Saturday 17 March 2018

Touchlines down under: Terror in the air as Biggles flies again

CLAPPING on planes is normally the preserve of duty free-guzzling commoners travelling to cheap holiday resorts, but there was a wild burst of applause from a group of well-heeled Irish fans after their plane touched down in Wellington en route to Rotorua.

"You guys obviously haven't flown into Wellington before, that was nothing," was the wry response of one passenger, well versed in the winds that give the city's rugby team its 'Hurricanes' nickname.

Nonetheless, it had been a pretty hairy five minutes of bucking and swooping before touchdown. Those of us who subscribe to Billy Connolly's attitude towards flying -- "we don't feckin' belong up there" -- found it an especially uncomfortable experience (particularly in a plane with propellers, which we thought went out with Biggles and his scarf).

Come to think of it, the applause may not have been for the landing at all, it could have been for a spontaneous, high-pitched rendition of 'Nearer My God To Thee' from the back of the plane.

Kiwis bristling after New Plymouth barb

AN interesting day yesterday included a hard-hitting editorial in the 'Taranaki Daily News' attacking our take on their -- hang on, have to get this part right -- 'city' of New Plymouth followed by 15 minutes of accusation on Radio New Zealand's version of the Joe Duffy phone-in show relating to the same piece.

To be fair to New Plymouth, it did pick up considerably on Friday and Saturday, while the Ireland squad were happy with the facilities and welcome they received.

However, being told live on air that "whatever you think of New Plymouth, Hugh, it's got to be better than Belfast in Ireland" was a bit harsh -- both on the now vibrant city and the jurisdiction it resides in.

That would be the UK -- check your own flag for their insignia, lads. Ah, 'tis all good clean fun.


"Heaslip wanted to get sent off. He bottled it. His subconscious told him that he wasn't up to it and he wanted out." -- The bizarre analysis in the New Zealand Herald.

The number

29 Caps won by NZ Maori coach Jamie Joseph between 1992 and '99, including nine for Japan. His third cap came against Ireland in '92.

Compiled by Hugh Farrelly

Irish Independent

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