Thứ Tư, ngày 15 tháng 5 năm 2013

Stormers fined for abusing referee

Stormers

Fiery clash ... Juan De Johgh in action during the match in question. Source: Marty Melville / AAP

The Cape Town-based Stormers have been fined a total of $25,000 by southern hemisphere rugby body SANZAR after club members were found to have abused a match official during their Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes last month.

While a SANZAR statement on Wednesday did not elaborate on the circumstances of the incident, New Zealand media reported an assistant referee was abused by members of the Stormers' management at Palmerston North.

SANZAR said the Stormers team accepted it was in breach of the SANZAR Code of Conduct and "has unreservedly apologised to the match officials and Mr Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri in particular.''

The Stormers were fined $15,000 for insulting and offensive conduct towards match officials and $10,000 for bringing the game into disrepute, as well as being ordered to pay SANZAR's costs.


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Kelly bump ban bad for game: Yeates

James Kelly

Weeks ... James Kelly will miss games against Collingwood and Port Adelaide. Source: Colleen Petch / News Limited

The man who executed footy's most perfect bump says James Kelly's ban shows players can no longer legally take out rivals for fear of suspension.

Geelong's Mark Yeates steamrolled Dermott Brereton in the opening seconds of the 1989 Grand Final with a hit that punctured one of the Hawthorn star's lungs.

After Cats captain Joel Selwood declared "The bump is dead!" on Tuesday night, Yeates yesterday said he agreed it was an endangered feature of the game.

It is still legal to forcefully bump an opponent if it does not make head contact, but Yeates said bumps were now problematic.

"It seems as though you just can't do it any more," he said.

"The thing I was taught as a kid playing footy was to keep your wits about you and see things like that coming, and with my incident the rules were changed from (allowing bumps) 10m to 5m from the ball, but now it seems you can't do it at all.

"It is a sad day. I wonder about the physicality in footy.

"Geelong had the ball, and Kelly was protecting the ball carrier, and (Brendon) Goddard was just in a world of his own and blindsided.

"Now people run around on the field and fear no one. It is all about being a receiver. So (the bump) is on the way out."

Geelong attempted to argue at the tribunal there was no contact to Goddard's head. That argument took six minutes for the tribunal to dismiss and the two-week ban stood.

Experienced tribunal watchers said if Geelong had accepted there had been contact to Goddard's head -- but of an incidental nature and not forceful -- Kelly might have had more chance of escaping punishment.

Yeates's hit on Brereton did not make contact with the Hawthorn forward's head, and would still be legal today if the ball was within 5m.

But he says players are now scared to bump given that contact could involve the head.

"Mine was similar to the Kelly one," Yeates said.

"My feet were pretty much on the ground and I got him straight up the middle.

"It looks bad afterwards because your arm can come up after impact, but there was nothing head-high about it.

"Footy is becoming less physical every single day, but the guys that play now are machines and they would still love to play with physicality.

"I have been worried for a while this might happen.

"There is an art to shepherding and blocking.

"The sliding rule is a shocker because your natural instinct is to go for the ball."


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'Fizroy had more heart, fight than Dees'

Fitzroy Lions

Fight ... Nathan Buckley is surrounded by Fitzroy players in 1996. Source: Nicole Garmston / News Limited

Former Fitzroy coach Robert Shaw says Melbourne is worse than the Lions in their dying years and is insulted by comparisons with the now defunct club.

Shaw coached Fitzroy from 1991-94 and says no Lions team under his watch ever displayed such a lack of fight as the current Melbourne side.

While the stench of death followed the Fitzroy sides which won just three total games in the club's last two seasons in 1995 and 1996, they won 17 combined games in 1992 and 1993.

Melbourne great David Schwarz recently wondered if Melbourne was getting to Fitzroy's parlous state, but Shaw
says there is no doubt the Dees have less heart and fight than his Fitzroy sides.

Robert Shaw

Insult ... Robert Shaw in his coaching days. Source: News Limited

"For people to compare Melbourne to Fitzroy, we might not have had a home, but we never played with this lack of competitiveness," Shaw said.

"I can only say very strongly - that is a slight on Fitzroy. The one thing they had was fight, right up to the last minute.

"They weren't good enough, but they never lost their ability to compete with spirit and for the jumper.

"I think the comparisons are wrong. This is a club with high draft picks. We never had any of those."

The Demons have won 32 games in the last six completed seasons, compared to 31 from a Fitzroy side forced to find new home grounds and with a playing list aware the club was being killed off by the league.

Shaw said the Fitzroy side of 1991, so desperate not to finish bottom that it beat minor premiers West Coast in the last round to finish second-last, was indicative of the club's fight.

"There were good, average and poor Fitzroy sides, but when people came and watched Fitzroy they knew they might be outplayed or beaten, but they would give their heart and soul," Shaw said.

