NZ finish 3rd at U-17 Women’s World Cup (football)

A very good result in the U17 Women’s Football World Cup, with New Zealand beating Canada to finish 3rd. They only lost once, to Spain in the semi-final.

Ireland beat All Blacks (and other sport)

There has been a lot of sport of interest this morning. I have been up since about 4:00 am and to be honest, blogging has not received my full attention.

There has been a lot of rugby to watch, including:

  • a replay of the Black Ferns versus France (France played very well and held on to win 30-27)
  • Wales versus Tonga (close first half but Wales blitzed the 2nd to win 74-24)
  • England versus Japan (Japan led for a while by England pulled away to wi 35-15)
  • Australia eventually beat Italy 26-7 but battled for quite a bit of the game

I have also kept an eye on the final LPGA tournament of the year (Lydia Ko is currently tied for 8th but again not quite looking to contest the top of the leaderboard).

And I watched quite a bit of the Women’s cricket T20 match India versus Australia. Both these teams have beaten New Zealand to rule us out of advancing, but the quality of cricket in this game was excellent, with India ending up comfortably beating the Aussies.

Currently it is Scotland versus South Africa.

But roll on 8 am when the All Blacks versus Ireland will be a very interesting game to watch – between the best performing teams in the world at the moment.

And at the same time the Maori All Blacks are playing Chile. Sky Sport is good value at times.


A very intense close fought first half. Ireland deserve to lead 9-6 at half time (they probably deserve as bigger lead).

And a full on  second half, with the All Blacks making most of the play in the last half hour, but just too many critical mistakes and some poor options at times. They couldn’t score a try, and really didn’t look close to scoring.

Ireland 16, New Zealand 9

Ireland played their hearts out, particularly on defence, and deserved the win.

Under-17 Football World Cup

The New Zealand team have won both games so far in the under-17 Football World Cup, including against the host team Uruguay, which assures them of a place in the play-offs.

Although New Zealand out-shot Uruguay by 14 attempts to seven and created far more chances, coach Leon Birnie felt the result could have been different on another day.

“It was an absolute battle out there today, and it could have gone either way if I’m honest,” he said.

“It’s historic for us because we’d never got out of the pool play – I’m just so proud of the girls.”

It was New Zealand’s second win of the tournament after an opening 1-0 victory over Finland four days ago, and means they are through to the last eight alongside Ghana in Group A.

This is a very good result so far.

Tournament website: https://www.fifa.com/u17womensworldcup/

All Blacks versus England

The All Blacks are playing England (for the first time in four years)  this morning at Twickenham.

England started very well, scoring an early try, following up with a dro goal and then another try, to lead 15-0. They played well, pressuring the All Blacks into mistakes, and playing well tactically for the first thirty minutes.

The All Blacks then changed tactics, worked away at making ground, capitalised in English mistakes and scored a try plus kicking a penalty right on half time to close the score to 15-10 to England.

It has been raining throughout the game so conditions are playing a part, but both teams have managed that well.

It should be a good second half.

Not such a good second half. A drop goal and a penalty by the All Blacks to take a one point lead, and they dominated but had trouble breaking the English defence.

The English reverted to formula footy and didn’t do enough.

There was one quite controversial play when England charged down and scored a try, but the video ref ruled offside so they missed out. I think that the way the game is ruled these days it was offside. The offside enabled the charge down.

And if the try had been awarded it is not certain it would have been converted (it would have been from the sideline), and there were two or three minutes left in which anything could have happened.

And the ABs held on to close out a tight win.

The English didn’t score in the last hour.

Both teams will claim something out of that game but the bottom line is 16-15 to the All Blacks.

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.