Home' Greymouth Star : December 20th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
14 - Friday, December 20, 2013
e England cricket team are
pondering whether to ditch the old
and go with the new in time for
It may not be quite so simplistic
or sweeping a strategic change but
Andy Flower, their coach, revealed
yesterday he and his fellow selectors
will entertain such revolutionary
thoughts after the tame surrender of
the Ashes to Australia.
With two tests still left in the
series, in Melbourne starting on
Boxing Day and in Sydney early in
the New Year, the tourists are
undoubtedly feeling the opprobrium
of the public even from thousands of
In losing the first three tests by
thumping margins they have gone
from favourites to stumblebums in a
Such dramatic falls inevitably
provoke outpourings of outrage.
Having had a couple of days to
dwell on the defeat and its margin,
Flower said: "We still have two tests
left in the series and (they)are very
"One of the challenges we have
got is focusing on those and trying
to win them but also trying to judge
or judging when we start to look to
the future and keeping an eye on the
So I will be chatting with selectors
and (captain) Alastair Cook, and we
will be clarifying that type of strategy
over the next few days."
Knowing Flower, he will probably
err on the side of caution. Being
the studious and diligent man he is,
wholesale changes would be against
his natural instincts and so they
should be. But he will be keenly
aware that, after this series is finished,
England have only 12 test matches
before the next Ashes at home in
He would not be drawn on his own
future yesterday but nothing much
should be read into his refusal to
commit himself to the job beyond
True, he may eventually give serious
thought to stepping down, but
since being appointed he has always
insisted that he never thinks in the
long term for himself, only for the
direction the team might take.
When Flower says his attention
is only on the next two tests in this
series, he ought to be believed.
England have played watchful
cricket under Flower, which has
relied on patience and precision, two
of the coach s own attributes.
It has failed to work now because
Australia came out slugging every day,
a controlled whirlwind destroying a
carefully assembled structure.
Flower s next challenge may be to
accept that some of his old warhorses
should be put out to grass.
Either that or he must find a way
to regenerate the likes of Graeme
Swann, Jimmy Anderson, Kevin
Pietersen and Matt Prior.
All of them are over 30 and
regeneration, a la Dr Who, may
be neither as straightforward
as reconfiguring the Tardis, nor
ere comes a time in the affairs of
cricketers as of common men.
Even if they are still the best players
now, Flower and his advisers have
to deduce if they will still be that in
Australia, incidentally, face a similar
is Ashes winning team,
containing eight men above 30, will
probably represent them in South
Africa in two months time but after
that will need serious refashioning.
--- New Zealand Herald
World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams
will return to New Zealand to switch codes
again in 2015 in a bid to win another Webb
Ellis Trophy plus a gold medal in rugby
sevens at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
e 28-year-old is to play for rugby league s
Sydney Roosters, the club he helped to
Australia s National Rugby League (NRL)
title this year, in 2014 before rejoining the
Waikato Chiefs on a two-year contract.
"We made no secret we were keen to get
Sonny back in a Chiefs jersey," Waikato
coach Dave Rennie said in a statement. "He s
not only a quality player but adds huge value
to our environment off the field."
e player spent two years in New Zealand
rugby, helping the All Blacks to the 2011
World Cup and the Chiefs to their inaugural
Super Rugby title in 2012.
e Hamilton-based franchise retained
their crown in 2013 without Williams who
had left New Zealand to take up a short-term
contract in Japan before switching codes back
to rugby league.
Williams has put professional boxing
aspirations on hold and has made no secret
of wanting to cap his career with an Olympic
gold medal in rugby sevens.
e New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU)
is pleased to have secured Williams, who has
signed a succession of one-year deals since
walking out on a multi-year deal with the
NRL s Canterbury Bulldogs to play union in
2008, on a two-year contract so he can push
for sevens selection in Rio.
"Sonny showed in his two years with New
Zealand rugby that he is an outstanding
talent and was a real asset to our game,"
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said.
"We think it is great he has made his
aspirations clear and if he plays well enough
to be considered for selection for those teams,
then that is fantastic." --- Reuters
England ponders ditching old guard for fourth test
e script continues to read the same
for the Wellington Phoenix.
Ten times this season they have taken
the field in the A-League and every
game they have been in the contest and
produced a collection of goal-scoring
chances but ultimately they have come
It was the same again last night, as
they went down 1-0 to the Central
Coast Mariners at the North Sydney
Oval as they slumped to their sixth loss
of the year as they remain without a
Wellington midfielder Carlos
Hernandez was withdrawn from
the Phoenix s starting XI due to a
thigh injury, although news reports
in Australia and New Zealand
suggested he was sent home due to a
disagreement with the club.
Rookie Jason Hicks was whistled over
to Sydney from Wellington at short
notice to join the Phoenix and found
himself starting in the midfield in place
of the Costa Rican international.
Central Coast came in to the game on
the back of a 4-0 pasting at the hands
of Adelaide United last week and were
shorn of their own midfield whiz when
All White Michael McGlinchey was
declared a late scratching.