"One thing they always did was fight. Fitzroy would never allow themselves to be in this non-competitive state.

"How can you have 38 tackles for the game? That's why Fitzroy people get very angry about the comparison.

"For seven Demons not to have a tackle, I haven't coached for a while, but if every player on the ground has a goal of having three tackles you are in the game a lot longer than having some expansive white-board presentation about structures and zones and presses.

"Just for once try to tackle the crap out of the opposition."

Neeld yesterday said he was coping with the club's losses, more intent on focusing on the list's effort in coming weeks.

"I'm OK, its not about me," Neeld said. "In my world, its about the 46 players that we have, and in particular the 22 who played on the weekend.

"We are disappointed with the scoreboard, but particularly disappointed with the effort in some parts of the game.

"I don't get too carried away with that external noise. My focus is that we were non-competitive in the combative part of the game."


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Video: Waugh hails Smith's return

Smith Waugh

Pick him, Robbie ... Phil Waugh backs George Smith for the upcoming Lions tour. Source: Stephen Barker / AAP

Wallabies great Phil Waugh has hailed Australia?s openside arsenal for the British and Irish Lions series but is in little doubt as to who should don the No.7 jersey in the opening Test in Brisbane.

Robbie Deans will name an initial 25-man squad on Sunday in which Michael Hooper, Liam Gill and George Smith are all likely to be included, allowing the Wallabies coach a month to decide between the two rising stars and the 110-Test veteran.

But speaking exclusively to foxsports.com.au ahead of this weekend’s crunch NSW Waratahs- Brumbies local derby – a match in which Smith and Hooper will face off – Waugh said there was no substitute for experience on the game’s biggest stage.

"I won’t be too black and white here but in all these big series whether it’s World Cups or British Lions series, I think it’s really important to have age and experience in those teams," Waugh told foxsports.com.au

"And George at 32, I think he’s almost 33 now, he got man of the match in the third British Lions Test in 2001 on his 21st birthday – all that stuff really matters.


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"I think for me that George is going to be an integral part of the team."

Waugh is perhaps the best person to judge Smith’s return to Australia this season, having played both with and against the Brumbies No.7 in a stellar Super Rugby and Test career.

Now happily in retirement, the former Waratahs skipper said it had been a great thrill to watch his long-time rival and teammate make such a successful return to the world’s toughest provincial rugby competition.

"I was excited," he said when asked how he felt upon hearing of Smith’s return.

"I think there was some concern that he may have lost it, but after playing against him for so many years and watching him as well I knew he’d be up to it.

"It’s great, he’s still pretty young, 32, so I think it’s great for Australian rugby to have him back playing in Australia and potentially for the Wallabies."

Calls for Smith to become one of the few players to battle the Lions in two separate series have gathered momentum ever since David Pocock was struck down with a hamstring injury in the Brumbies’ thrashing of the Waratahs earlier this season.

Since then Smith has gone on to play a starring role in a number of Brumbies’ victories, showing he’s lost nothing of the guile and skill that comes with 110 Test caps.

“I think he’s like all good flankers, and Richie McCaw is exactly the same; they read the game so well,’ Waugh said.

"You don’t need to be the fastest or the fittest, it’s who’s got the ability to pre-empt where the ball is going to end up and predict the next breakdown or where the play’s going to go.

"So I think it’s very hard to train that sort of thing - I think it’s instinctive and all good flankers have got that."

While still learning their trade at this stage of their careers, both Hooper and Gill have shown they’ve got the ability to perform at the highest level.

Hooper enjoyed an extended run in the Wallabies No.7 shirt last season following a separate knee injury to Pocock, while Gill has been the standout in a dominant Queensland Reds pack.

Waugh said the rising duo were well on the way to becoming first-class opensides.

"I think they’re developing really well," he said.

"They’re two pretty young guys and they’re going to have a competitive rivalry for the next 10 or so years those two.

"Look I think Hooper’s got a terrific running game while Gill’s work around the breakdown is exceptional.

"I see them as very different players and it’s going to be very interesting to see over the next couple of weeks as to who (Wallabies selectors) they go with and who’s going to get the chance to face the Lions."

The Wallabies face the Lions in the first Test in Brisbane on June 22.


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Stormers fined for abusing referee

Stormers

Fiery clash ... Juan De Johgh in action during the match in question. Source: Marty Melville / AAP

The Cape Town-based Stormers have been fined a total of $25,000 by southern hemisphere rugby body SANZAR after club members were found to have abused a match official during their Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes last month.

While a SANZAR statement on Wednesday did not elaborate on the circumstances of the incident, New Zealand media reported an assistant referee was abused by members of the Stormers' management at Palmerston North.

