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Lewis Hamilton declared today
the greatest day of his life after
ending a thrilling season with
his second Formula One world
If winning the first title with
McLaren after a last-gasp move
in Brazil in 2008 was special,
then the triumph under the Abu
Dhabi floodlights was something
“The feeling I have now is way,
way past that and above and
beyond,” the Mercedes driver
told reporters with tears in his
eyes. “It’s the greatest feeling
ever. I’m grateful to God, I’m
grateful for my car finishing and
really, to everyone, thank you so
much,” added the Briton.
Hamilton went into today’s
race 17 points clear of team-
mate Nico Rosberg but with the
German on pole position and
an unprecedented double points
on offer. Everything hung on
a knife-edge, one mechanical
failure or mistake liable to make
the difference between elation
The Briton had made several
errors in qualifying, enough to
prompt the team’s non-executive
chairman Niki Lauda to suggest
the 29-year-old might not be
sleeping too soundly on Saturday
Hamilton had insisted he
would sleep like a baby but the
reality was very different. He
was nervous, tense at what the
day might hold. “Niki was right,
I didn’t sleep last night. I went
to bed at about 1am and woke
up at like 5am,” he admitted. “ I
thought for sure I’m going to be
tired when it gets to the race but
somehow I felt composed.”
Hamilton made the start of his
life, rocketing off the line and
away before Rosberg could react.
At the finish, with Rosberg out
of the points and wrestling with
engine troubles, he lapped the
floodlit circuit with the British
lag fluttering from the cockpit.
The win was his 11th of the
campaign, with Mercedes
winning a record 16 in total,
and made him the first British
double champion since Jackie
Stewart in 1971.
“This has been an incredible
year. I just cannot believe how
amazing this has all been,”
he said. “ This is the greatest
moment in my life...it feels very
surreal. It feels like an out-of-
body experience. I feel like I’m
back here watching this going
on, it’s not really happening.”
Hamilton also hailed
team-mate Rosberg as a
“phenomenal competitor” after
the beaten German extended
a congratulatory hand to his
triumphant Formula One title
“Perhaps things naturally will
ease up a little now,” the Briton
said, a double world champion
after Rosberg’s bid to thwart him
was hampered by engine troubles
that left him out of the points.
“He was graceful enough to
come up to me and see me after,
which I really appreciated. It was
really big of him to be able to do
The two have been pushing
each other hard all season in
a campaign reminiscent of
the great battles of yesteryear
between Brazilian Ayrton Senna
and French team-mate Alain
Prost at McLaren.
Boyhood friends since their
karting days, the two Mercedes
drivers tested their relationship
to the breaking point with the
pair barely on speaking terms as
it became apparent that one of
them would be champion.
In Monaco, Hamilton
had suggested Rosberg had
deliberately denied him a tilt at
pole position with an error that
brought out warning flags, while
in Belgium in August he accused
the German of crashing into him
The latter brought everything
to a head, with the team’s non-
executive chairman Niki Lauda
admitting he had wondered
whether the partnership could
work, but the icy relations have
“It’s been so intense between
us all year long,” Hamilton said.
“There’s been good moments
and bad moments. Without a
doubt we’ve had a friendship or a
relationship that we built a long,
long, long time ago so that will
always be there.
“He was a very, very fierce
competitor this year, he did an
exceptional job. He’s going to be
quick for a long time...it could
have been either one of us today.”
Lauda, who beat Prost to the
title by just half a point in 1984
when they were at McLaren,
said the post-race handshake
between Hamilton and Rosberg
had made his day.
“I really got emotional when
I saw on the podium that Nico
went up and congratulated him,”
the Austrian, himself a former
triple champion, said.
of the New Zealand Herald
The All Blacks are coming home
to New Zealand with just about as
many questions as they have answers
to issues that will inevitably pop up in
World Cup year.
What their four-match northern
tour has told them is that they now
have four first-fives to choose from,
a potential superstar in Patrick
Tuipulotu and a need to catch up
with Andy Ellis and tell him to bring
out his A-game in 2015.
Personnel-wise, the All Blacks
pretty much have the lot covered.
They have the quality in every
position and the depth in most to
carry a level of confidence.
Having had a look at all of the
serious World Cup contenders except
Ireland and France, the All Blacks
have signed off in 2014 knowing they
have the necessary skill-sets, mental
strength and fitness to compete with
There are no gaping holes in their
armoury; no real areas of concern
now that Dane Coles has emerged so
well at hooker and Keven Mealamu
defies his age in the back-up role. Not
so unusually, the question they face
next year is knowing who to leave out.
