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Friday, May 5, 2017
All Blacks Sevens coach Scott
Waldrom will try out three newcomers
in his last two tournaments in charge.
Waldrom has included uncapped trio
Jamie Booth (Manawatu), Fa’asium
Fuatai (Otago) and Jesse Houston
(Canterbury) in his 14 man squad to
prepare for world series tournaments
in Paris and L ondon this month.
The New Zealand team have been
under whelming on the 2016-17
circuit, having failed to reach a final.
It leaves them fourth and with little
hope of improving on that.
Waldrom, who is coach on an interim
basis this season before Clark Laidlaw
takes over later in the year, has been
forced into personnel changes by a
crippling injury list.
Missing for the twin tournaments
in Europe are captain Scott Curry
(concussion), playmaker Vilimoni
Koroi and flying winger Joe Ravouvou
Other regulars who are unavailable
include Dylan Collier, Iopu Iopu-Aso,
Isaac Te Tamaki and Beaudein Waaka.
Andrew Knewstubb and Teddy
Stanaway are ruled out of the Paris
tournament starting on May 13 but
could be available in L ondon a week
“Paris is an opportunity for the team
to play with the determination and
consistency we know we’re capable of,”
“At this stage in the season a lot of
teams are getting hit with injuries so
it ’s something we have to accept and
“The new players have brought
some great enthusiasm to training
this week and it has lifted everyone’s
performance so far.”
New Zealand’s pool opponents are
Wales, Argentina and the United
All Blacks Sevens: D J Forbes (capt),
Jamie Booth, Sam Dickson, Fa’asiu
Fuatai, Jesse Houston, Trael Joass,
Rocky Khan, Tim Mikkelson, Sione
Molia, Tone Ng Shiu, Lewis Ormond,
Sher win Stowers, Regan Ware, Joe
Webber. — N ZN
Three new faces in NZ Sevens team
He is the man who holds the destiny
of his club in one hand, and that of his
country in the other.
After almost single-handedly changing
the course of the Warriors’ NRL season
with his return from injury, former Kiwis
captain Kieran Foran shapes as the key
figure in today’s test against Australia in
Not since Foran helped New Zealand
to a third successive win over the
Kangaroos in his last test in 2015 have
the Kiwis toppled their trans-Tasman
However, Foran’s storied return to
the NRL this season has the world’s
No 1-ranked nation on high alert in
the final instalment of the mid-season
Foran’s won 10 of his past 11 tests for
“He’s one of their leaders, one of the
game’s best players,” Kangaroos coach
Mal Meninga said.
“He adds a bit of structure, takes a bit of
pressure off Shaun ( Johnson) and Issac
Luke, as well, from the nine position.
“He helps straighten the play up, he’s a
great player, courageous player.
“I ’m pretty sure everyone’s happy he’s
back in the black and white.”
Foran’s comeback from a two-year
absence, together with the returns of
clubmates Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and
Simon Mannering from injury, has
Kiwis coach David Kidwell confident of
The trio’s inclusion are among eight
changes to the side whipped 26-6 in
the Four Nations final last year — a
campaign that included a shock loss to
tier-two nation Scotland.
Kidwell is banking on his returning
stars to arrest a worrying four-game
slide against Australia.
“Just the way they’ve been around the
group — their leadership is of high
standard,” Kidwell said.
“ We’ve had to build really tight, fast,
and prepare well. I think it ’s going to be
one of the classic tests tomorrow.”
In contrast, Kangaroos captain
Cameron Smith — who will join Darren
Lockyer as the only Australians to play
50 tests — was confident in their settled
Injuries to Matt Scott, Greg Inglis and
Shannon Boyd forced Meninga into
making just three changes to his side,
with Andrew Fifita, Will Chambers and
Jake Trbojevic called in.
“There hasn’t been a whole lot that
we’ve changed since the last time we
played together,” Smith said.
“ We’ve got similar personnel — we’ve
got (14) of the 17 that played in the Four
“ We’re playing against a very different
Kiwi team this time around but we’ve
had a bit of vision from the games
they’ve played this year, just on their key
“I think more so than anything, we just
had to have a bit of discussion around
our defensive structures and the best
way to approach our defence tomorrow
night.” — NZN
as key in
Four times champion Sir Mark Todd
has made a strong start to the Badminton
Horse Trials in England.
The New Zealand veteran is fifth after
the first day of dressage on his Olympic
Todd amassed 42.9 penalty points to
lie just 4.2 points off the leader.
Todd said his horse was superb.
