd be perfect for the wing  

I Vow To Thee My Country
I vow to thee my country, place my heart in your marbled hands,
Lift St George's flag fluttering, above proud Twickenham's stands,
Sweet lord, the foe in host come gather, a haka to perform,
This new white jersey's lovely, I hope it won't get torn.
My lord, Tuigamala's thighs are hefty, and his chest is very broad,
You mean he's on the left wing side? Oh shit, oh my bloody lord.

Dear England, I place my body - firmly upon the line,
And hope like hell I don't get rucked by Richard Loe this time,
Geoff, my liege, I prithee sir, please say a prayer for us,
as we ride for Twickenham, upon that big white bus.

I vow to thee my country, I'll take the sprigs with pride,
as the Black Blanket washes over us, I'll feel strong inside,
I'll stand up and be counted, take Olo and take Sean,
I vow to thee my country, oh shit, my jumper's torn!"

Rugby Zodiac 

It is an established fact that the positions of the planets at one's birth control and guide one's destiny. The following will assist you, the rugger, in understanding and accepting your heaven-decreed personality and playing traits. Your game is in the stars!

Aries (Mar. 21 - Apr. 20): A disciplinarian, the typical Aries personality comes to the fore during practice, and when made a team captain he wears down all the forwards with continuous sprinting exercises. The player who constantly shouts "Make a target with your hands!" and "Keep your butt down low in the scrum!" is undoubtedly an Aries. Ruggers of other signs hope the Aries voice gives out but it never does. (And if it does he has a whistle to carry on.) Aries natives usually get their heads stamped on in rucks.

Taurus (Apr. 21 - May 20): The sign of the prop forward. Stubborn, bullish and forceful, the typical Taurean rugger would butt his way through a thick oaken door to get to a beer. People born under this sign usually smell like animals, challenging the ability of the second row to bind into the scrum without keeling over from the fumes. Taureans may be playing in other positions, but they belong in the front row. With rings in their noses. Os du Randt is a Taurus.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20): The sign of the second row; two gallant players who must bind together to provide the awesome pushing power that is the engine room of the scrum. Gemini natives are ideal ruggers, and impress others with their manliness, Homeric size and all-around sociability in the after-match parties. Gemini is obviously the best zodiac sign for rugby just as second row is obviously the best position in rugby.

Cancer (June 21 - July 22): Cancer is the sign of the crab. Therefore, Cancerians should always bring talcum powder to matches to avoid crotch itch, otherwise their constant scratching makes them look just like chimpanzees. Cancers usually complain a lot and leave practice early, to the relief of others.

Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22): Napoleon was a Leo, and those born under this sign think they have his military skills and charisma. They therefore become referees, coaches and blustering Old Boys. In reality, Leos won't play in a match because they are pettifogging little cowards who can't hack it. When referees, Leos insist on being addressed as "sir" and demand plaques, cups and other awards and presentations.

Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sep. 22): Virgo the Virgin; this is the sign of the prissy, goody two-shoes fussbag who objects to swearing, smoking and any lineout contact whatsoever. Needless to say, they couldn't tackle to save their lives. The Virgo rugger is therefore usually found playing back positions - usually fly-half or fullback. (But Virgo natives born under less than auspicious planetary positions often become hookers.) Natives of this sign iron creases in their shorts and wear hair gel during matches. Percy Montgomery is a Virgo.

Libra (Sep. 23 - Oct. 22): The sign of gender benders - that rugger in the women's XV who looks and acts suspiciously like a man is no doubt a Libra. And that effete guy in the men's club who spends a lot of time in the showers is probably a Libra, too. Do you tackle them or not? Do you want to get in a scrum with one, let alone hoist one by the shorts in a lineout? Ruggers born under this sign cause a lot of confusion in the game.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 22): In many ways the worst of the lot. Scorpio natives are control fanatics and are usually found barking orders to other players all during the game, whether they are team captains or not. Persons under this sign are often found in the smoke-filled, dimly-lit headquarters of regional, national and international rugby football unions, raising club dues and issuing ultimatums about player certifications. The guy who introduced professionalization to the game of rugby was undoubtedly a Scorpio.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23 - Dec. 21): People born under this sign think themselves versatile but are really a pain. Sometimes they're flankers, sometimes centers. It goes without saying they do neither especially well. (The only thing keeping them from playing prop is fear and panic.) They feel no sense of club solidarity, either, and are often found at matches offering their dubious service as rugby whores. The Sagittarius rarely wears the same club jersey twice in a row, and must be able to memorize many sets of lineout codes.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19): The sign of the goat, Capricorns are filthy and disgusting. The typical habitat of this type is the muddy patch invariably found in front of the goalposts, or in the very center of the pitch. During the after-match parties, the native of this sign can be found sitting by himself in a booth with spilled food strewn all around. Capricorns always have burrito stains on their jerseys. If you see a player walk over to the edge of the pitch during a lull in the game, belch, pass gas and hoik snot out of his nose while wives, sweethearts and children look on, you've found a Capricorn.

Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb. 19): The waterbearer; most Aquarians are utterly useless on the pitch and fit only to fetch the water during half-time. This is the sign of the career field officer. If you see a guy spending a lot of time fetching things like cones and line-making equipment but never ever playing in an actual match, chances are he's an Aquarius. The Aquarius native is also skilled at walking into the goal posts and stumbling into others during practice. These people are why liability insurance is so important in rugby.

Pisces (Feb. 20 - Mar. 20): Since this is the sign of the fish, Pisces natives always reek after matches. But due to a misplaced sense of rugged manliness - or the fact that they cannot convince women to marry them, let alone do their laundry - they refuse to properly wash their kits and therefore smell all the time. They usually insist on hanging around and talking extensively to any good-looking babes who have wandered by to watch the match, causing women to avoid games altogether. Nobody wants to be in a maul or a scrum with a Piscean.