New Zealand gets off to a flyer at the Parliamentary World Cup. Scotty Stevenson says surely this needs to be a bigger deal, and imagines how the first week might have gone.
It was perhaps the most dominant opening win of the World Cup yet the the four-time world champion New Zealand Parliamentary Rugby Team’s 26-0 drubbing of some hick side from Wales (they have a parliament?) went largely unnoticed overnight.
“Kiwis marching on! It’s crack up bro,” was backline star Jack Tarrant’s one-line match report. Tarrant, a man who cut his camera teeth in the hallways of the Beehive has added some much needed star power to the New Zealand backline, being a former Japanese international of Niuean and Hamilton heritage.
Also starring for the Parliamentarians was Billy ‘Big Show’ Weepu, another long-serving Beehive Cameraman and popular cameo star of Campbell Live and The Story. Weepu, who leapt to stardom several years ago by consuming copious amounts of lager before passing a breath test, thus inadvertently proving that the legal blood alcohol driving limit could do with a small reduction, shapes as the biggest threat to opposition teams, and the catering budget.
The brother of former All Blacks star Piri Weepu, ‘Big Show’ remains the only cameraman in parliamentary history to have told former Prime Minister Helen Clark ahead of a major policy announcement to “just taihoa” while he ducked back out to the TV3 station wagon to grab a different lens.
Amazingly, team media liaison the Rt Hon Winston Peters MP was unavailable for comment after the fine win. He was, however, seen before the game attempting to ride a London double-decker using his Gold Card. At one point someone mistook him for Lord Archer and enquired after the source of his fine tan.
There was another moment of mirth before the match when Commerce Minister Paul Goldsmith was left red-faced upon finding someone had replaced his name with that of MP for Epsom, and champion of the drinking classes, David Seymour. Goldsmith saw the funny side and eventually took his rightful place on the right wing, where he was largely uninvolved.
A man who was involved was former All Black and Blues star Ofisa Junior Tonu’u. A long-serving member of the PRT, Tonu’u was at his rampaging best, leading one Welsh opponent to mutter, “if that’s half a back, I’d hate to see the whole one!”
In the most interesting move of the match, three members of the Diplomatic Protection Squad formed a wall for a quick tap penalty approximately 18 metres from the Welsh line, while Tonu’u and Weepu created an intricate work of backline choreography behind them. The ball eventually made its way to MP for Napier Stuart Nash but the move ended abruptly when Nash found himself straying from the centre, and the DPS players gang tackled a spectator after he reached into his overcoat for a chocolate bar.
While the team is happy with its start in the town of Rugby, there is rumoured to be some residual despair that they were not given an appropriate send off from New Zealand – unlike the South African side which called in a very animated Breyton Paulse to report from their farewell ceremony last week.
It was the end of an interesting week for MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis who had also visited the Tower of London on a fact-finding mission and was reportedly thrilled when told how effective it had been as a prison, without the aid of private management. It is understood there were some disappointed fans amongst the game day crowd though. They thought they were there to see the Southampton footballer of the same name.
The team now regroups before its next match against France, before finishing tournament play against Argentina – a repeat of the 2011 final held in New Zealand. Team Patron and former All Black Richie Guy was said to be very pleased with the progress of the side but conceded they had one problem:
No one has seen Alfred Ngaro.