Japan beat Ireland in RWC

Japan have beaten Ireland by 19-12 in the Rugby World Cup, turning Pool A on it’s head. There’s still several games for each team to go but Japan must be a real chance of getting through to the quarter finals. They play Samoa next week, and the following week will be a crucial game against Scotland.

Ireland should still get through too the quarter finals, but this will rock their confidence.

It was an intense and absorbing game to watch. Ireland started very well, scoring two tries too lead 12-3 half way through the first half, but Japan fought their way back, defended very well and ended up deserving the win.

Japan break new ground

FT: Japan 19-12 Ireland

Japan celebrate
  • Japan have recorded their first ever victory against Ireland in Test rugby, they’d lost each of their previous seven by an average margin of 31 points.
  • Three of Ireland’s last four pool stage defeats at the Rugby World Cup have come against the host nation, also losing to Australia in 2003 and France in 2007 (also v Argentina in 2007).
  • Japan have won five of their last six matches at the Rugby World Cup, this after winning just one of their initial 24 matches at the tournament (D2, 21).
  • Ireland have lost to a non-Tier 1 nation at the Rugby World Cup for the first time, they’d won each of their previous 15 such games.

RWC – results and problems

Aafter the opening three days of the Rugby World Cup in Japan there have been mostly predictable results. Most notable of the other results, Argentina had a very close match against France, losing 21-23, and Ireland were too classy for Scotland last night winning 27-3.

In the big game the All Blacks struggled at times against South Africa but a five minute two try blitz made the difference, plus a disciplined and strong defensive second half. This puts the ABs in the box seat for winning the pool, lining them up for a probably quarter final against Scotland if they aren’t upset by Samoa or Japan.

One of the biggest talking points about the RWC here has been the failure of Spark to provide flawless streaming of the games.

I have worked out what my problem probably is. My PC (it’s  few years old) doesn’t have enough processing power to handle the stream, despite being good enough to work with Netflix, Youtube and other streaming services. Every few seconds it pauses, which is very annoying,

From Spark Sport FAQs: Why is my stream buffering?

Even if you have a decent internet connection, some lower spec laptops and desktops might get stuttering or buffering issues as they don’t have the processing power to decrypt the stream. We would recommend checking that you’re running the latest version of your browser and if you’re still having issues – trying a different device.

Devices

If you’re having buffering issues, try watching on another device to determine if the issue is with your device or your connection. We also recommend trying to watch another piece of content on Spark Sport or other streaming provider such as Lightbox, to determine if the issue is with a single piece of content.

I found out that my work laptop, which is a couple of years newer, manages to stream without the hiccups. The problem is that it doesn’t have an HDMI port. And I hadn’t had time to work this out until Saturday evening, So we huddled in front of the small screen to watch the All Black-Springbok match, which wasn’t great.

And it wasn’t a flawless stream either, with a number of buffering pauses. A few minutes before the end of the game a message popped up saying that Spark had put the second half up on Duke due to ‘a small proportion’ of viewers. It was very annoying to only find this out near the finish, too late to be of much use – I even didn’t bother switching over.

I had connected Spark on Saturday morning about the problems, via email and via a tweet. I still haven’t had a reply to my email, but I got a response from my tweet – on Sunday, so too late for Saturday’s games.

They suggested that “it is common for older devices to have buffering issues that are not network related. I had already worked out this was a likely cause, but only streaming Spark Sport.

They had noticed I had tried with both Chrome and Firefox – Chrome wasn’t as bad, but still hard to watch.

They suggested I try Safari. I found that Safari hasn’t been updated for a few years but is supposed to perform better than Chrome and Firefox (or at least it did when it was current). I downloaded the latest version and tried it, but get this message.

I’m guessing this may be because Safari is too old to know about whatever streaming system Spark Sport is using.

I did some googling but haven’t found a way around this yet. So I will get back to Spark to find out if they have a solution for their suggested workaround.

