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The weekly New Zealand sport newsletter that watches rugby on ambient game sounds only (yellow button!).

Auckland stadium power rankings

Auckland's stadiums are like Stuff commenters - there are too many of them, and they've all got something wrong with them.

This week's Auckland venue development strategy, handily summarised at, confirmed that as ever, the sticking points are Eden Park, Mount Smart and Albany Stadium. There's an argument for knocking at least two out of three over and starting again.    

A waterfront rugby / league/ football / concerts stadium must happen, with a retractable roof and meaningful connection with the CBD. To help push things along, behold the Sport Review Auckland stadium power rankings: 

#5 - Eden Park 
What's it good for? Rugby, and history. It was fantastic for RWC 2011, but that relied on temporary seating being put in. The number two ground is lovely for second tier cricket, with the old stand and the service station over Sandringham Road to aim at. 
What's wrong with it: It's basically the world's largest Back Yard Cricket venue, and no-one turns up for Test matches despite best efforts to put on a show. It's too far out of town and your transport options are highly variable. Residents permanently terrified of Otago students vomiting on the Q7. No concerts allowed. 
Personal high point: Cricket World Cup 2015 v Australia and the semi final, Waikato winning the Ranfurly Shield in 1993. 

#4 equal - Albany Stadium
What's it good for? Has potential but needs lots of work. Why not embrace the Shore's culture and make it Stadium South Africa, home base for visiting Super Rugby teams, with Braai?  
What's wrong with it: Frustratingly far away from the bus station. Could be an ideal NZ Football venue and high performance set up but needs to get a pro team of its own, which is a can of worms bigger than Dune.
Personal high point: I saw the Kingz there once. 

#4 equal - Mount Smart
What's it good for? Spiritual home of the Warriors, in spite of itself. Close-ish to public transport if you're up for a bit of a walk or are into industrial areas.
What's wrong with it: Tired, needs a lot of fixing up. Despite having roots in South Auckland, the owners are keen as beans to move into town. Where Carlaw Park was. Ahem. 
Personal high point: Paul McCartney last year, Big Day Out '94. 

#3 - America's Cup village 
What's it good for? Drinking beer beside the Waitemata water while watching yachts. Simple pleasures. It's right beside the Viaduct where it all started, and takes advantage of all the development since.  
What's wrong with it? Nothing so far - there's a lot to do, but it's going to be in Auckland, not Italy, which is a great start. 
Personal high point: When we retain it.  

#2 - Vector Area 
What's it good for? It's downtown, still pretty modern and great for netball, basketball and concerts.
What's wrong with it? The trains go straight past it, meaning an awkward walk back from Britomart. Would be the ideal location for a waterfront stadium. 
Personal high point: Luckily, courtside for the Breakers one time, Pixies Dolittle tour in '10. 

#1 - Western Springs, cricket venue 
What's it good for? The boutique ground to rule them all. OK,  it doesn't technically exist, but if we can build a venue that can handle 5 or 45k fans just as easily, with lights, green top pitch, craft beer and some kind of artisan meat snacks that can still handle big summer concerts, it's going to be an absolute winner. Victoria Park would be even better but it's hard to see this flying.   
What's wrong with it: Residents permanently terrified of Guns n Roses showing up in speedway cars to poo on their begonias.  
Personal high point: U2's Love Comes To Town show in 1989, it was ace. 
Thanks for reading - Richard

The week's best NZ sport writing

Auckland waterfront stadiums from Dylan Cleaver (just build it) and Patrick Gower (just bloody build it). It's great to see joined up thinking on this issue, and the waterfront stadium being put back on the menu. [NZ Herald, Newshub] 

Sonny Bill is near the top of any 'most interesting All Black' list, 'cos people get so worked up over him, but it's clear he couldn't care less what you think, and is very happy doing things his way. Alex Braae braves an All Blacks press call to pick his brains. [The Spinoff]

Dana Johannsen profiles the White Ferns' Amy Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu, who are superstars and a couple, and looks at NZC's improving support for the womens' game. [] 

Ish Sodhi got a late call up to the IPL, made a big impression on the field, and got to spend quality time with Shane Warne. It's better than it sounds. [NZ Herald] 
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Video nasty

FC Magdeburg fans help their team snap a five game scoreless run. 

Long read

Star Wars plans, ranked. [The Ringer] 

Selected weekend fixtures

  • Crusaders v Hurricanes at 7.35pm tonight in the super rugby, and the Chiefs host the giant killing Waratahs at the same time tomorrow night, all on SKY
  • It's finals week in the IPL, with Kane's Sunrisers playing Kolkata at 1.30am on Sunday with the winner playing Chennai at 1.30am on Monday, all on SKY
  • The NBA playoffs are down to the wire - the Rockets and Warriors are tied 2-2 and play today and Sunday at 1pm, while the Celtics lead the Cavaliers 3-2 and need one win to go through. They play Saturday and Monday at 12.30pm, all on SKY and League Pass
  • Fake Ronaldo's Real Madrid take on plucky Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League Final on Sunday morning at 6.45am, it's on BeIN and SKY

Bring back the gif 

When you walk into a dressing room and there's Deep Heat happening. 
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