Kiwi Pope Unnerved by McGurk and Hook’s Newfound Courtesy

RTE’s New Zealand rugby analyst Brent Pope has declared himself “weirded out” by the sudden increase in respect and courtesy he has received from presenter Tom McGurk and fellow analyst George Hook.

In a typical scene, McGurk and Hook talk among themselves while Pope (far right) laughs painfully at his ritual humiliation.

In a typical scene, McGurk and Hook talk among themselves while Pope (far right) laughs painfully at his ritual humiliation.

Traditionally sidelined despite his twelve years at RTE, Brent Pope had long resigned himself to attempting to convey a couple of nuggets of rugby wisdom to the Irish people in between Hook’s latest over-the-top rant and McGurk’s painfully needy attempts to prove himself an adequate sparring partner for the pompous Hook.

Pope seemed unaware that NZ out-half Dan Carter had said the All-Blacks were watching footage of Pope’s treatment in order to fire them up for next week’s game against Ireland.

“We’re going to do it for Popey,” said Carter passionately, while his gigantic teammates nodded with menacing conviction behind him. “Those rude Irish closet homosexuals McGurk and Hook have treated him like dirt for the last time. It tears our guts out to see a proud former All-Black having to tolerate this kind if treatment. Next week, we’re going to break the 200-point barrier, and then dedicate the win to Popey!”

The All-Black squad roared defiantly and began an impromptu haka that made the walls shake.

Pope's insightful analyses are usually drowned out by Hook and McGurk's nonsense.

Pope's insightful analyses are usually drowned out by Hook and McGurk's nonsense.

Pope, who was unaware of this interview, said he spent the last five minutes of Ireland’s dour 20-10 victory over Samoa working out how he could sum up his knowledgeable and insightful analysis in the five words he would get before McGurk and Hook interrupted him. However, he was astonished to find that, instead of cutting across him as usual, both men actually showed tremendous politeness in letting him speak a full sentence.

“I’d just boiled it down to: ‘Irish scrum lineout possession needed,’ and then paused waiting for the inevitable interruption,” said Pope after the game to an attentive group of Irish reporters who were carefully noting down every word he said.

“Imagine my shock when Tom McGurk leaned forward with an expression of great interest and said, ‘Please continue, Brent.’”

Pope frowned and continued hesitantly, “I just started to feel that something wasn’t quite right.”

The All-Blacks fire themselves up while looking at Hook and McGurk interrupt Pope yet again.

The All-Blacks fire themselves up while looking at Hook and McGurk interrupt Pope yet again.

Pope then explained, looking warily from McGurk to Hook to see what the joke was, that he felt Mike Ross should come in as tight-head to shore up the scrum and that Devin Toner should keep his place at lock to win ball in the lineout.

Rather than scoffing at Pope’s perpetual belief in a rational approach to team management, George Hook nodded in appreciation of Pope’s wisdom and asked deferentially, “Who d’you think Kidney should pick at out-half for next week against the All-Blacks, Brent?”

“Well, that just sent a shiver right down my spine,” said Pope, shivering at the memory. “I mean, normally George would just jump in and shout something like, ‘Popey, you know as much about rugby as a well-boiled head of cabbage,’ and then the two of them would be off again.”

“It was like Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” he said to the assembled room of studious reporters, in which the only sounds other than his voice were the whirr of tape recorders and the soft scratchings of pencil on paper.

Cautiously, Pope explained with great tact that he didn’t think Ireland had much chance against NZ anyway, so Kidney should play Sexton in order to give him valuable experience against the best.

Hook restrains his typically over-the-top posturing.

Hook restrains his typically over-the-top posturing.

“I thought to myself that that had to provoke a reaction from George. He surely couldn’t let a comment like that go without jumping in with the outraged bellow of a wounded cow being molested by a vet.”

“Nobody else is allowed to predict an Irish defeat when George is around; nobody else does it with his passionate desire to see Ireland lose and confirm his direst prophecies about the state of the nation.”

“But instead he just nodded and said, “I think Popey is right,’” said Pope in disbelief.

“That’s when I knew something was really wrong, and I had to get out of there.”

Pope leaped from his chair and ran for the exit, while Hook and McGurk desperately tried to call him back. “God, I don’t know what’s going on,” said Pope fearfully before looking around at the roomful of silent, waiting journalists. “Wait, why are you all… oh God, you’re in on it too!”

Pope dashed for the door, slamming two reporters out of the way before running down the street shouting, “They’re here! They’re already here! It’s too late!”

From their team hotel in Scotland, the All-Black team watched grimly and smashed their fists into the palms of their hands. “Hold on. Popey, we’re coming for you,” said Sonny Bill Williams.

The All-Blacks nodded in unison with fierce determination.

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