So my TV, while ‘smart’, is too old to run the Spark Sport app – anything older than a couple of years is too old.

My PC is too old to stream without continual hiccups.

I’m sure I will be far from the only one to have found that Spark Sport streaming is not really good enough for mass delivery.

They are offering a money back option, but that would mean I can’t watch all the games I want to watch, and I won’t be able to stream on demand which was the benefit of a streaming service, especially with many RWC games late in the evening NZ time.

Maybe they can’t adequately resolve their technical deficiencies and will broadcast all games on Duke. That solves the bad viewing experience, but won’t provide on demand.

For now I will wait and see.The All Blacks don’t play again until next week. But I will want to have a decent way to watch all games by the time the quarter finals start (on 19 October). That gives Spark Sport about a month to sort their shit out.

Hopeless start to Spark RWC streaming

Spark winning the rights to broadcasting the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand meant I have had to pay a premium to watch any games I want to watch, as otherwise it would have been included in my Sky Sport subscription.

But I paid the $80, at least thinking that streaming meant that I could watch games at my convenience as opposed to at scheduled broadcast times.

I subscribed two weeks ago and had a quick test and it seemed to run ok.

I have unlimited fibre plan through Spark.

I am running it through my PC (connected via WIFI too my Spark supplied device) via an HDMI cable to my TV, which is a smart Samsung TV but more than a couple of years old so not supported by Spark.

I also did a quick test of the opening ceremony on Friday night and that seemed to run ok.

But as the first game (Japan v Russia) started late-ish I decided to stream it early this morning as that suited me better.

I got up just after 5 am and tried it. It didn’t start well. I could only get a badly broken picture. I switched from Chrome to Firefox, and it was a little better but still bad. So I switched back to Chrome and I got sound and picture, so settled in to watch.

The video quality at best was ok. he problem was that right through the first halve the streaming kept stopping every few seconds, sometimes momentarily, which was annoying, but sometimes for seconds, missing usually the most active play. That was bloody annoying.

I persevered until half time but was getting increasingly frustrated.

At half time I rebooted my PC and started it with just one program, Chrome. I did a Spark broadband speed test

According to Spark Sport: What broadband speed do I need?

We recommend that you have at least 15Mb/s download speeds to take advantage of our highest quality content, but if your speed is lower than this, the quality will adjust accordingly. A minimum of 6Mb/s download is required to support a Spark Sport stream.

To have a look at what your speed is, head over to speedtest.net and run the test on the device you plan to stream on, at a time and place where you would normally watch Spark Sport.

So I tried that speed test.

Spark also tries to answer Why is my stream buffering?

As Spark Sport is an online streaming service, there are several factors that could lead to you experiencing buffering issues. The quality of your streaming experience is determined by your broadband connection, your modem and where in the house it is located, the device you use and how many other devices in your home and neighbourhood are using the network at the same time.

Your network and connection

You will need a minimum of 6Mbps to be able to stream Spark Sport; we recommend at least 15Mb/s download speed to take advantage of our highest quality content.

So theoretically my Spark fibre connection should be more than good enough.

I tried watching the second half. It began the same as the first half, with pauses every few seconds.

Until the video stopped altogether and I only got audio.

So instead of watching I am typing this post. Bloody annoyed.

But before starting the post I tried to connect to Spark Sport help chat. I am still getting “Please wait, you are in a queue to speak to an agent.” I don’t know if I will speak to anyone before the second half is over. I have a house to paint.

I want to watch the All Blacks versus South Africa tonight, live. I’m not optimistic, but maybe streaming via peak viewing will be better.

But if Spark can’t provide adequate streaming on demand it will negate the advantage of streaming, and it will be a waste of money.

I often stream Netflix, Youtube, sometimes Parliament TV and other things with few problems, and nothing like the problems I have has streaming the RWC.

So far my experience with Spark Sport has been a dismal failure.