SANZAR said the Stormers team accepted it was in breach of the SANZAR Code of Conduct and "has unreservedly apologised to the match officials and Mr Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri in particular.''

The Stormers were fined $15,000 for insulting and offensive conduct towards match officials and $10,000 for bringing the game into disrepute, as well as being ordered to pay SANZAR's costs.


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Tippett training the house down

Kurt Tippett

Training ... Kurt Tippett is doing everything possible to be ready for round 13. Source: Tim Hunter / News Limited

Kurt Tippett is on a gruelling training regime to ensure he is at peak fitness for his eagerly anticipated Swans debut against Port Adelaide next month.

Tippett has been training the house down under the guidance of Swans fitness guru Rob Spurrs in preparation for the Round 13 clash at AAMI Stadium.

"I've seen it (the delayed start to the season) as an opportunity," Tippett said.

"It's an opportunity to improve in some areas that can help my football. Being stronger, fitter and faster.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel. My selection is up to the coaches, but I'm preparing myself to be able to play at that level. I'm doing everything I can physically and mentally to be right."

The schedule set by Spurrs has been punishing. In addition to normal training sessions with the team, Tippett has been doing extra running sessions immediately after.

These involve multiple repetitions of 300m, 200m and 100m sprints.

On game days, Tippett completes training runs designed to replicate the duration and intensity of a match. These workouts are also supplemented by "off-feet" workouts in the pool and on the grinder.

"You have to rein him in a bit if there's any danger he's training too hard," Spurrs said.

"He's extremely diligent with his work and has a fantastic attention to detail.

"Kurt already has a great base of fitness from his time in a very good system at Adelaide.

"He knows what works for him and what doesn't. He's a power athlete -- big, strong and explosive."

The program involves everything needed to have Tippett right for his comeback game, except match fitness.

"I won't be in the best possible shape in terms of match fitness because nothing can replace games," Tippett said.

"I can't fault my preparation. I'm absolutely confident about the work that I've done."

While the physical challenge has been huge for Tippett, the greater test for the power forward has been sitting in the stands watching his teammates play.

"That has been the hardest part of this, watching game day," Tippett said.

"It's been most difficult in situations like Saturday night when when were in a tight spot against Hawthorn.

"I try to watch in objectively and come in with a heap of ideas to talk to the guys about and try to help the team."

One of the key benefactors of Tippett's recruitment will be Sam Reid, who will relish the opportunity of playing alongside the former Crow.

Tippett has gone out of his way to help Reid before they play alongside each other.

"I like to watch Reidy's tape every week with him," Tippett said.

"I use my experience and give him a bit of advice.

"Playing forward is a specific role. There are things that I can pass on.

"We need to be operating on the same page so that when I get back in there, hopefully that will help.

"He is doing all the hard things right and it will click soon."


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Clarke confident back no problem

Michael Clarke

Degenerative ... Michael Clarke is not worried about his back condition. Source: Joe Alexander / AFP

Australian captain Michael Clarke is confident his track record of managing a chronic back problem means he can get through the looming back-to-back Ashes series.

Clarke hasn't been able to guarantee his health since he was first diagnosed with a degenerative back condition at aged 17, but the skipper says he's no more vulnerable now than he was before the India tour where he broke down earlier this year.

The 32-year-old battled a hamstring problem throughout the Australian summer, before his back flared up badly in India in March, forcing him to miss the fourth Test.

However, that remains the only Test where Clarke has been sidelined due to injury in his 92-match career.

The 32-year-old has the most rigorous eight months of his career coming up, with June's Champions Trophy followed by the Ashes campaigns in England and then Australia.

And Clarke, the lynchpin of Australia's Ashes hopes, said on Wednesday he'll be ready to play right through it.

"I'm confident it will be no different to how it has been throughout my career,'' Clarke said.

"I've managed to play 90-odd Test matches and only missed one through my career so that's a big part of why preparation is so important for me.

"I need to make sure I'm fit. I need to make sure I'm not carrying too much weight. I need to make sure I'm putting in the work to be fit in eight months or 12 months time.

"I'm really confident that with the work I've been doing that I will be.''

Clarke said the only difference between his preparation for the Champions Trophy and Ashes compared to past years is that Cricket Australia has been more involved.

Australian team physio Alex Kountouris has been monitoring Clarke's program, which has included an intensive two-week boot camp on his Berrima property.

"My preparation in regards to last year has been very similar to this year,'' said Clarke.

"It's just been monitored extra closely by the Australian support staff to make sure I'm getting the strength I need in the areas I need it and to allow me to play not only one series to be well prepared to play the whole 12 months.''

Clarke, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland and Southern Stars captain Jodie Fields were at North Sydney Oval on Wednesday to announce the Commonwealth Bank as the new Test team and Test series partner for the next four Australian summers.


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