Oy, my aching head!
The Cantabs pulled out another NPC title, downing the snakebitten Lions 7-6 to claim the Air New Zealand Cup in a dour game played in the drizzle at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
*Sigh* At least the Lions still hold the Shield until next season.
Same day, the Sharks defeated the Blue Bulls by a score of 14-9 to win the Currie Cup and claim provincial supremacy in South Africa for the first time in a dozen years.
This morning the All Blacks named a 35-man touring squad for their November northern hemisphere tour and one-off test against the Wallabies in Hong Kong.
The All Blacks will play five tests in five weeks as well as a midweek match against the European champions Munster. The tour kicks off next Saturday when the All Blacks take on the Wallabies in the first-ever off-shore Bledisloe Cup match in Hong Kong. The team then heads to the United Kingdom and Ireland for matches against Scotland (8 November), Ireland (15 November), Munster (18 November), Wales (22 November) and England (29 November).
There are seven new All Blacks (bolded):
All Blacks tour squad
Backs: Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Joe Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Hosea Gear, Anthony Tuitavake, Richard Kahui, Conrad Smith, Isaia Toeava, Ma'a Nonu, Daniel Carter, Stephen Donald, Jimmy Cowan, Piri Weepu, Andy Ellis.
Forwards: Rodney So'oialo, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Scott Waldrom, Liam Messam, Adam Thomson, Jerome Kaino, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Anthony Boric, Jason Eaton, Ross Filipo, Tony Woodcock, John Afoa, Neemia Tialata, Jamie Mackintosh, Ben Franks, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Corey Flynn.
Meanwhile, Richard Loe has had a gutsful of the different set of rules for international rugby:
IRB must sort out rules nonsense
It's time the International Rugby Board sorted out this new rules nonsense once and for all. The All Blacks on Saturday will be playing under one set of rules against the Wallabies in Hong Kong and then will head off to the UK where they will play under another set of rules. [...]
What is the point of the international game shooting itself in the foot like this? It's a joke. [...] The game has been jerked around with two different versions of the new rules for long enough. It's confusing and boring and ultimately damaging to the game.
The length of time it has taken to complete the transaction - and it still isn't completed, incredibly - is annoying people.
You wonder whether the IRB even realise what harm they are doing the game. First, they can't even agree on which set of rules they want to trial. One set down here, another up there. Good grief."