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Tuesday, January 8, 2019
India wants to use its maiden test series
victory in Australia to inspire its next
generation of stars and revive the red-ball
format at home.
Fresh from its 2-1 series defeat of Australia
this summer, India will return to defend the
Border Gavaskar trophy in two summers
time as part of a reworked ICC Future
The win was India’s first outside Asia or
the spin-friendly Caribbean since 2009,
and means a great deal to the cricket-mad
nation given Australia’s status as one of its
Captain Virat Kohli — who has previously
won a one-day World Cup — says success
in the five-day format is what he values
“I see this series as a stepping stone for this
team to inspire the next lot of test cricketers
to be passionate about test cricket firstly,”
Kohli said. “Because if the Indian team
respects test cricket we know the fans are
going to come in and watch test cricket.
“So, the vision is to promote test cricket
back home, to make kids realise that there
is no greater satisfaction than playing test
cricket and winning series like these.
“In a world where a lot of people want
the easy stuff, matches that finish in the
evening, I think it ’s important to spread that
Attendances at India’s home tests has
been at times inconsistent in recent years,
while big crowds continue to flock to one-
day internationals and the Indian Premier
Kohli said that had driven his team to
play more positive cricket, most notably
the decision to declare and chase the win
in Sydney when a draw ultimately proved
enough to earn a 2-1 series victory.
“As long as the purest format stays alive
cricket will be healthy,” Kohli said.
“ To promote that we have to play the kind
of cricket we have played here. If we play
for boring draws, no results, the game going
nowhere, it won’t make a difference to test
cricket globally.” — AAP
Flashback 2018: Northern jockey Samantha Collett returns to the birdcage with the Les and Richard Didham-trained
Twoznotenough following success last year in the Evelyn Carran Memorial Reefton Cup.
The Reefton Jockey Club is gearing up
for the second day of the West Coast
New Year galloping circuit with an
eight-race programme tomorrow.
The track will provide perfect
conditions for racing and backs up from
the New Year trotting meeting.
Leading stables bring fresh horses to
the circuit with Michael and Mathew
Pitman, Andrew Carston, Les Didham
and John and Karen Parsons all well
Reefton Jockey Club president Brian
Molloy says everything is in place for a
successful day ’s racing.
“The track is looking good after the
recent trotting meeting and I’m very
happy with the fields we have — it ’s
good to have the support of leading
South Island stables.
“The club is looking for racegoers
and the Reefton community to support
the day and get right behind our
The feature race is the $25,000 Crane
and Construction Reefton Cup.
Whanganui trainer Keven Myers,
fresh from taking out the Greymouth
Cup with Overtheriver, has his focus set
on the Reefton feature tomorrow with
top weight and class galloper Scapolo
carrying the stables colours.
Myers travelled south with another
team of horses yesterday and looks set to
cover expenses at Reefton, with Scapolo
expected to be very hard to beat.
Winner of 20 races, Scapolo has
been freshened since disappointing at
Riccarton during the New Zealand
Cup Carnival and races best when kept
on the fresh side.
The nine-year-old will carry top weight
of 59kg, with Danielle Hirini to ride,
and was placed recently at the Waverley
trials and is expected to appreciate the
small field it meets tomorrow.
John and Karen Parsons have Tomm
Jones carrying the stables hopes and a
recent win at Omakau over 1400m on
January 3 suggests the horse is cherry
ripe for a bold showing at Reefton.
In-form stable rider Gosen Jogoo
will partner Tomm Jones in the 1400m
Xcuses Xcuses steps up to open class
and has solid form on the board and
could trouble, being at a dangerous
place at the weights.
Rafael Nadal believes
he can pull off a Roger
miracle and win the
Australian Open two
months after going under
from last week’s Brisbane
International with a thigh
strain and not playing a
sanctioned event in four
months, Nadal sur vived
two matches of Fast4
action against Nick
Kyrgios last night before
happily declaring: “I
didn’t feel the pain at all”.
The 17-times grand
slam champion lost 4-0,
3-4, 5-3 in a singles
work-out lasting barely
an hour before teaming
with Milos Raonic to
edge Kyrgios and John
Millman 4-1, 1-4, 5-4 in
a doubles match-up that
was only half hit-and-
giggles for Nadal after
a wretched run on the
Spanish superstar retired
midway through his US
Open semi-final against
Juan Martin del Potro
with a knee issue, called
an end to his 2018 season
later in September and
finally relinquished his
world No 1 ranking after
undergoing ankle surgery
He succumbed to Kevin
Anderson in a post-
event in Abu Dhabi
before pulling out of
his third-place play-off
match for precautionary
disappointed fans in
Brisbane with his late
scratching, but promised
to be “100%” for the
season’s first grand slam
starting next Monday.
Asked if being fully
fit and a genuine title
contender in Melbourne
was realistic, a defiant
Nadal said: “ Why not?”
