Pay Attention, It’s Time For A French Lesson

October 22nd, 2011 by Tim Grimley

The more – and almost certainly even the less – observant amongst you will have noticed that over the last few weeks there have been more than a few tenuous links made between rugby and motoring in this column. And as the biggest match in New Zealand rugby since 1987 is being played out in Auckland’s own theatre of dreams this weekend, it would be all too easy to find one more pretty loose tie-in between the unlikely bedfellows that are egg chasing and motoring.

And so, therefore, I will.

But rather than dwelling too heavily on the sport itself, my focus is rather more on one of the participants in Sunday night’s encounter – the French. As a previous inhabitant of the Northern shores of La Manche, I learned a long time ago that the only thing that could be expected from the French with any degree of certainty is the unexpected.

Ooh la la! Beauty........

Nowhere is this more certain than in the motoring world, where no-one could ever be sure if their next release was going to be a work of beauty, genius, madness or just plain badness. Sometimes, as was the case with the massively opinion polarising 2CV, they managed to do all four at once. Just for the sheer hell of it I suspect.
This is the nation that can give the Citroen DS with one hand – a vehicle of such unquestionable beauty that it makes you wonder why all cars cannot be styled in such a way – and then take it all back again with a monstrosity like the Renault Fuego with the other. But just to keep a sense of mystery, excitement and intrigue in the relationship, every so often they throw you a Peugeot 205 GTi. Followed rather quickly by a Renault Safrane.

Yet for all their little highs and lows, if you ever needed the ultimate proof that our garlic obsessed cousins are capable of crushing the world when it is least expected, look no further than the Bugatti Veyron. Yes, it sounds Italian and yes, a lot of the bits come from parent company VW, but hailing as it does from Molsheim in the Alsace, the Bugatti is every bit as French as impassive shrugging and baguettes. With its roots back in 2005, when the Gallic automotive output was typified by the blandest Peugeots in living memory, the Veyron was a stark reminder that when the Frenchies put their minds to it, they can not only take on the world, but simply blow it away with their effortless style. Continue reading “Pay Attention, It’s Time For A French Lesson” »

Slade Finds His Range

October 15th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

Barely two weeks after a sudden weakness of the groin decided to Get Carter, it seems the Jockey’s region is becoming a curse of the All Blacks as a near identical injury has left Slade, well, slayed.

And all I can say is ‘Good’. I hope young Colin makes a swift and full recovery, but it will be a dark day if he ever pulls the black jersey on again.

Although before anyone mistakes me for one of the herd of Slade detractors that have sprung up since Colin took over from the unfortunate St. Daniel, let me make it clear I think he is a damn fine rugby player. It takes a special nuggety breed to come back from two broken jaws in the space of a year and force your way into international reckoning. Sure there may have been the odd hiccup that the ever mischievous fourth estate has been keen to blow out of all proportion, but generally when it comes to matters of the oval ball, the boy has done good.

Where he has proved to be a spectacular let down is in that most important aspect of All Black sporting theatre – the Haka.

Like it or otherwise, the Haka is part of world sporting folklore; the ultimate symbolic challenge designed to thrill fans and raise the pulses and fears of any men fortunate enough to face it down. The sight of Piri Weepu lining up his troops and hurling them full-bloodedly into Ka Mate or Kapa o Pango is enough to bring a tingle to the spine of any man. Unless that man happens to look over Piri’s shoulder and catches a glimpse of our Colin.

The All New Range Rover Colin

Whether it is officially admitted or not, the Haka is a form of brute intimidation and Slade, for all his rugby talents, seems to permanently have the very unfrightening look of a rabbit trying to choose between headlights and a night in with Glenn Close.

That’s not to say I subscribe to the “White Men Can’t Haka” theory. Current squad members make the performance their own through sheer emotional input (Richie McCaw), the ability to temporarily depart into a Twilight Zone-esque realm of insanity (Ali Williams) or just simply being as scary as it’s possible to be without actually becoming Chuck Norris (Brad Thorn).

But Colin Slade performing the Haka is as wrong as Colin Meads wearing a Wallabies shirt; there are just some things should just not be allowed to come together. Continue reading “Slade Finds His Range” »

Ruck and ‘Rolla

September 3rd, 2011 by Tim Grimley

Eight years ago I, the current Mrs Grimley and my old mate Boz were perched on the stained and wobbly stools of Brannigans bar in Hinckley, England. Before us in glorious low definition colour, a projection screen beamed the moment that will forever go down in Pommie rugby folklore as Jonny Wilkinson held his nerve and struck the drop goal that ensured the Rugby World Cup would be heading to Blighty.

