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26 August 2014
At last some outright commonsense is coming into the pre-match presentation at rugby tests in New Zealand. While it is all very well to be wise after the event there was never any place for bloody great bombs going off at the end of the challenge laid down before the recent tests after the All Black's haka.
I noted at an England test a few weeks back that the explosions actually were being timed and choreographed by some pyrotechnics experts to explode as the All Blacks did the 'hee-ha!' bit at the end of their traditional challenge.
Why I ask?
And sitting in one's seats you could, for a few seconds, feel a ferocious heatwave rush across the field and into the faces of the fans. Apart from a show of some kind of Kiwi macho strutting - what was the purpose of this?
None that I could see. Just bloody dangerous.
To my of thinking the explosions were always going to an accident waiting to happen.
I hope the nice lady who bought an All Black jersey after her husband had surprised her with the tickets to the game but who then had her head sliced open in the explosion is not averse to putting her possibly burnt hands out to ask for some serious compensation from the NZRU.
And that compensation should not be just free tickets to the next test!
The great 1924-30 All Black fullback George Nepia dies in Ruatoria, East Coast, aged 81.
Toulouse, Saracens, Gloucester, Auckland and France
72 internationals for France 1994-2007
A powerful, worldly member of the French forward pack through the late years of the 1990s and into the new millennium. At his best there was none who could better this hard-scrummaging prop forward and strong runner about the field. Which is ironic because he began his rugby as an overweight charger with little finesse. It was only after joining the Toulouse club that he fined down into a top rated forward who caught his national selector’s eye.
The thing about Califano is that while he was anchoring his club to three successive French club championship titles as a loosehead prop he was making his early presence as an international player as a tighthead. He had made his debut in France’s epic victories in New Zealand in 1994 when he played as part of a French front row against New Zealand’s redoubtable trio of Sean Fitzpatrick, Richard Loe and Craig Dowd.
Later Califano switched to his preferred loosehead as his test career blossomed and it was from that position that he went to South Africa in 1995 for the Rugby World Cup. He was also in the French team in 1999’s cup though by then back problems and the rise of new young French ‘bulls’ in the front row halted consistent progress.
After 1999 he traveled to New Zealand and had two seasons in Auckland playing in the Super 12 series.
His ability as a running, handling prop forward was never better exemplified than in 1996 when he scored three tries in one game against Romania. Has any test prop anywhere in the world bettered this? I doubt it.
In 2003 his career seemed over but he was recalled for several more games in 2007.
Why was the kickoff for the Japan v Wales in Cardiff in 1983 delayed for 15 minutes?
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