ROSEMARY ABBOTT | Sport
30-year-old Jacob Hall is getting psychiatric help after twenty years of not being able to process John Mitchell dropping Christian Cullen from the All Blacks in 2003.
This was despite Cullen being in excellent form in Super 12 and being the All Blacks’ record try scorer at the time. Despite the cries for his inclusion in the side, the ABs then went on to get knocked out of the Rugby World Cup by the Wallabies later that year.
With the World Cup rolling around again in 2023, Jacob’s suppressed memories have come back to haunt him once again.
“I didn’t even know Christian Cullen, but it felt like betrayal of the highest order. You don’t just drop the Paekakariki express. I couldn’t believe Mitchell could be so heartless,” said Jacob, watching all 46 of Cullen’s All Blacks tries on a Youtube video during his therapy session.
Dr. Phil Mender, a psychologist, has been helping the man attempt to let go of the traumatic memories, and believes others may be suffering something similar.
“It just goes to show you how sport can have a profound impact on our lives. It’s not just a game; it’s an emotional rollercoaster. I’m still a bit perplexed as to how and why John Mitchell dropped Christian Cullen in his prime too. Seriously? 46 tries in 58 tests? You don’t just exit a player like that from your national team like thatt.”
Jacob, who was still shaking his head while watching Cullen glide through defenders like his test matches were a training run, explained what dropping Cullen would be like today.
“That would be like dropping Will Jordan or one of the Barrett brothers, while they’re in their prime. Seriously, how did Mitch get away with that?”
Despite multiple requests, John Mitchell refused to comment.
More to come.