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Wednesday, September 9, 2015
The All Blacks are satisfied the Rugby
Championship then several training camps
is the right diet for their opening World
That mission against Argentina is 11
days away and the All Blacks will have two
lighter practices before they leave tomorrow
night in their bid to become the first nation
to claim the Webb Ellis Cup three times.
They went through a solid opposed
practice yesterday under the gaze of leading
referee Nick Briant with no reports of harm
and encouraging words about the health of
Colin Slade and Waisake Naholo.
On the other side of the world, teams
have finished their match preparations
which have left them with varying degrees
of physical damage. As Wales sur vey their
replacement options, the All Blacks say the
staff have been getting strong results from
Naholo in his work to get back to fitness.
They did not need to play any more
matches before the World Cup.
“ We’ve had enough test matches, we’ve had
enough games and we have had two weeks
before we jump on a plane,” assistant coach
Ian Foster said.
They had a solid session in camp
in Wellington, another yesterday in
Auckland and there was still a great deal
of preparation, behind the scenes work and
connecting with their fans before they flew
“ We are ready,” Foster said.
They held a full noise training to make
sure they ticked off the physical components
ahead of their campaign. It was a necessary
inquisition before the massive opening test
with the Pumas.
Players were tackled and cleaned out in
simulated game situations and contests
were encouraged as part of their final major
There were no concerns yet about any
changes to referee rulings at the World Cup.
There had been updates after their last five
tests and coach Steve Hansen and others
would meet with officials before the start of
“ We are clear about what they are looking
for,” Foster said.
They had watched for trends from other
teams in their latest tests but not much more
as most were restrained with their tactics.
Flanker Sam Cane said there was plenty of
feeling at training especially from those who
had not played for a while.
It was his first World Cup and he was
excited about that new frontier. He had
heard these tournaments were different so
was not quite sure what to expect while there
were others who had been to multiple events.
“There is no feeling we are carrying the
weight of expectation or there is anything
weighing us down, we want to embrace the
challenge,” he said.
The All Blacks needed to pace themselves
through a long campaign and tap into
the knowledge of the experienced squad
“The key message has been that we need to
go out there and earn the right to progress
further in the tournament,” Cane said. “ We
can’t take anything for granted and it is truly,
and as tough as it is for people to make it out
sometimes, we are focusing on week by week
day by day.
“If you get too far ahead of yourself who
knows what can happen.”
— NZM E -New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: Getty Images
Richie McCaw warms up before an All Blacks training session at Eden Park.
All Blacks ready
for ultimate test
New Zealand ’s hockey teams
have secured valuable lead-up
opposition ahead of their Oceania
Cup series in Taranaki next
The women’s Black Sticks,
ranked fourth and who have
already qualified for the Rio
Olympics next year, will play
world No 3 Argentina in
Blenheim (October 3 and
4), Nelson (October 6) and
Christchurch (October 9).
It is the second time that
Argentina’s national women’s
team have been to New Zealand
this year. They contested the
Hawkes Bay Festival tournament
and had games in Gisborne in
The Black Sticks women have
never played in Blenheim before.
The men’s national team play
India in Nelson and Christchurch.
Ranked seventh, New Zealand
play India on October 6 and 7 in
Nelson and in Christchurch on
October 9 and 11.
India are ranked one spot
behind New Zealand and will
provide quality opponents for
Colin Batch’s team, who must
beat world No 1 Australia in the
Oceania Cup to secure a place in
the Olympic field.
It is six years since the Indian
men last played in New Zealand.
‘’The biggest thing for us is
having good competition in
the build-up to a tournament,”
‘’We last played in June and we
identified that it was important
for us to secure competition
before Oceania Cup — so this
series will be good preparation.
‘’The team selected could be
significantly different, so having
four international tests before we
face Australia will help.”
New Zealand A men’s team will
play India at North Harbour on
October 2 and 3.
— N ZME -New Zealand Herald
NZ hockey teams secure
valuable lead-up games
Unseeded Italian Roberta
Vinci became the first woman
through to the semi-finals
of the United States Open
overnight, outlasting French
woman Kristina Mladenovic
6-3 5-7 6-4 on another sizzling
hot day at Flushing Meadows.
The 32-year-old veteran
showed off her fighting
spirit while Mladenovic, a
decade younger, wilted in
using up all of her medical
timeouts during the two-hour,
A doubles specialist with
a career grand slam on her
resume, Vinci moved on to
the final four in singles at a
major for the first time in her
18-year career. She will take on
the winner of the quarter-final
between world number one
Serena Williams and sister
“ It ’s an amazing moment for
me. Unbelievable,” beamed
43rd-ranked Vinci. “My first
semi-final in my career.
“It was an incredible match,
so tight. But I fight a lot. At
the end probably we both were
a little bit tired and scared
about the match but I’m so
receiving a walkover into the
quarter-finals when Canadian
Eugenie Bouchard was forced
out of the tournament with a
concussion, was pushed but
never panicked against the
After splitting the opening
two sets the turning point
of the match came at 3-3 in
the third, when Mladenovic
double-faulted twice to hand
Vinci a break chance and the
Italian gratefully converted to
“It’s not easy to play with
your sister, and Serena has a lot
of pressure, I think,” said Vinci.
“I’m so happy to be in the
semi-finals so if I play Serena
or Venus it doesn’t matter. ”
Vinci through to
US Open semis
Silver Ferns netball great
Irene Van Dyk will take to the
boxing ring for the first time at
December’s Fight for Life charity
event at the Claudelands Arena
She says it is a challenge she has
been after for some time.
“ Every time I suggested it my
husband Christie and daughter
Bianca would say ‘the time is
not right’ but after retiring from
netball and finishing without
such a good year this year, I
needed something that would
push me outside my comfort
zone. This definitely will.
“Christie got in touch with
Fight for Life and put my name
for ward. I’m doing it thinking of
people who fight for their lives
every day (for designated charity
Hospice Waikato). This is my
little bit to help them live their
lives to the full.
“ I’ve never fought with anyone
physically, and never punched
anyone in the face.
“ I’m not condoning anyone
getting out there in the school
playground to fight at lunch
times. This is a controlled
environment and this is about the
No opponent has yet been
confirmed for the 43-year-old,
Duco boss David Higgins said
Van Dyk had approached them:
“S he said she would fight anyone,
whereas most people want to
choose who they will fight.
“ Val Adams, if you’re watching,
you can put your hand up.”
The weight discrepancy might
be a problem. Former Australian
coach Norma Plummer was wryly
suggested as another candidate.
— New Zealand Herald
Irene Van Dyk in Fight for Life
Irene Van Dyk
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