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Ben Barba has accepted an apology from a
junior rugby league player who racially abused
him on a social media network.
However, the 18-year-old from NSW --- who
is registered with a Country Rugby League club
--- will not be able to participate in the sport
again until he undergoes an approved cultural
awareness programme and shows remorse in a
meeting with indigenous elders.
e Canterbury fan sparked an Instagram row
with Barba last Friday --- the night the fullback
made his Brisbane NRL debut against the
Bulldogs --- when he aimed a bigoted slur at the
ex-Dally M Medallist.
However, the NRL said the Dapto teenager
phoned Barba and expressed his remorse late
"I appreciate that people can make mistakes
and I accept the apology offered," Barba said on
the NRL website. "I was once a teenager and
made mistakes. I believe as long as this young
man receives some education on racial abuse and
the effects it has, he can learn from the incident.
I certainly don t want him lost from our game."
However, the NRL said the teenager would
need to complete an approved cultural awareness
programme and show remorse to the ARL
Indigenous Council and indigenous elders in
order to participate in the sport again.
"We take these matters very seriously and will
continue to act strongly on any form of racial
abuse in our game," NRL chief operating officer
Jim Doyle said.
"Rugby League is an inclusive sport and
vilification will not be tolerated. It is important
we continue to educate everyone that this sort of
behaviour is unacceptable, both in rugby league
and in society in general."
Doyle said the NRL Integrity Unit met with
the teenager and his family yesterday.
Consultation between the NRL, CRL, ARL
Indigenous Council, Brisbane Broncos and the
teenager s family determined his punishment.
"I am pleased to join the NRL in its
condemnation and action taken on this issue,"
ARL Indigenous Council Chair Linda Burney
"People need to understand how hurtful and
unacceptable racial vilification is."
Barba s Brisbane team-mate Sam aiday --- a
victim of racial abuse on Twitter in 2012 --- said
he felt sorry for the teenager.
"I think everyone talking about the issue is
punishment enough. He is probably sitting there
knowing he has made a bad mistake. I feel for
him a little bit," he said.
e NRL stepped in after Barba s father Ken
called on the governing body to crack down on
racism, saying his son was spat on during games
for the Bulldogs last year and was sick and tired
aiday revealed Barba was initially "pretty
gutted" by the Instagram slur but believed
his team-mate would have his head right by
Friday night s NRL derby clash with North
Queensland. "It is pretty rough to read those
things about you," aiday said. --- AAP
of the New Zealand Zealand
As befitting a young man in a hurry,
Trent Boult wants to play as much cricket
for New Zealand as he can.
Yet he is up front about where his
priority lies. Test cricket is where he is
most comfortable, not to mention he
is coming off a remarkably successful
He has taken 82 wickets in 22 tests at
26.59 --- 30 at just 19.2 in his last five
tests against the West Indies and India.
ose figures have shot him up to No 7
on the world rankings.
"It s not high on my list, to be honest,"
Boult said of the challenge of becoming
a regular across all three formats, starting
at next week s world T20 tournament in
"Obviously I want to be playing as
much cricket as I can and get the most
out of my career.
"I love test cricket, that s where my
ambitions lie but to get opportunities like
this couldn t be better. I ve never been to
a World Cup so it s going to be a good
He is determined to fight his way into
the first choice T20 XI but knows it will
not be easy.
e Northern Districts left armer has
been an unwanted limited-overs asset for
New Zealand since last February, when
he played the last of his eight ODIs,
Boult, 24, would need to elbow aside
one of Tim Southee, New Zealand s
most consistent bowler of the summer,
experienced Kyle Mills, who ranks among
the country s best seamers in the shorter
forms, or Mitchell McClenaghan, the
country s T20 bowler of the year --- and
that is assuming New Zealand go in with
three frontline seamers in anticipated
Last year, coach Mike Hesson said
one of Boult s issues was controlling the
amount of swing a white ball produces
versus the red ball, which at times he had
on a string against the West Indies and
"I m relatively inexperienced in the
white ball format, not just internationally
"It does swing more. In Bangladesh it
swings, it s humid and that s conditions
you want. e challenge is to control it."
