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ursday, November 14, 2013
PICTURE: Getty Images
All Black Wyatt Crockett practises his scrum technique at a training session at Latymers Upper School in London.
PICTURE: Getty Images
Mexico s Paul Aguilar, right, fights for the ball with New Zealand s Andrew Durante in this morning s 2014 World Cup qualifying
play-off first leg soccer match at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
of the New Zealand Herald
In time, this may come to be
known as the Massacre at the
Azteca. e All Whites did not
roll over and die --- there were
courageous efforts, especially
from the back three --- but the
New Zealand side was thoroughly
outclassed by a rampant
home side in front of 105,000
It did not help that the All
Whites conceded two relatively
soft goals in the latter stages of
the first half, which released any
pressure on the home side, just as
it was starting to slightly build.
At that stage the crowd burst
into a passionate rendition of
"Cielito Lindo", which is a
Mexican song used to farewell. It
felt like goodbye All Whites.
Mexico had looked dangerous
from the start. From the kick-off
the All Whites were content to sit
back in their own half, letting the
home side come to them.
For a while it looked like it was
going to work. e Mexicans had
plenty of space and time, but Ivan
Vicelich, Andrew Durante and
Tommy Smith coped with most
threats as they got closer to goal.
ere were chances --- but the
New Zealand defenders kept
getting a foot in when it mattered,
while the Mexican passes went
astray at the final moment.
Improbably as it sounds, some
pressure was starting to build on
the home side. e 105,000 fans
had expected an early goal --- and
it did not come. ey were restless
--- especially when it looked like
a Mexican attempt had crossed
the line, but was punched away by
"Es Siempre asi," shouted one
fan, "Es el destino Mexico." (It s
always like this. It s our destiny).
e shouts of "Ole, Ole" every
time the home side completed a
pass, which had been so prevalent
in the first half, began to die
down. e Mexican team was
still almost totally dominating
possession, but began to try shots
from further out.
After all the valiant defending,
the pressure was released in the
30th minute with a relatively soft
goal. After Glen Moss made an
ineffective punch of a dangerous
Mexico cross --- he probably
should have caught it --- and the
ball pin balled around the New
Zealand penalty area before Paul
Aguilar lashed home from short
If that was disappointing, the
second goal in the 40th minute
was one of the worst --- given
the circumstances, context and
situation --- conceded by the All
Whites in recent years.
After all the talk after the All
White s advantage at set pieces,
the visitors were caught out by
a simple Mexican corner, when
Raul Jimenez nodding in from
close range after the defence
failed to clear the first ball.
e second half started in the
worst possible way, with Mexico
breaking from deep on the left,
drawing the defence and allowing
Oribe Peralta to slot home.
Herbert replaced surprise
selection Jeremy Christie --- who
had a forgettable match --- soon
after wards with Chris James. At
3-0 El Tri were content to sit
back, allowing the All Whites
space and time on the ball.
ey made some inroads ---
Chris Wood lifted a shot just over
the bar and then just failed to
reach a clever Kosta Barbarouses
through ball --- without creating a
clear cut chance.
Both coaches then cleared their
benches, with Herbert injecting
Marco Rojas and Rory Fallon
midway through the second half.
Rojas had an immediate impact.
He created space in midfield with
his close control, and beat two
defenders in one jinking run into
With more than 15 minutes to
go, the crowd was singing "Vamos
a El Mundial" (We are going to
the World Cup) and Peralta s
second confirmed that view, if
there was any doubt.
James grabbed a consolation
in the 85th minute, reacting to a
loose ball in the Mexican penalty
area to poke home.
Mexico 5 (O Peralta 2, R
Jimenez, P Aguilar, R Marquez),
New Zealand 1 (C James).
of the New Zealand Herald
e All Blacks hope they will
soon become like the French
and be predictably unpredictable.
ey would like to take steps
down that road this weekend.
A year ago they were beaten
up and carved up by an England
side that read their every play.
e All Blacks did not have
a move that England had not
foreseen and the element of
surprise they carried back then
e All Blacks were a good side
12 months ago.
A very good side, but they
lacked variation. Shut down
their running game, shut down
the All Blacks --- that is how it
was a year ago and that is what
England do not realise it yet,
but they did the All Blacks
a massive favour that day.
For a start they killed off the
unwelcome tag of greatness that
others were trying to slap on the
ey provided proof to some
of the first year All Blacks ---
and many others too --- that
the senior players and coaches
were serious when they had
warned all year about what
happens if preparation is not
For many of the side,
Twickenham was their first
experience of defeat --- a notion
that until then had possibly
been viewed as something that
happened to other teams, not
England, probably most
importantly, also forced the
All Black coaches to fast-track
the development of the game-
From being a single threat
team, the All Blacks have
emerged in 2013 as a triple-
threat operation. ey can run,
they can pass, they can kick and
when asked if he thinks they are
now less predictable than they
were 12 months ago, Kieran
Read said: "Yeah I do. Certainly
it has shown throughout the year.