Jesse Campbell is the next best
New Zealander in 19th but Andrew
Nicholson has struggled on the younger
of his two horses Qwanza, in 30th place.
Nicholson rides his big hope Nereo
tonight while Todd also competes again
on NZB Campino.
— New Zealand Herald
Mark Todd makes strong
start at Badminton
Lions head coach Warren Gatland
twisted a knife in fresh New Zealand
wounds by suggesting that there will
be growing ‘concern’ in New Zealand
about the All Blacks’ mounting injury
With just 25 days to go until the
British and Irish squad depart for their
10-match tour, their own casualties are
recovering well, just as Steve Hansen’s
world champions are being struck
down by a series of medical setbacks.
New Zealand captain Kieran Read
is out of action with a broken thumb
and veteran flanker Jerome Kaino has
had knee surgery, while outstanding
hooker Dane Coles and full-back Ben
Smith are struggling with concussion.
These are all key men for the
All Blacks and Gatland can sense
the magnitude of the situation —
especially as Coles had already been
sidelined since March 18 with an
unrelated leg injury.
“They (Read and Coles injuries) are
quite significant I think, Ben Smith as
well,” he said.
“ With Kieran Read, they are saying
he’s going to be back in time but he
won’t have had a lot of rugby under
his belt potentially before the first test.
Coles seems to have quite a niggling
injury that ’s been going on for a while.
It ’s one of those injuries that is hard to
get confidence from and you have to
be careful about not coming back too
early, so that will be a bit of a concern
In contrast, the outlook for the Lions
is improving, with positive bulletins
on a trio of likely test starters, led by
the captain, Sam Warburton, who
damaged knee ligaments last month.
“He’s good,” said Gatland. “I spoke
to Sam yesterday and he feels he could
play now. He’s made some really good
progress and is really happy with how
he’s responded to treatment. I expect
him to play before he goes to New
“Alun Wyn Jones (shoulder) is
making good progress as well. He’s
confident that he’s going to be okay
as well. It looks like the Ospreys are
going to be involved in the semi-finals
of the Pro12 and that would give him
an opportunity to get some rugby
under his belt.
“The prognosis with Conor Murray
(shoulder) looks positive in terms of
hopefully getting a game for Munster
(before the tour). It’ll be good for him
over the next few weeks if he can get
In addition to these up-beat updates,
Northampton are understood to be
confident that England lock Courtney
Lawes will have recovered from a
head injury sustained at Exeter last
weekend, in time to feature against
Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens on
Wasps wing Christian Wade has
been nominated for the RPA’s Players’
Player of the Year award, despite
remaining out of favour with England.
The prolific try-scorer is joined on the
shortlist by club-mates Elliot Daly
and Jimmy Gopperth, along with
Owen Farrell and Louis Picamoles.
— New Zealand Herald
Gatland highlights All Blacks injury concerns
The ARU’s chief operating officer
has resigned in a blow that threatens
to further delay the removal of an
Australian Super Rugby side.
Rob Clarke announced his sudden
resignation to staff yesterday.
The former Melbourne Rebels chief
executive has been a central figure in the
process of either the Rebels or Western
Force being cut from Super Rugby as
part of Sanzaar’s restructuring of the
competition in 2018.
Clarke had been working closely with
ARU boss Bill Pulver in the delicate
operation, as well as liaising with
the Rebels and Force since the two
franchises were confirmed last month as
being in the firing line.
It was hoped that the naming of the
two South African franchises and one
Australian club to go would take place
at a Sanzaar meeting in Tokyo next
But the saga shows no sign of ending.
Both the Force and Rebels maintain
the ARU has no right to remove their
teams in Sanzaar’s downsizing to a
15-team tournament, with WA Rugby
having commenced legal action and the
Melbourne club seeking compensation.
Clarke, who endured criticism from
the West Australian franchise in
recent weeks around his former links
to the Rebels and Brumbies, had been
considered a future chief executive of the
embattled national body.
The former advertising executive
returned to the ARU in 2014 as
general manager of professional rugby,
operations and marketing.
His elevation to chief operating officer
in 2016 was his second stint in the role.
Key ARU figure resigns
New Zeland WBO heavyweight
champion Joseph Parker has had barely
a fortnight to adjust to the imminent
threat of Razvan Cojanu but has backed
his game plan to see him through to
The 25-year-old New Zealander
has spent much of the past 12 weeks
preparing for the ungainly Hughie
Fury, who he was scheduled to
fight tomorrow, before the Briton
pulled out of the bout with a back
Cojanu, a 30-year-old Romanian with
a 16-2 professional record and No 14
WBO ranking, stepped into the breach
for a title shot at short notice.
