Freelancers Like Us Are Going To Be OK During COVID-19

Last week, on Twitter, I posted that I’d block anyone who played the ‘feel sorry for me’ or ‘please donate to my Patreon because I’m now out of work’ game.

The bottom line is this: we are all in a s**t situation thanks to COVID-19, and freelancers like ourselves have taken a big hit financially. Now is the time to have a bit of perspective, as hard as it might be.

Personally, if I am to be self-indulgent for a moment, I am now all but redundant until further notice. I am not the only one.

It would be easy for me, like many others who have been in the same position recently, to go on an all-out content push in the hopes that it would fill the void of what I may have had before.

Perhaps I am even guilty of this at times, but IMO there is a lot of gross and shameless self-promotion on social media these days.

When I transitioned from social media journo to regular mainstream journo, I noticed how loud the Twitter-sphere really was. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but it’s just loud, getting louder by the day in fact.

There are some who are really good at promoting themselves and have some genuinely good content worth following them for, but there are others who

So as the lockdown begins and we ponder the next month (at least) of being confined largely to our homes, what’s the best way to deal with this? There’s certainly been no shortage of guides, how-to blogs and inspiring stories of how people are making the most of the situation floating around the internet in the past couple of weeks.

The first way to make the best of self-isolation is to understand that you’ll likely go through different stages. You’ll tell yourself you’ve got a plan, but the key moving forward is to not overdo anything. That includes making content for the sake of making content because you feel like your platform can’t afford to take a break.

For some, it may also be a good opportunity to go back to some of the platforms we’ve let get dusty, or potentially some of us can put ourselves out there and create completely new ones.

Personally, my first plan was to get back into streaming on Twitch, record a ton of extra podcasts and even begin writing a book.

But in reality, I’ve really only done a couple of streams and podcasts, spending the rest of my time keeping a close eye on the news, watching Netflix and playing PlayStation.

It’s going to take time to adjust to our new lives, and you will likely stumble off the mark. I know that I certainly have.

Today, by way of this blog, is the first time I’ve managed to get some concentrated writing done, and I did it with no idea of what I was going to type on the blank word document other than the ideology of getting something published online.

That’s probably why the general direction of this piece is all over the shop.

PlayStation got in contact this morning, the new Predator: Hunting Grounds trial weekend is open for gaming media and fans alike from today, so I will have a go at that and write up a preview blog for the game on Monday after I’ve had some hands-on time.

Us rugby journos had a phone conference with the Chiefs CEO and media manager earlier and I am glad to report that there will be some opportunities to talk to players about their respective self-isolation experiences.

I also redesigned the blog, so if you are reading this, be sure to let me know how it looks!

Stay safe, don’t push yourself too hard. Keep what’s most important nestled in the forefront of your mind, you are (hopefully) healthy and safe, surely this is what really matters in the current climate.

Chiefs Look To Work On Three Key Areas

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie will be putting his players to work after a bye this weekend, because he knows there is room for concern in key areas.

The Chiefs lost 26-13 to the Highlanders in front of the biggest rugby crowd seen in Hamilton for three years. While on the scoreboard the deficit was only 13-points, the game as a whole was dominated by the Highlanders.

“This highlights that Super Rugby is a tough competition, but we just made way too many errors”, Rennie said. Continue reading Chiefs Look To Work On Three Key Areas

McKenzie’s Enoyable Time At Chiefs Makes Decision To Stay Easier

It has been an eventful week for Damian McKenzie, but his decision to stay with the Chiefs is likely due to his comfort in the team environment.

In the eyes of some people, Damian McKenzie made a bad decision when he chose not to take up the offer made to him by the Blues.

But for the 21-year old, the decision to stay with the Chiefs could be because the “here and now” is not all there is to consider.

McKenzie is very small in size, and this is going to be commented on time and time again throughout his career. It is something that has never bothered Mckenzie himself, but with that says, the 21-year old knows it could  be a disadvantage in many matches, and there was no denying that in the weekends 26-13 loss to the Highlanders.

McKenzie had much ball in hand but struggled to do anything of note against the Highlanders, but he showed just as much bravery as ever.

But, the stats back it up, McKenzie has not slotted any points for the Chiefs since the clash against the Hurricanes two weeks ago. Continue reading McKenzie’s Enoyable Time At Chiefs Makes Decision To Stay Easier

22,000 Ready To Rock At FMG Stadium For Local Derby

Everyone loves a local New Zealand derby, and for the winner of the Chiefs vs Highlanders clash tonight, there is a big statement to make by doing so.

