Author Archives: Ozy Mandias


More time practising football and less time acting, I suggest.



All Black senior coach Steve Hansen has named NZ Herald columnist Chris Rattue as his assistant coach for the next two years. Rattue’s appointment is a  shock to many who believed that Chiefs coach Ian Foster was a dead certainty for the position. However, it was a buoyant Steve Hansen who made the announcement this morning in front of a large press contingent.

Apparently Rattue will be in charge of media relations and take over from Hansen as HWM (Head of Whinging and Moaning), a post that Hansen had held exclusively for the last 8 years under Sir Graham Henry. Rattue has a lot of experience as HWM, a role he perfected at NZ HERALD while Graham Henry was coach of the All Blacks.

Hansen was full of praise for the NZ Herald writer who has been writing on rugby for the last 10 years. Hansen said “Rattue brings to the post a strong media background, a complete disregard for reasoned debate and the ability to talk utter nonsense. I think he will be perfect for the role.”

Hansen was quick to pour cold water on suggestions that Rattue would be out of his depth on the finer points of the game, highlighting that because he was ‘the media’ he could write what he liked and most people will believe him.


It seemed as if the God’s were against us from the start. Two over-aged running wannabes aiming to complete the North Circuit of Mount Ruapahu. Planning for an assault on the Northern Circuit had begun in early September and everything had been planned to military precision. Permission had been granted from wives, children care arrangements had been organised and detailed gear lists had been drafted and edited to perfection. Then with 3 weeks until ‘D Day’yours truly was involved in a horrific bike incident which saw his lunch box become stuck in his front wheel and his body thrown over the handlebars. the result was 2 fractured ribs and a bruised ego. Training partner Watty was less than sympathetic when he heard the news but boot was on the other foot when he badly twisted his ankle  one week out from our planned departure date. Added to the walking wounded was the weather which was forcast for rain and cold winds. Therefore it was decided to

We started our run at Dickies flat, a simple DOC camping area around 60mins from Tauranga and 10 minutes from Karangahake Gorge. The initial part of the run took us back to the Gorge following the Waitewe pipeline track. The track is well used and around 1km along the course there is a 150m underground tunnel which is around 1m wide and 7 foot high. A torch is handy but not totally needed.
The run back to the Karangahake Gorge is visially and historically stunning. the area was mined haevliy for gold in the 1800’s and the numerouse tunnels, pipes and old machinwery testify to this rich past.

Once we hit the Karanhake Gorge we turned left into the Karagnhake Gorge  Historical Walk which hugs the cliffs and follows the river for about 1200m. This walkway continues to an old Battery site but for todays run we turned left and went through the old railway tunnel which is about 1km long. There is lighting in the tunnel and the track is perfect for running or cycling.

After coming out of the railway tunnel we headed back to the main area of the Karangahek Gorge and then turned right and began our assent of Mount Karangahake. Firstly we had to negioatiate Scotsman’s Gully. Today it lived up to its name with the recent heavy rain causes the track to be extremely wet under foot and a little rough in places.
Scotsman’s Gully only takes about 10minutes to pass and from that the track links up with a wide  4WD track which actually meanders its way back to Dickies Flat. Today however we travelled about 2km until we took a sharp turn and really began the steady climb up to the top of Mount Karangahake. The track is pretty standard fare; nice and wide with plenty of tree cover, although added to today’s recipe was mud sludge from the rather wet weather which made the going a little slow.
A top of Mount Karangahake the view is apparently impressive. We would have to go with people’s word as today there was nothing but thick fog. Following the top it is a long steady downward trek back to Dickies flat. We found the going a little tough on the way back and the constant twists and turns and mud puddles  in the track make it difficult to get any sort of rythym going. The track home is a mixture of wider 4WD styles tracks and thin running paths.

About 4 km from the end the track joins up to the another. We took the right hand turn down into Dickies flat through a native forest and then back onto the Pipe tunnel track.



Cricket Australia has confirmed the selection for players in the upcoming boxing Day test match will done via public online text messaging. Following the success of selecting David ‘the Basher’ Warner as the Man of the Match in the last test match against New Zealand, Cricket Australia has extended the service to selecting teams.

Apparently the online voting will begin in the next couple of days and fans will have until the 19th December to log their vote. Some experts have announced their displeasure at the new move saying this new system could open Cricket Australia up to some interesting team dynamics. At this stage early polls would have to agree with this trend as most Australian cricket followers believe Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse would be better openers than the current pair.

Australian batsman Ricky Ponting seemed pleased about the new system when he spoke with Ozy Mandias Warning earlier today.
‘Personally I am wrapped with this new system. I already have the number preprogrammed into my phone and once the lines are open I will be texting faster than a teenage girl just to get more votes for me. I think it is an excellent move by Cricket Australia, after all we decide our government by election so why should we do the same with our cricket team. “


It has taken Chris Martin 64 test matches, 12869 deliveries and 210 wickets but the New Zealand pace bowler finally found his batting bunny. In one of life’s biggest ironies Martin, often considered the world’s best batting bunny, has stumbled upon Australian opener Phil Hughes. In cricketing terms the hunted has become the hunter.

Hughes has been dismissed by Martin in his last four innings, all caught at second slip and all caught by Martin Guptil.

At this stage the ICC is considering removing Chris Martin from the number one position on the Cricinfo ‘worst batter list’ and putting in the hapless Aussie opener. However, no Australian has ever held this position and there is concerns at the political backlash at such a move.


