Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

I’m over hosting the Games

August 3rd, 2014 at 10:58 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A New Zealand bid to host a future Commonwealth Games may not centre on one city.

That’s because our cities are probably not big enough to cope.

New Zealand Olympic Committee president Mike Stanley this week told the Sunday Star-Times he was ”absolutely sure” that the country would host another Games – for the fourth time in the event’s varied history since inception in 1930.

I’m not so sure.

A successful bid would take close to a decade between launching and hosting, Stanley said, making 2026 the earliest New Zealand could play host – 36 years after Auckland was our last host city.

I love watching the games, but I think hosting them just costs too much. The costs almost always blow out.

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RIP Kevin Skinner

July 22nd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Legendary All Blacks prop Kevin Skinner has died in Auckland, aged 86.

Skinner died over the weekend, a New Zealand Rugby spokesman confirmed today.

He played 20 tests and 63 games all told for the All Blacks during an international career that spanned 1949 to 1956.

He was a hard-nosed, durable and tough prop who had his finest moments in the 1956 series against South Africa when he came out of retirement for the last two tests and was credited with the being the man who regained the physical edge for the All Blacks.

The All Blacks won the second test 17-10 in Christchurch and the decider 11-5 in Auckland.

Skinner was also renowned for his boxing prowess, and was the 1947 New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion.

His recall for the 3rd test in 1956 was an act of genius. The South African front row were basically thugs, so we decided to play their game. They would grab testicles of the All Blacks and the like.

Skinner floored Koch with a right hook that could be clearly heard far away. I know one of the doctors who was on duty at the local hospital and Koch was still unconscious when he arrived. How Skinner wasn’t sent out, let alone even penalised I don’t know. But it worked – the South Africans stopped playing dirty.

Skinner is reputed to be the most hated All Black in South Africa. That would be a worthy epitaph for his gravestone!

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We should pull out like the Aussies

July 21st, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The lack of clarity from holders Oracle Team USA around the next America’s Cup looks to have cost organisers its challenger of record.

Hamilton Island Yacht Club today advised America’s Cup organisers of their intention to withdraw Team Australia from the 35th America’s Cup.

A statement from the syndicate said it was proving too difficult for a start-up commercial team to put a challenge together when no dates or venue have been confirmed for the event.

“The Challenge was initiated with a view to negotiating a format for the 35th America’s Cup that was affordable and put the emphasis back on sailing skills,” the statement read.

“Ultimately our estimate of the costs of competing were well beyond our initial expectation and our ability to make the formula of our investment and other commercial support add up.”

We should do the same. Oracle have screwed the scrum with a set of rules that favour them, and the next Cup will be (even more than normal) about who has the most money, not the best sailors.

In a competitors meeting held in Los Angeles last weekend, several teams expressed their reservations over the two remaining venue options – San Diego and Bermuda – and emphasised the a lack of certainly around dates and venue was hampering efforts to secure funding.

All challengers should pull out. That would force Oracle to agree to rule changes.

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said he was disappointed to see the Australian syndicate pull out but said the Kiwi team were on track.

“We have the class rule and the design team is well into its programme; the sailing team continues to compete successfully overseas, with great recent results by Dean Barker and Glenn Ashby in the A class cats worlds and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke still dominating the 49er scene,” said Dalton.

“In addition, we have never been in better shape with potential sponsors.”

Good. No more taxpayer money then.

 

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Germany wins

July 14th, 2014 at 9:47 am by David Farrar

A great goal with a few minutes to go in extra time.

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Anyone want to bet against Germany winning

July 10th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I tipped Germany to win the World Cup a few weeks ago, and their 7-1 killing of Brazil suggests they may well do that. It is hard to comprehend how rare a 7-1 result is in a World Cup semi-final – let alone against Brazil. This is like the All Blacks losing 49-5 in a World Cup match.

They’re up against Argentina, so Latin America will be behind them no doubt.

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Vincent’s statement

July 2nd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Have to give full marks to Lou Vincent for his statement:

My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat.