Auckland look to maintain their lead in
the Ford Trophy when they play Central
Districts in the fourth round at Eden
Park today. Otago play Canterbury in
Dunedin and Wellington host ND.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
PICTURE: Getty Images
Broncos Ben Barba runs out to take on the
Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Friday.
PICTURE: Getty Images
Adam Hall competes in the men s SC slalom (with Super-G) run 1, standing today at the 2014 Paralympic Winter
Games at Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre in Sochi.
Dan Carter s last act as a
rugby player was to hobble off
Twickenham with yet another
Achilles injury in his 100th test.
His next is likely to be an
appearance for his Southbridge
club as he works his way back to
fitness following his sabbatical.
Carter confirmed yesterday that
he wants to play for the Crusaders
after the June test break; first
though, he is keen to play a match
or two in the blue and white hoops
of his Southbridge club. He has
played only one senior match for
his club --- in 2009 against Hornby
when his comeback from another
Achilles injury --- and sabbatical
--- drew thousands of spectators to
Christchurch s Denton Oval.
e Crusaders play three
matches after the test series against
England --- against the Hurricanes,
Blues and Highlanders.
Carter s plans will be a boost for
his country club, and, potentially,
the town of Leeston where it is
based, but how Todd Blackadder
must wish he could have access to
Carter s experience and skill now
after a torrid start to the season
in which they have lost to the
Chiefs and Blues and got out of
jail against the Stormers.
e Crusaders attack has been
extremely poor, their lack of
penetration showing in the fact
their backs have scored only
three tries in three matches.
ey have scored five in total.
Colin Slade could earn a
starting spot at No 10 against
the Rebels in Melbourne on
Friday, with Tyler Bleyendaal
and Tom Taylor used at first-five
with varying degrees of success.
Speaking in his role as an
ambassador for the Wings for
Life World Run event, which
will raise money for spinal
injury research, Carter said he
was using his break to spend
time with his family and work
on his injury problems in order
to extend his playing career.
He had surgery on his Achilles
following his most recent
problem during the All Blacks
victory in London in November.
" e training I ve been doing has
been pretty basic, just getting on
top of a few things that have been
holding me back for the last couple
of years," he said.
e list is becoming extensive
and is centred around his legs
--- calf, Achilles, hamstring and
groin. He also broke a hand before
the France tests in June last year
and injured a shoulder when
dumped in a tackle by Springbok
Bismarck du Plessis at Eden Park
in September. Carter reached
a deserved 100-test milestone
against England, but he limped
there to a certain extent. His
various ailments meant he played
only six tests last year.
" e beauty of this break is that
you can train harder than you
would if you were playing. When
you re playing week in, week out,
it s more about recovery and you
don t get gains. It s more about
maintaining (the body).
"I m pretty keen to play a
couple of Crusaders games after
the test series so that s what
I ll be working towards, (and)
potentially a club game or two
Aaron Cruden will be the All
Blacks No 1 first-five while
Carter is away but the 32-year-
old said he was not thinking
about the June tests or how he
might feel as he watched from
As for the Crusaders, he also
gave little away, saying he had
seen only their results. "It s a
pretty stock standard start by the
Crusaders to be honest --- typically
slow. ey ll be fine, I m sure they ll
get a lot better as the competition
goes on." --- APNZ
New Zealand Paralympians Adam
Hall and Corey Peters have put
themselves into the medal frame
after a disrupted day of skiing at the
Sochi Games last night.
Fog and rain held up the Super
Combined event --- a Super G run,
followed by a slalom run --- for
In the end the races were reversed
and Hall and Peters are both inside
the top six going into the Super G
run, which is not scheduled to take
place until Friday.
