Another of Pita’s preposterous separatist propositions is punted out of play

Oh, look - they've got borders.

The Maori Party’s politically poisonous separatist agenda and Alf’s strong suspicion the party aspires to split Maoridom from the rest of the country, has been given expression yet again.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is calling on the New Zealand Rugby Union to send the Maori team to the 2015 World Cup.

So which country would the Maori team be representing, then?

Pita Sharples’ view overshadowed the union’s announcement at a parliamentary luncheon celebrating 100 years of Maori rugby that New Zealand Maori would return to the field this year to play Ireland and England in Rotorua and Napier.

The team did not play last year because the NZRU said worsening economic conditions meant it had to cull fixtures for the Maori, Black Ferns and Heartland XV. The cuts saved $1 million but were criticised by ex-players.

Sharples said the team should be given the opportunity to earn a place at the tournament.

He likened Maori (but not with a straight face, surely) to Scotland, Wales and England, which are part of a larger union but compete individually every four years.

“So it is time now to make the case and to take it to the IRB – that the Maori All Blacks be a team that participates in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.”

This bugger has a doctorate, which implies he has a bit more brainpower than a bloke like Alf who has no doctorate.

But Sharples’ studies plainly had nothing much to do with British history, geography or politics.

Alf does not intend instructing him fully here. Suffice to say (thanks to Wikipedia) –

Home Nations is a collective term used to refer to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (which together form the United Kingdom). The term home countries, not to be confused with the “home counties”, is also sometimes used. Both terms are most common in sporting contexts.

In some sports, (such as rugby union and hockey), a single team called Ireland competes, representing the whole island of Ireland, and drawing players from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (which is a separate country from the UK).

The term “Home Nations” is often used to include Ireland in these cases.

And –

‘Home Nations’ is often used in reference to sporting events in which each country competes separately, such as rugby union’s Six Nations Championship and the now defunct British Home Championship in association football.

Let’s reiterate the bit about each country competing separately.

Sharples might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to working out why different teams from the United Kingdom turn up at the World Cup.

But Alf gives him an A-plus for gall (and high marks, too, for being an agitating pain-in-the-arse).

Alf now invites him to take us to the border between Maoridom and the rest of New Zealand (to show us which bit will be represented by the All Blacks and which bit by the Maori All Blacks)?

What is the capital city of the country for which the Maori All Blacks will be playing?

Who is its prime minister?

Those questions expose the proposition as preposterous and it didn’t take much brainpower – or doctorates – for the NZRFU to kick it into touch.

NZRU chairman Jock Hobbs said New Zealand wouldn’t be sending two teams to any World Cup.

“Scotland, Wales and England, they perform there as separate countries but it doesn’t also involve a United Kingdom country or a Great Britain side or the Lions. It’s a one-team, one-country competition and I think the IRB are unlikely to have a different view or change it.”

One team, one country.

And one team of All Blacks representing us all.

Alf likes that concept.

It’s a pity Pita prefers a separatist approach.

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