With three close losses so far this season, the Highlanders are yet to convince that they are capable of claiming back-to-back Super Rugby titles despite having arguably the strongest line up on paper to do so.

The return of Waisake Naholo will complete the Highlanders back line, and with the likes of Malakai Fekitoa, Ben Smith, and Patrick Osborne alongside, the backs have the power to steamroll their way through the Chiefs defense, but they can only do this with plenty of ball in hand.

Kicking possession to the Chiefs back three should result in the Chiefs getting good go forward.

The only way the Highlanders can win this game is to throw everything they have at the Chiefs with ball in hand, take risks, and kick the all important penalty goals that will come a plenty. Continue reading 22,000 Ready To Rock At FMG Stadium For Local Derby

Chiefs Win Historic Jaguares Encounter 30-26 In Thriller

Brad Weber has scored what will go down as a famous try to hand the Chiefs a win over the Jaguares 30-26 in a thrilling finish.

A full house and expectant home crowd packed into Estadio Jose in Bruenos Aires for the Jaguares historic first home game in Super Rugby, and the new side packed full of regular Pumas nearly pulled off something special.

Leading at the break, the Jaguares appeared to have just fallen short, before a brilliant breakaway try with three minutes remaining put the hosts in front.

But a try at the death by Brad Weber, following by a perfect kick from Damian McKenzie on the touch line, snatched victory for the Chiefs, making Weber a hero, and providing a thrilling finish to one of the best matches in Super Rugby history.

Weber can pay a lot of his historic moment to Aaron Cruden, showing all his class as an All Black regular, helping to setup the try, and creating space for Weber to run into.

The full story:

Argentine rugby is known for its power at scrum time, so perhaps it was fate that the first try the Jaguares would score at home in Argentina came from this. Jaguares captain Augistin Creevy getting the honours as the first to score a try for the club playing at home.

A handling error after the kick off saw the Jaguares early lead be quickly snatched away, quick hands by the Chiefs backline saw winger Sam MicNicol score his debut try in Super Rugby in the corner.

Damian McKenzie added a fourth try in as many matches to increase the Chiefs lead after the Jaguares coughed up possession near their own try line for the second time.

Constant penalties began to mount against the Chiefs as the Jaguares continued to play their expansive, fast-flowing, and brave style, refusing to kick possession away. All Black halfback and experienced Chiefs player Tawera Kerr-Barlow was sent to the sin bin for playing the ball on the ground and illegally taking possession away from the Jaguares.

Nicolas Sanchez’s boot saw the Jaguares kick their way back into the lead with the score 14-13 at half time.

With Aaron Cruden failing to convert on his chances in the first half, Damian McKenzie was given the kicking duties, and continued his rich vain of form with the boot to kick the Chiefs back into the lead.

The dominance that the Jaguares had in the scrum fell away, and when the handling errors continued, Chiefs midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown created a counter attack, and James Lowe was there to clutch the pass and score in the corner.

The Jaguares kept their faith in an expansive style of rugby, often attempting to run the ball out of their own goal line.

After television replays showed Martin Landojo had touched the ball down, the Jaguars were right back in the match, and it was their daring brand of rugby that had been on the script all night that turned the match on its head again.

From deep in their own half, and helped by weak tackles from Chiefs defenders, Martias Moroni raced away to score, and put the Jaguares into the lead.

With precious time remaining, the Chiefs were awarded a scrum, and after a successful execution, Aaron Cruden found space and connected with Brad Weber to score a try that put the Chiefs back in front, but only by two points.

Damian McKenzie converted from out wide, giving the Chiefs a 30-26 lead, and the win.

Score Centre

Jaguares 26

(Augistin Creevy, Martin Landojo, Martias Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez 3 pen, 1 con)

Chiefs 30

(Sam McNicol, James Lowe, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie 1 try, 1 pen, 2 con, Aaron Cruden 1 pen)

Chiefs Flanker Mitchell Karpik Sidelined With ACL Injury

The Chiefs have suffered another season-ending injury before competition even begins, this time promising openside flanker Mitch Karpik.

As reported on The Real Michael Pulman last Friday, Karpik was seen on crutches following the 17-12 victory over the Waratahs in a trial game.