“ You can’t predict that.
Of course it would be
better if I had the chance
to play a full tournament
in Abu Dhabi and a full
tournament in Brisbane,
but the big importance
is I am feeling good with
the ball,” he said.
“The only thing is that
I didn’t play matches
since a long time ago.
But I have one week and
I am healthy now and
I can practice now in
Melbourne for one full
week and the good thing
is I am going to have the
chance to play matches.
“And even if it is on the
practice court, it’s going
to be a big help for me.”
At 32, Nadal knows his
chance to join Rod Laver
and Roy Emerson as only
the third man in history
to win all four grand slam
titles at least twice each is
Melbourne Park in 2009,
Nadal has lost three
other finals since — to
Novak Djokovic in their
54-minute epic in 2012,
to Stan Wawrinka in
2014 when hindered by a
back injury and two years
ago to Federer.
In denying Nadal in a
five-set thriller in 2017,
Federer broke a four-
and-a - half-year grand
slam title drought to
land major No 18 in his
first official tournament
back after six months
out recovering from knee
Nadal now truly
believes he can add an
18th major to his CV
in his first event in four
“At the end of this
match (with Kyrgios), I
didn’t feel the pain at all,”
“Of course always at the
beginning you are always
a little bit scared because
it was the first time I’ve
been on court playing
points after that.
“But (it was) a very
Tournament of Champions winner
Xander Schauffele still considers
himself an underdog despite a stunning
come-from-behind victory yesterday in
The young American cemented his
status as one of golf ’s stars to watch
during a course record-equalling
11-under-par 62 and, at 23 under, he
earned a one-shot win from overnight
leader Gary Woodland (68).
Former champion Justin Thomas was
outright third at 18 under courtesy of
Schauffele started yesterday at the
winners-only event on Maui five shots
behind Woodland. His deficit increased
to six when he bogeyed the first hole at
Kapalua’s Plantation course.
Yet by the time he reached the par-5
18th green, Schauffele faced an 11-foot
putt for a third eagle of the day and
the course record. He missed it but
his birdie was enough to earn a fourth
PGA Tour victory and a rise to No 6 in
the world rankings.
Schauffele joins four other golfers,
including Australia’s Jason Day, to have
shot 62 at Kapalua, although his is the
lowest final round by a winner.
“Some great rounds have been started
by a bogey so I figured ‘why not do it ’?”
Turning professional less than four
years ago, he has bagged four PGA Tour
victories during the past 18 months.
Standing at 178cm and weighing
79kgs, big-hitting Schauffele averaged
278.8m last year in driving distance —
which ranked in the top 30 on the PGA
The Californian refuses to class
himself as one of golf ’s big guns just
yet — at least until he wins a major
“ I still feel like an underdog,”
Schauffele said. “ Until you’re world
No 1, you’re chasing. Guys like (major
winners) Justin (Thomas) and Brooks
(Koepka) keep putting that flag way
out there for me to chase but I feel like
I’m doing that. (This win) is a stepping
stone in the right direction but the
end goal is to (win) wire-to-wire and
obviously a major would be nice.”
Woodland started the day with a
three-shot lead but missed a 10-foot
birdie putt on the 18th which would
have forced a play-off.
Australia’s Marc Leishman fell from
final-round contention with a 71 to
finish tied fourth with defending
champion Dustin Johnson (67) and
Rory McIlroy (72), while countryman
Day roared home with a 66 to finish
13th in the 33-man field.
The Tournament of Champions is
a $A9.3 ($NZ9.84) million event for
winners on the PGA Tour from the
previous year and features no 36-hole
cut. — AAP
Canadian seventh seed
Denis Shapovalov has
been dumped out of the
Auckland tennis classic
on the first night of the
Shapovalov was beaten
by Portugal’s Joao Sousa
in three sets, 4-6, 6-4,
Sousa will face Great
Britain’s expat New
Norrie in the next round
after he beat Frenchman
Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-2
and they will be joined
by Germany ’s Jan-
Lennard Struff, who
was leading Laslo Djere
7-7 (7-5), 2-0 when the
eased his way into the
second round with
victory over Bradley
The 2008 winner,
who has made it to
and beyond on eight
occasions, took a little
under 90 minutes to seal
a 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) win over
the American qualifier.
Tennys Sandgren and
Matteo Berrettini also
made it through with
6-3, 6-4 victories over
Taylor Fritz needed
three sets to see off
Marius Copil 4-6, 6-3,
6-4 and land a
date. — AAP
India wants series wins to preserve test cricket
PICTURE: Getty Images
Xander Schauffele with his caddie Austin Kaiser and the trophy after winning the Sentr y Tournament of Champions at the
Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club in Lahaina, Hawaii.
dazzling PGA Tour win
first big name
to exit at men’s
Manchester United will visit Arsenal
in the fourth round of the FA Cup at
The Emirates Stadium after today ’s
draw pitted the two Premier League
Arsenal with 13 FA Cup wins and
United with 12 are the most successful
clubs in the world’s oldest knockout
Premier League champions Manchester
City are at home to top-flight strugglers
Burnley, while holders Chelsea will take
on Sheffield Wednesday or Luton Town
at Stamford Bridge.
