New Zealand started their Rugby Championship campaign by thrashing Australia in Sydney. The All Blacks came out of the blocks fast and delivered a blistering first half. Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty scored two tries each as New Zealand raced into a 40-6 lead at half time.
Australia made a game of it with three tries in the second half, but further tires from Damian McKenzie and Ben Smith took New Zealand over 50 points to complete a 54-34 win. The two meet again in New Zealand next week.
South Africa got their rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start scoring four tries to beat Argentina in Port Elizabeth. It was a tight first half with Argentina taking an early lad through a Martin Landajo try, but two penalties from the boot of Elton Jantjies and a try from Courtnall Skosan gave the Springboks a 13-5 half time lead.
From there they took control of the set piece and dominated the second half. Three more tries from Raymond Rhule, Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit enabled the hosts to run away with it in the second half eventually winning 37-15 and claiming the four try bonus point in the process. A good start for the Springboks who head to Argentina for Round 2 next week.
Lesia Tsurenko won an impressive victory over France’s Kristina Mladenovic who is ranked 14 places above Tsurenko. The Ukranian powered through the first set taking it easily 6-1. Mladenovic who has already won in ST Petersburg this year, made more of a fight of the second set. However she dropped her serve at 5-6 as the Ukranian hit a winner down the line at match point to complete her victory, the third of her career.
Ashleigh Barty, who had taken time out of tennis to play some Big Bash cricket after her debut at the French Open in 2012, returned to the court in Malaysia and came through qualifying, going on to eventually win the tournament. She dominated the final breaking Japanese opponent Nao Hibino three times in a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory. The win should push her up from her current 158 world ranking claiming her first title and showing she can go much further. Still only 20, Barty may be one to watch in the future.
Australia have won a huge victory rolling back the years to a performance that looked like one of past glories as they thrashed India in Pune. Australia’s first innings score of 260 look precarious with Matt Renshaw top scoring with 68 and Umesh Yadav taking four wickets. The bowling star however was to come from the Australians as Steve O’Keefe took India apart taking 6 wickets as India collapsed to 105 all out.
The second innings was almost de ja vous. Steve Smith got a century but there was not much support As Australia added 285 and Ravichandran Ashwin this time took 4 wickets. It was far too much for India as O’Keefe took 6 more wickets and Nathan Lyon joined in the fun0 taking the other four.as the Aussie spinners dominated with India only getting 2 more than their first innings. A huge 333 run win for Australia on a pitch that was later criticised by the ICC. India were very confident going into this series, it will have been dented after this poor batting showing.
Wigan Warriors are the Champions of the Rugby League World after defeating NRL Champions Cronulla in the World Club Championship match. Joe Burgess got the first try within three minutes and added a second half way through the first half. Some excellent defense helped the shut out Cronulla in the first half to take a 10-0 lead into half time. It was fitting the Oliver Gildart, whose father was in the Wigan team that won this trophy against Manly in 1987, was to score the first try of the second half. Jesse Ramien’s try finally got Cronulla on the board but they could not build on it as Burgess completed his hat trick at the end to secure a deserved 22-6 win for Wigan, who claim their fourth World title.
Ball Control the key for Warrington in historic win
A superb first half with no handling errors was the key to Warrington getting their first ever win against top NRL opposition with a 27-18 victory over Brisbane. Kevin Brown, Ryan Atkins, Matty Russell and Tom Lineham all scored tries in a blistering first half showing leaving them 24-6 ahead at the break. Tries from James Roberts and David Mead hinted at a comeback from the Broncos in a much better second half showing. The boot of Declan Patton with a penalty and drop goals kept Warrington’s lead sufficiently strong to ensure the victory. This with Wigan’s victory mean Super League have won the World Club Challenge series for the first time since it was expanded beyond just a meeting of the Champions, a great weekend for British Rugby League.
One Day Internationals – Australia Tour of New Zealand
ODI Game 2 in Napier – New Zealand v Australia
Washout in Napier
The second ODI between New Zealand and Australia was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Early rain meant the outfield was unplayable for the whole day. A late inspection left fans hopeful they may see a reduced 20 over game the inspection was failed and the game was called off at 6.30pm local time. The draw means New Zealand cannot lose the series going into the final game.
Six Wickets for Boult hands New Zealand the series
New Zealand have completed a series win over Australia with a 24 run win in Hamilton. A century from Ross Taylor (107) helped the Black Caps set a decent total of 281. Mitchell Starc was the best of the Aussie bowlers taking three wickets. The visitors looked like they may get there at 249-7 but Trent Boult who already had three wickets came on to take the final three wickets for just 8 runs finishing with figures of 6-33 to be the difference and get the win over the old adversary across the Tasman. It is also New Zealand’s eight series win in a row on home soil confirming how difficult they are to beat on their own patch.
Serena Williams is the most successful woman in the modern era surpassing Steffi Graf to claim her 23rd major grand slam title. Despite her sister Venus playing as well as she has in some time to reach this final she was no match for her older sister’s power and speed. A break in each set was enough was Serena to claim her seventh Australian title, itself a record. How many more can she win? On this form in which she has won the title without dropping a set, there could be plenty more to come yet.
Federer claims 5th Melbourne title winning epic battle of the old masters
The fall of the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray opened the way for two old rivals and masters of the game to meet once again in a grand slam final. The contest between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal did not disappoint. The first two sets were shared but it looked like Federer had taken control powering through the third set 6-1. The Spaniard was not done however. Federer made errors in the fourth game to let Nadal back in and he took advantage to break and lead 3-1 in the fourth. He served it out to take the fourth set 6-3 and ensure the crowd got the decider they wished for. Nadal continued the momentum, breaking in the first game of the final set to take the advantage. However Federer kept going and had break point in each of the next three service games of Nadal, at the third attempt he took one to get the score back to 3-3.
After winning his next service game Federer then broke again to lead 5-3 and just one game away. Nadal kept fighting taking a 15-40 lead with two chances to break back. An ace and a stunning forehand winner allowed Federer to save both. Federer then had a Championship point saved but earned a second one. He then looked to hit a winner tight to the line to win it, Nadal challenged, the crowd waited, Hawkeye deemed the ball in and finally the Swiss had his 18th Grand Slam title. A fitting contest for a battle of this importance between to old masters we may never see again.