Harry Hindenberg: Dear Steve Hansen

*Mar 16 - 00:05*

Acclaimed Papakura lawyer Harry Hindenberg is on the case

Dear Mr Hansen

I represent Joey Smythe, from Room 12 in Everglade Primary School.

Because little Joey is only eight years old, I have been asked by his parents to take his case.

My client alleges that the manner in which you and your fellow selectors have chosen the All Blacks team amounts to a breach of my client’s rights. It is alleged that the selection process was flawed, in that it failed to take my client into consideration. It is little Joey’s contention that if you had chosen the squad on its merits and not simply played favourites, the All Blacks team to play against Samoa this coming weekend would look very different.

My client acknowledges, of course, that as coach of the All Blacks you ought to have the final say when it comes to who plays for the national team. However, your decision must be based on a fair and proper assessment of all the players available for selection. My client was at all times ready, willing and able to play for the national team, but he was not properly considered for selection.

Joey Smythe is an accomplished rugby player, and is now in his first full season of tackle rugby. He has scored two tries so far this season, and won Player of the Day three weekends ago. He is fit and healthy, although he did have to go off during the last game as a result of a bump on the leg. However, he was able to return to the field once he had stopped crying.

At 26 kilograms Joey is perhaps a little on the light side to be an international rugby player; but not every person to put on the black jersey has been a hulking monster. Surely you must remember the wiry Terry Wright, or the diminutive Grant Batty.

It is my client’s contention that you failed to take his merits as a rugby player into consideration. He can pass the ball quite well for an eight year old, and his tackling is also quite good. He is one of the better defenders in his team. Joey doesn’t yet have a sidestep, and sometimes he gets confused about the direction the tryline is in, but I have no doubt that he would flourish under the guidance of a top international rugby coach.

I am instructed by my client that neither you nor any of your selectors have taken the time to see Joey play. No-one in Joey’s club has been able to confirm seeing the All Black selectors on the sidelines during any of his team’s games. Had the selectors attended Joey’s games and determined that he was not yet ready for the All Blacks, I would not now be writing this letter. But the fact of the matter is that you made no such determination. You left Joey out of the team without for a moment considering his abilities as a player.

In short, my client has been treated unfairly, and he demands redress.

Whenever anyone asks Joey what he wants most of all in the world, he says he wants to be an All Black. Joey’s parents love him very much, and cannot bear to see him so heartbroken. Must he wait till he is nine years old, or even ten, before he dons the black jersey?

Joey’s parents are also obscenely rich, and they are used to getting what they want. They want their son to be happy, and they cannot bear to think that he did not get something just handed to him. They will do whatever it takes to get justice for their boy.

Mr Hansen, if you do not reconsider your decision not to select Joey for the All Blacks, we will seek an injunction at the High Court preventing the team from playing this weekend.

Accordingly, please immediately confirm that Joey will be selected to play against Samoa, and that he will be considered for selection in the World Cup squad. Also, Joey would quite like some of that Adidas gear all the top players get, and would it be possible to get a shirt autographed by Richie McCaw?

You have 48 hours to comply with this demand. Legal papers have already been drafted, and I will file these if I do not receive a satisfactory response to my client’s demand.

Also, while I think of it, please send some of those new Adidas boots the players all get. Joey is a size three. And a kit-bag, if possible. Also, are there any drink bottles? And do the players get an X-Box? Joey would very much like an X-Box, but his mother says he has to pay for it himself out of his pocket-money. Could you arrange one for him?

And how about free rugby tickets? What can you do for us? I am thinking of seeing some of the World Cup games in England at the end of the year, but the semifinals and finals tickets are ruinously expensive. If you could arrange tickets for myself and my wife, I feel sure that at least some of the humiliation and emotional stress suffered by my client would be eased.

I should add in closing that my client will not hesitate to go to the media if this monstrous injustice is not immediately rectified. I have a contact at Mana News, and this is just the sort of human interest story they would love to tackle. You have been warned.

Yours sincerely

Harry Hindenberg
Barrister and Solicitor

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