Classic finals, European passion, pop stars, and a battered and bruised trophy all add up to another edition of the Good, Bad and Ugly of sport.
Copthorne Wairarapa Bush booked their first Heartland semifinal in four years with a deserved 33–28 away win over Mid Canterbury. Even better news, it’s at home, much to the delight of the ‘Gravel Pit’.
West Coast, once they’ve experienced the joys of the bus ride over the Remutaka Hill Road can expect a typically warm Wairarapa welcome.
Two classic games were the highlights of the Aussie big finals weekend, starting with the Collingwood ‘Pies holding on to beat the Brisbane Lions 90–86 in a humdinger AFL season-ender and the Penrith Panthers roaring home from 16 points down to kill off the Brisbane Broncos’ chances of a first title in 17 years in a 26–24 thriller and winning their third straight premiership.
If you love passion in sport, nothing beats the Ryder Cup, and the Europeans showed plenty as they put the Americans to the sword with a dominant 16.5 – 11.5 win in Rome and extend their unbeaten run in Europe that stretches back to 1993. Not so good was Rory McIlroy’s spat with a US caddy after day two, but hey, it fired him up for the singles, and that’s what sport is all about – emotion and the ability to harness it, and still perform.
The All Blacks’ 96-17 demolition of Italy was a shot in the arm for the team and fans alike.
Let’s not get too far ahead; the Italians waved the white flag pretty early, and sterner challenges lie ahead, but it was a big step in the right direction.
The annual ‘Official Lie on the Couch Day’ with Bathurst 1000 is just around the corner. Foot to the throttle, boys ‘n girls, it’s time to stock up on the 4 ‘n 20 pies, VBs, and lamingtons in readiness for a Sunday afternoon in petrolhead heaven.
It’s more confusing than necessarily bad, but I’m struggling to see the consistency around yellow and red cards for instances of head contact. What are the whistle-blowers and their cronies at the Rugby World Cup, seeing that we don’t? I give up trying to work it out, but wait for it: one or more teams’ chances in knockout games could be ruined by a wrong call.
I suppose the issue of collusion was going to raise its ugly head at some time, especially with staggered game times for the final RWC pool games, meaning that teams know what they must do to make the quarterfinals. Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber wasted no time addressing the prospect of “match-fixing” in the decisive Ireland – Scotland clash to make sure South Africa don’t make the quarterfinals. Despite it being a complicated calculation, it is highly unlikely the two Celtic rivals would stoop that low. By the way, all Scotland need to do to qualify is to beat Ireland and deny them a bonus point – easy, eh?
Why did the muck-raking journalist even ask the question, but why did Nienaber respond? We don’t need a baseless South African conspiracy theory to stir the pot.
Taylor Swift watching her latest squeeze, Travis Kelce, perform for the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL.
Please, that is not sport and has no place on the pitiful few minutes dedicated to sports news on One or Three or on the sports pages of the daily rag, and it is the one and only time her name will feature on this page.
The Hawke’s Bay Magpies handling, or should I say mishandling, of New Zealand sports most prized trophy, the Ranfurly Shield.
After winning the ‘Log o’ Wood’ from Wellington in a thriller, some players inflicted more damage on the trophy, splitting it in two [probably accidentally] and then having the temerity to post photographs online.
A proud rugby union with a great history in shield rugby, instead of celebrating a great victory, is left searching for answers after being let down by a few boofheads who should have the book thrown at them.