ROSEMARY ABBOTT | Sport
FARRK HOW GOOD WAS HE?
Tom Anderson was traditionally a solid, reliable employee at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. Many in the office called him a “rising star” in the public service.
Today however, the 32-year-old found himself distracted by something far more engaging than his work on tenancy regulation – Christian Cullen’s top tries for the All Blacks and Hurricanes.
Anderson had long admired Cullen’s incredible speed and nose for the try line, and he loved nothing more than watching replays of the fullback ghosting his way through hapless defenders.
While names like Jonah Lomu immediately spring to mind when thinking of legendary All Blacks of the nineties, we sometimes forget just how good Christian Cullen was. Our reporters quizzed Anderson on how he was working one minute, and then fully entranced by highlights of the ‘Paekakariki Express’ the next.
“Oh hang on, just let me pause this. Sometimes I’ll be working and then without noticing I’m three minutes deep into a YouTube video of Cully’s 46 tries for the All Blacks. Every try seems to be better than the last,” Anderson said, with multiple tabs open of other tries for the Hurricanes and Wellington Lions.
“Has any other player on the planet made scoring tries look this easy? It’s like he was just doing training runs in the middle of test matches,” Anderson said, watching Cullen dot down four tries against Scotland in 1996, and fully forgetting about the deadline on that spreadsheet he was working on.
Anderson then started commenting on some of Cullen’s best.
“Man, this one against the Wallabies in 1997 in Dunedin. He just looks like he’s jogging and then in, out, in, out. Step, fend! 60 odd metres. Holy shit he was good.
“Look at this set piece against Australia at the cake tin in 2000. Far out, day time rugby. Can they also bring that back? How many sets of hands did that go through?” Anderson asked in admiration of the All Blacks try in which almost every player touched the ball.
As Anderson came to the end of one of the videos of Cullen dotting down for his 46th and final try for the All Blacks, he blurted out a question that has haunted him for decades. “How the hell did John Mitchell drop him from the All Blacks in his prime?”
More to come.
Want to keep up with more of the news that’s important? Instagram works well for that! Check out the Whakataki Times on Insta.