But you can t rest on what you
have done. is is a massive test.
We know that the English do
a lot of homework and analyse
what we do.
"So we have got to be smart."
ey are going to need to
be, because like it or not, the
Twickenham clash is being
viewed as the defining one of
their season. Unbeaten and
deserving of their number one
ranking, a consecutive defeat to
England will unpick much of
what has been achieved.
Questions will be asked, doubts
will creep in. Having scurried
away last year to lick their
wounds, they think they have
returned a better, more balanced,
more dangerous side. If England
can thump them again, where to
for the All Blacks?
With so much at stake, the All
Blacks are doing their level best
to keep this week in perspective.
Coaches and players all insist it is
just another game. at they are
prepared for the usual for ward
onslaught and titanic battles at
both the breakdown and scrum.
"I think across the board they
will come at us pretty strongly in
that area," Read said.
" at s their strength and
we know teams up here will
target us there. It s no different
to any other test match in our
preparation to be aware of that
but to make sure we have a few
things up our sleeves."
ABs no one-trick pony
Scotland and former Warriors
hooker Ian Henderson knows what
it is like to confront challenging
situations --- he sur vived returning
to play in Castleford after roundly
insulting the people who live there
--- so is excited about the prospect
of taking on the Kiwis on Saturday
Henderson famously described
Castleford, a former mining town
in west Yorkshire, as "the worst
place" he had lived and said the
people there had rotten teeth,
spent too much time drinking and
needed a bath.
He got his comeuppance when
he returned to play there with
Catalans in 2011.
"It was very hostile," he said. "I
copped it from most of the crowd
... a lot of chants, not pretty chants.
After the game I got peppered
going to the bus. A few people
tried to grab me and were giving
me the fingers.
"I expected all that, and
deservedly so. I said some things I
shouldn t have said. I should have
just reported on the weather and
not the people and they had a right
to give me some stick back. Every
year it gets less and less. A couple
more forget each year."
Warriors fans still remember the
30-year-old for the three seasons
he played at Mt Smart Stadium
between 2008-10 before moving
to France with Catalans. He was a
self-confessed grub (for his playing
style, not his living habits)
with his competitive style
and says little has changed
in that respect.
He was one of the
Warriors best buys when
they signed him from
Bradford and on Saturday
morning will come up
against former team-mates
Simon Mannering, Manu
Vatuvei, Shaun Johnson,
Elijah Taylor and Kevin
Locke, not to mention
former coach Ivan Cleary
who is Kiwis assistant.
"I m really excited to play
them," he said. " ey are
such a good team. Not
only do I want to play
against mates, but I want
to challenge myself and see
how I fare against one of
the best teams in the world.
"I have great memories of
my times in New Zealand.
Every time I think of New
Zealand and playing against New
Zealand, it gets me excited."
Few expected Scotland to get this
far, with most predicting Tonga
to emerge from Group C, but the
Bravehearts were undefeated in
pool play with two wins (they beat
Tonga 26-24 and the US 22-8)
and a draw (Italy 30-30).
ey are not expected to trouble
the Kiwis but have a good spine
in Henderson, halves Peter
Wallace and Danny Brough and
fullback Matt Russell, who leads
the tournament for tackle busts
with 22 and is joint second top
tryscorer with four. ey also
have tremendous spirit, captured
in a You Tube video of them
celebrating when Tonga beat Italy
to send Scotland into the quarter-
"I believe we can win,"
Henderson said, whose father is
Scottish and brother Andy is also
in the team. " e squad believes
we can win. If we didn t, we would
never be a bloody chance.
"It s been an unbelievable camp.
Winning helps. When Tonga won
against Italy, they are very special
moments you will never forget."
Plans for a world-first
V8 jetsprint course to be
built at Baypark have been
e course is to be built
for the second round
of the New Zealand
championship which is to
be staged at Baypark this
summer. It is the first time
the sport has been held
in an enclosed stadium
anywhere in the world.
e New Zealand
Jetsprint Association has
been given the green light
to hold the event at the
stadium on January 25,
Minnell said the event
had been two years in
the making. "It should be
awesome. It was my little
baby. It s been a hell of a
lot of logistics and a lot
of background work to
make sure everything is all
right," he said.
" e sport s iconic and it
will be kind of nice to do
it for the first time in New
e world s attention
will be on the event
and, all going according
to plan, it will make
Tauranga a major
contender to host the
World Series which will
be in New Zealand during
the summer of 2015-2016,
Minnell said. " at s my
big dream. at s what
I m hoping for. We re
raising the bar not two
notches. We re doing it 10
Being in a stadium
means spectators will
be able to see the whole
course and all the thrills
and spills. " ey get up
to 130kph and can turn
at 5Gs that s more than a
fighter jet. It s all non-stop
action packed," Minnell
Organisers have a week
to create the course, which
will be made 5m wide and
range from 40cm to 70cm
deep, and a week to put it
all back together.
was scheduled for the
following weekend and
rugby for the weekend
after that, Minnell said.
