July 22, 2018
July 21, 2018
In the USA: The Rugby Worlds Cup Sevens competition wraps up today, after a frenetic weekend, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The Australian team was beat by France and the USA narrowly lost to England in Saturday's action. The USA will now face Scotland in a placings game on Sunday, the best they can finish now fifth. England will play South Africa in one semifinal while New Zealand and Fiji play the other on Sunday afternoon, before turning around and playing for the championship later in the afternoon.
En France: Spaniard Omar Fraile won stage 14 of the Tour de France after overtaking fellow escapee Jasper Stuyven on the steep climb up to, and then beyond, the Mende aerodrome. The Belgian Stuyven hoped to win the stage on Belgium's national day, but Spain was happy to take the win. The pair were among the final survivors of a 32-man breakaway who were 20 minutes ahead of the peloton at the end of the 188km stage from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateux. The time cut was extended so the majority of the field would not be eliminated from the race.
Current maillot jaune holder, Welshman Geraint Thomas crossed the line more than 18 minutes after Fraile, following Sky team-mate Kenyan and Englishman Chris Froome and Holland's Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin over the line as the top three in the general classification finished in a group. They were eight seconds behind LottoNL-Jumbo's Primoz Roglic, with the man fourth overall having attacked three kilometres from the finish to gain a slight advantage. The General Classification at the end of the day showed Geraint Thomas retaining his lead of one minute 39 seconds over Froome, with Dumoulin a further 11 seconds back.
The day was foreseen to be a fairly boring, flattish stage with some hills and climbs, but an early large break and the tiredness of some of the teams of the peloton, led to an unforeseen fracturing and added excitement.
The Tour continues today, the 15th stage, which is a 181.5 km run from Millau to Carcassonne. The stage include three major climbs, a category one, two and three.
In the USA, the Major League Baseball All Star Game took place this past week, with an almost preprogrammed American League victory as the result.
At the All Star Break, action in the American League was greatest in the perennial competition between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, both above .600 in the American League Eastern Division. In the American League Central, the Cleveland Indians stand along above .500 in their division. In the West, the competition is a bit fiercer at this point in the season, with the Houston Astros and the Seattle Mariners above .600 and the Oakland Athletics above .500.
National League Central competition is fierce, as usual, with the Milwaukee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs all above .500. The Philadelphia Phillies are ahead in the East, joined by the Atlanta Braves, who are just above .500. In the West all of the teams are above .500, except for the San Diego Padres, who are just at .400.
Play continues on Sunday, and daily, until the end of the regular season.
July 20, 2018
In the United States, in San Francisco, the World Cup of Rugby Sevens is being contested this weekend. The governing agency prefers to call this the Rugby World Cup Sevens, not sure why. It is the premier stand-alone international rugby sevens competition outside the Olympic Gamesand is contested every four years. It is organised by World Rugby, the sport's governing body. This is the first competition held since Rugby Sevens was integrated into Olympic Sports at the 2016 Rio games. It was last held in 2013, and henceforth will be held every four years, two years after and before the Summer Olympics. New Zealand and Fiji have both won two of the titles, leading the several nations who have won one each.
The competition began Friday at AT&T Park, and consists of 24 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams vying for a world championship in the wide-open, high-octane, seven-player version of the sport. It is expected to draw about 100,000 fans. NBC Sports Network will televise the event, one of the biggest gatherings for rugby sevens. The tournament comes at a crucial moment for rugby in America, where the sport’s advocates have been promising a rugby boom for a generation. Next year will see the (normal) Rugby World Cup contested. A total of 84 matches are played in the three days, 52 men's and 32 women's. More tomorrow.
In Australia, in Aussie Rules Football, the inimitable Sydney Swans, fresh from a dramatic last-gasp win over North Melbourne, host the Gold Coast Broncos on Saturday as they bid to extend an incredible record of making the finals in 14 of the past 15 seasons. The current standings indicate that the Suns represent Sydney's best chance to bank a percentage-boosting win before September. 1.7 percentage points separate 3rd place Collingwood from fifth-place Port Adelaide, with the Swans sandwiched in the middle. The season's Swans, while protecting their incredible legacy, sometimes have a problem with consistency.
Standout phenom Tom Papley returns to the Swans, after missing two games because of injury, and although young, adds some experience to the lineup. Most of the lineup is younger, and he enjoys teaching them, along with a few of the longtime Swans. "It's good for the club that the young boys are going really well," Papley said. Saturday will be the first game that Suns mentor Stuart Dew coaches against Sydney, the club where he honed his craft as John Longmire's right-hand man.
In other Saturday action, North Melbourne takes on Collingwood, Essendon takes on the Fremantle Dockers, the Brisbane Lions take on Adelaide, and the Geelong Cats take on Melbourne at Kardinia Park, South Geelong, aka the GMHBA Stadium.
Some of our bros may have trouble telling the difference between the Aussie Rules Boys and the international Rugby Bros.
All have long balls, oblong, but the Rugby balls are made by Gilbert, the Aussie Rules balls by Sherrin.
When they are not hugging each other, Aussie Rules players can be distinguished by their AFL patch on the right breast.
Their kit is also usually more form fitting and lighter.
We are thankful for that.