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Aisle be Back: Super Rugby underway this weekend


– By Kevin McCarthy

Wes Goosen (Old Boys University) with James Blackwell (Petone) in support in Saturday’s pre-season match against the Blues. PHOTO: Hugh Pretorius.

Disappointing that we have to wait until early February to get the rugby season underway but that’s just the way it is I guess.

The Northerners for example, they’re out of the blocks already and running hard. More on that later, but if starting early is the key to the Rugby World Cup then the All Blacks are like the relay team on the inside lane. You know they’ll probably catch up, but it sure looks fixed at the start.

As a fan I think it’s really important however that you pace yourself. No-one will remember you now if you go all stupid and make wild predictions about how 2019 is going to shake down.

Other than agreeing how fabulous the coverage was of Beaudy’s wedding and honeymoon, it’s also time to agree that you and I haven’t got a clue.

That’s pretty much going to be my philosophy. I haven’t got a clue. Then again, you could argue that hasn’t stopped me in the past.

Let’s start however with our mighty Canes.  How will the go in their opener against the Waratahs? Hmmm. Away game. Never good first up. Being in Australia doesn’t seem to help either. Haven’t a clue.

Let’s hope they remember that the pre-season ended last weekend. Because this year is particularly unforgiving on a slow start.

Week 2 remember is the chance to relive that glorious trip last season to Christchurch. So yeah, better go into that one with a W from game one,  because otherwise it’s going to maybe be week 3 to get a win.

Enough of that though. This is not the year for excessive early pessimism yet. We’ve got a new coaching team, a still very hot backline, and a pack with plenty to prove. Haven’t a clue how that could go though.

Ma’a Nonu rejoins the Blues this year. PHOTO: Hugh Pretorius.

As for the other Kiwi openers, well, you can’t go back the Maaaaaaaaa! Nonuuuuuuuu! return of the king special. You and I know its not really the same without Snakey on the outside, but these are Auckland fans who have gone a long time without a decent midfield.

So can the big man turn back the years? Haven’t a clue. It’s going to be fun to watch eh.

Chiefs v Highlanders. Ah let’s go Chiefs, but haven’t a clue.

What about that Six Nations though. And England. It’s like Brexit never happened, although actually it hasn’t happened yet last time I checked. There’s those English laying down the law first to those uppity Irish, then to those untrustworthy French. Deal or no deal, they could be the real deal.

Scratching my head over that one though. If power rugby with some astute kicking is the key, then why haven’t England managed to play that way in past recent years.

Perhaps John Mitchell is the X Factor. Maybe his journey is finally over.

I haven’t a clue but I would venture this. No-one ever won the World Cup eight months before the other teams turned up.


I wish you all a cracking 2019 rugby season no matter who you follow, except possibly if you follow those blokes, and those other guys.

I’ll repeat what I said last year. Be a loud and passionate fan, get to as much live rugby as you can, clap the opposition good play, and don’t be a dork and whistle at penalty kickers.

And finally, don’t say anything on twitter, Facebook or in the comments section that you wouldn’t say to the face of the person you’re talking about.  Not even if you are the All Blacks coach – and if you are, I haven’t a clue what you’re doing here.


Kevin is a lifetime Hurricanes fan. He and his partner are on a two-year Volunteer Service Abroad posting to Vanuatu’s Espiritu Santo island. He’s working on a project to build a South Pacific World War 2 museum on the site of an enormous Allied base on the island. Check it out at

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