Remember that ocean of stuff about Wayne Barnes, the English referee who, it is claimed in these parts, was solely responsible for the All Blacks' early departure from the last World Cup? The jibes, the jokes, the insults? Bryce Lawrence, who happens to be a New Zealander, recalls it well, being a fellow whistler – and now he knows how it feels to be on the spiky end of the pineapple. His handling of last weekend's quarter-final between the Wallabies and the Springboks has made him the sporting figure the whole of South Africa loves to hate. All very interesting, especially when you recall his handsome contribution towards the South African victory over the Lions in 2009. What goes around...
Robot wars steal limelight
Down on Queens Wharf, where thousands of ticketless types gather to watch the big games on even bigger open-air screens, there is an exhibition centre that goes by the name of The Cloud. Yesterday, it hosted what appeared to be a Meccano-building competition featuring teams from a couple of dozen North Island schools, colleges and universities. The inventions were entirely baffling to this particular unscientific, technophobic mind, although one item did appear to resemble a robotic version of an England back. This could not, of course, have been the case. Close inspection confirmed it as too flexible, too imaginative and far too quick-thinking to have been anything of the sort.
Relief as Manu misses the boat
Will there ever be a final word on England's misdemeanours during their time here? We can only hope and pray. Now that captain Lewis Moody has been fined for wearing a sponsored mouthguard in contravention of World Cup rules, a line may be about to be drawn. One last thought: had the New Zealand prime minister unveiled the eye-catching Waka Maori show boat in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour while the red-rose boys were still in town, might Manu Tuilagi have thrown himself off it in his underpants?