on Sports
Ruckus over Rugby by Stan Silliman


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
National Ruckus over Rugby Match

      Australia has irritated South Pacific neighbor New Zealand by showing TV ads depicting New Zealander rugby players carrying women’s handbags. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, we’re thinking, but apparently, there is… enough to bring a rough and tough 233 pound New Zealand rugby player to tears.

    Okay, let’s back up. First off, we know rugby players and rugby fans are very serious about their rugby. We know this because last year we brought you the story of a rugby fan from Wales who cut off his own testicles over a bet.  Needless to say that was a different type of a guy with his bag in his hand story but still shows fanaticism. Remember, the Aussies and the Kiwis are fervent about their rugby. New Zealanders are so into it they perform the haka, a traditional indigenous Maori war dance, before each match. The motions in the haka, like bringing one arm up and crooking the other arm, is ripe for parody. Very ripe, especially if you’re a quirky Australian TV station with digital enhancing equipment. Just add a handbag and watch them go through the motions. “Hey, Dundee, have a look. These Maoris are carrying Louis Vuittons.”

    Okay, let’s back up even more. The digital enhancement of the New Zealand rugby players dancing with purses is an irreverent reference to one of the most embarrassing moments in New Zealand sport. Tana Umaga, captain of the rugby team broke up a fight between team mate Chris Masoe and a man at a nightclub by hitting the 233 pound Masoe over the head with a lady’s handbag he picked up off a table. The fallout over this event brought the emotional and muscular Masoe to tears. To make matters worse, the handbag sold on Ebay for $ 13,650. Every night on Australian and New Zealand TV people would check to see what price the bag had reached and then they would lead with the story showing the fight. 
National Ruckus over Rugby Match
    Now, do you get the idea? Channel Seven has been running these digitally enhanced ads in Sydney in preparation for the July 7th rugby match between these two arch rivals. One of the rivals is laughing, the other is pissed. Needless to say, if you need someone to rub it in, pick the Aussies. They spend all day at the pub thinking of ways to do it. While New Zealanders are making epic “Lord of the Ring” movies, Aussies are saying “Y’know, mate, one of those rings would look good with a purse.”  

    Here’s a follow up (because we knew you wanted one). Rugby captain, Tana Umaga, retired and soon after was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to rugby in Queen Elizabeth’s annual birthday honors. During the honors the Queen asked Umaga what he thought of her new handbag. He said it was a good head bopper.
    There is a cartoon in the Wellington newspaper showing Tana walking with the Queen, both with handbags under their arms and Prince Philip sprawled out prostrate in the background.

    The owner of the Ebay handbag, Nicole Davies, has been seen night after night at the same Christchurch pub, hoping for more squabbles. It is reported she has eighteen handbags and takes several at a time to the pub. 
    I’m going to start leaving my fannypack on tables. Just in case.


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