Te Puke farmer Tristan
Hynds has just taken up
the sport and is looking
forward to racing in
"Baypark will be our
second event," he said.
"It s going to be pretty
exciting. ere s not many
motorsports that you can
go to and see the whole
e narrow channels
and sharp corners make
it spectacular to watch, he
" e chance of a crash is
pretty high. Hopefully it s
general manager Ervin
McSweeney said the
jetsprints were shaping
up to be a highlight
for the venue s summer
--- Bay of Plenty Times
Manu Vatuvei might need more surgery on
his knee after the World Cup but is hopeful
of getting through the rest of the tournament
as the Kiwis look to defend the title they won
e giant winger is still only 27 but after 10
seasons in the NRL and more than 20 tests
his body is showing signs of creaking at the
is year he battled knee and hamstring
complaints as well as a painful sternum injury
but was still the Warriors leading tryscorer
with 16 in 19 games (he has amassed a record
118 tries in 171 games for the club). He also
scored a hat-trick in the Kiwis first-up win
over Samoa but missed the next game against
France and came off at half-time against
the Kumuls last weekend because of his sore
Vatuvei has been named in a wider 19-man
squad to take on Scotland in their quarter-
final at Headingley on Saturday morning,
with Jason Nightingale and Roger Tuivasa-
Sheck also included.
e Kiwis will beat the Bravehearts and,
although the Kiwis want to play their best
17, could be tempted to give Vatuvei another
week off because of his importance to their
campaign. He has been advised he has a
small cartilage tear on the same knee he had
cleaned out a few years ago and might need
surgery when he returns to New Zealand.
e Warriors will be interested observers,
especially considering five-eighth omas
Leuluai has already been invalided out of
the tour and it could take time to repair his
injured groin. Both could have interrupted
pre-seasons. It has been a frustrating time for
Vatuvei over the past couple of seasons as he
constantly battles with injury but he s trying
to stay optimistic.
"I have been struggling a few times but I
just have to fight through it and believe in
myself that I can keep going and look after
my body," he said.
"I worry about (what I might be like after
my career) --- that s the downfall --- but if I
look after myself now it might pay off in the
long run. I just have to keep in a routine."
It is one that presently does not amount to
much on-field training throughout the week
and he is thankful of the additional training
he did in the last off-season when he lost 8kg
training to take on Olympic gold medallist
Eric Murray in a charity boxing match.
" at has really helped me out, a lot," he
said. "Right now I m trying to maintain
that and I m doing a lot of extras (outside of
regular team training). It s even harder with
the eating, you tend to gain a bit weight."
Vatuvei had hoped to be playing Tonga in
the quarter-finals ("even though I don t play
for them, I represent them no matter what,"
he said) but is looking forward to catching
up with Scotland hooker Ian Henderson on
Saturday morning. Literally, catching up.
"If I get the opportunity to play, that s
my first port of call," he laughed. "I will be
running straight at him."
Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney will settle on
his playing 17 closer to kick-off but has left
out Josh Hoffman, who is struggling with a
shoulder strain but who also has not nailed
down the fullbacks position, in favour of
Kevin Locke. "I think Kevin is the best man
for the job this week," said Kearney.
Frank-Paul Nu uausala looks to have won
the interchange position over Alex Glenn
and Greg Eastwood but Kearney still needs
to make a decision around which front-rower
will drop out of his four prop rotation.
Kiwis squad to play Scotland at Headingley,
Leeds, on Saturday (9am NZT): Jesse
Bromwich, Kieran Foran, Bryson Goodwin,
Shaun Johnson, Sam Kasiano, Kevin Locke,
Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino,
Sam Moa, Jason Nightingale, Frank-Paul
Nu uausala, Frank Pritchard, Elijah Taylor,
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Manu Vatuvei, Jared
Waerea-Hargreaves, Dean Whare, Sonny Bill
Williams (two to be omitted). --- APNZ
In-form playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans
has beaten Robbie Farah to a spot in the
Kangaroos squad for the Rugby League
World Cup quarter-final against the United
Manly halfback Cherry-Evans looks set
to secure a place on the interchange bench
for the match at Wrexham after earning
selection in Tim Sheens 20-man squad
e Clive Churchill medallist impressed
playing in the halves in two of Australia s
group matches and his selection comes at the
expense of Wests Tigers hooker Farah, one of
three players left out of the squad.
Josh Morris and Michael Jennings were the
others omitted, indicating veteran Brent Tate
is likely to hold on to the contentious right
centre spot with Sheens looking to pick his
best available team after rotating the group
in recent games.
Sheens will not name his final 17 until just
before Saturday s game and is keeping his
selection cards close to his chest, but he has
revealed vice captain Paul Gallen is in some
doubt with a leg problem. --- Reuters
LEAGUE WORLD CUP
LEAGUE WORLD CUP
Scotland hooker happy
to take on Kiwis
Vatuvei hoping to get
through the World Cup
Cherry-Evans gets nod for Kangaroos
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