Home' The Wellingtonian : September 1st 2011 Contents 27
THE WELLINGTONIAN, SEPTEMBER 1, 2011
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By CALLUM TOWNSEND
Wellingtonian Warwick Kendrick will be part
of the first New Zealand team to compete at
the North American roller hockey champion-
ship, when the capital-based Penguins club s
premier team travels to California next July.
Kendrick said he had played the sport for
17 years, after becoming hooked when a
friend made me stand in front of the goal
and hit pucks at me .
Apparently something about that experi-
ence stuck, because he has played goalie ever
His team will appear in a fundraiser next
week, in which the Penguins play an all-star
side of past and present New Zealand rep-
The match would be the first step in rais-
ing the $56,000 needed to get the team to
California next year, but it would also be a
top-flight exhibition, Kendrick said.
Lewis Taiapa, the coach and captain of the
Penguins team, said the opposition all-stars
were as good as the New Zealand team, if
not better , and would be excellent prep-
aration for the step up the team expected in
the United States.
The premier players had all represented
New Zealand, and were national champions
in 2008 and 2010.
We feel as though we ve achieved as much
as we can as a club in New Zealand.
We re ready for the next level.
The game will be played at the Kilbirnie
Recreation Centre from 6pm on Saturday,
September 10. Tickets are $5.
A poor dress rehearsal...
Bewildered: All Blacks Sam Whitelock, left,
Richie McCaw and Conrad Smith reflect on
their defeat by Australia in Brisbane.
To listen to the naysayers, New
Zealand s World Cup rugby hopes
are hanging by a thread after suc-
cessive test losses.
The 18-5 loss to South Africa in Port
Elizabeth was excused easily enough.
But the 25-20 loss by Australia at the
weekend is not easy to shrug off.
Graham Henry had named a full-
strength side, recalling all his rock stars,
and the Tri-Nations trophy was at stake.
So now, apparently, the All Blacks
can t win.
Zac Guildford should never have been
chosen ahead of Hosea Gear; Adam
Thompson is the new Reuben Thorne;
Sonny Bill Williams is more concerned
about securing a lucrative contract next
year; and the All Blacks are showing
early signs of choking.
Don t believe any of it.
The All Blacks weren t great in
Brisbane, but they fought back well in
the second half after being annihilated in
the first 40 minutes.
That was heartening.
More important, I don t believe the two
losses will have the slightest bearing on
the World Cup results.
Just looking at history, the All Blacks
couldn t have had a worse lead-up to the
1987 World Cup.
There was the hugely divisive 1986
Cavaliers tour of South Africa, and two-
match suspensions for so many leading
There was a series defeat by the
Wallabies, notable for the resounding
loss in Auckland.
Then followed an unimpressive tour of
Before the World Cup, the All Blacks
lost potential captain Jock Hobbs when
he was forced into retirement by persist-
Before the opening match, the captain,
Andy Dalton, pulled a hamstring. He did
not play a minute of the tournament.
From that series of disasters emerged
arguably the finest All Black team ever to
represent New Zealand.
They won the World Cup as they
Looking at other sports, New Zealand s
lead-up to the 1992 cricket World Cup,
which we part-hosted, couldn t have been
They were hammered by England, and
there was such disruption in the ranks
that the national selectors discussed
removing the captaincy from Martin
Crowe, even raising the issue with him.
From that low point, New Zealand
played brilliantly at the World Cup, with
Crowe the tournament s outstanding
batsman and leader.
But for bad luck (an untimely injury to
Crowe), they would have beaten Pakistan
to make the final.
What about athletics? Jack Lovelock
was riven by doubt in Berlin as the 1936
Olympics began. Should he run the 1500
metres or the 5000m?
He fretted and couldn t decide, so team
manager Arthur Porritt took upon him-
self what he called the terrible burden
of making the decision for his runner.
Lovelock was told to run the 1500m
and duly won the gold medal in world
In 1976 John Walker arrived in Mon-
treal a heavy favourite to win the Olym-
He looked less of a certainty when he
was bundled out of the 800m in an early
round, but he bounced back to win a
famous gold medal.
The lesson is that a poor dress
rehearsal does not mean a bad perform-
ance on opening night.
It can actually work the other way. The
loss to Australia will firm the All Blacks
resolve and they ll be a more dangerous
beast when the World Cup begins.
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