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A young rugby player from Czech Republic is tearing up rugby in Scotland

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By Rugby Onslaught

A young Czech rugby player called Martin Cimprich from Czechoslovakia has been tearing up rugby in Scotland. A new highlight reel has shown the 21-year-old in incredible form playing club rugby in Scotland.

The youngster plays for Boroughmuir Bears in Scotland at fly-half and he has made an incredible impact in the North of the United Kingdom.

The new highlight reel, which was released only a few ago, highlights the incredible skillset that this young man has.

Could this young rugby player from Czechoslovakia have a future in professional rugby?

This highlight reel would show that!

In other news: World Cup winner de Allende has let slip his toughest obstacle settling in at Munster

Springbok Damian de Allende, the new Munster midfield signing, has revealed the one thing that he has struggled most with following his recent switch to Limerick – the Irish weather. 

Having recently arrived in Ireland, the 28-year-old centre who spent the earlier part of 2020 playing in Japan for Panasonic Wild Knights is hoping to rehab a calf problem in time for Munster’s Guinness PRO14 2019/20 restart match away to Leinster on August 22. 

Speaking in his first interview since joining Munster, de Allende was asked how he is finding settling into his new surroundings. “It has been great,” he said on the Munster website video. 

“The one tough thing I need to get used to is the weather. When people say the weather is quite bad I didn’t actually believe it. We are getting a little bit of sunshine but it’s probably once every few days at most, but other than that it has been really good. To be at the HPC (high performance centre) has been great.”

It won’t be until the new 2020/21 season that de Allende will likely have the chance to play at Thomond Park. The province’s two rearranged 2019/20 regular season matches – versus Leinster and Connacht – are scheduled for Aviva Stadium and a semi-final appearance is also likely to be played out behind closed doors in Dublin.



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World Cup

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles has a close association with the Kāpiti Coast

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Dane Coles. Photo / David Haxton

All Blacks and Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles, a key member of the triumphant 2015 Rugby World Cup squad, loves living on the Kāpiti Coast. Colesy, who is widely respected and down to earth, has been a mainstay of the All Blacks for many years.

Home is …. Where the heart is. A place I feel at ease and relaxed.

I enjoy living in Kāpiti because … Of the people. Being close to family and friends. And it’s nice and quiet – just the way I like it.

Some of my favourite local places are … Peka Peka Beach and Salt and Wood Collective in Waikanae.

Describe yourself in one sentence? Honest, caring and enjoys a laugh.

People might not know, but … I collect vinyl records.

First thing I do when I arrive home … Spend as much time as I can with my family. I have three boys so time with them is awesome and I try give my wife a break.

Outside of rugby my interests are … Still keeping my body fit and healthy by going to the gym and running etc and spending quality time with family and friends.

Where did your love of rugby come from? My old man [Steve]. The passion was instilled into me at very young age. I haven’t looked back and still love it to this day.

Who were your rugby idols growing up? Definitely Christian Cullen. He gave me hope and inspiration that a kid from a small town could make it on the world stage. Absolute legend.

What was your reaction after your first All Blacks selection? Dream come true. Not many words can sum up that feeling. A day I’ll never forget.

Describe the hours after the final whistle of the Rugby World Cup 2015, which the All Blacks won? Relief and pure enjoyment. To do it with some legends of the game who played their last game is something I’ll never forgot. Turning up to the hotel and having half of the Kāpiti Coast there was unreal. And celebrating to the early hours of the morning with some of my best mates. Awesome.

Playing for the Hurricanes is … Another dream come true and something that I love doing. Being a fan catching the train in from Kāpiti to watch them at the Cake Tin, to putting the swirl on and running out. I still pinch myself.

Most satisfying game of rugby was …Very hard to separate, but winning our first Super Rugby title and winning the Rugby World Cup.

What’s on your pre-game music playlist? A lot of Kiwi music, but the one song I’ve listened to probably since I’ve started playing professionally is Shapeshifter’s One.

Most interesting place rugby has taken you? Italy. We drove down to Monte Cassino from Rome on our day off. Visited New Zealand war graves which was a very humbling experience.

Rugby has given me … So much. It has changed my life and made me into the person I am today. I owe rugby a lot.

Advice to a young rugby player would be … Dream big, believe in yourself and enjoy the ride.

If I wasn’t a rugby player I would be … Probably a tradie on the coast.

If you could have three famous people over for dinner, who would you invite? Slash, Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Mike Tyson.

And what would you cook them? A lamb roast.

– This Q&A first appeared in the Celebrating Kāpiti spring/summer 2021 magazine.

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A cricketing world where babies are welcome shows how far the women’s game has progressed

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A novel idea of free childcare at all Cricket World Cup matches in NZ next year – and mums actually playing in the tournament – shows how far the women’s game has progressed, says an ex-White Ferns captain.

Former White Ferns captain Aimee Watkins knows the struggle of balancing cricket with career and family.

