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One win for Aussies and 3 for the Kiwi franchises

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Trans – Tasman Rugby round 3

By Rajitha Ratwatte

We had a game scheduled for Queenstown, the Melbourne Rebels were scheduled to fly down and play the Otago Highlanders (probably in snowy conditions as winter is here) but the current Covid outbreak in Melbourne has that match scheduled for Sydney on Sunday. The only game that happened on Friday was at Mclean Park, Napier that lovely seaside town in the Hawkes Bay of the North Island, NZ. The Wellington Hurricanes playing the Western Force from Perth in conditions that would be far colder than anything experienced on the West Coast of Australia. The ‘Canes resting their hooker Dane Coles and the Force having 13 test All Black Richard Kahui in their ranks at no13 and former British Lion Rob Kierney at no15.

The Western Force started off like they meant business, tackling fiercely and racking up a 6–0 lead in the first ten minutes with two penalties from in front of the posts. 12 minutes into the game Asafo Aumua that dynamic Hooker who always plays in the Shadow of Dan Coles, picked up a miscued long throw from a line out, in his 22, and sprinted down the touchline for 80 meters to score far right. An incredible sight, a no2 jersey burning up the touchline like a no11 or no 14! Jordie Barret converted from a difficult angle and the Hurricanes in the lead at last 7–6. In the 20th minute, a back peel off a line out saw the backline activated and a great cut-out pass to wing saw a try from Rayasi Salesi which involved a great finish, dotting the ball down with the rest of his body in the air and in touch. Barret converted again from the left extreme and the score read 14–6. The Western Force kept attacking and Jordie Barret was guilty of throwing a few wild passes and disrupting attacking moves from the Hurricanes. He made up however with a 60-meter clearing kick to touch in the 35th minute of the game. Around 5 minutes from half time Tyrrell Lomax the All Black and Hurricanes loosehead prop ripped the ball away from a Force player and set Du’Plessis Kirifi his open side flanker on a 22-meter sprint, with Jordie Barret at his elbow, which ended in a try for Kirifi. Barret missed the conversion and the halftime score read 19–6.

Six minutes into the second half quick hands and a series of lovely passes saw Wes Goosen the open side winger sprint 22 meters and score another far-right. Barret missed again but the lead was comfortable now 24–6. Aardie Savea coming on off the bench and still recovering from his injury made a difference straight away winning the ball from a ruck and earning a turnover penalty for his side in defence. In the 57th minute, Salesi Rayasi picked up a loose ball inside his 10-meter line and ran the length of the field to score under the posts for a converted try 31–6. About seven minutes from the full-time whistle, a simple chip kick behind the advancing Western Force defense saw Ngani Laumape pick the ball up run 40 meters, and earn himself another seven pointer, 38–6, and the beginning to look like a rout. Jordie Barret was not to be outdone dotting down another in the last stages of the game after another abject lesson in ball handling from the Hurricanes three quarters. Too hard to convert for the try scorer and the final score 43–6 a convincing win with a bonus point to start off round three and the midway point of this tournament.

The first game played on Saturday was at the WIN Stadium in Wollongong, NSW. Another seaside ground and this time with a 30-mph wind gusting around and mainly behind the Waratahs as the Crusaders kicked off. The first seven minutes or so spent in the Crusaders territory and it was only in the eighth minute that Ritchie Mo’uanga decided that he had enough and sent a long pass out to Seevu Reece on the wing who passed to Will Jordan who ensured that the diminutive number nine Mitchell Drummond scored mid-right. Easily converted and the Crusaders into a 7–0 lead. Another great attacking move a few minutes later was disrupted when Leicester Fainga’anuku playing in the number 11 jersey didn’t pass early enough. This open-side winger is the only weak link (if the Crusaders do have a weak link) in the backline and if he continues to play, this will be exploited by the Australian teams. Two penalties converted by the ‘Tahs in the 10th and 17th minute saw the game reduced to a one-point margin reading 7–6 to the Crusaders. In the 21st minute Jack Whitton the second row forward of the Waratahs was yellow carded and during the ensuing 10 minutes the Crusaders scored twice through their hooker Codie Taylor (unconverted) and Seevu Reece (goal) and the Waratahs converted a penalty to take the score to 19–9. On the stroke of halftime, Will Jordan drew the defence beautifully and opened the way for his number 12 Dallas McCloud to score mid-right. No problem with the goal and the halftime score read 26–9 to the visitors.

