If you were from a foreign land, you would only have to look at how different people across Aotearoa react to those who have played for the All Blacks, leaving to earn what is rightfully theirs in Europe. For starters, we call it a player 'drain'.
Every second week I write about a player leaving for Europe, this time it's Colin Slade who will go play in France and good on him. Allow me to repeat myself, we have the best rugby talent in the world, no one comes close to the quality and amount of professional rugby players we churn out, so it's only right that they are paid what they deserve. However, with the way the contracts are structured, players are made to look like money hungry defectors in doing so as they *shock horror* turn their back on the black jersey.
That's why we can't look at this situation and celebrate our rugby exports. Our country is built on exports because we're so damn small (look on a map at how extremely small Aotearoa is), whether it be beef, dairy and our beloved sheep and their wool. Yet heaven forbid we celebrate our rugby exports.
Having any story about a rugby player who just wants to head overseas, explore the world and get paid what someone is willing to offer him, start with the word 'drain' only sets a negative tone. We're positive chaps here at the Nichey Niche, so it's easy for us to be positive about it but we challenge you to do the same. Celebrate these lads, when someone decides to release themselves of the NZRU shackles, rejoice because, what would you do? I'd rather earn a living doing what I love while learning French, sipping and eating myself to sleep.
The Wellington Phoenix will take part in Hong Kong Football Club's Soccer Sevens tournament, which if you read about it in mainstream media would only also include Aston Villa. We'll play in a group that includes Villa as well a team from the Hong Kong Premier League and the Hong Kong Football club, which if we do alright could see us face any of the following; Stoke City, Athletico Madrid, Newcastle United, Leicester City and West Ham United.
It's also a good chance for us, the footballin' public of Aotearoa to witness seven-a-side football. Especially in a market like Hong Kong where these events are the norm, it should be pretty damn fun. Hopefully the Nix can set up shop with this tournament and be there for a few years to come as it will only be positive to have the younger Nix players up against talented youngsters from Europe.
Should NZ Football move to Asia? Hmm, well take one look at the Socceroos World Cup qualification path in Asia and it's hard to imagine the All Whites being able to really make a good crack at it. Not because of the quality of the opposition, but can NZ Football plan and fund trips to Jordan, Taijkstan and Kyrgzstan? I mean, you tell me where Kyrgzstan is ... right now ... go on.
I like Oceania and our pathway to FIFA tournaments. There's no easy pass as we saw last time when we got a reality check from Mexico; you've still got to be good enough to win those crossover games. It's also much better logistically.
Jordan Spieth, what a lad. At 21 years old, he dominated the Masters with relative ease and he's the type of character that golf desperately needs. This is a sport where Tiger Woods still grabs all the headlines along with Rory McIlroy, it seems that what they do off the golf course only enhances their reputation off of it. Woods and McIlroy are great golfers, but golf will be so much better with Spieth as the face of the sport.
I'll do my best to keep ya'll in the loop with our kiwi cricketers doing their thing in England's County Cricket. Obviously Martin Guptill got a big century, shout out to him but we've also got guys like Kieran Noema-Barnett playing for Gloucestershire. KNB (yeeeeah) performed better with the ball than he did with the bat, one of the joys of being an all rounder with first innings figures of 3/48 off 15 overs along with 1/47 off 15 in the second. He got 8 runs in his only innings with the bat.
We've also got Craig Cachopa playing for Sussex and in his two efforts with the bat against Hampshire, he hit 41 and 4 runs batting in the middle order. A middle order might I add, that features Ed Joyce and Luke Wright.
Steven Adams, Upto Bro?
vs Indiana Pacers - 25 minutes, 4 points, 1 block, 1 assist, 10 rebounds
vs Portland Trailblazers - 35 minutes, 8 points, 4 blocks, 2 steals, 10 rebounds