Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Sure it was a “friend’s” bike

February 2nd, 2016 at 10:57 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Cycling was being forced to confront a new controversy on Sunday after the sport’s head confirmed the first top-level case of “technological fraud” with a hidden motor being found on a Belgian cyclist’s bike.

You have to admire the ingenuity of the cheats, if not their ethics.

Yet the 19-year-old Van den Driessche denied suggestions she had deliberately used a motorised bike in the women’s under-23 race and was in tears as she told Belgian TV channel Sporza: “The bike was not mine. I would never cheat.”

Not yours, but you rode it in a competition.

Van den Driessche said the bike looked identical to her own but belonged to her friend and that a team mechanic had given it her by mistake before the race.

Most cyclists know their bikes as well as themselves. What is the chance of a genuine mistake? Around the same as the chance that there just happened to be a bike around that was identical to her bike in looks, but had a secret motor inside.

Why would anyone but a professional cyclist have a secret motor in a bike?

“It wasn’t my bike, it was my friend’s and was identical to mine,” Van den Driessche told Belgian TV channel Sporza.

“This friend went around the course Saturday before dropping off the bike in the truck. A mechanic, thinking it was my bike, cleaned it and prepared it for my race.”

Can she name the friend? And again the only reasons you have a secret motor in a bike is to cheat. There is no real innocent reason for one.

 

Why the Sevens are dying

February 2nd, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Westpac Stadium’s boss is defending the enforcement of drinking rules at this year’s rugby sevens, after claims security was heavy-handed.

Some of a group attending yesterday’s first day were turned away at the gate by security staff, after they were breath-tested.

They’re breath-testing people coming into the stadium. And you wonder why no one wants to go. It used to be fun.

Stuff also reports:

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the weekend’s event had been “excellent”, and she judged the increased family focus a success.

Organisers had tried to boost crowd numbers by moving the event to earlier in the year, offering cut-price tickets and incentives for families to bring children, she said.

Bringing kids?? It’s a two day event. I doubt many parents want to have tired and grumpy kids with them at the Sevens.

sevens

The Sevens is dying, and it is self-inflicted. What was a legendary Wellington event has been killed by the fun police.

Now giving away Sevens tickets

January 28th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Wellington bar is giving away tickets to this weekend’s Wellington Sevens, but only to people who buy a certain beer. 

Backbencher’s managing director Alistair Boyce said the bar was given 20 tickets by the Hospitality Association last Friday.

He wasn’t sure what to do with them, so decided to give them away to people who bought an Emerson’s beer. 

Not that long ago all 30,000 tickets or so sold out within three minutes. Today they can only fill quarter to a third of the stadium and are giving tickets away.

This is what happens when the powers that be decide that the event needs to be less fun and more family focused.

Should all athletics records be reset?

January 14th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

UK Athletics wants all world records to be reset due to the sport’s doping crisis and has announced it will seek to bring in a lifetime ban for any athlete guilty of a serious drugs violation.

The governing body for British athletics has published A Manifesto for Clean Athletics, which calls for hard-hitting measures to be brought in to clean up the sport. It comes after the doping scandal in which Russia has been banned from international athletics, with allegations that former officials from the sport’s world governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations also took money to cover up positive tests from Turkish and Moroccan athletes. Kenya, one of the most high-profile countries in distance running, is also at the centre of doping-related allegations.

Their recommendation is:

A call to the IAAF to investigate the implications of drawing a line under all pre-existing sport records – for example, by adjusting event rules – and commencing a new set of records based on performances in the new Clean Athletics era.

I doubt it would be agreed to, but I think it is a good idea.

Far too many of the world records of the last 30 years were done through doping.

Make them all historical records, but set up a new set of world records from say 2018 onwards, once the sport is truly clean.

Why are the Sevens dying?

December 24th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Wellington Sevens seem to be dying.

I recall the days when the tickets sold out in three minutes. The Internet would freeze as Wellingtonians tried to be one of the lucky ones to buy their tickets online. There would be dozens of people queued up outside Post Offices and the like, to buy tickets.

Now the stadium barely gets half full. Even with three months of selling tickets, and huge price drops, less people want to go.

The question is why?

One reader e-mails:

For me the 7s died the day they banned Borat.  It’s essentially been killed by the thought police, rules, regulations and a general ‘we know better’ attitude.  Not to mention the extortionate beer prices and disgusting overpriced food.  Why would anyone want to attend?