At the age of 28, she decided it was time to move on with her life and retire after playing 141 internationals. A decision she was almost forced to make.

Watkins wanted to start a family with husband, Jamie (who’s now the head coach of the Central Hinds), and knew that meant she couldn’t carry on with cricket.

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While family wasn’t the only reason Watkins finished playing in 2011 – a chronic knee injury plaguing her final years as New Zealand captain – she never considered juggling motherhood with cricket.

“There was never any talk of it and in my mind, when you want to have kids, that’s sort of it,” says Watkins, recalling how there were never any discussions about players having children.

But things have changed markedly in 10 years. Watkins’ vice-captain, Amy Satterthwaite, is still in the White Ferns side, with an almost two-year-old daughter.

The travelling Satterthwaites: Amy Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu with baby Grace in 2020.

NZ Cricket

The travelling Satterthwaites: Amy Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu with baby Grace in 2020.

And in another innovation for the game, at all 31 games of the upcoming ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, being played throughout the country in March and April, there will be free childcare for every family who walks in the gate.

“Absolutely 100 percent it’s something that I would have liked to have had available in my day,” says Watkins, who now has two daughters aged eight and six.

“Even just at local games at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth, I’ve thought ‘Oh I can’t really take them along’ because even a T20 is still four hours, where you’ve got to entertain them.

“Cricket is for everyone, families are welcome. The kids can be involved or not – they can watch or sit there and do colouring-in with someone else. But it’s great to have families all at the ground.”

The novel pop-up childcare idea comes out of a collaboration between the CWC22 organising team and in-home education provider PORSE.

It’s part of a bigger plan by Andrea Nelson, the CEO of CWC22, to make this cricket tournament family-friendly and different from other world sporting events.

New Zealand batter Aimee Watkins connects against Australia during a T20 match in Nelson in 2010.

Patrick Hamilton/Stuff

New Zealand batter Aimee Watkins connects against Australia during a T20 match in Nelson in 2010.

In 2011, as Watkins finished playing, the New Zealand Cricket Players Association started working with the women’s teams, a change that has gone on to benefit many White Ferns players.

“That’s clearly a pathway a lot of women want to take, having a family,” says Watkins.

“So recognising that, drawing something up and seeing what happened overseas and in other sports to make it work, it was a game changer. Obviously for people like Amy Satterthwaite recently, and who knows who else in the future.”

Watkins remembers where the state of women’s cricket was in her playing days, starting at Central Districts when she was only 16.

The Central Hinds would be given leftover gear from the Stags men’s team, and would train in XL men’s shirts. It left Watkins and her teammates feeling undervalued.

The journey New Zealand Cricket have been on to support the women’s game is massive, and Watkins credits their work alongside the associations for the progress made since she played.

Some things have stayed the same, though. Watkins still holds the New Zealand record for the most ODI wickets, taking 92 across her 10-year international career.

***

The concept of free childcare came out of a conversation Nelson had with PORSE founders Rahul and Bhavini Doshii at a Phoenix football game.

“We were discussing the [Cricket World Cup] tournament and what we were trying to achieve, and how our message was about attracting a new audience,” Nelson says. “PORSE are totally committed to celebrating working parents, so it’s a perfect alignment with what we’re trying to do.”

Cricket World Cup 2022 CEO Andrea Nelson, third from right, with, from left, Jane Patterson (Chief Operating Officer – New Zealand, FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023), Lauren Down (White Ferns), Sports Minister Grant Robertson, Mackenzie Barry (Football Ferns), Carla Hohepa (Black Ferns), Michelle Hooper (Tournament Director, Rugby World Cup 2021).

Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Cricket World Cup 2022 CEO Andrea Nelson, third from right, with, from left, Jane Patterson (Chief Operating Officer – New Zealand, FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023), Lauren Down (White Ferns), Sports Minister Grant Robertson, Mackenzie Barry (Football Ferns), Carla Hohepa (Black Ferns), Michelle Hooper (Tournament Director, Rugby World Cup 2021).

They successfully trialled the idea at home games for the Blues rugby side, encouraging young families to come to Eden Park, but this is the first large-scale event they’ve worked with.

“It’s such a great statement of what we’re all about,” Nelson says. “We want to make people think differently, try something new. It will create a really fun family atmosphere for everyone – whether they’re cricket fans, or about to become cricket fans.”

When Nelson first took on the CEO role, one of the first people she spoke to was Sarah Styles, then head of female engagement at Cricket Australia (she’s now the director of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation in Victoria).

Nelson asked her how they’d managed to attract big crowds to the Women’s Big Bash League, and how AFL did the same for their women’s league.

“There were two things I took out of it. One was the importance of having advocates in the community – which is what our Champions programme is all about,” Nelson says.

So far 1870 New Zealand community ‘Champions’ have signed up to help spread the word about CWC22. “You’ve got to have people sharing it in the community, telling people to go,” says Nelson.

