Archive for the ‘Rugby’ Category

SBW Says Boxing Will Help his Rugby

Sony Bill Williams. Photo:www.theguardian.com.au

Sporting polymath Sony Bill Williams believes the gruelling boxing training will stand him in good stead for his return to Super Rugby.

Williams describes his six weeks of training as physical and mental torture. On January 31 he’ll see if it was enough as he takes on respected American Chauncy Welliver. The heavyweight clash will be the first Footy Show Fight Night held at Allphones Arena. It promises to be a torrid encounter with both men claiming to be at the peak of their fitness and skills.

But for Williams the clash is just the start.

Only a few days later Williams is expected to be thrown into the crucible – joining his Chiefs teammates for their final test against defending champions the Waratahs.

“I’m excited about potentially playing in that game,” said Williams to the Daily Telegraph.

“My fight will come first though, then I can focus on the match afterwards.

“I’ll had over to New Zealand with the Chiefs in early January and do some training at night with Tony Mundine.

“It’s a big year next season in a rugby sense and I know putting myself through this almost tortuous next six weeks will get me in the best possible condition – not just physically, but also mentally.

“It will be hard work, but it will definitely help me with my rugby too.”

Williams was full of praise for All-Black Dan Carter, who recently signed with French club Racing Metro. Carter signed a three-year deal supposedly worth three million a season.

“He is not just a good rugby player,” said Williams of Carter,, “ but a good bloke (too), and it is good to see him do well for his family.”

Aussie Sevens Hopes Riding on Pama Fou

Pama Fou. Image: www.zimbio.com

Pama Fou. Image: www.zimbio.com

Australia’s Rugby Sevens hopes are riding on the dynamic Pama Fou. The tall, athletic winger is under pressure to provide the X-factor to his team in their attempts to upstage favourites Fiji and New Zealand.

Speedster Shannon Walker is still unavailable because of a fractured foot. Walker was instrumental in helping the Australian team to claw their way into last year’s finals.

Fou was instrumental in helping the Australians upstage Wales for the bronze medal in this year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games. His side-step late in the game, and blazing run down the touchline to score, showed he is capable of capitalising on broken play.

And broken play is something there will be plenty of in seven aside rugby. The field seems awfully big when there are only seven of you out there. With such space the ability to spot opportunities and capitalise on them is essential.

Australian coach Gerain John was pleased with his sides performance in the Oceania Sevens in Noosa last weekend, despite losing to New Zealand 19 – 14.

“We played really well against the Kiwis and going full-time in training in Sydney has definitely improved our conditioning for tournaments.”

Australia and highly fancied rivals Fiji kick off at 7.01 pm in a Pool C game at Cbus Stadium on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

It is sure to be fast, exhaustive, physical and entertaining.

SBW Keen to Play for Counties Manakau

Andrew Maddock, chief executive of the Counties Manakau Rugby Union side, received a nice surprise recently. After their defeat by the South Sydney Rabbits on Friday night footballing sensation Sonny Bill Williams is off contract from the Sydney City Roosters.

New Zealand Rugby Union had previously ruled Williams didn’t have to play a game in the NPC to still be eligible for All Black selection. The team is to tour the northern hemisphere in November.

Andrew Maddock. Photo: www.steelers.co.nz

Andrew Maddock. Photo: www.steelers.co.nz

But Williams phoned Maddock to assure him of his readiness to play for Counties Manakau.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Maddock.

“I think he just felt he wanted to win that (All Blacks) position on merit and also get some rugby time under his belt.

Maddock believed Williams would want to play if the Steelers made the top-four play-offs.

Williams has played in the NPC with Canterbury in 2010. Prior to this he spent a season with French side Toulon. Williams ran on for the All Blacks in that same year (2009). Since then he has represented his country 19 times and was integral to winning the 2011 World Cup. Williams then left his home shores to play the 2012 rugby union season in Japan; then joined the Roosters in 2013.

