All equal?

November 3, 2019

The All Blacks played their best in the quarter finals.

England played best in the semis.

South Africa saved their best for the final and now hold the Rugby World Cup for the third time.

But, since the All Blacks beat the Sprinboks, England beat beat the All Blacks and the Sprinboks beat England, are we all equal at the top?


Not so much the loss

October 27, 2019

It wasn’t so much the loss, as the way the All Blacks lost that made last night’s Rugby World Cup semi-final such a disappointment.

Last week the team was on fire against Ireland, last night they looked like they’d lost their spark.

My heart has been backing Wales to win this evening but I’d rather face them than South Africa in the Plate match for third so might have to go with my head.

In other news North Otago won the Meads Cup, and this afternoon the Silver Ferns will be doing their best to beat the Diamonds in the deciding match for the Constellation Cup.


Gotta love the Irish

October 20, 2019


Rural round-up

March 11, 2019

Silence on the land: Why are NZ Farmers quiet on the prospect of capital gains tax? –  Andrea Fox:

The proposed capital gains tax is a “mangy dog”, Federated Farmers says – but so far it hasn’t provoked much barking in the home paddocks.

Farmers have been almost silent – at least in public – on the spectre of a tax that, according to critics, will add unacceptably high costs and complexity to farmers’ already heavy compliance burden.

But don’t think for a minute they’ve accepted the idea of a tax on land sales.

The suggestion from farmers is that while some feel so hammered by central and local government lately they are shellshocked. Others are more relaxed. That’s because they know Coalition partner NZ First won’t support the recommendations from the Tax Working Group (TWG), for fear of being consigned to political history next year. . .

Aerial “no-till” project set to revolutionise NZ farming:

A successful trial of “no-till” helicropping showcased today in the Southern Waikato promises a step-change in the approach to pastoral farming in New Zealand – ensuring the protection of soils while maintaining productivity.

“We are effectively putting away the plough,” says Sustainable Helicropping Group Chairman, Colin Armer. “The aerial no-till approach means we can establish crops and renew pastures without touching the ground or disturbing precious soil, more like what happens in nature.”

Mr Armer says early results from the $1 million project have proven the potential to address the estimated 192 million tonnes of soil that are lost every year from erosion – according to the Ministry for the Environment’s Our Land 2018 report – 44% of which is from pastoral land. . . 

On the Farm: Our guide to what’s happening in rural New Zealand:

Each week our Country Life reporters talk to farmers and orchardists up and down the country about what’s happening in their area.

Northland’s  kumara need rain.  The harvest is 15 percent through and some moisture would help swell the size of the kumara. The up-side of the dry is it is easy to get them out of the ground.  The crop needs to be harvested by the end of May so there is only limited time to wait for rain and to get through it all.  Kumara have been very expensive in the past couple of years because of a lack of supply and  growers would love it if prices could ease a bit so it’s more affordable for everyone.   

Around Pukekohe the long dry spell continued until Thursday when some scattered showers drifted over the district but our south Auckland correspondent says they may get some “useful precipitation’ from the approaching cold front. He says much of the district’s cultivated land is bare except for irrigated paddocks where brassicas and lettuce are growing or are being planted.  . . 

Meat and dairy up in December:

The volume of meat and dairy product manufacturing rose in the December 2018 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, the volume of total manufacturing sales rose 2.0 percent in the December quarter. A 4.0 percent boost in meat and dairy product manufacturing led the rise.

“The meat and dairy industry rebounded after a strong fall in the September quarter,” manufacturing statistics manager Sue Chapman said. . . 

If there’s no water what’s the point? Female farmers in Arizona – Debbie Weingarten and Audra Malkern:

By 9am, it’s already 100F (38C). In the desert afternoons, rain gathers on the horizon, teasing – and then it disappears. There is so much heaviness, so much waiting.

I pulled on to the ranch of Anastasia Rabin with Audra Mulkern, a Washington-based photographer and founder of the Female Farmer Project. We were on assignment for a story and chasing a statistic: according to the most recent US census, Arizona is the state with the highest proportion of female farm operators.

Despite the fact that women have always farmed, they have been left out of our agricultural narrative. An incomplete story has real consequences: women have been left off land titles and bank documents; they have been denied federal loans and training opportunities; and until the 1982 census of agriculture, female farmers were not counted at all. . .

LIC officially opens upgraded facility in Manawatu:

LIC’s semen processing centre in the Manawatu was officially opened this week following an injection of more than $1 million to upgrade the facilities.

LIC, a herd improvement and agritech co-operative, is the country’s largest supplier of artificial breeding (AB) services and dairy genetics.

