Great value sports weekend

What a great sport weekend.

I used to grizzle about the amount Sky insisted I pay for sports – actually not so much the sports but what they demanded you get and pay for that wasn’t sport and I didn’t want. And their streaming option was limited, poor value and technically poor. I kept cancelling my subscription between the seasons of things I particularly wanted to watch

Last year they improved their offerings somewhat, meaning I could get sport for $55 per month, $12-13 per week, not much more than half what they had previously charged.  On an average week I think this is reasonable value.

This weekend the value was very good, especially with a number of great results.

Of course for me Otago winning the Ranfurly Shield was a highlight.

Then I watched some of the women’s league test between New Zealand and Australia and the standard of play was impressive. Unfortunately a close loss.

Last night seeing a very different Kiwi league team impressively outplay the Kangaroos was great.  I hope they can keep up the standard.

This afternoon the Silver Ferns beat Australia, outplaying them also very impressively. This is a very different team to the disappointing one of the past year or two.

And I managed to also see some of the Breakers beat last year’s NRL champions Melbourne, with a bit of an eye on Southland losing again to finish their season winless.

I also fitted in some golf, with both the PGA and LPGA on yesterday (but weirdly the final day of the LPGA was not on today).

I even managed to some work outside. I’m not much good with a golf stick but not bad with a chain saw and slasher.

And I also watched some free streaming, seeing two games of the Roller Derby finals weekend (not great results for the Gallow Lasses though).

So some excellent surprise results and plenty of variety. Very good value.

Otago win Ranfurly Shield

For just the second time in my lifetime Otago have won the Ranfurly Shield, taking it off Waikato.

They attacked well in the first half, and defended very well to hold out Waikato, who made some game losing mistakes on attack near the end.

So we get a home semi-final by finishing second in the Championship, and get to keep the log of wood for the summer. This means if we choose easier opponents before the competition starts next year we might get a good chance to hold it this time (we also won it off Waikato, then we were robbed in 2013 by a poor non-decision by the referee in the final seconds in the first defence3 against Hawkes Bay).

 

All Blacks versus Springboks

There is more interest than usual in the test match this morning between the All Blacks and Springboks being played in Pretoria this morning.

The Springboks won the first of two Rugby Championship games between New Zealand and South Africa in Wellington last month (36-34). There is more pressure than usual for the All Blacks – if they lose then the Springboks will be unbeaten against them in 2018.

It is good to have a test with more interest at stake. One loss for the All Blacks is not uncommon but not a bad thing, but a second loss against the Springboks would be a major blow for them.

Rugby doesn’t deserve to be New Zealand’s national sport, equality or not

Is rugby New Zealand’s national sport? A few decades ago it was the dominant sport, but the diversity of sporting codes and much wider preferences have changed that a lot.

I grew up loving rugby. I played and then refereed and then played again until I was about 42 or so.  There was a time that I felt like I was really missing out on something if I missed seeing a test match live on TV.

But now there is so much rugby, and so much sport, I usually don’t care much whether I see tests or not.

Back to whether it can be called New Zealand’s ‘national sport’. I don’t think the term really means very much.

For different reasons Jacinda Ardern seems to think that rugby doesn’t deserve to be our national sport.

RNZ:  Rugby needs to be more inclusive to ‘deserve’ title of national sport – PM

Rugby needs to be more inclusive, particularly of women, to be fully deserving of the title of New Zealand’s national sport, the Prime Minister says.

Talking to a packed conference room at New Zealand Rugby’s first ever Women in Governance Conference in central Auckland this morning, Jacinda Ardern said rugby needs to “be a game for everyone, and that includes women”.

“For me if rugby is going to include us as women it should represent us equally, and have a relationship with us equally, both as players and spectators, and that means, as it does with every area of life, including women fairly, giving women the opportunity to excel, paying them appropriately, and providing leadership opportunities,” Ms Ardern said.

Ms Ardern said, when asked for clarification, she believed rugby does currently deserve to be called New Zealand’s national sport, ” but with that title we need to make sure we’re striving to lift the outcomes for women in sport as well”.

Quite a confusing message there.

“If rugby is going to include us as women it should represent us equally” – what? I have no idea how that could happen, let alone be measured.

“Have a relationship with us equally” – that’s just nuts. Every one of us should be able to decide for ourselves what sort of ‘relationship” we have with rugby or with any sport. Equal relationships can’t be defined let alone forced on us.