Following scans, Karpik ruptured the ACL in his left knee, the incident occurring when the 20-year old was involved in contact during Friday’s game. Karpik’s expected recovery time is 6-9 months, ruling him out of Super Rugby in 2016.

Karpik says he is really disappointed but sees the injury as a bump in the road. With time to focus on his University studies, Karpik said he will continue to cheer on the Chiefs from the sidelines.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie is also bitterly disappointed for Karpik after being impressed by what the young openside flanker had to offer during the trial match where the injury occurred.

“His debut in Friday’s game was impressive and further reinforced the hugely promising future he has ahead of him,” Rennie said.

Karpik will undergo surgery in the near future.

Chiefs Suffer Two More Injuries In Trial Match

Despite winning their opening practice match ahead of Super Rugby’s pre season, the Chiefs have added another two casualties to the injury ward in the process.

The Chiefs claimed a sloppy 17-12 win over the Waratahs at Rotorua’s International Stadium, but it is at the cost of one important cog in the forward pack and a fresh new up and comer.

No 8 Maama Vaipulu has suffered an injury to his right shoulder, and after being taken from the field, had in a sling on the sidelines.

Openside flanker Mitchell Karpik injured his left knee and was on crutches after the match.

Prop Nepo Laulala and flanker Dominic Bird have already been ruled out of Super Rugby with separate injuries, and the match fitness of Stephen Donald is also in question as he continues to suffer a niggling groin injury.



Laulala and Bird suffer serious injuries during Chiefs training

Two high profile Chiefs players have succumbed to injury during pre season training.

Nepo Laulala will be out of rugby for 12 months following a substantial knee injury at training.

Laulala tore three ligaments in his right knee, the ACL, PCL, and MCL during a team training on Friday last week. The prop will undergo reconstructive surgery with an expected recovery time of 12-months.

The news gets even worse for the Chiefs.

Chiefs lock and fellow big signing Dominic Bird has been ruled out for the first 10 weeks of the season after fracturing his right foot.

More to come.

Damian McKenzie fit and ready to smile again

Damian McKenzie is back in Hamilton and ready to begin what will be an important season, but like always, he will do it with a smile.

After a short holiday with friends and family, McKenzie has begun his second season in Super Rugby at the Chiefs, and his game has already come on leaps and bounds.

For McKenzie himself, you get the feeling that it will never be about what other people say, but more about what the he believes.

McKenzie believes in himself – and that is his greatest asset.

In many ways, McKenzie is the exact opposite of what you’d imagine.

Quietly enthusiastic, good looking, and a freakishly good skill set that could be world-class, McKenzie has all the makings to be one of the most exciting rugby players of this generation.

Last year, McKenzie was the apprentice, but some would say that in 2016 he is ready to go to the next level.

But McKenzie can only reach that level if given a long-term chance.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says that McKenzie is ready to kick on after an impressive ending to 2015 but hasn’t hinted at the possibility of being first starter on game day.

“If you look at Damian, he learnt a hell of a lot from last season, continued that form on in ITM Cup, and we hope he will step up even further,” Rennie said.

Some would say that McKenzie is at risk of playing second fiddle to returning All Black first five Aaron Cruden throughout the Super Rugby season in 2016.

McKenzie’s ability to have an impact playing at fullback is clear, but many rugby critics remain sceptical.

Though McKenzie possesses surprising strength and blistering pace, qualities suited to a fullback, all evidence so far has shown that he has much more of an impact on a game when playing at first five.

McKenzie’s all round game was much improved during ITM Cup rugby with the Mooloos and all signs point to that trend continuing with the Chiefs.

The youngster wont have it easy in 2016 with two former All Blacks playing in his position, but like always, McKenzie will quietly go about his own game.

The shuffling and rotation of the first fives won’t continue in 2016 so McKenzie is in the best position to impress again.

EXCLUSIVE: Bryn Gatland heading to Blues development

Bryn Gatland is set to head up the Waikato Expressway and ply his trade at a developmental level for the Blues.

The Real Michael Pulman has learnt that Gatland will be a part of the Blues development side during the 2016 Super Rugby season, returning to the city of sails where he previously played for a Blues Schools side back in 2013.

Gatland has spent the last couple of years in the Waikato and was a big stand out for Old Boys in this years Hamilton club season.

Gatland debuted for the Mooloos at ITM Cup level in 2015 but says the move to Auckland is best for his career going forward.

The 20-year old is the son of kiwi-born Welsh international coach Warren Gatland.