The highlight of the game came in the 1st minute of the second half with Ritchie Muanga showing infinite grace and wonderful timing, collecting a ball one-handed, slicing through a gap, and running 30 meters to allow his skipper and second-rower, Scott Barret, to power his way over the line for a seven pointer 33–9. The Waratahs attacked furiously and the Crusaders defended grimly until Jack Maddocks broke through a hole in the defence and scored for the ‘Tahs well within kicking range to take the score to 33–16. The Tah’s shortened the margin further by another seven pointer from Zane Paresi their number 13 taking the score to 33–23. Leicester Fainga’anuku the “weak link” in the crusaders line, redeemed himself by scoring mid-left paving the way for a routine conversion and the score to 40–23, in the 62nd minute. We had reached the stage of the game when the Crusaders put their “foot down” and usually accelerate their scoring and the duly obliged with a rolling maul that gained about 20 meters and Bryn Hall in at substitute hooker breaking away and scoring unopposed first, to take the score to 47–23 and then Will Jordan collecting a perfectly weighted cross kick from Fergus Berk to take the score to 54-23. The ‘Tahs were not finished yet and with the yellow carding of David Havilli for a deliberate knock on a scoring area, Alex Newsome their number 11 scored an unconverted try to take the final score to 54–28.

Eden Park the bastion of the Auckland Blues hosted the Brumbies for the second game of the Saturday of round three of the Trans-Tasman Super rugby tournament. It was 15 minutes into the game before the Brumbies line was crossed by Brett Eklund the Blues hooker, ably assisted by Dalton Papelili off a line out maul. Eklund went over mid-right and the conversion was no problem for Oteri Black 7–0. The Blues have right throughout the season continued to keep their fans in a state of high tension by making basic mistakes on attack and losing many scoring chances due to “brain freezes”. They continued in this vein first winning a scrum penalty and then having it reversed and then giving a penalty right in front of their posts and finally conceding a try to the Brumbies in the 33rd minute, taking the Australians into the lead 7–10. Oteri Black pulled back a penalty for the blues making the scores level at 10 all. Two minutes from half time Ricco Ioane scythed his way through the Brumbies defence and passed to his number nine Finlay Christie who ran 60+ meters and scored under the posts, making the half time score 17–10 to the Blues.

The second half started untidily with the ball flying around everywhere and handling mistakes and aimless kicking dominating the play. In the seventh minute, Bryce Heem of the Blues scored under the posts from a move that involved passing and offloads from Patrick Tuapoletu and Hoskins Sututu. Easily converted and the score now reading 24–10 to the home side. Finlay Christie the Blues halfback was having his best game for the season and at this stage, the Blues unleashed their hitman off the bench Nepo Laulala the All Blacks tighthead prop who usually makes big difference to the tiring opposition scrum. Laulala however could only manage to concede a penalty upon arrival! A great intercept by Gerard Cowley-Tuioti in the 55th minute saw good territory gained and the Blues forwards got down to work. Many phases and much hard work later A.J. Lam scored mid-right taking the Blues to 31–10. The 69th minute saw a formal warning issued to the Brumbies and a yellow card dished out their number 16 for collapsing the scrum. The Blues promptly took advantage of the numbers superiority, with T.J. Fayani scoring a converted try mid-right. This took the score to 38–10 which remained the final margin of Victory for the Auckland Blues.

The last game for Saturday’s rugby was Townsville with the Queensland Reds hosting the Waikato Chiefs. Things started badly for the Chiefs with the first scrum resulting in a penalty to the reds and quickly got worse with a penalty try being awarded to the Reds by Aussie ref Nic Berry, in the 15th minute and a yellow card issued to the Chiefs no 11 Chase Tiatia 0-7. The Chiefs pulled in a penalty in the 17th minute with their main playmaker and placekicker Damian Mackenzie converting from 40 meters out 3–7. Then came the turning point of the game in the 21st minute when Damian Mackenzie was found to have shoulder-charged the Reds number nine McDermott and red carded out of the game. The video evidence was clear and a player who always punched well above his weight for the Chiefs was out of the game in the 21st minute. The rule in force for this tournament says that a red card will result in no player being replaced for 10 minutes and after that, another player will be allowed on the field. The red-carded player can take no further part in the game. This meant that the Chiefs were now down to 13 men for a while and would be playing with 14 until one minute into the second half. The Queensland Reds obliged with four tries (three of them converted) in the remaining period to half time taking the score to 3-33 at the break.

The Chiefs were back to 15 men in the second minute of the second half and they got down to work. The 51st minute saw Gus Sowakula playing at flanker for the Chiefs scoring mid-right but Kaleb Task who was kicking in the absence of D’mac missed a fairly straightforward conversion. 8–33 and the Chiefs position looking hopeless. Five minutes later Filipo Daugunu who always does an exemplary job manning the wing scored again for the Reds and O’Connor converted from the extreme left corner of the field. Score 8–40 and the Aussie commentators who always double up as a cheering squad were ecstatic and even managed to pronounce Daugunu’s name right! The next ten minutes saw four tries by the Chiefs three of which were converted and the kick at goal off the fourth try which left them behind by six points (34–40) with less than two minutes left in the game, was not taken in an attempt to restart the game and attempt to score again. It was not to be however and the Australian franchise was able to record their first win of the tournament.

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Australia T20 captain retires from international cricket

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Aaron Finch hit 63 in his final international innings against Ireland at the 2022 Men's T20 World Cup (pic BBC)

BBC reported that former Australia white-ball captain Aaron Finch has announced his retirement from international cricket.

Opening batter Finch, 36, was Australia’s T20 captain, having retired from one-day internationals in September..