What do you think?

Hansen on hating losing

December 23rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kids need to be taught the joy of winning and the pain of losing.

That’s the message from World Cup-winning coach Steve Hansen in a wide-ranging interview with the Herald.

The All Blacks coach believes coaching took a wrong turn when emphasis was changed from winning to participating.

Let alone when kids now don’t even get told the score!

He believes his hatred of losing is his greatest strength and greatest weakness as a coach, and as he has grown to accept losing as an inevitable byproduct of competitive sport, he has become better at his job.

“The fact I hate it so much, I’ve got to learn to control it. There’s no point having a hissy-fit just because you’ve lost, but it doesn’t mean you just accept it,” Hansen said.

“There are so many things you can learn when you lose if you’re open to it.

“At the same time you’ve got to have that huge love of winning that can motivate you to make sure you don’t lose too often but you can’t allow that to overshadow the process of how you win.

“That’s the most important thing in sport.”

Hansen believed that it was unnatural to minimise the importance of competition when coaching kids.

“Where we got it wrong a number of years ago was when we said winning was not important.

“You ask any kid from the age of 10. Whether it’s rugby or two kids playing marbles, they want to win, that’s a natural instinct,” Hansen said.

It’s very natural. You can teach to be a gracious winner and an accepting loser, but that’s different from teaching that winning isn’t important.

FIFA starts to redeem itself

December 22nd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were each banned for eight years by the FIFA ethics committee last night in a stunning removal of world soccer’s most powerful leaders.

FIFA President Blatter and his one-time protege Platini were kicked out of the sport for conflict of interest and disloyalty to FIFA in a $2 million payment deal that is also the subject of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.

Good. This starts to restore a modicum of faith in FIFA.

FIFA’s ethics judges decided that Blatter and Platini broke ethics rules on conflicts of interest, breach of loyalty and offering or receiving gifts.

Platini took $2 million of FIFA money in 2011 approved by Blatter as uncontracted salary for work as a presidential adviser from 1999-2002.

Another story gives the context:

A state of denial is a virulent affliction for football’s lake-dwellers – and Platini has a bad case of it. He cannot see how accepting $2 million from Blatter shortly before he (Platini) agreed not to challenge Blatter for the Fifa presidency might offend the sensibilities of those who think transparency and accountability are vital attributes of governing bodies.

if it looks like a bribe, sounds like a bribe and smells like a bribe, it probably is a bribe.

The suggestion it was for work done 10 years earlier is almost laughable. A few issues with that:

  • Who would wait ten years to be paid?
  • $500,000 a year for a part-time advisory role is ludicrous
  • There was no contract
  • The debt was never shown in the books
  • Any payment to an “insider” is a potential conflict of interest and should be approved independently and recorded

We all knew Blatter was corrupt, but sad that Platini has been found to also be corrupt. He was seen as one of the white knights, but it seems all their knights are just shades of grey,

McCullum scores 100 test sixes

December 14th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum rewrote record books yesterday when he smashed his 100th six in Test cricket, equalling Australia great Adam Gilchrist’s record for most number of sixes in the five-day format.

McCullum, who remained not out on 17 on Day 4 of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Dunedin, belted his second six of his innings to equal the world record. It took his total to 100, joining Gilchrist as the most prolific boundary busters in Test history.

McCullum is aged 34 and could well play for several more years.  He could well set a record that will last for a long time.

Cairns not guilty

December 1st, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Chris Cairns has been moved to tears, speaking of his relief at being found not guilty after an eight-week London trial over match-fixing allegations.

The former Black Caps cricket captain was cleared of a perjury charge, and both he and his co-accused, Andrew Fitch-Holland, were found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

The jury at Southwark Crown Court took 10 hours and 17 minutes of deliberation to reach their verdicts on Monday morning (local time).

This means the jury were not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he had lied in court about match fixing.

Modi immediately responded to Monday’s verdict.

“I am aware of the verdict at Southwark Crown Court. As you know, I am limited in what I can say as I am restricted by the injunction put in place following the 2012 libel trial,” he said.

 “I will consider how this affects my own civil claim against Mr Cairns in due course.”

Any civil claim would be on balance of probabilities.

Ultimately the evidence of Lou Vincent was found to be not trust worthy. The judge in his summing up basically said they can’t rely on what Vincent said.

