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All Blacks legend Dan Carter retires at 38

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All Blacks legend Dan Carter, a three-time world player of the year and double World Cup winner, announced his retirement on Saturday.

The fly-half, who remains the record points-scorer in both test and Super Rugby, said he was “sad” to call it quits.

“I’m officially retiring from professional rugby,” Carter wrote on Instagram.

“A sport I’ve played for 32 years which has helped shape me into the person I am today.”

Carter, who turns 39 in two weeks, said the “timing is right,” after nearly two decades at the top.

As accolades flooded social media — with major rugby-playing nations all paying homage — the sport’s governing body World Rugby described him as “one of the best to have ever played the game.”

Carter played the first of his 112 tests for New Zealand in 2003, scored a record 1,598 points during his international career and was the world player of the year in 2005, 2012 and 2015.

His performance in the second test against the British & Irish Lions in 2005, in which he scored two tries, four conversions and five penalties to help the All Blacks to a 48-18 victory, saw him hailed as “the perfect 10.”

Carter lifted the World Cup in 2011 and again in 2015, before retiring from test rugby and going on to win the French Top 14 crown with Racing 92.

He then signed a two-year deal with Japan’s Kobe Steelers in 2018 and helped them win the Top League competition.

The South Island native has three Super Rugby titles from his 13-year stint with the Canterbury Crusaders and remains the competition’s top points-scorer with 1,708.

Last year, he surprised the rugby world by joining the Auckland Blues as injury cover when New Zealand launched its domestic Super Rugby competition.

He told the New Zealand Herald that was when it hit home that he no longer had the motivation to push himself as hard as was needed.

“I play to be the best player out on the field. That is my drive and it always has been and I just didn’t have that drive back here in New Zealand,” he said.

With too much uncertainty over traveling abroad, he lost interest in playing overseas again, and decided it was time to retire and spend more time with his wife and three children, with a fourth on the way.

Despite his illustrious achievements, Carter never lost his modest demeanour, with acclaimed referee Nigel Owens praising him for being “a true gentleman” on and off the field.

Wallaby great Matt Giteau tweeted it was “a huge honour to play against u as many times as I did. Was less of an honour to lose that many times as well.”

“Huge congrats on an outstanding career,” added former England star Jason Robinson, whilst Springbok Bryan Habana referred to his “incredible career.”

Carter was an astute tactician on the field, and has had offers to move into coaching, but said that is not for him at this stage.

“My mentality is all about winning and if I got into coaching I would be all in and I would commit to that. I would work around the clock and I know how hard coaches work. They lose their weekends. They are in before the players, leave after them and work on the days the players are recovering,” he said.

“My reasons for retiring are to spend more time with the family. I would love to be involved in some way. Exactly what it is yet I am not sure.”

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How To Watch Red Sox, Bruins Coverage Saturday On NESN Networks

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Boston sports action will reach a boiling point Saturday, and NESN networks will bring you as close to the action as possible.

The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels will play the second contest of their three-game series at Fenway Park. NESN will air Red Sox-Angels in full, starting at 3 p.m. ET with pregame coverage. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m., and postgame coverage will follow the final out immediately.

The afternoon tilt on the diamond is a prelude to a big evening, during which the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals will begin their first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series at Capital One Arena. A full hour of pregame coverage will begin at 6 p.m. on NESN+. NBC will air Game 1, with puck drop scheduled for 7:15 p.m., but fans should head to NESN after the final horn, around 9:30 p.m., for an hour of postgame coverage.

NESN also will air Major League Rugby on Saturday night, with the New England Free Jacks taking on the Rugby ATL at 8 p.m.

Fans can stream Sox-Angels, Bruins pregame and postgame coverage and Free Jacks rugby online at Watch NESN Live.

NESN How to Watch Crossover

Here’s a full rundown of Saturday’s Red Sox, Bruins and Free Jacks programming on the NESN networks. All times are Eastern.