I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money through fixing.

I have lived with this dark secret for many years, but just months ago I reached the point where I decided I had to come forward and tell the truth.

It’s a truth that has rightly caused uproar and controversy in New Zealand and around the world.

I have shamed my country. I have shamed my sport. I have shamed those close to me. For that I am not proud.

I lost faith in myself and the game. I abused the game I love. I had to put things right.
Speaking out. Exposing the truth. Laying bare the things I have done wrong is the only way I can find to begin to put things right.

The time has come for me to now face them like a man and accept the consequences, whatever they may be. …

Today is the day I offer my deepest apologies to the public and the cricketing world, to the loyal fans, to the dedicated coaches, staff and all players past and present. …

It is entirely my fault that I will never be able to stand in front of a game again. It is entirely my fault that I will not be able to apply my skills in a positive way to help future cricketers.

But it is entirely possible that I can use this moment to convince others not to be tempted by wrongdoing. To do the right thing for themselves, for their families and friends, and for the sport they love.

I accept my punishment and I thank you for [reading] my statement.

He has been banned for life. Hopefully that sends out a signal.

Will others own up to their part?

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Yay – no further taxpayer funding for America’s Cup this year

June 25th, 2014 at 4:20 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Team New Zealand has released a statement this afternoon confirming it will challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.

Chairman Keith Turner said the team had secured sufficient private funding and sponsorship to be able to commit to a challenge without having to ask for Government funding.

Excellent, Go Team New Zealand. But I still think the rules are rigged even more than normal, so it will be hard. I’m not convinced the taxpayer should invest next year either, but worth looking at the economic case.

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Steve Braunias’ World Cup Diary

June 20th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Metro is running a compilation of thoughts on the Football World Cup. Day 7 includes me:

I’m backing Germany to win the World Cup. It’s only fair as they get so grumpy having to work hard, paying tax, to fund the lazy Greeks and Spanish, so winning the World Cup would cheer them up a lot.

Of course a cheerful German is still much more grumpy than a pissed-off Kiwi, but just like poverty, it’s all relative.

I’m hoping Sami Khedira will score the winning goal for Germany in the final, as it will lead to celebrations throughout the Muslim world, and stop the civil war in Iraq.

Also it would means lots of close-ups of Lena Gercke, who is one of the smarter wags.

Also Martyn Bradbury:

Who d’you think will win the World Cup?

My brain says Brazil, my heart screams Tyrion Lannister.

Seen any heroes or villains so far?

Why are the commentary team on TVNZ so obvious and dull in their commentary?

Is football a socialist paradigm, a worker’s collective, or a capitalist model, which rewards individual excellence?

It’s an opiate for the masses that distracts them from solidarity against hegemonic power structures ruled over by a corrupt sports bureaucracy who make drug cartels look civic-minded.

For once I agree with Martyn.

And the Ruminator:

Who d’you think will win the World Cup?

Germany is looking pretty good.

Have you seen any heroes or villains ?

Wayne Rooney is an ugly bloke, isn’t he.

Is football a socialist paradigm, a worker’s collective, or a capitalist model, which rewards individual excellence?

Football is the perfect capitalist model. In theory, every team could win it, couldn’t they? Oh my god! Costa Rica beat Uruguay! Goodness! Costa Rica could go all the way!

That’s football giving false hope to the proletariat. Give them a slice of glory and watch them gobble it up and be satisfied.

But then by the end of the tournament, the elites (Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Argentina) will rise to the top and take it away. Because screw the poor. Screw them. It’s as if Milton Friedman designed the tournament.

It would be far better if Milton had designed it.

And Whale:

Is there a World Cup on? Football? I’m too busy playing a combination of House of Cards and Game of Thrones in the truly best game there is on this planet…politics.

Politics is a fun blood sport!

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The Government should say no to more money for Team NZ

June 14th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Team New Zealand’s plea for poverty is wearing thin with the Government.