The refurbishment will enable the dairy farmer-owned co-operative to enhance its export capabilities and use the centre as a back up to its main facilities in Hamilton if required. . . 

Cheaper to travel to Japan than stream the Rugby World Cup:

It will be cheaper for communities in some remote areas of New Zealand to travel to Japan than it will be to stream the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Tim Johnson, CEO of Gravity – New Zealand’s only dedicated satellite broadband provider – says that apart from the challenges of doing homework and running a business in remote areas, capped broadband data rates would make it cheaper for some Kiwi’s to fly to Japan than it would to stream the Rugby World Cup later this year.

For Gravity Internet, who has as one of its shareholders former All Black Andrew ‘Andy’ Ellis, that scenario was intolerable. . . 


Who gets money from All Blacks’ tours?

October 4, 2018

All Blacks’ fans will be paying a high price for World Cup tickets.

Ticket prices for the All Blacks’ pool matches range between $536 for category A down to $134 for category D for the pool opener against South Africa, as well as the matches against Namibia and Italy. The contest against the repechage winner is slightly discounted at between $402 and $93.

Category A tickets comprise the bulk of the main stands running pitchside, while category D is essentially immediately behind the in-goal area.

The quarterfinals are priced the same as the All Blacks’ pool match against South Africa at between $536 and $134, while the semifinals will require you to fork out $938 for a category A tickets and the final $1340. . .

That final price tag is still less than we were quoted for tickets to the All Blacks vs Pumas in Argentina last year.

The first quote came back at several thousands dollars including accommodation in a five-star hotel.

We didn’t need five-star accommodation. The next price for a more modest hotel was still eye-watering.

I suggested another hotel where someone in our group already had a booking so we knew the price. When we subtracted the hotel from the quote that came back we would still have been paying around $1500 for a ticket to the game.

I gave up on trying to get tickets from New Zealand and asked an Argentinean friend to try for us.

She got us good seats for less than $300 – around five times less than the lowest price we were offered through All Black tours in New Zealand.

So who gets the difference between what the tickets cost and what fans are charged after costs and a reasonable profit are taken off?

 


2 cups 1 gold 1 silver

August 27, 2017

What a wonderful weekend for New Zealand sportspeople.

The Black Ferns beat defending champions England to win their 5th World Cup.

Five tries in 30 minutes either side of half-time, including a hattrick to prop Toka Natua, proved the difference as the Kiwi women overcame a 12-point deficit and a yellow card to break English hearts for the fourth time in a Cup final. . . 

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The All Blacks kept hold of the Bledisloe Cup after trailing the Wallabies for most of the match.

A Bledisloe Cup contest fit to rank with all the great tussles between Australia and New Zealand was played out in Dunedin on Saturday before the All Blacks claimed a 35-29 Investec Rugby Championship win three minutes from time.

It was an effort that called on all the resources of the All Blacks who had to overcome a 0-17 deficit after only 14 minutes, and then come back as the lead changed hands throughout the second half before the Bledisloe Cup was locked away for another year. . . 

We were at the game.

My knowledge of rugby is such that I miss the commentary at live matches but the atmosphere at Forsyth Barr Stadium more than made up for that.

Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Ryan won good in the K2 500 m.

Kiwi paddler Lisa Carrington has started her medal haul at the canoe sprint world championships with a gold and a silver.

Carrington and Caitlin Ryan powered away to win gold in the women’s K2 500m final on Saturday night (NZ time) in the Czech Republic. . . 

Carrington also won silver in the women’s K1 500.

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Not when but how

November 4, 2015

Fears that opening bars to allow people to watch rugby World Cup games would lead to major problems have not been realised:

Allowing bars to open during Rugby World Cup games didn’t turn the country into the drunken shambles that had been predicted, say the backers of the law change that made it possible.

Police communication centres today said the local aftermath of the All Blacks win over Australia in the Rugby World Cup final in London was quiet.

A law change was made two months ago to allow bars to open early during the tournament, rather than having to apply for special licences. Under the changes, hoteliers had to give police seven days’ notice they would be open.

The change was enabled by a bill from ACT’s sole MP David Seymour, who watched the final at a bar in Auckland’s Mt Eden.

He was happy there had been no major problems and it showed New Zealanders were actually responsible people.

“The picture that was painted when the bill was debated was that New Zealanders are infantile and if there’s not a law made to prevent it happening there would just be drunk people pouring out into the street and harassing children,” he said. . . 

While longer opening hours of bars and other licensed premises provides a greater opportunity for drinking, it’s not when people drink but how and how much that is the problem.

There is a problem with immature and unhealthy attitudes to alcohol which lead people to drink too much, but that is not a problem for most of us.

Legislation should be aimed at anti-social and abusive behaviour and allow the majority who drink without causing themselves or anyone else problems to do so when they want to.


