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Sporting ups and downs

By Don Farmer

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A bracket of big sports stories have been in the news this week, some good, some not so good and some a bit baffling.

Colin Cooper’s appointment as coach of the Chiefs from 2018 was welcomed throughout the rugby world especially as the talented coach could well have turned his back on New Zealand rugby for a much larger salary than he will be getting back home.

Cooper has proven his worth with the Hurricanes, the New Zealand Maori and with the Taranaki representative side.

What’s more he is staying put for all the right reasons, putting the prospect of big money aside for the opportunity to pit his wits against other top kiwi coaches who he collectively describes as being the best in the world.

Meanwhile Wellington rugby has not had such a happy time of it this year despite the Hurricanes being Super Rugby champs.

The wash-up from the Losi Filipo saga continues to rock the union’s confidence and it is hoped the bosses will take heed of six recommendations brought down by Dame Margaret Blazey who led an independent review into the whole affair.

They include drafting a new system of standards which would include developing a strict code of conduct to watchdog players’ behaviour both on and off the field.

A more radical recommendation is that the union set up a taskforce to examine standards and protocols and that this should include at least one or two women.

Further north horse racing officials have been rocked by problems at Awapuni, long recognised as one of the top North Island racing venues.

The state of the track there caused a meeting last Saturday to be canned when a runner slipped badly and the rest of the meeting was called off for safety reasons.

Then on Wednesday the decision was made to transfer the biggest meeting of Awapuni’s year, the Boxing Day meeting, to Otaki and what’s more to even re-schedule a meeting planned for January 7 to another venue.

These measures were taken on expert advice and after trainers and jockeys had been consulted.

It is a body blow for the Manawatu and you can bet all stops will now be out to get to the bottom of the problem.

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