With their bridging finance fast running out Grant Dalton yesterday reiterated the team’s dire financial position, warning without an immediate cash injection from the Government the syndicate would be “gone by the end of the month”.

“If we go, there ain’t no coming back. The start-up price of a team from scratch is so astronomical that it will never happen in this country.”

Sadly, I say if the team folds, then the team folds.

I recall the glory days of the America’s Cup. The excitement when Australia won it. The excitement when NZ challenged and lost, and lost again. And then that magical day when we won it and the country celebrated more than when the All Blacks win. And the successful defence also.

There can be both an economic and social benefit in having the Government assist syndicates to compete in major sporting contests. I’m not someone who says support in the past has been wrong.

But the glory days of the Cup are behind us. It doesn’t excite, inspire and unite as it once did. And most of all the latest rules from Oracle have screwed the scrum – it isn’t a fair contest.

Taxpayers have already put in $5 million. That is more than enough. If the syndicate can’t survive without more cash from taxpayers, then so be it. It would be sad, but the worry is that the more we put in, the the more we would feel obliged to keep putting in – throwing good money after bad.

But Team NZ’s rather precarious position has been met with a shrug from the Minister of Economic Development, Steven Joyce. While sympathetic to the team’s plight, Joyce believes if sponsors aren’t yet willing to take the risk, then neither should the taxpayer.

Good.

He indicated the Government would consider giving a further $2 million.

“My view is if the sponsors are going to join in then at least put some money on the table now so we all know there are committed commercial sponsors for an America’s Cup challenge,” he said.

“Taxpayers have already put $5 million on the table, we’re prepared to give more but this cannot be a government-funded challenge. This must be a private sector-funded challenge.”

Why not a loan, if it is bridging finance?

I suspect the new rules by Oracle will make it hard to get private sponsors. If so, then we won’t be there but we can cheer on Australia. If Australia win, then we can look to challenge them the time after in a fair ccontest.

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Another call to boycott the America’s Cup

June 9th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Let’s start a replacement America’s Cup.

A proper one, with one set of rules for everyone and genuine competition. Not some heavily-rigged pretence at sport which is actually a play for power and money. That’s what Oracle Team USA served up with their protocol for the 35th America’s Cup this week.

This is a jack-up so obvious it should be called the Jack Cup. This went beyond the usual America’s Cup defender giving themselves an advantage. This is the US Army, armed with nukes, drones and heat-seeking missiles versus Spongebob Squarepants waving a sharp teaspoon. This is ensuring retention of the Cup under the banner of taking sailing to the masses and making it more commercial. Translation: more of everything for Oracle.

Even at his worst, Alinghi billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli wasn’t this bad in 2007. Oh, he had plans to race in the challenger series, which gives the defender the knowledge they need to arm their boat to repel all rivals and was also perceived to control Cup officials and could throw challengers out of the regatta.

But his regatta in Valencia saw challengers benefit from the profits – Emirates Team NZ trousered 7 million ($12.2 million). Oracle’s plans include no such largesse for anyone else. They take the lot.

Team NZ should announce that the rules are unacceptable and they will not compete, if they are not changed.

Further the NZ Government should announce they will not give one further dollar to a challenge, if these are the rules. It would be throwing good money away.

If you’re doubting the Antipodes could host an America’s Cup clone, don’t. A major sponsor (the longest continuous sponsorship in sport), Louis Vuitton, are now sundered from the event and are far more philosophically inclined to partner Team NZ than Oracle.

They did in 2009-2010, combining to stage an AC-style event in Auckland while the Cup was going through its interminable court ordeal.

A new event would be cheaper, fairer and more accessible. It could be staged in Australia or New Zealand, or even both, and would eventually grow to be its own event, maybe even overshadowing the Cup which could stand proudly in the Golden Gate Yacht Club trophy cabinet – forgotten and uncontested.

That’s a worthwhile idea. Form a new cup and with permanent fair rules.

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Team NZ should not turn up

June 6th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Dana Johannsen writes:

Team New Zealand should not enter the next America’s Cup.

