Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The good guys

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  • Jason Kemp, in reply to George Darroch,

    More on the low sugar vibe in the team here

    “The movie ‘The Sugar Film’ has influenced the players quite a lot I think. Most of the guys now understand that we need to get the sugar out. We’ve come a long way. I would say we are in a low-sugar environment. That’s a big change. We now have nuts on the sideline after training, not lollies.

    from DR NIC GILL, LOW CARB, LOW SUGAR AND THE, ALL BLACKS

    It seems like a brand value mismatch to have the AB's advertising grog and sugar water. I hope young people don't think elite sports teams are really excessive drinkers. Hoping that the commercial elements start getting the message.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 363 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Nicely written Russell
    I like to think there is an echo of small town New Zealand in the actions of SBW and the rest of the All Blacks in dealing with a young boy's rush into the field
    But then being a small town boy, I would say that
    Whatever, you would have to be a hard hearted not to feel a bit emotional about the way they acted

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    They've also pretty much cut out sugar, an interview with their nutritionist reveals. Which makes them a weird fit for Coca-Cola's sugar-water brand Powerade, but the commercial reality remains.

    That is fascinating.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This is interesting too: Sam Whitelock on his recovery routine – which includes getting on an exercycle after the game:

    "First of all making sure you get rehydrated, take on some food, pretty much get yourself back to a normal state as soon as possible,” he said.

    “Any niggles you are getting the ice packs out, then probably having a light flush on the bike.”

    That could be tough after matches like the semifinal, but the rugged Cantab said it was a necessary evil, particularly when the next match was the most important of his life.

    “Sometimes that’s hard getting the legs ticking over, but depending on how long you played, the level of the game, it’s just trying to get everything moving again, free everything up. Then it’s into the ice baths, compression, reporting anything you might have to the medical team.”

    After 72 tests, Whitelock reels off the recovery protocols like they’re second nature and says New Zealand rugby’s system through academies, provinces and Super Rugby have ensured even younger players are all well versed in best practice.

    “Everyone has their own ideas and research to back it up, but basically it’s that first 48 hours you really want to ice heavy. It’s the old RICE, rest, ice, compression, elevation, then stay away from harm, no alcohol, then its heat, running, massage off the top of my head.

    “You basically have to get moving again, get active. If you stay still too long it prolongs being sore and takes along time to get the body moving. We have an awesome medical team, they are world leading in what they do.”

    The day after a test the All Blacks massage room is a sea of bodies and even after the semifinal most of the squad were back in the gym lifting their regular weights three days later.

    With Wednesdays set as the team’s day off to get away from the grind, the All Blacks are back into full contact training by Thursday each week.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Bruce Hopkins,

    The other was that the ‘Supervisor’, which is the word that was on the security guards jacket, seems to have watched way too many such tackles in news reports, what the hell was he thinking he would achieve with such an aggressive intervention on a kid. I imagine his life will be altered for some time to come by this.

    I’m undecided what to think about this. On the face of it that tackle was harsh, but London’s also a city that’s seen some bad terrorist attacks in recent decades. With the height of the event, 14 year old kid or not, I’d have thought he was doing as instructed according to whatever security plan was in place. It was cool to see Williams et al being so accommodating, but not so much to read his later comments about how he’d have happily given the guy a hiding.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Very interesting interview with Dan Carter (lifted from the Daily Mail!), especially the parts about focus. And also why he kicked his last ever test goal with his right foot ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I like Hansen’s approach to players’ drinking. In the past we’ve lurched from booziness to alcohol bans, which only serve to make it seem more of a problem. Hansen basically said: “If you want to have a beer, have a beer. But remember your responsibilities.”

    Re: the last part, it has been my experience working in environments where alcohol availability is restricted that making it unmonitored but reminding people of their responsibilities really does result in moderate drinking habits. This goes for everyone from teenage university students to sailors - people respond to the expectations set for them. I'm not surprised it would work for a sports team.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewJ,

    One area where there is definitely some room for improvement is in the selection of post-match celebration music
    http://www.theage.com.au/rugby-union/rugby-world-cup/rugby-world-cup-final-2015-all-blacks-celebrate-by-dancing-to-justin-bieber-song-20151031-gknv7d.html

    Jakarta, Indonesia • Since Jun 2014 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to AndrewJ,

    One area where there is definitely some room for improvement is in the selection of post-match celebration music

    Don't you go Belieber-shaming now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Soon Lee, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The All Blacks post-match celebration includes the singing of the Bedpost advertisement jingle (~33 seconds in)?

    Mind. Blown.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The All Blacks have won everything at the World Rugby Awards – with the exception of coach of the year, which went to Michael Cheika. Fair enough, really – he's done wonders with that team in a year.

    I think he deserved it. He has worked wonders with Deans' leftovers. Now he needs to be a little more gracious in the post-match interview - it's not just the players who are supposed to be professional. Stephen Moore (who I've never had much time for but now do) pissed all over him.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The SBW and the kid story hits Vice.

