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Aisle be Back: Christmas Day

  • By Kevin McCarthy

I scoffed last week at the idea some were propagating that Sanzaar wasn’t playing politics when it came to deciding who would host the Rugby Championship.

With the body yesterday revealing a schedule that will see the All Blacks left in quarantine on Christmas Day, amazingly, there clearly is politics at work. As there always is.

It isn’t always obvious how things are aligning, but in this case, New Zealand Rugby is looking like the proverbial stuffed chicken – and we all know where the stuffing goes in a chicken.

Or in a different fashion, there are plenty of hands on the knife but no-one is leaving any fingerprints.

Expect this story to keep developing, but at this stage, Sanzaar boss Andy Marinos basically says NZ Rugby was happy to reject a five-week tournament when it thought the tournament was going to be hosted by itself.

He says that Australia at the time had asked for a five-week tournament, and New Zealand had turned it down.

If true that makes the NZR look like duffers.

The truth you’d suspect is not totally what we’re hearing from Marinos . Even so, it makes you wonder.

To rub salt in the wound, the Aussies are saying they will do what they can to help out the All Blacks plea for a shorter tournament across the ditch. So having swiped the tournament from under us, they are now the nice guys.

I am still not convinced this tournament is going to get off the ground, but hey, welcome to the Wallabies this Saturday for the Bledisloe. They’ll be into quarantine for two weeks, and you don’t hear them moaning about being unable to watch live the latest episodes of Home and Away.

What that means is that in about a week’s time we can start talking hopefully about rugby and the first time this year to see the All Blacks. All under level one – unless the pears go pear shaped in that time.  This is a memo note to anyone drawn irresistibly to heading to Taupo for that dream weekend.

As for Sanzaar it’s tempting to say it won’t stagger on for much longer.  But you know, it’s like a marriage with four partners where everyone agrees to stay together for the sake of the kids, even though the kids would be keen for the adults to please shut up and go away.

As for the All Blacks, they may have to suck it up. They should bear in mind that a fair slice of the team of five million will be deeply envious – the idea of being forced to miss Christmas, the family fights, and the rain. That’s what some might call paradise.

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