Is Kirwan out of touch?NATHAN BURDON
All due to respect to Sir John Kirwan, a great man who is proving himself a handy rugby coach, but this sort of thing suggests he's completely out of touch.
To suggest the British and Irish Lions should play franchises ahead of provinces when they tour here in 2015 is disappointing.
It was hard to get excited about the Lions playing the Western Force in their tour opener, but imagine the Lions playing the Highlanders instead of Southland or Otago.
The 2005 fixture against the Lions at Rugby Park remains one of Southland rugby's fondest memories. If it weren't for a fired-up Gavin Henson, who had just been told he wasn't required for the test side, the Stags might have snuck a famous win.
Invercargill was rocking with the influx of tourists, the game was hugely anticipated and turned out to be a blinder. And Kirwan would rather see the Lions play in front of 10,000 at a soul-less Albany Stadium.
The Lions v the Highlanders would get a crowd, no doubt, but it wouldn't engender anything like the excitement of a traditional fixture.
The Aussies have to make do because they don't have a provincial competition, but it would tremendously sad if we went the same way.
Surely the provinces would show more respect to the fixture than Kirwand did by running a second-string side out against the French last night.
Meanwhile, you can check out how Southland cyclist Steph McKenzie is getting on during her first week of racing at T-Town here.
And for a bit of a laugh, check out this bit of footage which has kept us giggling for the past week or so. Fair to say ''I don't know, Jeff'' has entered the office vernacular.
- The Southland Times