Those of you old enough to remember when the All Blacks last clinched the trophy will appreciate the feeling of euphoria that swept through me and thoroughly understand why I decided to celebrate with a breakfast consisting of eight pints of Guinness and a bag of chips. It probably would have been more, but after the eighth pint a man from Rugby Lions RFC called to inform me that they had no one to play first five that day and I wasn’t allowed to say ‘no’.

So while the men in white were still receiving the adulation of the world, I retched and farted my way around a remote pitch in rural Warwickshire in what is still the worst display at fly-half anyone has ever witnessed. I was convinced we lost the game, but apparently I kicked a penalty that I can’t even remember taking and we drew 6-6.

But even through the dense alco-haze of that day I will never forget the play which led up to that historic Wilkinson kick. From Lewis Moody winning the line out, through to the final push from Martin Johnson, everything was orchestrated and manipulated to put England in the place to take their one chance. What little flair the team had was abandoned in favour of utmost pragmatism. The goal was a simple one; win. Continue reading “Ruck and ‘Rolla” »

Land Rover hands over fleet of Rugby World Cup vehicles

August 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Last Friday, Land Rover handed over a special fleet of vehicles to Rugby World Cup Ltd (RWCL) in a ceremony outside Eden Park Stadium. As Official Vehicle of the Rugby World Cup, Land Rover has provided 30 vehicles to tournament organisers and officials. This special fleet is made up of Range Rover Sports and Land Rover Discoverys.

The vehicles have been specially customised with RWC branding, number plates and commemorative badging to celebrate the association throughout New Zealand.

Kit McConnell, Tournament Director of RWCL, was presented with the fleet by Land Rover at Eden Park, which will host the first game on Friday 9th September. “The provision of the Official Vehicles by Land Rover is key to the successful running of the Rugby World Cup and will be put to good use to ensure that the Tournament is run smoothly over the next couple of months,” said Mr McConnell.

In addition to the vehicles being supplied to the RWCL, Land Rover is also supplying another 42 vehicles for Land Rover VIPs and international media use during the tournament, bringing the total number of Land Rovers and Range Rovers imported specifically for the tournament to 72. Continue reading “Land Rover hands over fleet of Rugby World Cup vehicles” »

Land Rover lands Rugby World Cup fleet vehicles in NZ

June 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With 73 days to go until Rugby World Cup 2011 kicks off, Land Rover, as the Official Vehicle Partner of the tournament, has delivered a fleet of special Rugby World Cup 2011 vehicles to New Zealand.

Land Rover is set to keep the vehicles coming with cars for the organisers, teams and officials. The majority of a fleet 75 vehicles, mainly Range Rover Sports and Land Rover Discoverys, arrived today at the Port of Auckland with the balance of the vehicles being delivered before the tournament starts on September 9th. The vehicles will be specially customised with Rugby World Cup 2011 branding, RWC 2011 number plates, and commemorative badging to promote the association throughout New Zealand.

Gary Upson, Brand Manager, Land Rover NZ  commented, “We are really excited to be supporting the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand and are pleased that we could bring vehicles into the country to help with the event. The Land Rovers will be put to good use between now and October by the IRB representatives, teams and officials, and the fleet will help the Tournament to run smoothly.”

The Tournament will be attended by fans from around the globe and will be watched by a TV audience of over four billion in more than 200 countries. Continue reading “Land Rover lands Rugby World Cup fleet vehicles in NZ” »

Land Rover announced as official sponsor for 2011 RWC

December 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Land Rover has just announced its sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup 2011 being hosted here in New Zealand.

Land Rover’s support of both tournaments extends the Company’s strong association with the sport of Rugby. In recent years Land Rover has enhanced its role of Official Vehicle of England Rugby, Premiership Rugby and the UK’s Land Rover Premiership Cup with the additional sponsorship of the last three British & Irish Lions Tours to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, as well as the forthcoming sponsorship of the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens next month.

As part of the deal for both tournaments Land Rover will supply vehicles to support the organisers, teams and officials. It is the first time that Land Rover has been involved with Rugby’s showcase tournament.

John Edwards, Global Brand Director, Land Rover, said: “Today’s announcement marks a significant development in the partnership between Land Rover and Rugby.  The Company  is proud of its ongoing support of the sport from a grassroots level to the world class Game and it is fitting that the world’s finest all-terrain vehicles — sold in over 160 markets worldwide -  are now supporting the world’s ultimate Rugby competition.”

“The International Olympic Committee’s decision to include Rugby in the Olympic Games from 2016 will have a hugely significant impact on the growth of the sport in emerging Rugby markets such as America, China and Asia.  This growth offers Land Rover a fantastic opportunity to further engage with our customers, and general sports fans across the globe.”

Land Rover will be an Official Sponsor of next year’s highly anticipated Tournament in New Zealand which will be attended by over 1.6 million spectators and watched by a global TV audience of well over 4 billion in more than 200 countries.

Continue reading “Land Rover announced as official sponsor for 2011 RWC” »