Thanks Richie

November 19, 2015

All Black captain Richie McCaw has announced his retirement from rugby.

All Blacks's photo.

The All Blacks’ website  lists 12 key dates in his career:

August 18, 2000

Debuted for Canterbury against North Harbour when coming off the bench for his only 18 minutes of first-class play that season. . . .

November 17 2001

Made his All Blacks debut at Lansdowne Road in Dublin against Ireland. New Zealand won 40-29 after being down 7-16 at halftime. . . 

August 10, 2002

In hindsight, this was possibly the first moment where it was identified that McCaw brought a little more to rugby than his openside flanker skills. . . 

May 28, 2005 

With the added responsibility of captaining the Crusaders, McCaw’s portfolio was widening and he led the side to the Super Rugby title when beating the Waratahs 35-25. . .

October 6, 2007 

If there was a low point in McCaw’s career this had to be it. A quarter-final exit at the hands of France in Cardiff, beaten 18-20. . .

August 16, 2008 

So often McCaw’s play has been encapsulated in the performance of his team. In 2008, after losses at home to South Africa (28-30) and away to Australia (19-34) when he didn’t appear in either, he returned to inspire New Zealand a week later to reverse the score against Australia 39-10 and then another fortnight later he went one better when the All Blacks held South Africa scoreless 0-19 at Cape Town, the first time South Africa hadn’t scored at in 105 years.  . . .

May 1, 2010 

McCaw completed 100 Super Rugby games when playing the Stormers in Cape Town, unfortunately not able to celebrate with a win. But it proved a year of performance milestones as he and fullback/centre Mils Muliaina completed their 93rd Tests to become the most capped All Blacks and became New Zealand’s most capped Test leader with 52 Tests, supplanting Sean Fitzpatrick’s record.  . . .

October 23, 2011

When McCaw, feeling no pain from a broken foot that threatened to derail his chances of playing the final, or the semi-final or the quarter-final, held the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft after an 8-7 win over France in the Rugby World Cup final, it was a signature moment in New Zealand’s rugby history first and foremost, but for McCaw and those players who had been involved in Cardiff four years earlier, it was a weight-lifting exercise.  . .

August 15, 2015

The unprecedented scenes after about 62 minutes of the Bledisloe Cup decider against Australia at Eden Park, when New Zealand claimed a 41-13 victory will live long in the memory, longer even than the events of the Test match itself.  What happened when McCaw was substituted from the field was a spontaneous outbreak of respect, affection and acknowledgement for one of the great contributions to not just the All Blacks but to New Zealand rugby . . .

November 1, 2015 

History has its own way of acknowledging those who have had an impact on their area of speciality. That happened at Twickenham when McCaw, regarded as one of the finest to have played the game anywhere in the world, held the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft after beating Australia 34-17 in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final.  . . .

There is no doubt about his skill and accomplishments as a player and captain.

What also makes him stand out is his character.

He has lived with intense scrutiny on and off the playing field and many a lesser man would have let the adulation and attention get the better of him.

Instead, he has always come across as modest, grounded and unaffected by the trappings of fame. Friends who know him say this is not just a show.

His parents, Don and Margaret, can take credit for the values instilled in him as a child.

That and his country upbringing gave him a strong foundation on which he built to become a great All Black, a truly good man and a New Zealander of whom we can all be proud.

Thanks Richie.


Jonah Lomu 12.5.75 – 18.11.15

November 18, 2015

All Black legend Jonah Lomu has died at the age of 40.

Lomu battled kidney disorders since the end of 1995 when he was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome. He had a kidney transplant in 2004.

He suffered health setbacks since the transplant and had been receiving dialysis treatments during his recent visit to Britain where he was involved in heavy promotional work for the Rugby World Cup. . . .

First woman driver to win NZ Cup

November 10, 2015

Australian Kerryn Manning made history at Addington Raceway today when she became the first female driver to win the New Zealand Trotting Cup.

A week after the Melbourne Cup had its first female winner, Manning controlled the race from start to finish, with Arden Rooney holding off Smolda down the home straight in a tight finish. . . 

The Sydney Morning Herald profiles her here.

Michelle Payne 1st woman to win Melbourne Cup

November 3, 2015

Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance to victory in the Melbourne Cup.

In doing so she rode into racing history as the first woman to win the Cup.

The Age has a good read about her and her family:

Michelle Payne is a wanted woman this week, given her status as just the fourth female jockey to have a ride in a Melbourne Cup.

But try taking the spotlight away from brother Steve, a shining example for others afflicted with Down Syndrome.

Not only will Steve shadow Michelle Payne onto the track for just her second ride in Australia’s great race as Prince Of Penzance’s strapper, he is basically accompanying her everywhere else, too. To trackwork, to barrier draws, to countless interviews … the siblings who share a home have been almost inseparable this week. . . 

She wasn’t letting male dominance in the race distract her:

Payne will be the only female jockey to be presented to the Flemington masses before the $6.2 million race while John Sargent’s mare Gust Of Wind is the only female in a race dominated by high-priced stallions and hardened geldings.

“To be honest I don’t take a lot of notice of that,” Payne said. “I’ve got a job to do and I just go out and do it. I don’t let that influence me in any way. I really don’t put a lot of emphasis on it. It might help other girls coming through with an opportunity in big races. Otherwise I really don’t look at it any other way than that I’m a jockey and I’m doing my best.”

Today her best was good enough to win.

The official results are:

1st 19 Prince of Penzance (NZ) (1)





2nd 8 Max Dynamite (FR) (2)





3rd 2 Criterion (NZ) (4)

D.Hayes & T.Dabernig



Melbourne Cup sweepstake

November 3, 2015

It’s Melbourne Cup day and the Victoria racing Club has the field and form here.

My foolproof method of picking winners is a lot more fool than proof – a combination of the appeal of the name and jockey’s colours.

But I’m sticking with it which gives me:

# 2 Criterion

# 12 Sky Hunter

# 20 Bondi Beach

If you’re running a sweep VRC has a handy sweepstake page you can print.


November 1, 2015

Black to black back to back

November 1, 2015

What a game, what a win – the All Blacks are world history making third-time Rugby World Cup winners.

New Zealand withstood a gutsy Australian fightback to claim victory 34-17 in the Rugby World Cup final and create history as the first side to win three titles.

The All Blacks were given a Halloween night fright by the Wallabies, who battled their way back from 21-3 with two tries to get within four points of Richie McCaw’s side at 21-17. . . 

Well worth getting up early to watch.
All Blacks's photo.
All Blacks's photo.
"532598971JD00382_New_Zealan LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Richie McCaw of New Zealand lifts the trophy after victory during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on October 31, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)"



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