Pour some out/light one up for Jules Bianchi who passed away on Friday after suffering horrible brain injuries in a Formula 1 crash back in October last year. His funeral was yesterday...
Last week I think it was, I said that we should all move on from this Oly Whites eligibility drama and the last few days only reinforce that view for me. It's pretty clear that the OFC, who are pulling the strings here have got some sort of agenda and you could make the connection, as many people have between NZF not supporting Sepp Blatter and this current predicament.
I don't hold that against the OFC, if they want to blow this all way out of proportion and basically troll NZF, that's fine and dandy with me as they look like dicks. But at the moment it looks like NZF are going back and forth with a social media troll type of situation where there is no winner and you just end up looking as bad as the troll for feeding them.
NZF won't back down and now we will continue to sift through back and forth between the two parties over a matter which is of some importance, but in my mind, given how weirdly the OFC are going about dealing with the matter, isn't really a battle worth fighting. The OFC have an agenda, that much is clear and they appear eager to cut the big boy down for not toeing the line. It's admirable to fight back and NZF should only do so for the sake of Deklan Wynne, not to save their face after making such a blunder, a blunder that has been pounced on by those who wanted ammunition. Things now don't look great for NZF and Wynne, a pity.
Thankfully, we still have Bill Tuiloma who signed a new three year deal to stay with Marseille in France's Ligue 1. I must admit, it did come as a bit of a shock to not read 'Tuiloma to earn $x a second' but then again, no figures were released by Marseille. All in all, this is great for Tuiloma who is my favourite All White and was a shining light as captain of the Under 20 World Cup team. Tuiloma made a few first team appearances last season, while on his youth contract and you would hope with an upgraded deal, that he will see more game time and that a starting spot beckons.
Sticking with the football and Winston Reid is going to have a few new faces alongside him at West Ham and they are quality. West Ham have signed Angelo Ogbonna, an Italian international from Juventus who will line up with Reid in defence, Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria as well as French international Dimitri Payet from Marseille. Clearly from the footage below, these lads are alright, clearly...
Culum Rettalick's move to the Melbourne Rebels opened my eyes to what the Rebels are doing as they also have kiwis Tamati Ellison, Adam Thomson, Telusa Veainu, Mike Harris and Toby Smith on their books. With the Rebels eyeing up players from Aotearoa who aren't quite getting the opportunities they want or are just seeking something a bit different, could we see this as an alternative to going to Europe?
This won't enter 'exodus' levels because the Australian clubs will still like to develop Aussie players, but if I were an ITM Cup player or a Super Rugby player who's career is stalling, I'd be looking across the ditch. The key issue here is - would the NZRU pick Australian-based players if it got to that point?
The Shaun Kenny-Dowall saga rolls on with his father proclaiming his innocence. I'm not 100 percent sure that this is a clear-cut 'he's guilty' situation myself, there's just a funky aroma to all of this. SKD, regardless of where these charges go, is in great hands at the Roosters who have a proven track record of looking after blokes - you saw Blake Ferguson dominate the Warriors right?
Don't sleep on Sonny Bill Williams returning to the Roosters after the Olympics.