    It's safe to say that handsome-pants Sonny Bill Williams—winner of two NRL premierships, a boxing title, and now two rugby World Cups—is actually the man who has it all. The man simply owns. And what do you do when you have it all? Why, give stuff away, of course.

    After a jaw-dropping performance yesterday, in which the All Blacks put the nail in Australia's coffin with a sensational try, Williams saw a young pitch invader get tackled by an aggressive security guard, and gave him. his fucking. gold. medal. Honestly, it doesn't get classier than this, people.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    I think he deserved it. He has worked wonders with Deans’ leftovers. Now he needs to be a little more gracious in the post-match interview – it’s not just the players who are supposed to be professional. Stephen Moore (who I’ve never had much time for but now do) pissed all over him.

    Yeah, Moore was so classy in that after-match interview.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    Was considering the alcohol angle - and I can appreciate the tension between booze culture, and the commercial realities.

    But realised as I was looking across some instagram and video feeds, that the ABs when they have a beer in their hand, are never photographed with the label of the bottle facing out. So you never see the sponsor's name.

    You can see the green bottle, and just the small fine print on the back.

    Not sure if it's a planned thing - or if one of the rules of the media coverage from NZRU, but if it is, it's a hell of a detail to take care of, and possibly a reflection of what's been said about the ABs desire to be aware of that tension and treat it respectfully.

    I've not seen every photo from inside the dressing room obviously - so I'm happy to stand corrected.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown,

    Now if they could only keep JK out of the changing room. Still, he did seem to get the polite brush off this time, from the little clip I saw.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Croft, in reply to Martin Brown,

    Genuine question (for the sponsor's product), is it ever served other than at weddings and work functions?

    I've actually never seen anyone buy it in a supermarket.

    Tuscaloosa • Since May 2008 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Very interesting interview with Dan Carter (lifted from the Daily Mail!), especially the parts about focus. And also why he kicked his last ever test goal with his right foot ...

    I particularly liked

    'That's what I love about rugby. Working alongside your mates, the sacrifice they put in that motivates you to do the same. Never letting anyone down - it's such a powerful bond that you get and to sit in a changing room afterwards when you've all gone to war, look your mate in the eye and be proud. There's no feeling like it.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • Carl Horsley,

    I understand John Key wanting to align himself with the All Blacks at every chance but wonder if it is their "winners" label he sees rather than any alignment with their values. Their success seems to have been formed on building a strong team ethos, leadership that allows everyone to contribute and the ability to adapt when things are changing. You also get the sense they are trying to do the right thing off the field, even when it's difficult. Not quite the behaviours we have come to see from those who lead us currently.

    Here's hoping we see the political alignment moves from handshaking photo ops to thinking about the underlying reasons this team has done so well both on the field and off.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2015 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Conrad Heine, in reply to izogi,

    It was cool to see Williams et al being so accommodating, but not so much to read his later comments about how he’d have happily given the guy a hiding.

    Agreed there. SBW's generosity is undeniable, but he had time to think before that haughty comment. Guy was doing his job (for not much more than minimum wage, I'll wager), not a lot of time to stop and think in such circumstances and pitch invasions in a UK sports context have had their malign moments. Perhaps SBW could extend his noblesse oblige to making sure no negative consequences for the guy, as well as the kid.

    London/New Zealand • Since Mar 2008 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Peter Malcouronne has posted a North & South essay he wrote about Sonny Bill. He both notes some interesting parallels with Ali and scorns SBW's boxing ambitions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Al C, in reply to tim kong,

    I think it probably is a planned detail but, while I'd like to think the best of them, it's most likely the more prosaic reason that they weren't drinking their sponsors product (Steinlager) but instead that of the tournament sponsor (Heineken) as required by the tournament rules.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2012 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong, in reply to Al C,

    Aha. This makes sense now.
    Green bottles I was thinking Steinlager - but you're correct - Heineken would be the tournament sponsor.

    And yes, less prosaic than I imagined. :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to tim kong,

    The Daily Mail article, instead of just the NZ Herald edit, actually has an excellent array of images from the game as well.

    I can't stand the Daily Mail, but they do better sports images than pretty much any other online media.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I'll say it again here, a beautifully measured and balanced post Russell.

    For me the thing about the way this team has behaved is the most impressive, on and off the field they are adults. They have fun, they are silly at times, but they treat their job responsibly, real grown up behaviour.

    That is impressive when you remember just how young some of them are, both in age and in life experience, going from school to professional rugby does not give you much chance to learn much about the world or yourself.

    I was a doubter at the beginning of the RWC, were our key players too old, did we have the right wingers, were the combinations settled? Could they play the rugby I wanted to see? Could they be good kiwis?

    That they exceeded expectations off the field as much as on the field is a testament to the way the team has been brought together and managed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4449 posts Report Reply

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