#RWC2015final

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)"

 


All Blacks in the field

November 1, 2015

As the World Cup final kicks off, spare a thought for the people who are milking.

All Black fans are everywhere – and some have four legs.

These are the work of Papakaio sharemilker Grant Neal:
Grant Neal's photo. Grant Neal's photo.

 


In a fairy tale . . .

October 31, 2015

In a fairy tale the All Blacks would win tomorrow morning’s match and claim the Rugby World Cup again.

As Gregor Paul wrote before last week’s semi-final, the ABs are the better men:

. . . Results have been hugely important, but he doesn’t want them to be the sole mechanism by which his team is judged. Nearly as important is the manner in which his team conduct themselves.

Whatever the result tomorrow, the All Blacks won’t rush to leave Twickenham. There is post-match protocol to observe and that is not just the media and drug-testing obligations.

The All Blacks post-match protocol looks just like it did 30 years ago, because Hansen has placed considerable importance on his team embracing what can only be called old-school values.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, the pressure couldn’t be greater but Hansen can’t see why that should prevent rugby tradition from being observed.

The game was fostered on a spirit of fraternity and shared experience and to not observe that is to disrespect a core tenet of the game. The third half, as the French call it, has always been rugby’s greatest point of difference.

If no one bothered to engage with the opposition; to put aside the past 80 minutes and realise that everyone involved is chasing the same dream and united by the same beliefs, how long before rugby would morph into football in regard to culture and attitudes?

How long before players would leave the ground with barely a nod and a handshake, jump into expensive sports cars, already having forgotten who they have played and still not certain they know the first name of all the players in their own team?

Hansen has made a stand to preserve the parts of rugby that make it the game it is. “One of the important things to me about rugby is enjoying it,” he says. “When you are in such a big pressure cooker as the All Blacks, it can easily be lost.

“The first thing we had to acknowledge was to stop and enjoy each test. We do that sensibly but we acknowledge we have played another group of men who have tried to do what we have done. So we say, ‘would you guys like to come in? [to our changing room]’.

“Not all teams accept that. Some do and South Africa are one that always comes in. When we are over there we go in. When I played, some of the best moments in rugby were with the guys who you have just gone 80 minutes with and you find out they are just like us. They are ordinary guys and you make lifelong friendships.”

The extent to how the old-school culture pervades has been striking at this World Cup. The All Blacks, tournament favourites and loaded with superstars, have been impeccably professional on the field, proudly amateur in ethos off it. . . .

For the last part of the past decade things were worse because the All Blacks’ schedule was dominated by tests against the Wallabies.

The relationship between the two was strained, awkward and, at times, plain awful. The Wallabies rejected an invitation to join the All Blacks in their changing room after a 2010 test in Christchurch. A few months later in Hong Kong they accepted – after they had won in the last minute and had aggressively and endlessly celebrated. The invitation hadn’t been accepted so they could genuinely reflect on the test but seemed to be more about taking the opportunity to gloat. It was a powerful moment – confirming for Hansen that if he ever landed the top job, he would instil in his players the courage and depth of character to be the same person regardless of outcome.

When you play really well and get beaten you have to accept it,” he says. “You can’t change it – it has happened, you have had your chance and you have to do that with the same humbleness that you do winning. We have got to respect the way we want to be respected ourselves and there is nothing worse than seeing a winner gloating or a team that loses sulking.

“It is okay to hurt but you don’t have to be arrogant and I think rugby is a great game in teaching you some core values of being grateful and being humble.

“I don’t think it is driven by being liked. It is driven by that’s how we want to live. That’s the identity we believe the legacy of the All Blacks has demanded from us. It is really important to us that we live that way – that identity and those values all the time.” . . 

Both teams have so much to play for but the All Blacks have the added incentive of giving captain Richie McCaw a win and several others a win in what is expected to be their final game in the team.

Life isn’t always like a fairy tale but all fingers and toes are crossed that tomorrow’s match will finish that way for the All Blacks.

 


Hope and certainty

October 12, 2015

Rugby World Cup's photo.

I’m backing Wales, Argentina and Scotland with more hope than certainty and New Zealand with even more hope and more certainty.


All Blacks 47 – Tonga 9

October 10, 2015

Tonga played well, the All Blacks played better and Ma’a Nonu earned his cap for playing his 100th test.


Quote of the day

October 5, 2015

Everyone’s told us that we’ve got this weak pool, so that’s how we manufacture something that allows us to practice stuff that we’re going to get later on.

If we brought our whole game straight away, everybody gets to see what we’ve got and that hasn’t worked for us in the past.

