ROSEMARY ABBOTT | Sport
Matt Holland loves to reminisce about the good old days of the original Super 12 rugby competition.
Every time he and his old friend group get together, the conversation always seems to turn to the Super 12 and the players they fondly remembered from their younger years. Just as if the glory days had never gone away.
Holland, who regularly sports a late 90s or early 2000s Super 12 jersey, often talks about Christian Cullen’s incredible solo try against the Waratahs in 1996, whilst also finding it hard to accept that the backline of Cullen, Umaga and Lomu are no longer in the Hurricanes.
Our reporters were inside Holland’s Upper Hutt flat where he was drinking with some old mates from St Pat’s Silverstream, when the conversation naturally turned to the topic that seemed almost unavoidable.
“Man, remember when Cullen threw that classic dummy to the Waratahs? It was like a 100 metre try. I still can’t believe John Mitchell dropped him from the All Blacks”.
Holland then proceeded to bring up the iconic individual try on Youtube, watching it right to the end and adding the side-comment of “Shit they had deep in-goals back then”.
He then rattled off some of the other forgotten battlers of the early years of Super 12. “Remember Jason Spice? Oh, Paul Tito? Xavier Rush? Man what about Bull Allen! Scott Hamilton? 3rd XV in high school to an All Black!”
Holland’s friend Dave Pointon, also recalled one of his most favourite players and plays.
“Bro. What about when King Carlos threw the ball from inside his own in-goal against the Crusaders? That was like 110 metre try or something. Then he kicked the conversion from the sideline to make them miss the bonus point!” Pointon said, whilst frantically also trying to pull Carlos Spencer’s 100 metre try up again on YouTube.
Holland’s friend Chase Walden, originally from Dunedin, was sipping away at his Speights and spoke about his favourite player.
“Bro, you remember that run the Highlanders went on in 1999? Should have beaten the Crusaders in the final! Tony Brown! Remember Party at Tony Brown’s?”
Pointon then countered.
“Well don’t forget Andrew Mehrtens. Five Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders. It’s hard to top Merts and that team’s title run in 2002. Remember that 96-19 win over the Waratahs?
“Oh, Marika Vunibaka??!!”
More to come
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