Gold Coast on Trial over Pumas – Wallabies Game

Gold Coast rugby fans will be tested tonight as Cbus Stadium plays host to a test match between the Argentinian Pumas and Australian Wallabies.

Pumas vs Wallabies. Photo: www.sanzarrugby.com

Pumas vs Wallabies. Photo: www.sanzarrugby.com

In a year that can best be described as ‘dreary’ the Gold coasters have drifted away from all stadium sports. The hapless Gold Coast Titans have given fans little to cheer about; beginning the season well but getting progressively worse with each game.

And the ARL is aware of this. They do not want their beautiful game besmirched with a poor attendance between two sides; both of whom deserve a packed stadium.

The lowest attendance figure ever for a test match is 15,438; between Australia and Fiji. This was in the nation’s capital Canberra back in 2010. The ARL does not want that record broken.

The Titans have not drawn a sell-out crowd this year. The best attendance was for a match against their close rivals the Broncos of 20,500. Cbus stadium still has another test match locked in. But whether it will be awarded any more will depend, to a great extent, on tonight’s numbers.

In a previous visit to the Gold coast the Pumas attracted 22,278 visitors. And their side is, if anything, even more impressive now.

Captain Agustin Creevy has been given the nickname ‘Sonny Bill’ for his freakish ability to off-load under pressure. His pack are big and fit and have shown they are well-disciplined and smart. On top of this, many of the Argentine side boast international experience, having played in respected sides throughout Europe.

Glamour Australian sides, like the Western Force, have had their sights on a few of the Pumas already. Hulking speedster, Manuel Monetero – a trim, taut and terrific 105 kg winger (yes, you read that right – WINGER!), is off contract at the end of the season. And the Force is reputedly targeting him.

Creevy has played for English club Worcester and is attracting a lot of interest throughout Rugby clubs around the globe.

And while the Pumas haven’t always been able to produce victories on the field, they have always been very, very competitive.

If the Wallabies think they’ve got an easy game ahead of them tonight, they’re wrong.

SBW Cleared to be Selected for All Blacks

The best Rugby Union team in the world just got better.

New Zealand Rugby has cleared the way for footballing sensation Sonny Bill Williams to rejoin the All Blacks squad at the end of the NRL season.

And why wouldn’t they?

Sony Bill Williams. Photo:www.theguardian.com.au

Sony Bill Williams. Photo:www.theguardian.com.au

The 29 year-old South Sydney Rooster hasn’t played a domestic game of rugby union this year. But his footballing prowess, fitness, and game sense are without question. Williams has been outstanding for the Roosters this year and has shown he can make the swap to the 15 man game without any problems.

The New Zealand Rugby board granted Williams an exemption, making him available for representative duties. Steve Tew, New Zealand Rugby boss, said this would make Williams eligible to be picked for the World Cup end-of-season squad.

The All Blacks end-of-season tour begins on November 1 against the United States. Tests against England, Scotland and Wales follow over successive weekends.

Williams’ contract with the Roosters finishes with their final game of the year. The Roosters are guaranteed to make the finals and are posing as real threats to win the premiership. Should they go all the way, Williams will play his final game will be the NRL Grand Final on October 5.

He will play for Counties Manuka in the domestic New Zealand competition in 2015, under coach Tana Umaga.

Wallabies Break All Blacks’ 17 Game Bledisloe Winning Streak

Bledisloe Cup. Photo: www.anzstadium.com.au

Bledisloe Cup. Photo: www.anzstadium.com.au

Last night the Australian Wallabies held on for an unconvincing draw against the New Zealand All Blacks in the first Bledisloe Cup game of the season. Much was expected of Kurtley Beale playing at No. 10, for the first time in two years, and much was directed at him by the All Blacks.

In rainy conditions, the two sides played a fast, taxing and brutal game; wearing away at each other in slippery conditions. The 12 – 12 score line definitely flattered the Australians.

Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau came in for special attention from the All Blacks. They were slowed with damaging tackles and relentless pressure. Beale threw several wayward passes, stymieing the Australian attack at crucial times of the game. He furthermore broke the hearts of Aussie fans by conceding a penalty, through not releasing the ball, in one of the more promising goal line raids.

But Beale showed his ability under the high ball. The New Zealanders peppered the five-eighth with bombs, hoping the slick ball would slip free for a penalty. Beale disappointed them.

Australia’s 12 points came through goal-kicking. Again Beale was hot and cold kicking at 80 per cent and ruing what might-have-been.

Folau suffered a nasty head clash in the first-half, as he slid into a team mate in search of the loose ball. Trainers were on in seconds. Folau had a serious cut and appeared wobbly on his feet, but refused to come off.

New Zealand’s Conrad Smith was absent from the side due to his wife giving birth to their first child.

During the game All Blacks Wyatt Crockett and Beauden Barrett were shown yellow cards by South African referee Jaco Peyper. But even with an extra man the Wallabies were unable to break the Kiwis heroic defense.

Aaron Cruden kicked four goals for all the New Zealanders’ points. The tie ends a 17 game winning streak for the All Blacks.

In all, the New Zealanders allowed the Australians into the match with a few uncharacteristic mistakes; mistakes not likely to be there when the teams meet again in Auckland next week.

South Africa End New Zealand 16 Year Run at Games Sevens.

Captain of the New Zealand Sevens side, D.J. Forbes grumbled, “I guess we are beatable,” after South Africa caused the upset of 16 years to claim the gold medal over their highly fancied rivals.

The 16 year unbeaten run is rivalled only by the America’s Cup victories; with New Zealand entering the competition ranked as the side to beat. Commentators even suggested the team comprised the fittest rugby players in New Zealand – in itself is very high praise.

The Australians only incurred the ire of the Kiwis by suggesting, prior to the games, that this New Zealand team wasn’t up to the same standard of previous sides.

But it wouldn’t be the Australians who beat them.

The game itself was incredibly hard fought with crushing tackles, slick passing moves, and blistering fast runs from the flankers.

Photo: kerikerirugby.com

Photo: kerikerirugby.com

The referee was very involved and needed to intercede several times as tension between the two sides threatened to boil over.

But while the aggression was barely kept in check the football was a delight to watch. Both teams put on a magnificent display of strategy, teamwork and skill. The football was fierce, fluid, flowing – never giving spectators a chance to look away.

Unfortunately for New Zealand the most consistent sides don’t always win. “Sevens is a pretty fickle game, it can go either way,” said Forbes after the match. “But I guess if we are putting things in perspective moving forward, it is all about the Olympics nw. I guess maybe the monkey is off the back.”

The New Zealand side still has a silver medal – not anything to be scoffed at. Even though they did not win the game they did not lose anyone’s respect.

Gatland Beefs up Welsh Side to Take on South Africa

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Warren Gatland, coach of the Welsh Rugby Union squad, has made two startling changes to the team to take on South Africa at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, on Saturday. He acknowledges his disappointment at his team’s last efforts against the ‘Boks, and is looking to beef up his pack against a very physical side.

Prop Samson Lee and Flanker Josh Turnbull will run on with the side for the first time; both men being promoted from the bench.  “It’s a great opportunity for Samson and Josh,” Gatland told reporters, “they deserve the chance after impressing from the bench last weekend.”

Lee joins Gethin Jenkins and hooker Ken Owens in the front row, standing in for Adam Jones. While Trunbull pushes out Aaron Shingle who has been dropped from the squad entirely.

The backline stays intact with Mike Phillips and Dan Biggar. The centre partnership of Jamie Roberts and Jonathon Davies stays together. George North and Alex Cuthbert hover on the wings, while Liam Williams slots in at full-back.

The replacements feature the fresh faces of Aaron Jarvis, Jake Bell and Dan Baker. They will join Matthew Rees and Paul James as part of the forward pack.