“ We have learned a lot of valuable
lessons which we will be able to start
addressing next year,” All Black coach
Steve Hansen said.
“Some players have asked some
real big questions of the selectors
by their form. You get someone like
Sladey (Colin Slade) doing what he’s
doing and he’s telling us that he’s
good enough to be in the 31...as are a
number of guys.
“Joe Moody...we have found out a
bit about him and I think Charlie
Faumuina has been outstanding and
we have been tested in all the games. ”
Hansen’s future is a question that
has also unexpectedly cropped
up, with the New Zealand Rugby
Union willing to offer him a
contract extension well ahead of the
The ball is in Hansen’s court on
that — it is effectively up to him to
decide whether he has the desire and
motivation to stay on for another two
years. He is giving little away on that,
but would like for the situation to be
resolved one way or another before
the next season kicks off.
If he stays on, it will create a unique
scenario of an All Black coach not
having the World Cup weighing
so heavily on his shoulders. He will
be able to plan, prepare and analyse
without the fear of his job being
dependent on the outcome.
That is probably a good thing,
but definitely a good thing is that
his reappointment, should it come,
will take away the need for endless
speculation in the build-up as to who
might be in the running for the job if
the All Blacks bomb.
There is also one other major issue
that is brewing ahead of next year
and that is the growing trend of
team’s wasting time when they play
the All Blacks.
Every side seems to mentally
commit to this idea of the All Blacks
being fitter and therefore shift into
the mindset of doing what they can
to slow the game.
England did at Eden Park this year
and Wales went up a level on the
front in Cardiff. Th e first half took
close to 50 minutes. Almost every
scrum, lineout or stoppage a Welsh
player signalled for medical attention.
All Black captain Richie McCaw
made several inquiries of referee
Wayne Barnes as to why he was
letting it happen and did not receive
The World Cup could be turned
into a farce if teams are allowed to
replicate the Welsh go-slow tactics
and it is surely something the IRB
will tackle ahead of the tournament
by encouraging referees to have zero
tolerance for it.
“ Yeah it is frustrating,” All Black
No 8 Kieran Read said. “ Every set-
piece something was happening but
we have had that before this year
from a couple of teams...but what can
“ You are in the referee’s ear as much
as you can but if he’s not going to do
anything about you just have to carry
Brodie Retallick has struck a blow on
behalf of the world’s tight for wards —
his recognition as IRB player of the year
is the first time a prop or lock has won
Wing Julian Savea, who yesterday
scored another memorable try to take
his tally to 30 in 33 tests, was also on
the shortlist, but the judges found in
favour of Chiefs lock Retallick, one of
the toughest and hardest workers in the
“ It’s thoroughly deser ved,” coach Steve
Hansen, who was honoured as coach
of the year, said. “He’s a young man
whose career has taken off from day one.
We’ve always mar velled at the size of his
engine, he can just keep going all day.
“ He’s ably supported by Sammy
(Whitelock). There’s a sense of strength
about him mentally. He’s physically
tough. He should be very proud. It’s a
combination and I think both of them
do a great job for the team. ”
Retallick, 23, who received the award
after the All Blacks’ 34-16 victory over
Wales at the Millennium Stadium in
what was his 36th test, said he still had
plenty of improving to do.
“There are still parts of my game I
can work on,” Retallick said, who has
developed from a hard-hitter in the
engine room to being able to direct the
point of the All Blacks’ attack with his
precise passing game.
Asked what role Whitelock had played
in his development, Retallick replied:
“Everyone in this All Black team is
pushing each other to try to get better.
We talk about having the two best XVs
in the world. If you’re not playing one
week you’re trying to better each other
and drive a good performance. He’s
played a huge role.
“ It ’s a huge honour to receive the award.
It ’s something I didn’t think about until
last week when I was nominated.
“ I just wanted to improve on the
previous couple of years. Obviously I
didn’t think it would go this well.”
World Rugby chairman Bernard
Lapasset said: “Brodie Retallick has been
at the heart of another hugely successful
year for the All Blacks with his superb
lineout skills, ball carrying ability and
work at the breakdown playing a huge
role in a June series win against England,
the Rugby Championship title and a
strong November series. ”
The All Blacks also won team of
the year. IRB player of year previous
All Black winners were: Kieran Read
(2013), Dan Carter (2005 and 2012) and
Richie McCaw (2006, 2009 and 2010).
Monday, November 24, 2014
PICTURE: Getty Images
All Black Charles Piutau upends Wales’ Alex Cuthbert as Leigh Halfpenny gathers possession in yesterday’s test at the Millennium Stadium in
PICTURE: Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton celebrates with his team after winning the World Championship at the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at
Yas Marina Circuit.
of the New Zealand Herald
It may not be an elusive first major victory but
it was a major payday for Lydia Ko.