Vancouver Games standing slalom
gold medallist Hall sits fourth after
a strong slalom run. He posted a
time of 53.0 seconds to lie behind
Russian Alexey Bugaev, Canadians
Baydon Luscombe and Austrian
Mattias Lanzinger. Bugaev, who
won bronze in the giant slalom on
Sunday night, clocked 50.30s.
"I felt pretty good, Hall said.
"It was a pretty long day and it
was good to get on the slalom hill
and it was a good opportunity to
have a slalom. It sets me up well for
the Super G. It s really challenging
but I skied to the best of my ability
considering the conditions. I believe
there is more potential coming into
Peters, in the sitting giant slalom
sits sixth after a run of 1min
03.24s. Austrian Roman Rabl leads
the field after a 58.71s. Only 10
entrants completed the course.
"At the moment anything can
happen with conditions as they are,
New Plymouth s Peters said.
"t wasn t anywhere near best
slalom I ve done. I knew I had to
play it safe and kind of backed off
a little bit. I m a little bit behind in
time but hopefully can make that up
in the Super G. --- NZ Herald
Former world champion Joel Parkinson
has put on a hometown masterclass to
storm into the final of the world surfing
tour event on the Gold Coast.
Parkinson scored a near-perfect 9.93
ride on his way to a two-wave score
of 18.70 out of 20 and defeat Brazil s
Adriano de Souza in their semi-final
e Snapper Rocks local gave a massive
crowd plenty to cheer as he caught
wave after wave in the 30-minute heat,
scoring an 8.77 as well as the 9.93 before
cruising back into the beach with two
minutes still left in the heat.
De Souza, who eliminated defending
event champion Kelly Slater in the
quarter-finals, could only manage a two-
wave score of 9.67 in reply.
Parkinson is a two-time winner at
Snapper Rocks and finished runner-up
to Slater in last year s event.
He will meet another Brazilian in the
final after Gabriel Medina continued his
run of upsets by defeating Australia s Taj
Burrow in the other semi-final.
Burrow, a two-time winner at Snapper
Rocks, could do nothing after Medina
--- needing a 7.21 to win the semi-final
--- scored a 7.23 with just seconds left to
move into the final.
Medina s score gave him a two-wave
total of 14.13 to pip Burrow by just 0.03
in a nail-biting finish.
It continued a remarkable day for the
Brazilian, who had earlier defeated world
champion Mick Fanning in the quarter-
finals. --- AAP
Stephanie Gilmore launched her
bid to regain the world surfing
championship in perfect fashion by
winning the season-opening event on
the Gold Coast yesterday.
Australia s five-time world champion
ended a winning drought stretching 20
months as she defeated South Africa s
Bianca Buitendag to claim her fifth
Roxy Pro title at Snapper Rocks.
Gilmore scored 15.80 out of 20 to
defeat 20-year-old Buitendag, who was
appearing in her first tour event final.
Not since claiming her fifth world title
with victory in Biarritz, France in July
2012 has Gilmore celebrated a tour win.
Gilmore has now won the season-
opening event on the Gold Coast five
times --- 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012 and
After a desperately disappointing 2013
championship, where she didn t make a
final and had to settle for a fifth-place
ranking at year s end, yesterday s win
could not have done any more to erase
the doubts from the past 12 months.
Gilmore said beating defending world
champion Carissa Moore in the semi-
finals had been the catalyst to finding
the self-belief to go on and claim the
"I was pretty emotional coming in,"
"To get over Carissa in the semis was
a big thing for me, to come into the
final and come away with the win --- I
missed it last year. I couldn t put things
together last year and to come here
today and do that, reassured me that I
could do it."
Gilmore will now head to the
Margaret River Classic in West
Australia with the world No 1 ranking
and the belief she is strong enough to
push for a sixth world title.
"To start the year off with a win is
very strong," she said.
"It s the best way to start and it sort of
takes a bit of pressure off going into the
next few events. at s the way I look at
it. I definitely lacked a bit of confidence
last year but I guess it came back today."
