Sunday, April 01, 2007

Spiro tackles Lord Haw-Haw

July 29, 2006

A couple weeks ago I linked to a Silver Fern commentary titled "An Open Letter To Stephen Jones, Esq." One miffed RT reader complained here, "For god sake get over it. Jones main task is to wind sensitive people like you up, and by god he has done a great job." I provided a small response you can read at that same link, but Sydney Morning Herald rugby columnist Spiro Zavos does me one better, heaping scorn on Mr. Jones "Ballad of a Thin Man" (you know something is happening, but you don't know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?) and ticks off the cluelessness of the letter writers' lament.

Hey, Stephen, get it right for once

by Spiro Zavos
21 July 2006

Last week, in an effort to make sense of the All Blacks walloping the Wallabies, Stephen Jones banged on, like a brat with a tin drum, about all the "Samoans" playing for New Zealand.

Colleagues of Jones justify his nonsensical opinions on the grounds that he likes to stir up New Zealanders.

In my view, a commentator does not provide a service to his readers when he gets important matters of fact wrong.

Jones does this so frequently in his determination to denigrate New Zealand (and sometimes Australian) rugby that what started, perhaps, as good-natured, tongue-in-cheek comments have now become a venemous verbal form of foot-in-mouth disease. Dominion Post rugby writer Jim Kayes penned a definitive article demolishing the myths of all the "Samoans" playing for the All Blacks a couple of years ago.

Among his facts were these:

  • Of the more than 1000 All Blacks, 16 at the time he was writing were born in the Pacific Islands. That compares with 16 England players born in India.

  • Most of the players in the Manu Samoa side at the 2003 Rugby World Cup were born in New Zealand.

  • Rather than importing players to star for the All Blacks, New Zealand is a major exporter of international players. There are the "kilted Kiwis" playing for Scotland. Wales even played Shane Howarth, even though he had no hereditary qualifications for the side. The Wallabies had three players in their forwards – Jeremy Paul, Tai McIsaac and Phil Waugh – who could play for the NZ Maori side. At the 2003 World Cup, in fact, there were so many New Zealanders playing for Samoa, Italy, Japan and Australia that a second, and quite good, New Zealand squad could have been fielded.

  • So please, Mr Jones, no more "Samoan" All Blacks nonsense.

    The rest...


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