Giant killers Newport County of
League Two (fourth tier), who beat
Leicester City in the third round, face
a trip to second-tier Middlesbrough,
managed by Newport-born Tony Pulis.
Wolverhampton Wanderers, who
knocked out Premier League leaders
Liverpool today, will be away to
the winners of the replay between
Shrewsbury Town and Stoke City.
Everton face a tricky test at
Championship (second tier) side
Millwall, while Crystal Palace will host
Tottenham Hotspur in an all-London
Non-league Barnet — the lowest-
ranked club left in the competition
welcome Championship side
Brentford. — Reuters
Former All Black Ben Atiga gave up the
game because his self doubt became so over
powering is fronting Scottish rugby’s mental
health programme Rugby for Life.
Fear is not an emotion easily associated with
professional rugby players, but Ben Atiga
knows appearances can be deceptive.
The governing body launched the programme
last year — its goal to help players stay healthy,
educate themselves and foster interests and
careers outside of the game.
“P layers doubt themselves in doing the
smallest things — as simple as speaking to
someone in a suit. Believe it or not, that to
a player can be terrifying,” Atiga said. “ You
recognise them as players, but when they take
that uniform off, who are they? That ’s a really
hard question for them to answer.”
Atiga remembers what it was like to be
a professional petrified to set foot on the
field. He was 25, an All Black and captain of
Auckland when his anxieties peaked.
“I remember sitting on the bus on the way to
Eden Park with my headphones on,” he says.
“All I could think about was, ‘I can’t wait ‘til
the end of the game’.”
He knows now he was quite possibly
suffering from depression.
As a young full-back and under-21 world
player of the year, Atiga had been thrust into the
spotlight in a country where rugby is religion
and the pressure to deliver monumental.
Aged just 20, he was selected ahead of
national hero Christian Cullen. He won a
solitary cap before being felled by injuries and
Atiga stepped away from the sport, but he
knows that, by leaving it behind, he was not
confronting his problems — he was running
away from them. “I isolated myself from
players, from rugby, even from my family,” he
recalls, 10 years on.
“I lacked energy, I put on a lot of weight
I went up to 122kg from about 99kg. It’s
important players to realise you could be at
the top of the game, the best full-back in the
world, and wake up and decide, I don’t feel like
Atiga did get back into rugby and the
Auckland team, then moved to Edinburgh in
2012, where chronic knee and hip problems
forced his retirement four years ago.
He remains in the city, using his own
tribulations to nurture Scotland ’s contracted
players, from the academy intake to the
heavyweights of the national team.
Sessions so far have covered communication
skills, how to network and exploit their profile
as professional rugby players, and changing a
Academy players are contractually obliged
to study or undertake some form of sustained
“ You could be an 18-year-old kid that comes
out of school and into pro rugby. You can be 35
when you come out but still be that 18-year-
old kid if you’ve done nothing,” Atiga warns.
“It’s important to players to find something
that ’s meaningful. What makes them happy?
What are they going to get up on Monday for?
“If we can give them the head start, we’ll see
more players transition more confidently out
of the game — and we’ ll start creating some
better men and better women.”
Atiga helps organise regular meetings for
Scotland’s Pacific Islands players
The half-Samoan and half-Tongan Atiga
also helps new signings at Glasgow Warriors
and Edinburgh settle in Scotland.
For most, the transition is straightfor ward.
But, in some cases, adapting to a new city,
climate and way of life can be a wrench.
“Coming from a place that might only have
two sets of traffic lights to a city, a diverse
culture can be daunting,” he says.
“ We had a case where a player was trying
to pass a Life in the UK test (required for
anyone seeking indefinite leave to remain in
the UK or naturalisation as a British citizen).
He had 10 days before his visa expired, but he
kept failing and he was laughing about it.”
Atiga had to intervene, telling the other
players to encourage their team-mate rather
than joke with him about it — and he passed
with days to spare.
The arrival of ex-North
Queensland hard man
Shaun Fensom has been
welcomed by a depleted
Brisbane pack ahead of
the 2019 NRL season.
Fensom, 30, added
instant depth to the
Broncos for ward stocks
when he ran out for the
club’s pre-season training
return yesterday after
inking a one-year deal.
The 174-game veteran
was a welcome sight as
the Broncos began life
without for wards Sam
Josh McGuire (Cowboys)
and Korbin Sims (St
George Illawarra). — AP
Fensom joins Brisbane
Arsenal to face
Ex-AB helps mental health scheme
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