Rafa Nadal and Maria Sharapova were
both knocked out of the BNP Paribas
Open at Indian Wells yesterday after
stunning upsets at one of the world s
biggest tournaments outside the four
Nadal was sent packing by Ukraine s
Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 3-6, 7-6,
(7-5) after Sharapova fell to Italian
qualifier Camila Giorgi 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
as last year s men s and women s singles
champions both crashed out.
Nadal blew a 4-2 lead in the deciding
tiebreak after the Spaniard had fought
his way back into the match.
Nadal beat Dolgopolov in the final of
the inaugural Rio Open last month but
the Ukrainian got his revenge on the
world No 1 in the Californian desert.
Giorgi, a 22-year-old ranked 79th in
the world made the fourth round of the
US Open last year as a qualifier, but her
win over the world number five Russian
was the biggest of her career.
"I did not play a good match at all,"
said Sharapova, who dropped ser ve eight
times and committed 58 unforced errors.
"(I ve) never played against her, but
she s someone that doesn t give you
much rhythm. She s quite aggressive, but
some shots she hits incredible for a long
period of time.
"Sometimes they go off a bit. But, if I m
speaking about my level, it was nowhere
near where it should have been."
Giorgi will play her countrywoman
Flavia Pennetta in the next round after
she beat Australian Sam Stosur 6-4, 3-6,
ere were no other major surprises
although Britain s Andy Murray was
forced to dig deep to see off promising
Czech Jiri Vesely and avoid a similar
e Wimbledon champion won 6-7,
(7-2), 6-4, 6-4 but only after clawing
back from the brink of defeat against the
Murray lost the opening set despite
going up an early break but then
struggled on serve against the left-
handed Vesely, ranked 77th in the world.
e Scotsman was broken six times in
the match and trailed in both the second
and third sets but fought back each time,
reeling off four consecutive games to seal
"It was just one of those matches where
there wasn t one period where I thought
that the level of tennis from both of us
was high at the same time," Murray said.
" at can create a lot of breaks and a
lot of sort of back and forth swings in
the match. It wasn t just the start of the
match that was frustrating. e whole
Murray will play Canada s big-serving
Milos Raonic in the next round as he bids
to win one of the few North American
hardcourt titles to have eluded him.
Switzerland s former world No 1
Roger Federer also advanced after he
was pushed all the way by Russia s
Dmitry Tursunov before winning 7-6,
(9-7), 7-6, (7-2).
Federer, who won his 78th career
singles title in Dubai earlier this month,
will play either German Tommy Haas
or Japan s Kei Nishikori in the fourth
"I feel like I m in a good place," Federer,
a four-time champion at Indian Wells,
said. "I know what my solid level is. Even
was calm and served for the set. Okay,
got broken. Still managed to stay calm.
Down ... in the second; stayed calm and
came back. So those are the moments
where you feel there is confidence
China s Li Na, the top seed in the
women s draw, had no problems booking
her place in the fourth round, beating
Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic
Despite dishing up nine double-faults
and having her own service broken twice,
Li was far too strong and streetwise for
Pliskova, wrapping up the win with an
"At least I could win the last point and
stay in the tournament," Li said.
"If you re a tennis player, you ll make
double faults. At least I can improve my
serve even more from here."
Li is looking to win her first Indian
Wells title and continue her great start
to the year after capturing the Australian
Her next opponent is Canada s
Aleksandra Wozniak, who defeated
Russia s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1,
6-7, (3-7), 6-0. --- Reuters
No 1 Nadal
PICTURE: Getty Images
Alexandr Dolgopolov is congratulated by Rafael Nadal after their match at the
BNP Parabas Open in Indian Wells, California.
in the medal
frame at Sochi
Carter targets comeback
Boult eager to fill days with cricket
Parkinson reaches surfing final
PICTURE: Getty Images
New world champion Stephanie Gilmour celebrates
yesterday s title win on the Gold Coast.
Gilmore back on top of the world
Barba accepts apology for racial abuse
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