Some people simply don’t like rugby – people even say they hate it. That’s their choice. It would be ridiculous expecting them to have an ‘equal’ relationship with any sport to everyone else.

She was at the conference, articulating her vision for sporting gender equality, ahead of the Black Ferns and All Blacks double header against Australia at Eden Park tonight.

They can’t both play at an equal time.

They can’t be given equal games – there are far more men’s national teams, it’s a much stronger sport. I don’t expect men’s netball to be given equal money or coverage or prominence as women’s netball.

I’m all for giving more prominence to women’s rugby (and more money and resources to players). I enjoy watching women’s 15-a-side, and especially women’s sevens. I enjoy the latter at least as much as men’s sevens (but can’t say if that’s equal or not, it depends on each performance).

I think I get what Ardern is angling at, but for me “if rugby is going to include us as women it should represent us equally, and have a relationship with us equally” is just garbled nonsense.

However I don’t think we are risk of being forced to watch equal amounts of women’s and men’s rugby and promising to clap and cheer equally.

German football pride: Mesut Özil ‏ versus Reinhard Grindel

Mesut Özil is a German professional footballer who plays for English club Arsenal.  Hewasin the disappointing German team that failed in the recent World Cup in Russia. He was born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Reinhard Grindel (born in Hamburg) is a German journalist, politician (Christian Democratic Union of Germany) and football administrator.

From 2002 to 2016 Grindel was member of the Bundestag (Lower Chamber of the German Parliament). On 15 April 2016 he was elected president of the German Football Association (DFB) and resigned as member of parliament.

France win Football World Cup versus Croatia

France have beaten Croatia by 4 goals to 2 in the Football World Cup final this morning in Moscow.

Good to see that more goals than normal were scored – it was the highest scoring final since 1966.

Semi-final – England versus Croatia

Croatia play England this morning at 6:oo am (NZ time) in the second football world cup semi-final.

The winner will play France in the final at 3:00 am on Monday morning (NZ time).

Football world cup – Belgium versus France

Belgium and France are now playing the first semi-final in the football world cup.

These are the top ranked teams to reach the semi-finals. Just prior to the tournament Belgium was ranked 3 and France 7.

I’m neither picking a winner nor backing either team. May the best team on the day win.

England, Croatia win world cup quarter finals

In the early hours (NZ time) England beat Sweden 2-0 in the third football world cup semi final. Hoes of something great are rising in England.

WTF is SWEENG?

England’s semi-final opponent is still to be determined, with the Russia versus Croatia game due to start soon.


Russia v Croatia 1-1 after 75 minutes of game time.

Still 1-1 at the end of normal time, so the game will go in to extra time.

Both scored goals in extra time, ending 2-2, so now a penalty shootout.

Croatia win the shootout 4-3.

Russia did very well to get this far, they were ranked 70 going into the tournament. Croatia was 20.

Semi finalists:

  • France versus Belgium (Wednesday 6:00 am NZ time)
  • England versus Croatia (Thursday 6;00 am NZ  time)

 

France, Belgium win world cup quarter finals

It probably wasn’t a surprise to see France beat Uruguay in a Football World Cup quarter final this morning, but it would have shocked many, especially in South America, when Belgium edged out cup favourites Brazil. Belgium led 2-0 until late in the game, and Brazil could only close up with one goal.

France has eliminated both Argentina and Uruguay, and with Brazil out too now there are no South American teams left in the running.

Tomorrow morning (NZ time) the other two quarter finals will be played:

  • Russia versus Croatia
  • Sweden versus England

Despite Germany crashing out early, and also Italy, Spain and Portugal, Europe is dominating this world cup.

Rankings prior to the cup starting:

Top 20 rankings as of 7 June 2018[1]
Rank Change Team Points
1 Steady  Germany 1558
2 Steady  Brazil 1431
3 Steady  Belgium 1298
4 Steady  Portugal 1274
5 Steady  Argentina 1241
6 Steady   Switzerland 1199
7 Steady  France 1198
8 Increase 2  Poland 1183
9 Steady  Chile 1135
10 Decrease 2  Spain 1126
11 Steady  Peru 1125
12 Steady  Denmark 1051
12 Increase 1  England 1051
14 Increase 3  Uruguay 1018
15 Steady  Mexico 989
16 Steady  Colombia 986
17 Increase 2  Netherlands 981
18 Increase 3  Wales 953
19 Increase 1  Italy 951
20 Decrease 2  Croatia 945
*Change from 17 May 2018
Complete rankings at FIFA.com