We’re trying a different tack, and we know we’ve got to get better but we’ve got a plan and we’re comfortable with that plan. – Steve Hansen


Wins not victories

October 3, 2015

The All Blacks have beaten Georgia 43 – 10.

Like its other pool games, it was a win but not a victory.

The All Blacks have been expected not only to win but to win well and they haven’t yet.

This means either:

a) The gap between the top tier, the up and comers and the minnows is narrowing.

b) It’s a cunning plot by the All Blacks to appear weaker than they are by not playing their best in pool games.

c) The chances of the All Blacks making the final, let alone winning it aren’t nearly as high as many of us hoped.


NZ 58 – Namibia 14

September 25, 2015

The scoreboard showed the All Blacks won but given the difference between the teams, Namibia who were very much expected to be the underdogs, didn’t lose.

The 58 – 14 score gives the All Blacks a bonus. But it wasn’t the walk-over many had expected and will also give them lots to work on.

It’s good for rugby, and the World Cup competition, that some of the lower-ranked teams are more competitive, although Japan didn’t manage to follow up from its win over South Africa with a second upset yesterday.

While a little bit of me was backing the Cherry Blossoms, my tartan genes were happy when Scotland won 45 – 10.

 

 


80 minute game

September 21, 2015

A friend sent a message from Argentina as this morning’s Rugby World Cup match finished saying the Pumas can’t play at that level for 80 minutes and the All Blacks can.

I happened to wake up early and watched the game live and agree with that statement.

The Pumas played well and won the first half. But the team seemed to run out of steam towards the end while the All Blacks went up another gear and won in the end 26 – 16.

 

 


Game by game

September 20, 2015

The All Blacks’ World Cup campaign begins tomorrow morning (NZ time) with a match against the Pumas.

Our team is number one in the world and among the favourites to win the Cup but championships have to be taken game by game.

The Highlanders’ win over the Hurricanes in this year’s Super Rugby final is a recent reminder that an underdog can beat a favourite and this mornings Pool B match reinforced that.

Who would have thought that Japan’s Cherry Blossoms would beat South Africa’s Springboks  at all, let alone 34 – 32? Georgia’s 17 – 10 win against Tonga was also a surprise.

And wasn’t it an unexpected win by Argentina against the French hosts in a previous Cup opener which led to the French meeting, and beating, the All Blacks in the quarter-final?

All my fingers and toes are crossed for the All Blacks because in spite of all they’ve done to prepare, their fitness, tactics and skill, luck will play a part in which team makes it to the final and which wins the Cup.


Green party poopers

August 12, 2015

The Rugby  World Cup is taking place on the other side of the world and matches will be played when most New Zealanders would normally be in bed and pubs are closed.

When UK fans were faced with that scenario in 2011 the government brought in special legislation to allow pubs to open for fans.

Act MP David Seymour drafted a Bill to allow bars to open at extended hours for 2015 Rugby World Cup games but Green Party MPs torpedoed it.

“An internationally televised world cup featuring our own reigning champions should be an opportunity to bring communities together over coffee or beer and showcase our wonderful hospitality facilities,” said Mr Seymour.

“Shutting New Zealanders at home for this event seems like a mean-spirited affront to community freedoms.

“The Greens do themselves no favours by locking themselves in as the party opposed to fun. . .

 

I’ve no desire to go  to a pub in the wee small hours and if I did go I wouldn’t be drinking anything stronger than water.

I’ve stayed up all night four times in the last 12 years. That was for weddings in Argentina and I drank only one glass of wine at each because I knew any more alcohol would put me to sleep.

But I can see why some people might want to gather in a pub to watch the games, especially if the All Blacks make it to the final.

Green MP Kevin Hague accused Seymour of  using the issue as a publicity stunt.

But it is Hague who is grandstanding.

In being the party pooper  he’s  providing ammunition for those who accuse his party of being the fun police and all for nothing more than negative publicity because the government will probably pick up the Bill.

Too many people drink too much but that’s a problem which won’t be addressed by the party-pooping.

 


Making mockery of marriage

September 21, 2014

This appalls and saddens me:

Two best mates married each other at Eden Park this morning in a radio station promotion which rewards them with a trip to the Rugby World Cup.

Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick, both heterosexual men, tied the knot as winners of the Edge’s Love You Man competition.

The best mates from Dunedin beat 200 other bromance couples around New Zealand to walk down the aisle at Eden Park. . .

Marriage vows are supposed to be taken seriously.

Marriage is, as the traditional service says,  not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly . . .

Marriage  isn’t something you do for a radio station stunt.

I’m a celebrant and I would refuse to take a ceremony for a couple if I had any reason to doubt their intentions and commitment to each other and their marriage.

 

 

 


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