Black Caps newcomer Dean Brownlie has been dropped for the second test against Australia in Hobart next week. The middle order batsman was superb against Australia scoring 77 not out in the first innings and 42 in the second. However, due to a failure to follow team instructions Brownlie will be absent from the team in the next game.

At this stage the exact reasons for his non selection are hard pin down but it is believed his ability to be patient at the crease, leave wide deliveries and move his feet were the main reasons given.
Black Caps captain Ross Taylor was forthright in his assessment of the middle order batsman.
“It is frustrating when as a team we work on a game plan and we have players who obviously want to bat to a different tune. Pre match we talked about chasing wide deliveries, going hard at the ball and being reckless with our wickets and apart from Brownlie we followed that nicely.”

Coach John Wright was equally as disappointed highlighting Brownlies short partnership with Ryder as the moment he decided to leave the batsman out of the next game.
“Brownlie obviously had an affect on Ryder. As the partnership continued he became less wreckless and more watchful. We cant have Ryder exposed to this kind of sensible batting.”


The Black Caps have opened their summer by winning the ‘world’s most boring test match’ with a thrilling 34 run victory over Brendan Taylor.

Left a mammoth 365 for victory, the tally was too much for Brendan Taylor to do all on his own he fell 34 runs short. At one stage it look as if Brendan would achieve the target but as usually he was unable to do everything all on his own.

Black Caps captain Ross Taylor was over the moon with his team win, although he was disappointed with his teams execution in the final innings. ” For some reason we decided to get everyone out except Brendan and when you are playing a one man band like Brendan Taylor you have to target him.”

In other news Zimbabwe Cricket have acknowledge that they have applied to the ICC to change their name to the Brendan Taylor Foundation, in recognition that he does everything for their team. Apparently they have spent time talking with Daniel Vettori as inspiration when he run everything in New Zealand Cricket for a 3 year period.
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The NZRFU have this morning called back its legion of rugby ‘secret agents’ sent out 4 years ago in preparation for the 2011 rugby World Cup. The last trio of agents, including Dingo Deans, Quade Cooper and Digby Ioane, were last night involved in their last assignment in the semi-final game against the All Blacks.

It has been well documented within New Zealand media the roles of Deans, Cooper and Ionia, as secret agents sent out by New Zealand Rugby to disrupt opposition build up and planning. They were part of around 30 odd players sent out by Graham Henry 4 years ago with the mandate from Henry to disrupt, distort and ultimately railroad their newly selected countries. Looking at results this team of secret agents have done their job perfectly with Gatland, Deans and Quade Cooper no doubt the stand outs

Warren Gatland did a superb job at Wales, managing to come across as a good coach and get the Welsh moving forward but by failing to teach them how to tackle within the laws of the game he realised they would come unstuck at key times. At this stage Gatlands future is not certain but most wouldn’t be surprised if he is sent out on another ‘mission’ to either Wales or England.

However, it is secret agent Deans and his side kick Cooper who have been the most effective secret agents in their 4 year overseas mission. Like Gatland, Cooper, has managed to impress enough to win approval in his adopted country but when push has come to shove he has come through for New Zealand with dismal performances. Well Done, Quade, New Zealand salutes you.

Deans has been equally as effective for New Zealand and has even managed to get the Australian rugby Union to sign him on for another 4 years of secret service for New Zealand rugby. Deans has had the team for 4 years and in that time has failed to find a forward pack, failed to develop a game plan capable of beating and all black team ripped apart with injury and importantly failed to win against teams like Samoa and Ireland in World Cup year. But off the field he is a ‘fantastic bloke’ and the lack of ‘fantastic blokes’ in Aussie means that most probably the NZRFU will extend his secret service after Christmas.

Initially the NZRFU had been against Henry sending out these New Zealanders on a mission of this kind. Without doubt it is the first time it has been done to this degree and if the All Blacks manage to win this weekend against France you can bet that come 2012 a new group of New Zealanders will be sent out for mission ‘twenty fifteen’.
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Irish referee Allain Rolland has apologised to the Welsh team after failing to enforce the ‘he’s a nice guy’ clause in the IRB rule book. Rolland caused an international rugby storm when he sent of Welsh captain Warburton just 17 minutes into the game for an illegal tackle which saw him raise the opposition player’s legs above the shoulders.

Ordinarily this offense is an automatic red card, but Rolland forgot to take into account that Warberton is a nice guy and nobody likes this French team. Many people believe this event caused Wales to loose the game despite them missing numerous shots at goal, that most Welsh 65 year old women could have slotted.

Speaking after the game Roland had this to say, ” I’m am sorry to all Welsh players and supporters with my decision. I forgot that there is a ‘nice guy’ clause in the IRB rulebook and ultimately I believe this decision cost the Welsh team. I understand now that if it was a French player who did that I could have sent them off, because they are thugs and can’t play rugby. In future I will remember that there are different rules for different players and in different games.

Sam Warburton also spoke to Ozy Mandias after the game and had this to say about the Welsh referee.

“I just cant understand it. In Wales I can break the law all I like and get away with it. Only the other day I was doing 120mph on the motor way and I got pulled over by the police. Thankfully, he knew who I was and knows I am a good guy and my actions weren’t malicious so I got let off. That is the way Sam Warburton rolls.

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Brad Thorn is planning to sing ‘God defend New Zealand’ with a little more gusto this weekend.

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