NESN
3 p.m. — “Red Sox First Pitch LIVE”
3:30 p.m. — “Red Sox Gameday LIVE”
4 p.m. — Red Sox Vs. Angels
6 p.m. — “Bruins Face-Off Live: First Round” (on NESN+)
7 p.m. — “Red Sox Extra Innings LIVE”
7:30 — “Red Sox Final LIVE”
8 p.m. — Major League Rugby: New England Free Jacks at Rugby ATL
9:30 p.m. — “Bruins Overtime Live: First Round
10 p.m. — “Bruins Postgame Final: First Round”
10:30 p.m. — “NESN Sports Weekend”



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Sports TV listings for Saturday May 15 | Professional

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7:25 a.m.; NBC Sports Network, Premier League, Leeds at Burnley

9:55 a.m.; NBC Sports Network, Premier League, Fulham at Southampton

12:15 p.m.; ESPN Plus, FA Cup final, Chelsea vs. Leicester City, at London

3 p.m,; Peacock Premium, Premier League, West Ham at Brighton & Hove

5 p.m.; CBS Sports Network, National Women’s Soccer League, Kansas City at Louisville 

8 p.m.; ESPN2, United Soccer League, Phoenix at Tampa Bay

Noon; Big Ten Network, Rutgers at Michigan, doubleheader

Noon; ESPN, ACC championship, Clemson vs. Duke, at Louisville, Ky.

Noon; Fox Sports 2, Big East championship, at Storrs, Conn. (one or two games)

1 p.m.; CBS Sports Network, Conference USA championship, at Bowling Green, Ky.

2 p.m.; ESPN2, American Athletic Conference championship, at Tulsa, Okla.

2 p.m.; Pac-12 Network, Oregon St. at Utah

4 p.m.; ESPN2, Big 12 championship, at Oklahoma City

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Giteau, Ashley-Cooper join former Wallabies selling rugby to Los Angeles

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Says Ashley-Cooper, 37, who played 121 Tests: “It means a lot to the local guys, and the supporters who come and watch, they’re very patriotic. But ‘Gits’ is right: it’s different.”

As rugby slowly wrestles its way out of years of drudgery on these shores, a handful of Australians are building a club from the ground up in the City of Angels.

Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper at the new $6 billion SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper at the new $6 billion SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.Credit:Getty

They’re taking on teams in New York and Utah and Atlanta, training on AstroTurf next to the LA Lakers’ training facility in El Segundo, riding electric bikes back home along the Strand at Manhattan Beach, doing school visits in Compton, watching Steve-O of Jackass fame light the cauldron before home matches and letting Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger into the dressing-room to sing happy birthday to one of the players.

As you do.

“It’s been a wild ride,” says Adam Freier, the former Wallaby who left Rugby Australia as its head of marketing and digital to become the club’s general manager.

The Giltinis are the brainchild of Adam Gilchrist, not the former cricketer but brains trust behind the F45 Training behemoth. He has a deep love of rugby. The Giltinis brand is a play on his name.

“I think a Giltini is just a double-sized martini,” Giteau explains.

Ashley-Cooper and Giteau warm up at Wallabies training in 2011.

Ashley-Cooper and Giteau warm up at Wallabies training in 2011.Credit:Steve Christo

Or, in other words, Australian-sized.

Their coach is Darren Coleman, a legend of club rugby in Sydney who is being courted by the Waratahs, although the Giltinis are trying to convince him to stay with a three-year extension. His assistant is Stephen Hoiles, another former Wallaby.

The squad is a mixture of professionals from around the world alongside local amateurs. Former Tahs captain Dave Dennis and Rebels centre Billy Meakes play alongside the likes of Randwick’s Christian Poidevin, son of Wallaby great Simon, and Nathan den Hoedt, who captained the Galloping Greens last year.

Giteau sits at the back of the room in video sessions, taking notes and still learning after all these years, then talks to Cristian Rodriguez, a utility back from the tough streets of nearby Hawaiian Gardens.

“The boys are great,” Giteau says. “They’re willing to learn and are keen about rugby.”

COVID-19 grounded the competition last year but since its restart this season the Giltinis are flying, leading the competition with six wins and just one loss, which came last weekend against New York in New York.

The match was played on a concrete-hard pitch. The players changed in a tent.

This weekend, though, they literally go from the outhouse to the penthouse when they play at the $6 billion SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, the new home of the LA Chargers and LA Rams and venue of next year’s Super Bowl.