I’m very pleased for Lance Cairns, one of my cricketing heroes, that he hasn’t seen his son found guilty.

Football corrupt, not just FIFA

November 29th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Transparency International have done a report on FIFA and national football associations. They find:

Between 2011 and 2014 FIFA distributed a minimum of US$2.05 million to each of its 209 member football associations (FAs). This included a one-off payment in 2014 of US$1.05 million following the success of the World Cup. During that same period FIFA also gave US$102 million to the six regional football Confederations. FIFA says the money is for football development. But other than a partial accounting on the FIFA web site, there is no clear way to track what the FAs did with all that money.

  • 81 per cent of FAs have no financial records publicly available
  • 21 per cent of FAs have no websites
  • 85 per cent of FAs publish no activity accounts of what they do

81% have no public accounts and 21% do not even have a website! Yet they get millions of dollars.

Only fourteen out of FIFA’s 209 football associations – Canada, Denmark, England, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden – publish the minimum amount of information necessary to let people know what they do, how they spend their money and what values they believe in.

Well done Football New Zealand.

42% of FIFA members publish no relevant information about their organisations.

They propose:

FIFA should mandate through a change in its statutes that all its members must make publicly available the following information as a pre-requisite for membership and financial assistance: audited financial accounts, an annual activities report, code of conduct/ethics3 and organisational statutes. This should supersede national legal requirements if they are less rigorous.

Seems a good idea to me. You want the money, you need to have some transparency.

20,000 female rugby players

November 24th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports:

• 150,727 players – small increase of 163 from 2014
• 80,978 Small Blacks (5-12 years) – increase of 549 (1 percent) compared to 2014
• 42,072 teenagers (13-20 years) – decrease of 242 (0.5 percent) compared to 2014
• 27,677 players aged 21 and over – decrease of 144 (0.5 percent) compared to 2014
• 19,792 female players – increase of 1967 (11 percent) compared to 2014
• 12,109 coaches – increase of 396 (3 percent) compared to 2014
• 1851 referees – decrease of 33 (2 percent) compared to 2014

Almost 20,000 female rugby players is cool – around one in seven players are female.

When I was a kid, 90% to 95% of rugby spectators were men. Now at big matches I reckon close to half the audience are women. Rugby has gone from just being a male sport.

Anyway those stats got me wondering what the gender breakdown is in other sports in NZ? How many netball players are men? How many cricket players are women?

Anyone got data on other sports?

McCaw retires

November 19th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby.

The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time.

Not just the most capped All Black of all time, but the most capped rugby player ever.

“I am heavily involved in the Christchurch Helicopters company, they are great people and I’m excited about the opportunities there. Aviation is something I’m passionate about, I’m going to carry on flying and work towards getting my commercial pilot licence.

Great to do what you love.

McCaw said he’d love to be involved in the game in the future. He never considered taking up a professional contract overseas after his international days were over.

Riche would be a great referee! :-)

Some McCaw stats:

  • 131 victories for the All Blacks (32% of their total victories since 1903)
  • Won 131 out of 148 tests
  • Scored 27 tries
  • 10 Bledisloe Cups
  • Four tri-Nation titles
  • Three Rugby Championships
  • Two World Cups
  • Win 59 out of 61 tests in NZ
  • World Rugby Player of the Year three times

14 years of test rugby is an incredible effort, especially as a flanker.

Russia suspended from athletics 24-1

November 15th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

CNN reports:

The International Association of Athletics Federations voted Friday to provisionally suspend Russia as a member amid a doping scandal, the IAAF reported on its website.

The action will keep the All-Russia Athletic Federation, the nation’s leading athletic association, out of international competition for an indefinite period that may include the2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

“This has been a shameful wake-up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said.

“Today we have been dealing with the failure of ARAF and made the decision to provisionally suspend them, the toughest sanction we can apply at this time,” Coe said. “But we discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world.”

The 24-1 vote was taken by teleconference. Russia was not allowed to vote

This is the right call, as noting short of this will convince the Russian Government that it needs to take action over drug cheating, rather than cover it up and facilitate it.

Very sad for the clean Russian athletes. They need to hope that enough changes occur so that they can compete in the Rio Olympics.

