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.

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.