256. The Order Is Everywhere

OBH on the beach 2

One of these blokes is a rugby expert with a few thoughts on how to win the Rugby World Cup.


The other is an All Blacks coach who’s already won one.


And there, in a nutshell, is why New Zealand rugby is consistently the best in the world.


The bloke on the left is, of course, Wayne Smith, aka Smithy. (We’ve really got to work on the nicknames, people.) Fairly useful first-five in his day, then Crusaders coach, then All Blacks coach, then assistant coach to Lord Ted for the 2007 and 2011 campaigns. For my money he’s one of the game’s deep thinkers, and one of the key reasons why Sonny Bill Williams made such an impact when he switched codes. Last December Smithy signed on to be Shag’s defensive coach for the 2015 campaign.


The bloke on the right is a loyal member of the Order of the Black Heart, and recently appointed to the ancient and noble title of Lord High Barbecue Chamberlain for his fine service in sidling up to Smithy and getting the selfie. (Identity disguised as he’s also Grand Poobah of the OBH special tactics squadron, in charge of passing on tips to stray coaches on beaches.)


There’s the best of New Zealand rugby culture in one picture. A legend of the game enjoying just another camping holiday at a northern beach, and happy to have a yarn about rugby with just another bloke in damp shorts.


Can’t see the Pongos doing that, myself.

About Ned Davy

By hokey, the big fella’s tipped into his 50s. A rangy loose forward in his prime, good with the ball in hand, but rarely up with the play any more.
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4 Responses to 256. The Order Is Everywhere

  1. rayinnz says:

    Ok a couple of questions? Why is the LHBC holding a soccer ball, with this evidence of disloyalty can he be trusted, could he be an undercover agent for “them”
    And did he really wet himself on meeting Smithy, which if true proves just how deep his cover is

    What’s it cost to join the Order of the Black Heart, I realise that a cheque is to easily traced, so need to know in gold bars

    • Ned Davy says:

      Two possible answers to the round ball: first, that might be the extra air that the Patriots misplaced from the balls in their last game before the Super Bowl. Second, it’s just a way of confusing the people of a foreign persuasion when they see Smithy in the frame.

      On joining the Order: mate, if you’re reading this, you’re in. But don’t let that stop you sending gold bars.

      Yours in cahoots


  2. Chris Jones says:

    Yeah, whatever.

    To the heart of the matter: you regularly refer to the “Pongos”. Some years back, my old man (who is, of course, Welsh), was in the bar just before half time at the annual Army Navy match. He was accosted by a drunken sailor (really), who chanted “Pongo, Pongo” at him before pouring the remains of his pint on my Dad’s head. Fortunately, Colonel Jones had just invested in a large jug of beer, which he brought down smartly upon the head of the jolly jack tar, who went down and stayed down for some time.

    The point is that Pongo is, as illustrated above, slang for a soldier, when you are, presumably, referring to the residents of Pomgolia. I trust you will clarify in due course.

    Yours pedantically,


    PS: Unfortunately, having broken the jug, he coolly ordered another, which gave the Matelot time to get up again and land a few on my dad….It was George North all over again, or rather, 30 years in advance.

    • Ned Davy says:

      Dear Taffy

      Ah, the perils of rapid writing.

      You highlight a couple of points for my reflection and further elucidation. The first is the etymology and appropriate use of slang terms for our competitors. I had only ever heard “Pongo” as a term for residents of Pomgolia, so am rather abashed to learn that it’s actually about relations between British people of a military disposition. (And ‘abashed’ seems to fit in with your father’s story.) The wider issue is how to tread the fine line between boisterous banter and nasty insult. On which, I’d like to collect examples of slang used against New Zealanders. “Kiwi”, apart from the fact that it’s a fairly inept bird in many respects, doesn’t seem particularly harsh.

      The second point is one that I rushed through. New Zealand is one of the few countries in which rugby is the major sport. (By which I refer to attention, money, etc, not necessarily player participation.) (The South Pacific countries are the only other ones.) In Australia, cricket is the game that is shared widely, and in the football codes rugby comes a long third behind league and rules. In England, Ireland, Scotland and South Africa it’s football, and the divide has significant cultural/class significance. Wales I’d like to say is still rugby, but after speaking recently with my Welsh brother-in-law, I fear the tide has gone out.

      The point I’d like to make better is that there’s a circularity to the place of rugby in New Zealand. We’re good at it because it’s popular because we’re good at it ad nauseum – but the initial ‘we’re good at’ it had something to do with the egalitarian mythology amongst a small population. Hence All Blacks coaches throwing a ball around on a beach with people they’ve never met before.

      Yours in jet lag


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