He represented Australia in five Tests, 146 one-day internationals and 103 T20s, leading them to their first T20 World Cup title in 2021.

Finch said it had been “incredible honour” to play for Australia.

He is set to continue playing in domestic T20 competitions, including in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Melbourne Renegades.

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Fun Run announcing Asian Games at Port City today

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The Fun Run announcing the Asian Games will be held at Port City today. The event was announced at a function held in Colombo on Monday.

The official Fun Run announcing the 19th Asian Games will be held under the patronage of the Olympic Council of Asia Director General -Dr. Husain Al-Musallam and a host of dignitaries at the Colombo International Financial City (Port City) today.

The quadrennial Asian Games which was originally scheduled for September 2022 was postponed in May due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in and around the host city of Hangzhou in China. The Game will now be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8, 2023 under the motto of “Heart to Heart, @Future.”

The ‘Fun Run’ which acts like a baton relay of sorts was announced at a function held in Colombo yesterday.

The Fun Run will be held at the presence of Wu Jianzhong -Deputy Director of Games Services Department, Ge Jianyang -Staff of Press and Public Relations Department, Bao Hanyuan -Staff of Games Services Department and delegates from the Olympic Council of Asia. The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka will be represented by its President Suresh Subramaniam, Secretary General NOC Sri Lanka Maxwell de Silva along with the executive committee of the NOC Sri Lanka.

To liven up this colourful pageant there will be a surfeit of sports and cultural activities involving over 700 persons. The highlight of the day’s activity will be a Jet Ski show presented by Sri Lanka Navy and a traditional Martial Art -Angampora Demonstration recited by the Army sports division. The President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka Suresh Subramaniam aired the importance of the Fun Run. He said “the presence of the Olympic Council of Asia Director General -Dr. Husain Al-Musallam who is the main cog behind Asian Games 2022, signifies how serious they are about the success of the event. Besides that, there is a host of other Games Officials who will await eagerly to see the successful completion of this event and report back as to what Sri Lanka is capable of delivering. For us this is a momentous opportunity and we are taking it with both hands”.

Commenting on the significance of the event, NOC Sri Lanka Secretary General Maxwell de Silva said “akin to the Olympic Day Run or the Commonwealth Games Baton relay or the Asian Games Fun Run is very significant. In reality the “Fun Run” is the flag-off of the event and the Lankan leg of the baton that will take place at the Port City, Colombo.” The Olympic Council of Asia is stepping up its “Asian Games for All” promotional campaign right now.

A major part of this campaign is the Asian Games Fun Run, which is held throughout the continent and brings together elite athletes, social runners, students/children and sports officials. The OCA is working closely with the National Olympic Committees in all five zones to create a Fun Run calendar in order to promote the upcoming Asian Games and involve all levels of the community in a family-oriented activity. To this end, the OCA has released a schedule for February and March taking in two of the five zones: South Asia and South East Asia. The programme is still being assembled for the three remaining zones -West Asia, Central Asia and East Asia -in conjunction with the NOCs and will be released shortly.

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Amameth century propels Mahanama

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Under 19 Cricket

by Reemus Fernando

A century by Kavindu Amameth was the highlight of the day as Mahanama posted 363 runs against De Mazenod on day one of the traditional cricket encounter at Kandana on Monday.

Amameth top scored with 126 runs (in 173 balls, 9x4s, 4x6s) and put on a third wicket stand of 206 runs with Inuka Karannagoda as Mahanama dominated proceedings on day one.

In the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘B’ match at Uyanwatta, St. Servatius’ cemented their top position in Group ‘Z’ by scoring a first innings points against Devapathiraja.

Results

St. Servatius’ earn first innings points against Devapathiraja at Uyanwatta

Scores:

Devapathiraja

113 all out in 35.3 overs (Gimhan Rasanjana 24, Pawan Sandesh 24, Tharush Damindu 3/18, Kushan Wijerama 4/25, Chathum Bimsara 2/32) and 151 for 8 decl. in 36.2 overs (Darshaka Sandeep 46, Jeewaka Shashin 31; Chathum Bimsara 2/21, Kushan Wijerama 3/34, Thisan Dewmith 2/40)

St. Servatius’

92 for 6 overnight 123 all out in 48.3 overs (Mithila Charles 39, Vishwa Supun 23, Diniru Abeywickramasinghe 25; Irushka Thimira 6/47, Puljith Wathsuka 2/34) and 110 for 4 in 26.2 overs (Mithila Charles 27, Diniru Abeywickramasinghe 36, Chiran Neththaru 23n.o.; Puljith Wathsuka 2/38)

Mahanama dominate day one proceedings at Kandana

Scores:

Mahanama

363 all out in 92.1 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Inuka Karannagoda 75, Rashmika Perera 52, Chamika Heenatigala 24, Eshan Withanage 24; Kavindu Kaushalya 4/97, Thushan Udayanga 3/64, Sithum Fernando 3/71)

De Mazenod

2 for 1 in 5 overs

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