The change has forced Parker and
trainer Kevin Barry to mix up their
tactics quickly, adjusting to Cojanu’s
bulkier frame and harder hitting.
In that way, Cojanu’s style partly
mimics that of Ukrainian slugger
Alexander Dimitrenko, who Parker
dispatched in three rounds in October.
Cojanu also ser ved as Parker’s sparring
partner for that fight in Manukau,
imitating Dimitrenko’s style in training.
But Barry said the 202cm Cojanu
would be even more imposing.
“I don’t think we’ve fought anyone as
big,” Barry said.
“ You all know there’s some big
heavyweights out there at the moment,
but this is the biggest physical specimen
“There are things we must do right
and things we must avoid.”
Parker, despite the uncertainty,
appeared unflappable at his official
press conference on Wednesday and
said he was just focused on getting the
Keeping the WBO title in New
Zealand would hand Parker, Barry and
promoters D uco Events the bargaining
power necessary for mega-bouts later in
High on the list of potential opponents,
should Parker emerge victorious, would
be WBC champion Deontay Wilder,
who has made a habit of calling out
Parker since his December title win
over Andy Ruiz Jr.
Yesterday, the American took to
Twitter to demand Parker knock his
“sparring partner” Cojanu out and line
up a unification fight between the two
leading to a winner-takes-all bout
with IBF, IBO and WBA champion
Despite the noise, the Auckland-born
Parker was keeping calm.
“The offers mean nothing if we don’t
win this next fight,” Parker said.
“ We don’t have a lot of time to change
what we’ve been working on but the
team I have, I trust, (and) we’ve come
up with a game plan.
“I’m confident I can execute it.”
Parker backs Cojanu plan
First five-eighth Marty Banks
is playing down his importance
at the Highlanders despite a
midas touch since taking the
reins from Lima Sopoaga.
Banks will start a fifth
successive game when
the in-form New Zealand
outfit face the struggling
Cheetahs in Bloemfontein
The Highlanders are unbeaten
in that period, with Banks
facilitating some bright attacking
performances, allied with a
remarkably accurate goalkicking
At one point the 27-year-old
had slotted 29 successive shots
at goal, the longest streak by
anyone for the last decade in
The radar was askew in last
week’s 57-14 crushing of the
Stormers in D unedin but Banks
was again astute in general
play, highlighting the Tasman
playmaker’s value since joining
the squad as injury cover for
Hayden Parker during the pre-
“I’ve probably played more
minutes in the last few weeks
than I have in the last three
years,” Banks said.
“ You could look at the kicking
stats and say I’m playing well
but I’m probably not doing that
much. I’m just trying to direct
the boys around the field and
do my basic role. I’m pretty
happy with where I am.”
Banks, who leaves for Italian
club Treviso at the end of the
season, is set to continue at
No 10 for at least two more
All Black Sopoaga is still
struggling with a hamstring
injury acquired in week three
and will definitely miss next
week’s clash with the Bulls in
A return for their subsequent
clash with the Force in Perth is a
Coach Tony Brown won’t
let his mind drift beyond the
Cheetahs, who have lost their
last six straight games but who
represent danger with their
“They’re a pretty expansive
team. They give it a bit of air and
try to attack from everywhere,”
“Defensively we have to be
good. Hopefully we can create
opportunities from that.”
Banks plays down Highlanders influence
PICTURE: Getty Images
Marty Banks, right, passes for the Highlanders.
As John Coates makes a final
push for re-election as Australian
Olympic Committee president, his
New Zealand counterpart has been
locked in to ser ve another four-year
Mike Stanley was re-elected
unopposed as New Zealand
Olympic Committee president
and will ser ve a final term that will
finish in 2021.
Unlike the AOC presidency, the
New Zealand role is limited to to
The NZOC’s annual general
assembly also accepted four new
sports for membership.
They are climbing, karate, surfing
and roller sports, which have
been included in the 2020 Tokyo
NZOC’s performance in 2016. He
also praised the athletes and support
staff in Rio, where New Zealand
collected the largest haul of medals
in its Olympic history: four gold,
nine silver and five bronze.
The NZOC finished the year with
a financial deficit of $NZ1.151
million, which had been budgeted
because of the Rio Olympics.
Net income for 2016 was
$11.762m and total expenditure
was $12.917m. — A AP
Stanley NZOC president
for another four-year term
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