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Aisle be Back: Storm Week, NZR+, the Ranfurly Shield and the Rugby World Cup

  • By Kevin McCarthy

I learned something new this week, which for an old person , apparently is a good thing in staving off imminent dementia.

This is the phrase, Storm Week, which honestly I had never heard before. This is when scheduling means you end up –  in the NPC in this case – playing three games in eight or so days.

It is what happens once during the season of a compressed tournament.

I googled it and discovered one article from 2018 as the earliest reference, where it was noted by the Southland Stags.  Admittedly sometimes it must seem that every week is storm week for the Stags.

In similar vein, I noted about a year ago that people started talking about jackalling, for contesting the ball at the breakdown in the approved fashion.

A few other later references pop up later for Storm Week, but clearly I am not consuming enough rugby. At least it isn’t some idea nicked from Rugby League.

If clearly I am not consuming enough rugby, perhaps I should look at NZR+. This is the streaming platform launched by New Zealand Rugby this week.

It’s super easy to sign up for (I used my laptop) and the format then is pretty familiar to anyone used to surfing Netflix or the like.

It’s also free, although how long that lasts, who knows.

There’s a mix of candid player interviews, short form docos, and games from the vault.

I haven’t had time to do much browsing, but it appears to have a ton of content. How good it is will depend on your tastes.

Personally, I was keen to see what archive games there were, and there is a reasonable mix, although notably, and no doubt due to rights holding issues, nothing from world cups.

Some of the match selections for what are described as iconic matches are wacky – they include super rugby matches involving the Force, for example – something no one ever will consider iconic.

But there’s a healthy selection of classics from the professional era – albeit that it drives home how there is really too much test rugby, the games often blurring into one black mass. Technically, the older games appear in an almost squarish format, so that it appears to have trimmed off a wider screen view of a match. Or maybe that’s how we used to watch TV!!

The timing of the launch is no accident of course, with the World Cup underway. Let’s see whether NZR+ can become the place to go.

As to it making a buck, well, at some point it will have to. Maybe you should enjoy it while it’s free.


Will Wednesday’s epically low scoring Shield defence one day join the list of iconic games? Probably not unless you enjoy a highlights reel of 200 plus tackles by Wellington alone.

That was old school stuff, and proof I think that this is a Lions side with plenty of mettle.

However, as it is Storm Week (did I use that right?) then the third of the trifecta is the dreaded old foe, Canterbury, in Canterbury land. Time to roll the 2022 highlights reel, in this replay of last year’s championship clincher.


I’ve tried to avoid mentioning the World Cup, since it’s very close and about to consume everything.

As noted before there is the strangeness of the All Blacks playing the Springboks at Twickenham in a game no-one will want  to lose, but if they do, hey, no big thang.

So let us just pray for no major injuries and spare a thought for the Twickers crowd who might finally get to see what two good rugby sides look like. And I say that in a caring way, while admitting the All Blacks inexplicably managed to draw at the same venue a year ago.

Perhaps we can blame their storm week.

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