A very well paid slave

November 15th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

USA Today reports:

Caddie Steve Williams said he had no idea using the word “slave” in his new autobiography to describe his relationship at times with Tiger Woods would trigger a storm of controversy that has spanned the globe.

After a New Zealand newspaper published an excerpt from his book, Out of the Rough, 10 days ago in which Williams said at times he felt he was treated “like I was his slave” while working for Woods, Williams has been heavily criticized.

It is estimated that Williams earned US$12 million while caddying for Williams. That’s not bad for having to pick his clubs up off the ground occasionally.

Will Russia be banned?

November 10th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

An international anti-doping commission recommended on Monday that Russia’s Athletics Federation be banned from the sport over widespread doping offences – a move that could see the powerhouse Russian team excluded from next year’s Rio Olympics.

The commission, set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), found a “deeply rooted culture of cheating” in Russian athletics. But it also identified what it called systemic failures in the global governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The international police body Interpol said it would coordinate a global investigation into suspected corruption and doping in athletics.

The commission said in its report that the London 2012 Olympics had been “sabotaged” by the widespread inaction of international and national anti-doping authorities.

“For 2016 our recommendation is that the Russian Federation be suspended, in fact one of our hopes is that they will volunteer that, so that they can take the remedial work in time to make sure that Russian athletes can compete under a new framework if you like,” Dick Pound, president of WADA, told a news conference in Geneva.

Russia finished second behind the United States in the medal table at the 2012 Olympics, with 17 medals, eight of them gold, and has long been one of the chief players in track and field.

Russia really is regressing to the old Soviet Union, which of course was world leaders in doping.

Disagreeing with Roughan

November 10th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

John Roughan writes:

What a strange thing it was that Sonny Bill Williams did. All the previous strange things in his career have been blamed on his manager but there was nobody in Sonny Bill’s ear when he decided to give his Rugby World Cup winner’s medal away.

It was his own spontaneous gesture to a lad who had run out to the All Blacks during their victory lap and had been tackled by a Twickenham security guard. The kid was not hurt and probably not surprised to be tackled. Williams and Steve Hansen picked him up, put an arm around him and Williams steered him back to the fence where on a parting impulse he gave the kid his medal.

A trifle excessive, I thought. Also a bit demeaning for the prize the All Blacks had just won, and I wondered what his teammates thought. I also hoped the boy’s parents would realise it was a needless gesture, probably made in a moment of excitement when the man was not thinking clearly, and one he would later regret.

I hoped they would later offer it back, which indeed they did, Williams has said. But he told them, “Nah, better he has it than it hang on my wall”. Was he modestly depreciating his generosity or did he really not want this thing?

I think it was a spontaneous gesture with the best of motivations. It was a realisation that to a young fan, the medal would have perhaps a lifetime of impact, which was greater than having it was to Sonny Bill.

This doesn’t mean he doesn’t value it, but that what he values more is the actual achievement of helping win the Rugby World Cup, rather than the medal that goes with it. The memories, the photos, the actual event are what mean the most to the players. The medal is a tangible record of it, but is not the end in itself.

He is not alone among top sportsmen is having little interest in keeping memorabilia – but it is fairly unusual to give it away a moment after it has been draped around their neck. Insulting too. His teammates might never say whether they found it insulting but as a fan, I did.

It felt like a betrayal of our enthusiasm for their achievement and the exquisite agony of those early mornings on the couch.

I don’t know whether I’m more disappointed in Williams or the many who see it as an utterly admirable act of generosity.

I’m one of those. I think it was a reflection of the All Black culture we now have about being role medals, and inspiring young people. There should be no expectation ever that any sportsperson should do what SBW did, but when it happens as it did, let’s just celebrate it in an uncomplicated way, rather than psychoanalyse it.

Most human beings get pleasure from giving other people pleasure. It can be as simple as that.

Richie’s records

November 2nd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Some Richie McCaw stats:

  • Only four other players in history have played as many international tests as Richie McCaw has international victories
  • 132 All Blacks have debuted for NZ since McCaw did in 2001
  • Only three of the 15 games McCaw has lost for the All Blacks were by double digit margin
  • NZ Player of the Year  – 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012
  • IRB Player of the Year – 2006, 2009, 2010
  • NZ Sportsman of the Year – 2010, 2011
  • 10 Bledisloe Cups
  • 10 Tri Nations or Rugby Championships Cups
  • Two World Cups

His playing record for the All Blacks:

  • Argentina 10/10
  • Australia 29/36
  • British Lions 2/2
  • Canada 2/2
  • England 12/14
  • Fiji 2/2
  • France 12/13
  • Georgia 1/1
  • Ireland 14/14
  • Italy 3/3
  • Japan 1/1
  • Namibia 1/1
  • Romania 1/1
  • Scotland 7/7
  • Samoa 1/1
  • South Africa 20/26
  • Tonga 2/2
  • Wales 11/11

Overall has won 131 of 148 test matches for a 89.2% success rate.