Considering the Kiwi syndicate’s long association with the event, and how agonisingly close Dean Barker and his crew got to snatching the Auld Mug away from Oracle last September, that is not an easy statement to make. But scouring the 78-page document released yesterday outlining the rules for the next America’s Cup, it is difficult to find a compelling reason for Emirates Team NZ to be involved.

The terms imposed by defenders Oracle Team USA are among the most self-serving rules that have been tabled in the 163-year history of the event. Team NZ, and the other potential challengers should not play any part in it.

Hear, hear.

Those that do make it through to the playoffs will have to ensure they design a boat to meet the conditions of two potentially very different venues, with the timing of the America’s Cup qualifiers suggesting a Southern Hemisphere venue, while the playoffs and Cup match will be held at a yet-to-be-determined venue in the US or Bermuda.

The defenders, meanwhile, have the luxury of being able to build and test two boats, insuring them against a catastrophic failure. How this rule got sign-off from the challenger of record is a mystery. Iain Murray, who heads Team Australia, the challenger of record, admitted there was a lot of “arguing” over this particular clause but hasn’t offered any explanation as to how Oracle won the argument.

Only allowing the defender a second boat is outrageous.

Given the defenders are quite comfortable to impose such blatantly self-serving rules, the challengers should leave Oracle to sail their two catamarans against themselves. 

Yep. The challengers have the power if they are united.  Team NZ should lead the way and say they won’t be there unless the rules change.

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The case against Cairns

May 21st, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Chris Cairns continues to protest his innocence amid more evidence against him being disclosed, this time from Lou Vincent’s ex-wife, alleging he was a cricket match-fixing ringleader.

Cairns’ name was publicly linked with sworn evidence to International Cricket Council investigators for the first time today, as the former New Zealand allrounder issued a second statement in a 12-hour period: ”I totally reject the allegations against me and I will prove this.”

The latest leaked evidence is a sworn 10-page document from Elly Riley, Vincent’s ex-wife, that she provided to anti-corruption (ACSU) investigators last October. It follows leaks in the past week of former test opener Vincent’s explosive 42-page testimony, and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum’s signed three-page statement, both of which are understood to name Cairns as a fixing ringleader.

Riley’s evidence, reported by One News tonight, was that the fixing began at the Indian Cricket League in 2008, and that Vincent told her: ”Chris was going to pay him US$50,000 (NZ$58,000) a game for the fixing.”

I feel very sorry for Lance Cairns, who was one of my cricketing heroes growing up. His one handed six off Dennis Lillie remains etched in my memory. He will be torn between love for his son and love for his game.

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McCullum makes 300

February 18th, 2014 at 11:48 am by David Farrar

In a five hour working group meeting on e-voting but actually mainly been following the cricket online. Brendon McCullum has just made his 300 (302), beating Martin Crowe’s 299,which gives him the NZ test batting record. A superb display from McCullum, and from the Black Caps generally. Has been a great summer of cricket.

UPDATE: And now out on 302. Thank God it was not two deliveries earlier!

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Are the Sevens losing its appeal?

February 4th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Going cheap – a ticket to the Wellington Sevens (costume not included).

With four days to go, the rugby tournament has not sold out – and bargains are available as many fans try to offload spare tickets at well below cost price.

Increased competition from the likes of the newly established Auckland Nines – to be held at a sold out Eden Park the following weekend – has led to a fall in demand this year.

In previous years, tickets to the annual sevens tournament have sold out in a matter of hours, with scalpers able to command inflated prices to those who missed out. …

Sevens Wellington general manager Marty Donoghue said only about 1750 tickets remained, and they would be sold by Friday.

That’s astonishing. I recall some years the tickets all going within 20 minutes or so. To have almost 2,000 unsold the week before the Sevens suggests that demand is greatly reduced.

I’m still a big fan, and would go if I could. However I’m tramping the Tongariro Northern Circuit this weekend. Incidentally that means there will be little blogging from Thursday to Sunday.

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Unsporting?

