Stuart Barnes has done us an enormous favour, reminding us of the constant BS we face between now and kick-off next month.
What a load of utter drivel this week from the Times correspondent, a half-hearted attempt to accuse the All Blacks of being the biggest cheats in world rugby. It's so hard to take seriously I can't help but think he's taking the you-know-what.
"The most cynical cheats at the breakdown" wailed Stuart.
"Taking 3 opensides to Japan in order to copy McCaw's boundary pushing play at the breakdown" he continued, "there is no McCaw but there remains a ruthless army of openside mercenaries ready to kill quick ball".
C'mon Stuey. Is that the best you got? The same tired old cliched claptrap you wrote last time?
Hey Stu, 2015 called, they want their article back!
Someone needs to tell the guy that Richie hasn't played for 4 years. Since then we've played over 50 tests, and what, no-one's noticed our constant infringing and illegal acts until now?
It's taken the Sherlock Holmes of respected columnists to finally uncover the truth?
The whole point of his article is not to make any that might be relevant or worthy of discussion but simply to rark us up and get us to over-react - which we might do if it wasn't sooo punishing.
I'm sure there's someone out there somewhere who reads it nodding "yeah, yeah, right, yeah, that's right". In fact my guess is that it's the guy's editor-in-chief.
Because someone higher up than him had to approve the piece before it went to print. And of course it's instant clickbait. Call the All Blacks = way too tempting for most rugby fans to react. Heck, I did. Guilty as. I clicked it, like you possibly did, like way too many of us probably did.
Barnes's words make as much sense as World Rugby changing the name of the Women's World Cup to just World Cup. A whole lot of waffle that'll prove nothing and achieve even less.
So again I say c'mon Mr Barnes, you've gotta be better than this. Why not just say what you really think, e.g., "the AB's can't win because no-one wants them to because they're too good and it gets boring watching them win World Cup after WC".
At least your audience might believe you. Rest assured people, this is not the last of such stuff you'll see before kick-off in September. The ABs yellow/red card card stats will be analysed and theorised along with penalties conceded to further prove our skullduggery. Then they'll regurgitate the article about how the haka is an unfair advantage. Followed quickly thereafter with more cobblers using words like "arrogant", "unsmiling" and saying we're "obviously feeling the pressure" etc etc.
Hey Stu. WE KNOW ALREADY. We know you're scared of us, we know our total dominance of the sport since 2011 annoys you as much as losing the 1-day CWC final by rulebook still does us. But I want to say thank you! Thank you for reminding us of the only 2 things that we know for certain ahead of kick-off:
1) We are still the country everyone wants to beat
2) No-one, that's NO-ONE, except us wants us to win it.