It is near impossible to declare someone the best rugby player of all time – how do you compare McCaw and Meads, when the game now is so different to the game then. Both are legends. But I think I can safely conclude he is at least the best player in my lifetime.

Sonny Bill is all class

November 1st, 2015 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

This is beyond cool. The kid gets tackled by security for running onto the ground, and ends up with Sonny Bill giving him his World Cup Medal. Have you ever seen a bigger grin on a kid?

It’s ours!

November 1st, 2015 at 6:50 am by David Farrar

I thought it was Dan Carter’s last two kicks that won us the World Cup but that awesome last minute try was the icing on the cake.

What an awesome game and worthy World Cup Final.

The 34-17 score doesn’t reflect how very close it was in that second half until the very end. I got very nervous after the second Wallaby try.

Kudos to the Wallabies for an great match, but well done the All Blacks for retaining the World Cup led by the greatest rugby player of them all – Richie McCaw.

A nation celebrates.

Was Dempsey bribed?

October 30th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former German football federation president Theo Zwanziger believes Swiss court documents indicate US$250,000 was paid to Oceania official Charlie Dempsey on the eve of the vote in July 2000 in which Germany won the right to stage the 2006 World Cup.

A court document in a trial of executives from the collapsed Swiss sports marketing company ISL show the sum was transferred to an anonymous recipient marked only as E16, according to a report in Germany’s Bild newspaper.

Zwanziger has presented reporters from Bild with the document in which it is suggested that former FIFA executive committee member Dempsey, the then Oceania confederation president from New Zealand, received the money as a bribe.

Zwanziger has written “Dempsey!” next to the payment made on July 5, 2000.

Next to a further transfer of $US250,000 dollars made a month earlier in a list of payments from ISL, Zwanziger has again written “Dempsey?”, but with a question mark instead of an exclamation mark, according to the document from 2012 published by Bild.

In the final round of voting for the 2006 World Cup on July 6, 2000, Dempsey, who died in 2008 at the age of 87, ignored the reported Oceania confederation instruction to vote for South Africa and abstained, allowing Germany to win a 12-11 vote against South Africa.

 

Possibly not enough for a conviction in court, but pretty  damning.

Can bank records find out who the money was transferred to? Or was it a cash withdrawal?

An amazing Richie stat

October 30th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Of the All Blacks’ 412 victories since 1903, McCaw has been on the field for 32 percent of them. 140 wins in black to be exact.

That’s an incredible stat. Hopefully he’ll make it 141.

They made it!

October 25th, 2015 at 5:42 pm by David Farrar

I was at Twickenham for the NZ semi-final and for most of the match it reminded me of the 2011 final against France – terrified we would lose.

It wasn’t the best game in the world to watch. I grew to hate the referee as he dished out nine penalties almost non-stop to the All Blacks in the first half.

The Springboks never got ahead by more than seven points, so was always optimistic NZ would come through, but the South African defence and tackling was very impressive first half – so much so NZ started kicking as they couldn’t break through most of the time.

Dan Carter’s conversion seemed the turning point. To only be two points behind had us within striking, and then the second try. But it was only around minute 78 when the Springboks were nowhere near the halfway line, that the All Black supporters in the crowd started to relax. The nightmare of scoring two tries to zero but losing against six penalties and a possible drop goal receded. And much celebrating and just relief at half time.

The All Blacks performance didn’t seem that impressive at the time, as the scoreline dominates your thinking, but looking at the match stats does indicate that it was a strong, even if undisciplined, performance:

  • 387 metres vs 149 metres
  • 20 defenders beaten vs three
  • Only three missed tackles vs 20
  • 96% rucks won vs 90%
  • 100% lineouts won vs 77%
  • However 14 penalties vs six

Did I mention how much I disliked the referee again?

