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More good bad and ugly

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve delved into the depths of delight and despair of sport, and dug up some more good, bad and ugly to dine out on.

GOOD

Let’s start with something local and rugby at Trust House Memorial Park. Copthorne Wairarapa-Bush were good in beating King Country and strengthening their claims for a semifinal in the Heartland Championship. The highlight of the day came in the curtain-raiser between the two unions’ women’s teams when Wai-Bush fullback Kate Donald received the ball on her own 10m and beat everyone, including a hair pull, to score the best individual try seen at the park for a long time.

Erin Routliffe became the first Kiwi woman since Judy Connor-Chalenor in 1979 to win a tennis grand slam title, combining with Canadian Gabriella Dabrowski to win the US Open women’s doubles. Coco Gauff finally realised her immense potential to win her maiden grand slam title in New York, but love him or loathe him, Novak Djokovic takes the cake, going where no one has gone in the open era and winning his 24th title, equalling Aussie great Margaret Court.

Kane Williamson selected in the Black Caps for the Cricket World Cup in India! Don’t underestimate the value of the skipper [player of the tournament in 2019] with his tactical nous and his vast experience of playing on the sub-continent.

With nine players from four years ago, there is the depth to go a long way in the 2023 edition.

There was more Scott Dixon brilliance as he blitzed the field by eight seconds in the IndyCar finale at California’s Laguna Seca for his third win in four races and the 56th of his career. Scott McLaughlin completed a Kiwi one-two, and Marcus Armstrong won Rookie of the Year.

Wales 32 Fiji 26 at the RWC Cup – an absolute stunner – we’ll have more of that, please!

BAD

With both narrowly avoiding being classified as ugly, what was worse, the All Blacks’ second-half capitulation in losing 27–13 to France, or the Warriors’ 32–6 pummelling at the hands of two-time defending NRL champions Panthers?

Neither was a good watch, but I have a distinct feeling both have their eyes fixed further down the road, or is my glass half full?

Did the All Blacks show all their cards? Some bemusing decisions late in the game, such as Beauden Barrett kicking for touch when he would normally counterattack, just didn’t seem like the usual All Black mindset.

The All Blacks should stroll through their three remaining pool matches, and the quarterfinal was always going to be their Waterloo.

The ‘Wahs’ will welcome back Shaun Johnson [and he was missed big time] for their do-or-die duel with the Newcastle Knights, and we know what an important role the halfback plays in the 13-man game.

Israel Adesanya was battered and bruised in losing his UFC world title at the hands of American Sean Strickland in one of the biggest upsets the sport has seen, although some of my contemporaries reckon this should be in the ‘good’ category.

UGLY

England, 27–10 winners over Argentina, in a game which highlighted so much that is wrong with rugby!

Starting with the ridiculous yellow card, later upgraded to red, for England flanker Tom Curry for what was an accidental head clash. As former England coach Sir Clive Woodward said in his Mail Online column, “The sport is in trouble, in my opinion, if those sorts of collisions are deemed worthy of a sending-off.”

It was a rugby incident, so refs have a look for sure, but get on with the game and don’t ruin it for the fans. My big fear now, and I’ve expressed the view previously, is that a similar seemingly wrong decision will be made in a quarter, semi, or the big dance. Some common sense, please!

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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