January 16th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Hawkes Bay Today reported:

The CEO of Hawke’s Bay Cricket Association, Craig Findlay, has come under attack after scoring a blistering 307 retired from 115 balls against a schoolboy bowling attack last weekend.

Findlay, who smashed 27 sixes in his innings for his Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys (NTOB), was last night having second thoughts about his mammoth feat as outraged parents, players and fans questioned his motive in the division one match against the St John’s College First XI team at Nelson Park, Napier, on Saturday.

The former first-class cricketer pummelled the Hastings schoolboys into submission with a strike rate of 266.66.

If you are the senior cricket executive in the region, whose job is to get people into cricket, it seems unwise to pummel a schoolboy team in that way, even if they play in a club league.  I’m not saying don’t try and score, but maybe declare or retire after your century

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The fastest century ever

January 2nd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Would have been incredible to be in Queenstown yesterday to see the match against the West Indies. Anderson and Ryder played incredibly and they achieved the fastest and 6th fastest centuries in cricket. 131 not out off 47 balls was spectacular.

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Halberg nominations

January 1st, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Halberg nominations:

Sportsman of the Year: Aaron Gate (cycling), Andrew Nicholson (equestrian), Kieran Read (rugby), Scott Dixon (motorsport)

I’d say Dixon most likely to win. A great year for Read, but more difficult to win as an individual in a team sport.

Sportswoman of the Year: Lauren Boyle (swimming), Lisa Carrington (canoeing), Lydia Ko (golf), Valerie Adams (athletics)

I think it has to be Ko. Golf is so much more universally competitive. To be No 4 in the world in golf is huge.

Team of the Year: All Blacks (rugby), Black Sox (softball), Men’s Pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (rowing), Women’s 470 – Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (yachting) and Men’s 49er Class Team – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (yachting)

A perfect year for the All Blacks makes them hard to beat.

Coach of the Year: Eddie Kohlhase (softball), Guy Wilson (golf), Nathan Handley (yachting), Steve Hansen (rugby)

Hansen probably, but possibly Kohlhase.

Disabled Sportsperson of the Year: David Monk (blind bowling), Mary Fisher (para swimming), Mike Johnson (para shooting), Sophie Pascoe (para swimming)

Pascoe has won it so often, probably someone else?

Emerging Talent: Ella Williams (surfing), Gabrielle Fa’amausili (swimming), Jake Lewis (motorcycling), Tom Murray (rowing)

No real idea, but Williams is making waves (yes, pun)

And for the overall award, hard to pick but maybe the All Blacks?

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Romanos on Lee v Morgan

December 30th, 2013 at 9:10 am by David Farrar

Joseph Romanos writes:

Good on Sir Richard Hadlee for having a go at the idiotic behaviour of Brett Lee the other day.

Sadly there seems to be plenty of halfwits out there willing to back Lee.

The Australian speedster bowled six deliveries to 48-year-old British TV host Piers Morgan and engaged in what Hadlee has termed ”a brutal assault” that was ”extremely dangerous and unnecessary”.

I watched Lee’s bowling in horror and tweeted my displeasure. The tenor of some replies was that Morgan got what was coming to him.

Morgan sparked off the incident when he described the England team’s performance as pathetic during the Ashes series and, tongue in cheek I felt, said he wouldn’t mind facing Mitchell Johnson.

One thing led to another and suddenly there was Morgan, a rotund middle-aged man, standing 20 metres away from one of the fastest bowlers in the world in a net in Melbourne, attempting to live up to his end of a dare.

Lee had the chance to have a little fun with Morgan, but instead deliberately targeted him, even when the batsman backed away several metres.

Morgan was hit four times and it was only good fortune that none of the blows maimed him, or worse.

I admired Morgan’s pluck in stepping into the nets in the first place. At that point it was a bit of light-hearted entertainment that had played out well.

Lee then totally misread the situation. Instead of having a little fun at Morgan’s expense, he tried to hit him.

It was shameful. Such bowling would never have been permitted in a genuine match.