Wellington, who are yet to register a
win this year, enjoyed the better of the
game for the opening 20 minutes but
their attempts on goal did not prove
testing enough for Mariners goalkeeper
Putting shots on goal is important
but they have to do more than sting the
palms of the opposing custodian and
a player of Reddy s quality was never
put out of his comfort zone by the
Phoenix as he comfortably dealt with
Wellington s advances.
en, as has happened with alarming
regularity this summer, the Phoenix
were the first team to concede a goal
when All Whites defender Storm Roux
pounced on a missed clearance from
Ben Sigmund to bang the ball in to the
bottom corner of the net in the 27th
It was Roux s first goal in the
A-League and his well-timed shot,
which offered Phoenix goalkeeper Glen
Moss no chance, proved the difference.
at goal punctuated another
dominant period for the visiting
Phoenix, who again enjoyed ample
possession in the second part of the
first spell but could not find the killer
punches required to get on the score
e second half brought much of the
same, as Wellington continued to press
but came up empty-handed.
Roux then turned villain for the
Mariners as he fouled Manny Muscat
in the box and referee Kris Griffiths-
Jones pointed to the penalty spot in the
Without Hernandez, the duties fell to
Phoenix striker Stein Huysegems but
his meek effort was saved by Reddy.
e missed penalty summed up
Wellington s effort as despite their best
endeavours they just could not score
and they have now only mustered nine
goals from 10 games this season.
Moss kept the Phoenix in the contest
near the hour-mark when he made a
freakish save from a Nick Fitzgerald
shot, which seemed destined for the
back of the net.
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick went to
his bench during the final 30 minutes as
Paul Ifill showed his ability on the ball
and tried to bring a creative spark.
Ifill looked to have laid on an
equaliser in the 84th minute but Jeremy
Brockie put his shot over the crossbar
from point-blank range as Merrick was
left to wonder what he has to do to get
his team in to gear.
PICTURE: Getty Images
Roar s Besart Berisha is tackled by Phoenix s Vince Lia, right, and Albert Riera at Westpac Stadium in Wellington last
Hawke s Bay fans are
set to enhance their
rugby fix in 2014,
with the Hurricanes
announcing a match
against the Bulls at
e Napier stadium
has also been chosen to
host the All Blacks test
match against Argentina
on September 6, giving
locals plenty of sporting
action to experience next
executive James Te Puni
said he was delighted to
announce the Hurricanes
would be travelling north
to Hawke s Bay for the
Bulls clash on April 5.
"It will be a great
opportunity for our
Hawke s Bay fans to see
the Hurricanes in their
own backyard, and for
our team to take the field
in one of New Zealand s
great rugby provinces,"
Te Puni said.
Hawke s Bay Rugby
Union chief executive
Mike Bishop said the
union was excited to
be adding a Hurricanes
match to the region s
" e Hurricanes
playing in Napier
next year is part of a
commitment we have to
give the rugby fans in our
region a diet of top class
rugby to choose from
throughout the rugby
season," he said.
Phoenix lose another close one Hurricanes
Sonny Bill Williams and his Chiefs coaches Wayne Smith, left, and Dave Rennie.
Sonny Bill gets two-year contract
Black Sticks head coach Mark Hager has
named a significantly different side for the
upcoming USA Tournament in February,
making it clear that positions are still up
for grabs ahead of the World Cup in June.
e seven changes from the recent
World League Final team include
seniors Emily Naylor and Bianca Russell
re-joining the team, young striker s
Michaela Curtis and Sian Fremaux
earning call-up, while Stacey Michelsen,
Aniwaka Roberts and Rose Keddell all
return from injury.
" e team for the World Cup certainly
isn t set in stone and this tournament is
a chance to give others a chance to prove
"We need to improve our performance
and be more consistent if we want to win
medals at pinnacle events," Hager said.
e USA Tournament will see the Black
Sticks take on the United States and
England from February 6-20 as part of
their preparation ahead of their pinnacle
event of the year --- the World Cup in
Holland in June.
"We are trying to get as much game time
as possible before the World Cup. at is
our key event for the year and if we want
to be competitive against the top nations,
we have to play those teams more," Hager
Michelsen injured herself in April
this year and it has been a long road to
recovery; whether she makes this tour will
be dependent on her taking a fitness test at
the end of January.
e Black Sticks finished fifth at the
World League Final in Argentina earlier
this month after winning their final game
against China 1-0.
All national squad players have
individualised strength and conditioning
programmes over the Christmas period
but are taking a break from the turf,
picking up their sticks again at the end of
Black Sticks squad: Sam Charlton,
Sophie Cocks, Michaela Curtis, Rhiannon
Dennison, Krystal Forgesson, Gemma
Flynn, Sian Fremaux, Amelia Gibson,
Rose Keddell, Olivia Merry, Stacey
Michelsen, Emily Naylor, Brooke Neal,
Anita Punt, Aniwaka Roberts, Bianca
Russell, Kayla Sharland, Liz ompson,
Petrea Webster. --- APNZ
Black Sticks changes for US tourney Sydney
German cycling star Andre
Greipel will chase a third
Tour Down Under title with
the sprinter s place in the
January event confirmed
Greipel has won 14
Tour Down Under stages,
including three in the 2013
edition and is looking
forward to starting his
cycling season in Australia
for the seventh consecutive
" e race has become a bit
tougher each year, but I see
three opportunities to sprint
in this edition. e aim is a
stage victory," Greipel said.
"It will be the first time
that the sprint train will be
put on the rails next season
and that we can put it to the
test. We leave two weeks
before the start, so we can
train in the most optimal
conditions. In Australia
we are sure to have good
e 31-year-old, who
won the tour s general
classification in 2008 and
2010, was confirmed with
six other riders from the
Belgian Lotto team. --- AP
Greipel confirmed for
Tour Down Under
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