“The other thing was to create an atmosphere that’s different. We have more to come – there’s some pretty cool family friendly and unusual things we plan to do for our spectators. Eight hours of cricket is a long day if you’re new to the sport, so we’re trying to break it up, so it feels like a festival.”

“It’s only possible when you have corporate support. Any event can’t do something like this on their own. What’s great is that we’re all on the same waka trying to achieve the same thing and it genuinely makes a difference.”

***

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF

Launch of 100 days to Women’s Cricket World Cup

The vision of CWC22 is ‘to own the moment and lead the change’.

“It’s ironic that the moment we’re owning is the reopening of international sport in New Zealand, and the change we’re leading is a bit different to the one we thought we’d be leading,” Nelson says.

The global pandemic took its first swipe at the World Cup in August last year, forcing the ICC to delay the event by a year.

It continues to cause hassles. The qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe last month, to determine the final three nations for the World Cup, was called off early when travel restrictions were imposed after the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 was found in southern Africa.

The three spots were decided by ICC rankings – and filled by Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies.

One of those teams will play the White Ferns in the opening match at Bay Oval in Tauranga on March 4. The draw has still to be completed.

For all the problems Covid has caused the organisers, it’s also had a positive spin.

“It’s helped us to become one team – with the government, with the ICC, with New Zealand Cricket,” Nelson says. “I’ve never worked on an event where so many people have become invested in it becoming a success. Because it’s more than just the event itself – it’s what it signifies, as the first of the three World Cups coming to New Zealand.”

The extra year to prepare for the tournament has been priceless, too, Nelson says.

“Of course, it’s not how you’d choose to stage a global event. There are constraints and you end up spending your time doing a lot of contingency plans, often in the knowledge the things you’re planning for may never happen. It just keeps changing,” she says.

“But we are making the best of what we have, and we’re really grateful for the position we’re in. It’s grass banks, it’s outdoors, it’s summer. As an Aucklander, I know I’d be very comfortable sitting on the grass banks at Hamilton’s Seddon Park and watching one-day cricket.”

Nelson is proud of what her team has already achieved – the $2m upgrade to gender-neutral changing rooms at all of the grounds, the nationwide education programme available in Te Reo, and the integration of Te Reo in cricket.

“And the leaders we are growing in our team – who’ve been through an experience that no one else has before. They will be such an asset to New Zealand sports events in the future,” she says.

With the first team, India, arriving in January to play the White Ferns, the focus is now on getting people to the games. So far they’ve sold over 26,500 tickets.

Regardless of the traffic light stages New Zealand will be in come March, the event will still take place. What changes is the crowds.

“If there can’t be crowds, there can’t be crowds. That’s the risk the event is carrying,” Nelson says. “But we want to fill the stadiums and show the world. If we’re unable to do that because of a public health measure, we will roll with that.

“You’ve got to roll with the punches, and remember that at the end of the day you’re trying to do something that’s really good. You’re trying to create a fantastic event that’s also a showcase of something really important – women in sport, equity, and the global growth of the game and New Zealand’s part in that.”

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World Rugby Coach of the Year: Simon Middleton becomes first women’s team coach to win

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England’s Simon Middleton has become the first women’s team coach to be named World Rugby Coach of the Year.

Middleton made history by winning the award over the All Blacks’ Ian Foster, Australia men’s Dave Rennie, and New Zealand women’s sevens coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney.

The 55-year-old has guided the Red Roses through a second successive calendar year unbeaten.

England have won 18 tests in a row, including back-to-back record victories over world champions New Zealand last month.

Middleton’s side, who earned this year’s Women’s Six Nations title, scored 57 tries and conceded just 10 in 2021.

They are the current world number one and favourites to triumph at next year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Middleton was a rugby league player at Castleford, before he crossed codes and played rugby union for Leeds Tykes. He became a coach at the club at the end of his playing career.

He joined the England set-up in 2014 and was an assistant coach during the Red Roses’ winning World Cup campaign that year.

After becoming the head coach of the side in 2015, Middleton also led the British women’s sevens team to a fourth-place finish at Rio 2016.

“Congratulations to Simon Middleton,” former England rugby star Maggie Alphonsi wrote on Twitter. “What an achievement!

“I know he will want to add Rugby World Cup winning head coach to the list too. Fingers crossed, next year he will do it”.

World Rugby Award winners are being announced this week, following an online public vote last month.

New Zealand wing Will Jordan was named Breakthrough Player of the Year today, after scoring 15 tries in 11 tests.

He beat off competition from Wales star Louis Rees-Zammit, England fly-half Marcus Smith and Australia’s Andrew Kellaway.

Damian Penaud and Emilie Boulard, both of France, were the recipients of the respective men and women’s Try of the Year accolades.

Australia’s Andrew Cole was named World Rugby Referee Award.

A number of awards are yet to be announced, including women’s sevens Player of the Year and women’s 15s Player of the Year. A women’s 15s Dream Team of the Year will also be named.


News Now – Sport News



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