That is the key. Lee wasn’t bowling as he would in a match. He was bowling to try and deliberately hit Morgan.

In 1932-33 Harold Larwood, Bill Voce and company engaged in the infamous Bodyline Ashes series at the direction of their skipper, Douglas Jardine. They bowled short to a leg-side field and all the leading Australian batsmen were hit, some many times.

The tactics were so repulsive that form of cricket was outlawed.

There have been hostile fast bowlers since, including Ray Lindwall, Frank Tyson, Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee, any number of West Indians, Allan Donald and Shoaib Akhtar.

I suggest none has ever set out as obviously to hit a batsman as Lee did.

At times Morgan had backed so far away he was into the netting behind him. And still the ball was aimed at him.

Only once in six deliveries did Lee pitch a ball up and aim straight, and not surprisingly, he hit the stumps.

Lee should have just bowled for the wicket and humiliated Morgan by hitting the stumps six out of six times.

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The Wellington Sevens

December 6th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Sevens fans oblivious to the sport being played on the field need to start paying attention as organisers look to “transform” Wellington’s biggest party and make it more Olympic.

The centrepiece of Wellington’s sports and events calendar needed to change ahead of the rugby code’s debut at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, general manager Marty Donoghue told a Wellington City Council committee yesterday.

“We’re at a point when we need to transform.”

That move is being supported by veteran rugby commentator Keith Quinn, who says the party has overtaken the tournament.

After the meeting, Mr Donoghue – who has spent just three weeks in the tournament’s top job – said the idea was to still have the party and costumes but to put more emphasis on rugby.

A worthy aim, but good luck with that.

Increasing the rugby and family zones was a way to enhance the sport aspect, and potentially attract new audiences.

One small problem with that.

The family and rugby zones were both used at this year’s tournament, and tickets for the 2014 event have been the first in years not to sell out within minutes, with about 3000 still available yesterday.

No one wants to be in the nana section.

The move to focus on sport was backed by Quinn, who ranked the Hong Kong and Dubai events ahead of Wellington’s because they focused more on the rugby.

“The Wellington Sevens is very good, but it’s at its best on a sunny day on the second afternoon, when the crowd finally does focus in on the last stage of the semifinals and the various finals . . . Sometimes I have felt that the party has distracted the crowd from the event, the sports event.”

I think many who attend have the view that the rugby distracts the crowd from the party.

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Who are the cricket players under investigation?

December 5th, 2013 at 1:05 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand Cricket boss David White knows the identity of the former players under investigation by the sport’s anti corruption unit.

However he cannot name the three players understood to be at the centre of the claims due to the ongoing nature of the International Cricket Council investigation. …

White spelled out key points from NZC’s perspective.

”Firstly no current New Zealand players are being investigated; no games played in New Zealand are being investigated; and lastly no matches under NZC’s jurisdiction are being investigated,” he said.

It is reassuring to know they are not current players. Hopefully the players out themselves to remove the suspicion from others.

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Gareth Morgan offers to take over NZ Football

November 25th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Gareth Morgan writes:

In my view key to progress of elite football in New Zealand is to integrate the sport from amateur elite to the sole professional team and on to the national team. This in essence is what Australia’s FFA has achieved and the game in that country has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. By comparison New Zealand has languished. To achieve this requires a lift in expertise both in the governance of the code and coaching expertise right down to the most junior elite levels.

To this end I’m prepared to invest $5m in NZ Football so long as the government invests twice that amount, with the focus being on achieving the integration and thereby ensuring our young players develop within an environment that reflects the type of football our most senior teams practice and we produce coaches steeped in that methodology. We need to jettison the almost inbred tendency from grassroots level to play kick-and-chase football that comes about because of our inability to develop players that are good enough at tap-and-go, possession-based football. This is the cultural change we are undertaking at The Phoenix and was behind the Mexican sarcasm about converted rugby players.

A requirement of my proposal is that the current leadership of NZ Football resign and a new board (still a blend of people from within the game and others who know how to build businesses and execute strategy) be appointed with this mandate clearly defined.