Wales: 15-Liam Williams, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Mike Phillips, 8-Taulupe Faletau, 7-Josh Turnbull, 6-Dan Lydiate, 5-Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4-Luke Charteris, 3-Samson Lee, 2-Ken Owens, 1-Gethin Jenkins

Replacements: 16-Matthew Rees, 17-Paul James, 18-Aaron Jarvis, 19-Jake Ball, 20-Dan Baker, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-James Hook, 23-Matthew Morgan

Alex McKinnon headed to rehab after arm improvement

alex-mckinnon-rehab There is hopeful news for Newcastle Knights player, Alex McKinnon, who has experienced improvement in both arms after a devastating spinal injury. He’s now been transferred from intensive care to a spinal rehabilitation ward in a Sydney hospital. There is still a “long road ahead” for McKinnon, and “further regeneration may occur over a two-year time frame,” the Newcastle Knights said in a statement last Thursday. “Movement in Alex’s right arm is improving and he has started to get movement in his left arm. Alex is able to control an electronic wheelchair”, the statement said. “

Alex and his family wish to thank the medical team at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, for the acute care and treatment following his injury. They also wish to thank the hospital staff currently managing his progress.”

Alex McKinnon was seriously injured in late March at AAMI Park in the final seconds of the first half of the Newcastle Knights losing match against Melbourne. Fears soon arose that he would spend the rest of his life as a quadriplegic but with the latest news, there is hope of some body functions returning.

Whether you’re an elite athlete or just a casual sportsman, it’s important that your body gets the best treatment possible. We only have one body so we have to look after it, which is why seeing an experienced rehab medical team  when an injury arises is so essential.

A sore back after years of strenuous gymnastics. A torn ACL after a rough game of footy. That sore elbow joint that still hasn’t quite recovered after an intense workout last month. Even if you don’t think it’s serious, ignoring a persistent injury is not going to make it go away. “Having to stop playing for a while can be tough for anyone. But the best way to make sure you can keep playing your beloved sport into the future is to address the injury early on”, said Simon Carbone from rehab centre, Momentum Health Solutions. “Physiotherapy doesn’t have to be an unbearable or scary process. It’s actually quite simple,” Carbone said.  “It usually starts with a  thorough assessment by experts to determine how serious the injury is. Then we formulate safe and effective treatment for our clients at one of our many Leisurepark physiotherapy clinics.”

“Treatments come in a variety of forms like massages, dry needling, taping, electrotherapy, walking aids as well as heat and ice treatments.” Rehab isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be quite gruelling. But just like in sport, determination, commitment and motivation are essential for a successful recovery and a pain-free existence. Tackle it the way you tackle a match; look at the bigger picture and know that every step you take in another step towards a stronger, healthier body.

Alex McKinnon’s recovery is going to be a tough road both physically and mentally. But with the latest news of improvement, one can only hope that with the love and support of his fans, family, friends and medical team, he can keep progressing forward.

Hapless Rams in Hot Water for Nudie Run

The East Burwood Rams Football Club is under investigation for forcing its players to run nude around the oval as punishment for poor on-field performances.

The incident is said to have occurred Thursday May 22, with players as young as 17 said to have been forced to bare all to the Melbourne chill. The Eastern Football League is investigating the incident after a slew of complaints from outraged parents. “Once the investigation is complete,” said Chief Executive Phil Murton of the Eastern Football League, “the details will be assessed and any penalties or sanctions will be delivered based on the findings and in accordance with [league] procedures and rules.”

Photo from www.news.com.ay

Photo from www.news.com.ay

The hapless Rams are winless since the first round of the season and seem to have the wooden spoon wrapped up.

To add insult to injury it seems the punishment run did nothing to benefit the team. Two days after the alleged incident Doncaster East put a 61 point hiding on them.

Club President Sue Bailey refused to comment on the incident.