 

Silver Ferns win Netball World Cup

Defying form over the last couple of years, and also seedings and predictions, New Zealand’s Silver ferns have won the 2019 Netball World Cup, beating Australia in the final in Liverpool by just one goal.

 

I even felt a bit emotional watching the final minutes, seeing the reactions to the result, and then the presentations and the national anthem.

Coach Noelene Taurua and everyone else involved in the campaign deserve a lot of credit too.

I’m not a great netball fan, but this is a great effort and a great result.

Netball New Zealand: Silver Ferns win Vitality Netball World Cup

 

England worthy winners of Cricket World Cup

England were worthy winners of the Cricket World Cup just completed at Lord’s in London.

New Zealand’s Black Caps were worthy runners up.

They won by the smallest of margins. The scores were tied after 50 overs, 241 runs to each side. The scores were tied again after a super over, 15 runs each. England won due to the higher number of boundaries scored – that’s the rules so there can be no complaints about that.

There are a number rof things that happened during the game that could have made the difference, could have swung the game one way or the other, but in the end that is all irrelevant. What matters is the final score and the final deciding factor, and England did what mattered.

England have been a top one day team over the last few years and were tournament favourites. They had some wobbles during pool play but won their semi-final easily against defending champions Australia, and won the final just over New Zealand.

This is the first time England have won the World Cup, so very good for them, and despite some disappointment at the result I actually feel as good a as a loser could for the winning team.

The Black Caps exceeded my expectations against Inndia in their semi-final, and exceeded my expectations in the final. I always hoped they could win, and they came so close to doing so, but my main thoughts coming into this game were hoping they would wouldn’t lose badly, and that they would lose with credit.

They couldn’t have come closer so couldn’t have come out of this tournament with more credit, short of winning.

This was one of the greatest games of cricket ever and was also worthy of a final. It will be very good for the game to have had such a hard fought, close game, played in extremely good spirit by England and New Zealand.

Kane Williamson (New Zealand  captain):

“Look, it certainly wasn’t just one extra run. So many small parts in that match that could have gone either way as we saw. Congratulations to England on a fantastic campaign.

It’s been challenging, the pitches have been a little different to what we expected. Lots of talk of 300-plus scores, but we haven’t seen many of those.

I’d like to thank the New Zealand team for the fight they showed to keep us in the tournament, and get us this far. A tie in the final. So many parts to it. The players are shattered at the moment. Obviously it’s devastating. They’ve performed at such a high level through the tournament.

We were weighing up the overheads versus the pitch, it was on the drier side. runs on the board, as it proved, was going to be challenging. We would have liked another 20, but in a World Cup final we’ll take 240-250. Both sides showed a lot of heart, a lot of fight. For it to go to the last ball, and the last ball of the next match, it was pretty hard. That [the Stokes deflection] was a bit of a shame, wasn’t it? You just hope it doesn’t happen in moments like that. You can nitpick, but perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be for us. It is perhaps tough to review the match, and such small margins.”

Eoin Morgan (England captain):

“There wasn’t a lot in that game, jeez. I’d like to commiserate with Kane. The fight, the spirit they showed. I thought it was a hard, hard game.

This has been a four-year journey, we’ve developed a lot over those years, particularly the last two. To get over the line today means the world to us. The guys in the middle keep us cool, the way they play, the experience. It’s calming at times. Not a lot between the teams. Just delighted we’re lifting the trophy today.

As long as he wasn’t too cooked [sending Stokes back out for the Super Over]. Full credit to those two boys and Jofra. Every time he plays, he improves. The world is really at his feet at the moment.”

Cricket

I’ve been a bit distracted this morning watching cricket.

I saw bits of the end of the India-South Africa match – India’s first win (first up), and South Africa three losses from three.  It will be hard for them from there.

New Zealand is still making hard work of what looked like a modest run chase against Bangla Desh, who had shocked South Africa in their first game.

The Cricket World Cup will continue for all of this month.  Most games run through the night NZ time, the current one was day-night so has been a better time for the second innings.