Great to see the All Blacks make the final – the first time since 1995 away from home.. In fact we have never won the Rugby World Cup away from NZ, so this is NZ’s chance to do so. I’m hoping Argentina beats Australia of course. In a NZ vs Argentina final we’ll have the entire English crowd cheering for us :-)

So was great to see an All Black victory, but also to see them play at Twickenham. They have moved the entry gates to include the area next to the stadium so there was great pre-game hospitality with tents and entertainment.

Impressed with the overall organisation. Getting to the game was a tube to Richmond, then shuttle to a few hundred metres from the stadium. Hundreds of volunteers to guide you. Did get soaked after the game, but by then didn’t care. And the tube trip back into London saw great conversations between All Blacks and Springbok supporters – no sore feelings, lots of congratulating both teams, and lots of hatred for the referee from both lots of supporters!

Can’t wait for the final!

Is this the left view of sport?

October 24th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

An author at The Standard writes:

1981 marks the point where – for good reason at the time – the left ceded the idea of sport to National.

We still begrudge it. We begrudge it even more than the flag debate.

We hate it because it’s full of mean-old competition, winning and losing, and injuries.

We hate it for its pervy sexism, male media dominance, and macho muscle over mind.

We hate it for its self-glorification, commercialization, and wealth focus.

We hate it for its patriotism, corruption, and taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies.

We hate its regulated violence, alcohol dominance, and sheer meaninglessness.

So they hate sport, competition, winning, losing, muscle, commercialisation, wealth, and patriotism!

But there is hope:

It’s 34 years since those dark days. Time to figure out how to complain about sport less, and learn to win with it more.

We could love it for the proud communities that sustain the clubs.

We could love it because it’s something we do well.

We could love it for the wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands and children that help them up there.

We could love international sport as a good substitute for war.

We could find who among the athletic elite are also Progressively inclined.

We could love it as we can our country.

We don’t have to cede the whole enterprise of sport to the right.

And now, in the middle of Rugby World Cup, we can grind our teeth watching the apotheosis of Key with Saint Ritchie into the global heaven of sport.

Or we can get out to the nearest RSA, to the televised bars. Be with the people. Yes, sink pints.

Recognize that actually sport is as good as education for class mobility.

Actually, sport can be a unifying community force for good.

Sport can focus male teenage energy away from petty crime: into sport, out of court.
Sport is where the common people are, as well as the elite.

Until the left learn how to love sport as well as the right, we will continue to cede massive territorial ground before the game has started.

Scotland were robbed

October 20th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Rugby World Cup bosses have officially confirmed South African referee Craig Joubert blundered in awarding Australia a penalty that handed them victory over Scotland. …

World Rugby said in a statement said they had conducted a full review of match officials’ performance and clarified Joubert’s decision, finding he had made a mistake and should have awarded a scrum to Australia for an initial knock-on.

They said Joubert had incorrectly applied law 11.7 penalising Scotland’s Jon Welsh, who had played the ball following a knock-on by a team-mate, resulting in an offside.

“On review of all available angles, it is clear that after the knock-on, the ball was touched by Australia’s Nick Phipps and law 11.3(c) states that a player can be put on-side by an opponent who intentionally plays the ball. 

“In this case, law 11.3(c) should have been applied, putting Welsh onside. The appropriate decision, therefore, should have been a scrum to Australia for the original knock-on.
Scotland have every reason to feel sore. They were robbed by a bad call.

An all Southern hemisphere semi-finals

October 19th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Few people mourned England getting knocked out early, but it was a shame to see Wales, Ireland and Scotland all exit the World Cup as they put up spirited performances.

South Africa only scraped home 23 to 19 against Wales

Ireland were competitive with Argentina for a while but Argentina then piled it on win 43 to 20.

And a thriller of a match as Australia only won with a final minute penalty to beat Scotland 35 to 34. Scotland played an amazing games.

I’m actually looking forward to Argentina playing Australia in the 2nd semi-final. If both teams played like they did today, Argentina could win.

NZ’s chances are looking quite reasonable at this stage. We were the only semifinalist to easily win our quarter, and smashed France. If we play the next two games as we did against France, we should win.

But if we play below our best, and Australia, Argentina or South Africa recover some form then it can be all over in 80 minutes.

Current betfair odds are:

  • NZ 1.64
  • Australia 4.4
  • South Africa 8.8
  • Argentina 18