Only 5000 will be allowed into the 70,000-seat stadium but it marks the first time a crowd has been allowed into SoFi because of COVID-19.

“It’s a bucket list item I never thought I’d be ticking off,” Giteau says.

He’s in LA after receiving a call last year from Ashley-Cooper, who after the 2019 World Cup started thinking about the next phase of his life post-football until Gilchrist enticed him to join his other MLR franchise, the Austin Gilgronis.

When Gilchrist told Ashley-Cooper he could join his second franchise in LA instead, Ashley-Cooper called his old Wallabies teammate, who had just spent three years playing in Japan.

“Are you interested?” Ashley-Cooper asked.

Matt Giteau is tackled by Apisai Naikatini of Old Glory DC in the MLR.

Matt Giteau is tackled by Apisai Naikatini of Old Glory DC in the MLR.Credit:Getty

“I’m done, mate,” Giteau said. “I want to get home and spend some time focusing on the next chapter.”

Says Giteau now: “I thought playing Toulon in France for 18 months in 2011 would be the end of my career. We stayed there for five years, thought that was it, then I went to Japan, thought that was it, then this came up. I’m very grateful because it’s been refreshing.”

Freier became involved after a chance meeting at the LA Sevens in February last year after he had taken his young family to Disneyland for his 40th birthday.

He was introduced to Matt Burgess, who worked for Gilchrist’s Loyals Rugby.

Freier thrived working alongside innovative coaches like Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika, then interim RA boss Rob Clarke. Looking for a change, he packed his bags, flipped his hat backwards, slipped on his Vans and headed for the bright lights of LA.

Then the COVID-19 crisis struck.

“We were setting up a new sporting team in the sporting capital of the world, in the toughest sporting market on earth, during a pandemic, which then made LA the COVID capital of the world,” Freier says. “LA was locked down, you couldn’t fly out of Australia, European players had to quarantine for two weeks in other countries.

“We couldn’t train in LA. You weren’t even allowed to have four people in the one room. We went to Maui for a camp, then we went to Oxnard, where the Dallas Cowboys train, but now we’re in LA and sitting on top of the ladder. Nothing has gone to plan – but everything seems to be working out.”

The Giltinis’ clubhouse is a converted factory complete with an indoor field and basketball court with an enormous American flag hanging on the wall. Street art adorns the locker-room.

Once a week, players and staff wear the kit of their favourite US team.

“It’s a modern-day version of 21 Jump Street,” Freier jokes before adding: “We’re militant in the way we train and work, but we do things differently because it makes the players happy.”

Gilchrist, who is media shy and declined a request for interview, has ambitions to take on Super Rugby teams, although the standard isn’t quite there — yet.

It’s best described as stronger than Shute Shield but not as strong as Super Rugby. Closer to NRC.

“It’s a decent competition,” Ashley-Cooper insists. “I certainly didn’t expect it to be this physical. You’re up against blokes with a lot of athleticism, some really big bodies who want to bash people. It’s been quite challenging for a 37-year-old with a dad’s bod after 12-month COVID break.”

Adam Ashley-Cooper made his professional rugby debut in 2005 for the Brumbies.

Adam Ashley-Cooper made his professional rugby debut in 2005 for the Brumbies.Credit:Getty

The Giltinis have already established themselves as the entertainers, scoring 44 tries in seven matches.

That helps when you’re selling a niche sport to a city that has two NBA teams, two NFL teams, two MLB teams and one ice hockey side.

Some matches are broadcast on CBS but most of it is streamed live on The Rugby Network, which is known for its hilarious commentary.

Powerful Texan-born winger John Ryberg is often described as “The Quadricep with Eyeballs”. Whenever Ashley-Cooper touches the ball, the callers report, “He’s been playing since the days of the fax machine.”

The crowd at games is in the low thousands but growing as “rugbytainment”, as Gilchrist calls it, starts to gain traction. So far, the crowd is mostly young fathers bringing their children to matches and students.

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There was a rumour going round that Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg was going to lend the team his private jet if it won the comp. Freier says it’s not right.

“But ‘Hass’ [Freier] did promise me celebrities when I signed,” Giteau laughs. “It was in the contract.”

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