That was close. The Black Caps kept losing wickets through the last ten overs, but Santner stayed calm to get the winning runs with most of three overs to go. Two from two for the Black Caps.

That was a good workout, with nearly all batsmen getting some world cup experience.

Rugby Australia intend to sack Israel Folau, NRL rule out a switch of codes

Rugby Australia says they intend to sack Israel Folau “In absence of compelling and mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract”.

This dents Australia’s chances in the Rugby World Cup later this year, but they appear to have little choice, after Folau’s homophobic, forniphibic, idolphobic, fibaphobic, drunkaphobic social media post.

The NRL has also stated that they would not allow Folau to return to league – NRL won’t allow sacked Israel Folau to rejoin the NRL

Any hopes of a rugby league homecoming for fallen Wallaby Israel Folau have been dashed after ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie sensationally banned him from the NRL on Thursday night.

While up to nine NRL clubs may have the financial means to sign Folau, the governing body has ruled out allowing them to take a risk on the controversial star ending any hopes the former Kangaroo could seek refuge in the code which gave him his start.

“Israel Folau fails the NRL’s inclusiveness culture which is a policy strongly supported by the Australian Rugby League Commission,” Beattie told the Daily Telegraph on Thursday night.

“As a game, we have a clear position to be inclusive.

“From our point of view rugby union has made a decision that clearly rugby league would support.

“The ARLC therefore would not support his registration to play in the NRL.”

Folau is finding that ‘free speech’ can have consequences, especially when one ignores contractual agreements not to repeat making divisive public statements. He said that just about everyone will go to hell if they don’t repent (which is a ludicrous concept), but his lack of repenting will guaranetee’s his sports career will go to hell.

 

 

Crusaders name ‘No longer tenable’

I have always not like the name ‘Crusaders’ for a modern sports team. I never thought it appropriate.neither would names like Mongols or Huns or Kmer Rouge.

Now, in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks, the team business owners say that the name is ‘no longer tenable’.

It’s probably not practical to change the name this season, but it should be replaced by next year.

ODT:  ‘No longer tenable’: NZR boss says Crusaders set for change

The Crusaders have announced that they will be considering a change to their name and branding following the Christchurch terrorist attacks on 15 March – and that the status quo is ‘no longer tenable’.

The Christchurch-based Super Rugby franchise announced today that they will engage independent research company, Research First, to seek feedback and provide recommendations on the Crusaders team name and brand.

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said they are committed to taking the process seriously and doing the right thing.

“This is an event that rocked our community and brought some important issues to the fore,” Mansbridge said. “One of the contentious issues that has been brought up in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks is the name of our rugby team – the Crusaders.

“Because of our desire to be the best we can be and to support our community, we are treating the question around the appropriateness of our brand extremely seriously.

We are committed to undertaking a thorough process, taking into account all relevant opinions and, most importantly, we are committed to doing the right thing.”

When the first year of Super Rugby kicked off in 1996, the Crusaders title was chosen for the side representing the provincial unions from the top half of the South Island and the brand was built on a stylised version of medieval England, in a nod to the English heritage of Christchurch.

I think it was poorly chosen, and should go.

Trent Boult’s amazing 15 balls

Test cricket is often quite slow moving (that’s part of it’s appeal for some of us).

The second test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, starting on boxing day, had a bit more action than usual, with New Zealand losing wickets steadily and getting to a paltry total of 178.

Sri Lanka batting was similar on the second day – with four wickets falling for just 51 runs. There was a bit of a recovery, until Trent Boult’s amazing spell. Until then Boult had bowled well enough but without success. But he suddenly got things working for him and got a wicket, and another. Both caught by Southee.

Then Boult cleaned up the remaining four Sri Lankan batsmen LBW, all going for ducks.