I presume Gareth thinks that the successful record of strategy and governance he has brought to the Phoenix should be extended to the NZ Football team.

In the last season the Phoenix played 27 games. They won seven, drew six and lost 14. This placed them 10th out of 10.

I of course expect the Government to hand over ten million dollars tomorrow to implement Gareth’s plan.

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South Africa and the All Blacks

October 10th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting piece by Lindiz van Zilla in the Weekend Argus:

I am South African and I support the Springboks. And I will shout for the Springboks when they line up against the All Blacks at Ellis Park today. But this wasn’t always the case. …

My heroes, our heroes, were Jeff Wilson, Andrew Mehrtens, Josh Kronfeld and Sean Fitzpatrick. Those with Maori or other South Sea island heritage were held in even greater esteem. Glen Osborne, Jonah Lomu, the centre pairing of Frank Bunce and Walter Little, Graeme Bachop, Ian Jones and Zinzan Brooke were idolised like no Springbok star ever could be.

We were being represented by men from New Zealand. In them lay our pride, our dreams, our resistance to the racist dinosaur that was South African rugby.

All we could think of was how apartheid had denied our greatest talents like Eric Majola, Millin Petersen, Cassiem Jabaar, Peter Makata, Charlie Davids and Salie Fredericks the opportunity to play for the country of their birth. Simply because of the colour of their skin.

For years, nay generations, the All Blacks had been our chosen ones. Our instrument of opposition. Ask any long-standing South African All Black supporter and the answer will invariably be “for as long as I can remember”.

And this carried on for a long time:

A sizeable contingent of these New Zealand-supporting fans and like-minded fan groupings, mainly from Port Elizabeth, therefore make it their business every year to follow the All Blacks to whichever Test venue in South Africa the team is playing at. Last year it was the FNB Stadium, today Ellis Park.

The uniqueness and peculiarity of this phenomenon is something that even the All Black players and management have over the years found a little odd. Where else in the world do you find a people, be they indigenous or from a colonial background, who so vociferously support a team from another country?

Most South Africans find this anomaly disturbing and perhaps it is this extreme notion of nationality and patriotism that exacerbates the levels of ill-feeling between local Springbok and All Blacks supporters.

And why does this anti-Springbok sentiment run so deep in large sections of the coloured community and not in the black African rugby fraternity, which also boasted a wonderful and rich history in the heartland of the Eastern Cape and which also suffered – and still suffers – the ravages of apartheid?

And why only rugby? Surely cricket has as racially divisive a past as the 15-man sports code.

More than two decades on from unification in cricket and Cricket South Africa is considering anew quotas for black African players in domestic cricket. Why then is there no such fervent support in the Cape for cricket teams from other countries?

It has been an interesting phenomenon.

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How about a new yachting competition?

September 27th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Had a conversation this morning with someone who pointed out that if NZ had not taken part in this year’s America’s Cup, it would have been a debacle. And it looks clear under the rules set by the winner, we’re unlikely to be able to challenge successfully again.

So why not set up a new competition. Some rules that can’t be changed could include:

  • Crew can only compete for the country they were born in
  • A spending cap for teams
  • No modifications once the cup has begun

I reckon that might get many more challengers than the America’s Cup gets!

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An open letter from Team New Zealand

September 26th, 2013 at 5:59 am by David Farrar

Sandysview has penned an open letter to Emirates Team New Zealand from Team New Zealand:

G’day Deano and the crew.

This is from us back home. You’ll be having some strategy meeting. Knocking around a few ideas. Hell, you might even be asleep. Us at home? We’re doing that too. You’ll have your eye on the big picture, the San Francisco bay weather, the clouds, the rules, what the Americans (or is it Aussies?) are doing to their boat over night. Probably giving the big outboard motor a polish, if the last few days are anything to go by.

We don’t know about any of that stuff. We know bugger all about sailing. I don’t mean that lot by the sea up North with their flash boats sitting around the yacht club yelling at the television in some nautical language we don’t speak, they know about sailing. I mean us. The rest of us out in New Zealand.

