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BAND-AID® Sports Kid of the Week
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An avid sports fan and player who
plays cricket and tennis in summer, and
soccer or rugby in winter.
So far his team hasnt been in the
winning stakes, yet Connor still plays
with gusto, always turns up to play and
gives 110% to his team.
For 11 to 16 year olds
Are you the fastest, most agile,
most accurate, or does your
technique set you apart...
Join Phoenix stars Paul Ifill, Chris Greenacre and
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Date: Sunday 24 July
Venue Victoria University -- Boyd Wilson Fields
Time 10am -- 1pm
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From the ashes of defeat...
Gloomy outlook: Crusaders captain Richie
McCaw and coach Todd Blackadder reflect
on their defeat in the Super rugby final.
Perhaps some good will come out of
the Crusaders defeat by the
Queensland Reds in the Super 15
You would have to be heartless not to
have been rooting for the Crusaders.
With no home ground, and friends and
families lives turned upside down by the
February 22 earthquake, the Crusaders
embarked on a magical mystery tour dur-
ing their Super campaign.
It took them from Timaru to London,
Tauranga to Perth, Napier to
Bloemfontein, Wellington to Cape Town,
and finally to Brisbane. They travelled
more than 100,000 kilometres and, true
to their traditions, remained the best-
performed New Zealand team in the com-
Refusing to allow personal circum-
stance, travel, injury and other distrac-
tions to derail them, they rolled
impressively into the final.
If they d scored a stunning victory, it
would have been a fairytale finish to an
unlikely season. Unfortunately, top sport
doesn t often delve in the fanciful.
The Crusaders competed hard, though
some of their big-name players, notably
Richie McCaw, Corey Flynn and Zac
Guildford, were below their best. The
Reds, powered by brilliant back play and
a resilient scrum, were that bit too good
and won 18-13.
It s sad for the Crusaders, and for New
Zealand rugby, but a timely reality check.
I ve been hearing ever more All Black
fans state confidently that their team is a
shoo-in to win the World Cup. The
engravers might as well get to work now
on the Webb Ellis Cup.
After the Super final result (and the
Reds pounding of the Blues in the semi-
final), we can see plainly that the World
Cup will be no doddle.
The Wallabies squad named by Robbie
Deans on Sunday contains 15 Reds. Gra-
ham Henry s first All Black squad of the
season includes 13 Crusaders. The Super
final was very relevant as a World Cup
When David Kirk s All Blacks won the
1987 World Cup, I reflected, as the smil-
ing players collected their winners
medals, that it was a sight we would see
Who d have believed that by 2011 New
Zealand would not have won another
World Cup? Unthinkable!
Yet New Zealand have found ways to
lose the damn thing every four years.
In 1991 we fielded a divided team,
Aucklanders and non-Aucklanders, and
had to have co-coaches, Alex Wyllie and
John Hart, who seldom sang from the
same song sheet.
Four years later, Laurie Mains built a
great team. In the final they were edged
out by Nelson Mandela, a disciplined
Springbok side and a bout of food
poisoning that swept through the All
By 1999, the All Black machine was
creaking and they were ambushed by
France. Their cause wasn t helped by
coach Hart playing Jeff Wilson and
Christian Cullen out of position.
So it continued. In 2003, John Mitchell
(and Deans) selected poorly, omitting
Cullen, Taine Randell, Anton Oliver and
Andrew Mehrtens, then not playing Tana
Umaga when he was restored to fitness.
After his team had lost to Australia,
Mitchell decried the fact that there
wasn t enough All Black experience on
Henry built a magnificent team in the
lead-up to 2007, but things got over-
complicated with rest, recuperation and
Even in the World Cup itself, in the
quarter-finals (a knockout match), New
Zealand did not field their best team
against France and paid the price.
Fancy getting to a World Cup quarter-
final and continuing to rotate.
With that background, it would be wise
to use the Super final the other day as a
New Zealand can certainly win the
World Cup, but it will require utter com-
mitment and absolute desire.
With our history in the tournament, it s
bizarre that All Black supporters could
possibly be over-confident, yet they have
Hopefully the result in Brisbane has
squeezed out any suggestions of com-
placency or smugness.
A chilly bin of beer and an ill-
planned toilet break have led to an
entire grade of men s football being
banned from artificial turfs.
The Masters 2 grade has been
told by Capital Football it will
have no allocated games on the
artificial turfs for the rest of the
The decision was made after a
Brooklyn player urinated on the
pitch and, at another field, a
Johnsonville team took a chilly-bin
of beer on to the field.
Players from both teams believe
the decision is unfair but Capital
Football operations and
communications manager Cliff
Bowden said players needed to be
more responsible. -- Rodney
THE WELLINGTONIAN, JULY 14, 2011
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