Cricinfo: Six wickets, four runs, 15 balls: when Boult wrecked Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s middle order was going about it patiently at 94 for 4 in reply to New Zealand’s first-innings score of 178 in Christchurch, when Trent Boult decided to take matters into his hands. In a phenomenal burst of world-class swing bowling, he snaffled up the rest of the Sri Lankan wickets for just four runs, sending them to 104 all out, a total unthinkable just minutes ago. Here’s how it unfolded.

36.4 Boult to Silva, OUT, the suckerball has arrived and Roshen bites the bait. Throws his hands at a full delivery away from the body, gets a thick edge and third slip takes an absolute dolly. Short-short-full and boom! Southee went with the reverse cup but this one dipped on him, it was too late to take it the conventional style, and in trying to do that he was thrown a little off balance, but did well to hold on as he dropped his knees.

ARS Silva c Southee b Boult 21 (63b 3×4 0x6) SR: 33.33

36.5 Boult to Dickwella, FOUR runs, chipped over the infield, keeps gathering pace as it races to the midwicket fence. Gift of a delivery first up

36.6 Boult to Dickwella, no run, shoulders arms to a length ball outside off

38.1 Boult to Dickwella, OUT, catch of the tour, and it’s Southee again! Sensational stuff. Dickwella sucked into the drive by a full delivery that tails away late, he’s squared up, feet rooted to the crease as he goes for a loose drive, gets a thick edge that flies fast, so fast that Southee has just about enough time to throw his right hands out on a full stretch dive in front of second slip and this sticks. Wow, magnificent. How quickly the Test has turned. Suddenly, this score by New Zealand seems much bigger than it looked last night.

N Dickwella c Southee b Boult 4 (3b 1×4 0x6) SR: 133.33

38.2 Boult to Perera, no run, full on off, defended

38.3 Boult to Perera, no run, tails away from off stump, squeezed into the covers.

38.4 Boult to Perera, no run, shortens his length, slants this across, left alone

38.5 Boult to Perera, OUT, they’re committing hara-kiri here, complete misjudgment in length and angle. Dilruwan shoulders arms to a full delivery on middle, this one didn’t angle away, but just held its line to thud into the pad. Given out on the field and Dilruwan reviews. Can only be saved if this was going over, but ball tracking shows three reds

MDK Perera lbw b Boult 0 (4b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

38.6 Boult to Lakmal, OUT, no, he can’t. This is full, fast, furious and swinging in late to beat Lakmal’s forward push by hitting him right on the toe. As an umpire, you can’t ask for an easier decision to make.

RAS Lakmal lbw b Boult 0 (1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

Boult, on a hat-trick. Three slips and a gully. Chameera to face his first ball

40.1 Boult to Chameera, no run, and he defends it, was a touch fuller outside off, blocked on the front foot

40.2 Boult to Chameera, OUT, and he gets him now, that’s a five-wicket haul for Boult, length ball, gets it shape back this time to rap the batsman on the front pad, up goes the finger and Sri Lanka are suddenly nine down

PVD Chameera lbw b Boult 0 (2b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

40.3 Boult to Kumara, no run, fuller in the corridor, pushes away from the body and gets beaten

40.4 Boult to Kumara, no run, fuller length around off, defended from the crease

40.5 Boult to Kumara, no run, fuller in the channel but too away to get an edge, the batsman though fished outside

40.6 Boult to Kumara, OUT, make that six! Full and straight on the stumps, and Kumara didn’t offer a shot, dead out. However, he has gone for the review but the New Zealand fielders are actually walking off. Pitched around middle and leg and straightened a bit as the batsman moved across, was hitting middle and leg. That’s six wickets for four runs in 15 balls for Boult

CBRLS Kumara lbw b Boult 0 (4b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

The scoreboard:

Boult set a world test record taking 5 wickets in 11 balls.

The test is a long way from over but this devastating spell of bowling put New Zealand into a good position with a handy first innings lead, and then the Black Caps batsmen turned that into a strong position with a 305 run lead, only two wickets down in their second innings (finishing the day on 231 for 2).

So  good day for New Zealand, but an incredible day for Boult.

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.