The 17-year-old took home $US1.5 million
($NZ1.9m) after a victory at the season-ending
CME Group Tour Championship today —
almost doubling her career prizemoney total.
The play-off win at the Tiburon Golf Club
in Naples, F lorida, earned the world No 3
$US500,000 ($NZ634,000) and also clinched
the $US1m season-long Race to the CME
Globe where points are accumulated from every
Ko beat Spain’s Carlota Ciganda on the fourth
play-off hole after Paraguay ’s Julieta Granada
dropped out of the play-off on the second hole.
Ciganda, who missed a six-footer on the third
play-off hole for the title, sent her second shot
into the rough on the fourth trip down the 18th.
Ko calmly two-putted to finish the hour-long
The victory is Ko’s third of the year and caps off
a remarkable maiden season on the LPGA Tour
after earlier this month becoming the youngest
player to win the rookie of the year award.
Along with three titles the teenager has had
two runner-up finishes and nine additional top
The only thing she did not tick off this year was
a major tournament win, finishing third at the
LPGA Championship and eighth at the Evian
Ko began the season finale in third place on the
race to the CME Globe standings behind Stacey
Lewis and Inbee Park.
However the world No 1 and 2 both faded over
the final two rounds while Ko took control the
The New Zealanders sat in fifth going into
the final round but took the outright lead with
birdies at holes 4, 6 and 8 to be nine-under at
the turn. She stretched her lead to two shots
over Germany ’s Sandra Gal and Spain’s Carlota
Ciganda with a fourth birdie of the day at the
par four 13.
However Ciganda and Paraguay ’s Julieta
Granada tied Ko for the lead with four holes to
play as all three players missed chances to take
the outright lead down the stretch.
Ko closed with a four-under 68 for the second
straight day to finish at 10-under with the
clubhouse lead before Granada and Ciganda
joined her in a play-off.
After all three recorded pars on the first play-
off hole, Granada missed a short putt on the
second trip down the 18th to leave Ko and
Ciganda fighting for the title.
Ciganda’s wild second shot on the fourth play-
off hole forced her to take a drop, handing the
title to Ko.
Ko’s $1m payday
PICTURE: Getty Images
Lydia Ko with the CME Tour Championship trophy and the CME Race for the Globe
trophy at Tiburon Golf Club, in Naples, Florida today.
Cardiff a taste of Cup pressure
Hamilton beats team-mate to world title
Argentina showed the benefit of their
Rugby Championship experience as
they dominated France to claim an
18-13 rugby test upset victory at the
Stade de France.
Five eighth Nicolas Sanchez kicked
three of his team’s four dropped goals
plus two penalties and made a last-gasp
try-saving tackle on French fullback
Scott Spedding as Argentina finished
their northern tour on a high after a
Argentina, after notching a first Rugby
Championship win over Australia, had
fallen flat early in Europe with a loss to
Scotland and narrow win over Italy.
But they unleashed a top-shelf effort to
earn a fifth win in their last nine matches
against France, dominating in almost
every aspect and aligning an almost
impenetrable light-blue and white wall
in front of France’s runners.
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre
said his side lost the match in the first
half hour, at the end of which they
trailed 15-0 .
“ We weren’t surprised by Argentina’s
performance, during the week we told
the players that they (Argentina) have
the level of a Southern Hemisphere
side,” he said.
“The only thing was that we were
totally absent in the first half hour. We
were dominated at the breakdown and
in terms of dynamism.”
Th e hosts may have gone into the clash
brimming with confidence following
wins over Fiji (40-15) and Australia (29-
26) but they were given a tactical lesson
in the first half.
Sanchez and inside centre Juan Martin
Hernandez controlled the game with
precise kicking, while the tourists
rumbled well with their for wards.
They needed only a minute to
force the first penalty as France
were penalised for holding on, and
Sanchez kicked the first three points
before adding a dropped goal after 17
Sanchez landed his third kick and
for ward with
Hernandez and Sanchez in the space of
two minutes each knocking over a drop
goal to open up a 15-0 lead.
The Pumas stayed on top after the
inter val, with Sanchez’s third drop
extending the lead to 18-3.
France regrouped and was rewarded
when inside centre Wesley Fofana
scored the only try in the 57th minute.
Flyhalf Camille Lopez converted as
France reduced its deficit before Rory
Kockott kicked a final penalty to make
it 18-13 with 17 minutes to go.
France could have snatched the win
three minutes into injury time, but
Spedding was held up over the line
by replacement back Lucas Gonzalez
Amorosino and Sanchez.
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