We are getting up every morning to watch you and the boys taking on the Billionaire at a sport none of us know about. We want you to win it for us. You’ve got Team New Zealand written on the boat. That’s our boat. We are Team New Zealand.

We should be going to work or school, some of us are and taking a radio or even a TV along. Most of us though, are at home or by a TV somewhere, anywhere, watching you and the boys racing up and down San Francisco bay after a little yachting cup with someone else’s name on it. We don’t know what a jibe or a tack is. Well we didn’t but we do now. We don’t know what a lay line is or why some of you keep running back and forth across the boat. We have no idea how it goes so fast into the wind or why it looks like a space ship on water. How it doesn’t even seem to float in the water, but skims on those ‘foils’. We just know it has Team New Zealand written on it and that’s who we are.

We are out there in places often nowhere near the water watching every race. We aren’t sailors, most of us have never been on a yacht. We run coffee shops in Tirau. We drive trucks in Te Kuiti. We are sitting on a quad bike on the side of a hill near Hunterville with the commentary on an old transistor radio. We teach kids in Palmerston North, or we would if they weren’t at home watching the America’s Cup. We are talking about the days races (or not) with people we don’t know in the pub after work in Westport. We compare our new expert opinions on yacht racing with strangers on a commuter train from Tawa. Outside New Zealand we are in Edinburgh, Munich, London, LA, and Lima. Doha, Goondiwindi, Cairo and Helsinki, wherever we are, we’ve found a way of watching. We are even on the waterfront in San Francisco. We made a special trip. We are Team New Zealand and our name is on the boat.

This is what we do you see. We get behind our people in black taking on the world. All of us. We become experts in things we knew nothing about. OK, we need the television to put graphics all over the screen so we know what’s going on. We listen to the commentators telling us things as though we were all sailors. We aren’t though so we don’t know what they are talking about. What we know now is that you have to win the start and you have to win the finish. The stuff in between? No idea mate. But we are Team New Zealand and our name is on the boat. You do the sailing, we’ll be willing you to win, that’s our job, all of us. No other country does this like we do. This is who we are. This is why we win. When you take on Team New Zealand, you take on the whole country. We’re watching Deano, all of us.

We are Team New Zealand and our name is on the boat. Let’s write it on our cup and stick it on the mantelpiece.

Just one more to win Deano, see you soon mate. Bring the cup home.

Very well crafted.

UPDATE: And Oracle Team USA have won the race and won the America’s Cup 9-8, and 11-8 in terms of on the water races. They deserve their victory, and coming back from 8-1 down is incredible endurance under pressure.

Team NZ can feel a bit unlucky. They would have won the cup if not for the maximum 40 minute race rule. However they were advantaged by the two point penalty to Team USA.

In the end Oracle had the faster boat and tactics can only do so much against speed. It is a good reminder that money does play a huge role. But it would be churlish to put their victory down to technology alone. Off memory Oracle won more starts than Team NZ did, and I have to say generally sailed better. Again they deserve their victory.

We no longer have to debate how much taxpayer money to contribute to a defence of the America’s Cup, which is a sort of silver lining. At some stage there will be a debate on whether we should contribute to a future challenge. I think the lesson from this regatta is we should not. We will never be able to match the funding and budget of the US and European syndicates, so the chances of future victory is somewhat remote. I’ll be delighted if a NZ syndicate challenges again, but any taxpayer contribution should be minimal, if at all.

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Oracle win their 9th race

September 25th, 2013 at 9:13 am by David Farrar

Oracle have now beaten Team NZ 9 to 8 on the water.  The official score is 7-8 because of the penalty for cheating. But you know what, I don’t want Team NZ to win the America’s Cup based on a legal penalty (for stuff that occurred before the finals).

An amazing come back by Oracle, and full credit to them.

I so want Team NZ to win, but my fear is now that any win is tainted and may also end up in court. So maybe it is better for Oracle to win the next two races? I have such mixed feelings.

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