The Roar
The Roar


THE BACK ROOM: Eden Park prep-talk

Sir Steve Hansen. No, wait, just Steve. Just Steve. (AAP Jeff Camden)
Roar Guru
17th October, 2016
1970 Reads

The Roar has obtained an exclusive and completely fabricated look into the inner workings of the best team in rugby, the All Blacks, as they prepare to face the Wallabies.

HANSEN: Welcome everyone. Well, fellas, I have some distressing news before we play that team in the lovely canary gold at ‘The Park.’

CRON: Yeah reminds me of my kids’ yellow Tonka Toys. Great to play around with for a while before you’ve had enough with them not being the real thing, and realize it’s time you put them away.

FOSTER: Yeah, usually after about the 60-minute mark I find Crony.

HANSEN: Anyway, I have some news fellas…I’m going to ask Eddie Jones out on a date. Dutch of course. Share some laughs about beating the Wallabies.

FOSTER: Trade ideas eh Shags?

HANSEN: Ahhh, no Fosts, we just scored 38 tries in the Rugby Championship, more than the other three teams combined. How many more ideas do we need to beat this current Wallaby lot?

SMITH: Yeah but you gotta love the irony huh. Australia gave Jonesy the onetime boot, and he gave them the three-zip stomp. That’s poetry that is. Still, I gotta say three-zip just doesn’t seem that special to me.

HANSEN: Well here’s the thing fellas, what’s really special for England, just ain’t that special for us. I mean beating the Wallabies? It will be three-nil for us coming up at the world’s only true rugby fortress on Saturday lads.


SMITH: Yeah some fortress Twickenham turned out to be for England at the World Cup, eh boys? They needed the third little piggy as a coach to stop from getting blown over.

FOSTER: He was coaching Japan.

SMITH: Yeah and Australia’s so-called fortresses are like a Claytons Fortress ‘the fortress you pretend have when know you don’t really have a fortress’.

HANSEN: Eden Park ah yes, that hallowed ground. Bledisloe’s in the locker. We’ll just have a bit of fun I reckon. Bit like playing, oh I dunno…

SMITH: Italy?

CRON: You know boss I was thinking…

HANSEN: Stop right there, Crony. You’re the scrum coach. An honorary member of the front row club. You know what too much thinking does to you blokes.

SMITH: Yeah, look what it’s done to Phill Kearns. He’s living proof front rowers should never be allowed to start thinking. He’s got stage-three ‘Blame the Referee Syndrome’.


HANSEN: Yep, any more thinking from Kearns and he will end up like Cheika – stage-four, and terminal.

CRON: Hey Shags, you could say you and Jonesy beat Cheika to a pulp with tactics on the field, and then battered him to a soft melon with words off it.

FOSTER: Bit like his team eh boss, really-thin skinned. I mean putting ‘physicality’ in the same sentence as the Wallabies is like saying a cream puff is made from beef stock.

SMITH: Not sure about that Fosts, apparently they’ve been boot camp training in leotards to Olivia Newton John’s ‘Let’s Get Physical.’

CRON: That’s… I mean that’s, well… that’s… anyway, they can’t even say the name the All Blacks. Cheika thinks it has some psychic power from the Twilight Zone.

SMITH: Well our rugby is kinda like from Star Wars . And I mean c’mon guys, think about for a second. Don’t you think Shags looks a bit like Jabba the Hutt?

HANSEN: Who? Top-looking fella I take it?

(awkward pause)


FOSTER: Okay, fellas, getting back to Shags news. I think you just crossed the line there meeting up with Eddie boss. He’s Australian. Dinner with one those types? Seriously bro?

CRON: So was Mick Byrnes and he was all right, eh?

(Hansen begins pacing angrily around the room)

HANSEN: Byrnes you say? He’s a traitor! He crossed over to the dark side. He’s history. We put him on the map in rugby. We gave him everything. We even let it go that he came from…from…you know that place…that rugby wasteland across the ditch…the land ruled by that…that no good Cheika.

FOSTER: But he played AFL didn’t he?

HANSEN: That’s the only reason we hired an Australian Fosts. He wasn’t an ex-Wallaby so we knew he’d have some skills.

CRON: Yeah, bet they’re torturing him right now to reveal all our training secrets.

SMITH: Apparently they’re forcing him to try and teach the Wallabies kicking and passing skills.


HANSEN: Oh god no, he’ll be singing like a canary by the time they reach Eden Park. Do they have no mercy for one of their own?

FOSTER: Ummm, on a lighter note boss, I see the Aussies like Rod Kafer and Phill Kearns think we’re getting too big for our boots eh bro.

HANSEN: Sorry who? Do I know these people? Should they matter to me? What do they look like?

SMITH: Like ex-Wallabies – depressed.

HANSEN: Oh right, yes well, there’s a lot of Xs about the Wallabies. Ex-World Champions, ex-Bledisloe Cup holders, ex-Rugby Championship holders, loads of recent ex-coaches, full of ex-Kiwis…

FOSTER: Hey boss, you forgot Aron Smith, he’s heading for the X Club.

(Hansen frowns at Foster)

SMITH: Yeah brave lad that boy, could have stayed in South Africa and faced the ferocious Boks back row at home bashing him up in the contact area, but instead chose the missus back home bashing him up in his critical area.


CRON: Yeah, simply no training for that kind of onslaught. Mind you, didn’t see much of the of their back row last Saturday eh. Come to think of it, did the Springboks actually turn up?

FOSTER: No, just some guys from the local club wearing green T-Shirts giving us the finger in a training run.

(Loud convulsions of laughter all round)

HANSEN: Hah, ha, and they think we’re getting too big for our boots.

SMITH: They couldn’t even score a try my defensive tactics were so good.

HANSEN: Hah, hah, ha, I know Smithy, and they think we’re getting too big for our boots.

CRON: It was nine tries to nil, and we weren’t even at full strength boss, I mean who were we playing, Russia?

HANSEN: Hah, hah, hah, ha, man and those clowns think we’re getting too big for our boots.


SMITH: Yeah and we had the Championship in the bag with two games to go with every game bonus point wins. Never been done before lads.

HANSEN: Hah, hah, hah, hah, ha, man, I think I’m going wet myself. Anyone got a spare big boot?

CRON: We equaled the record for consecutive wins with 17, going for the new record at Eden Park against… haha… against the Wallabies… I put the Champagne order in already.

HANSEN: Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah ha – hey French I hope buddy, enough to fill up them big boots of ours, hah ha. Oh stop it, I’m heading for a coronary at this rate.

FOSTER: Shall I get the team doctor?

HANSEN: I mean our boots are so big right now you need to be Godzilla to be too big for them right fellas, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hee, hee, hah hah… Okay fellas repeat after me “We’re the greatest sports team in the history of the World.”

(They all fall on the floor in fits of laughter)

HANSEN: Oh god, I think I’m swelling up with laughter. Hey Crony get over here and help me take off my boots before it’s too late! Hahahah… No no, actually leave them on bro, so that on Saturday I can give Cheika one of my big boots!