Monday 20 November 2017

Catastrophic year haunts Christchurch

Hugh Farrelly

LITTLE good news for sorry, stricken Christchurch -- home to the world's best non-international rugby team, but forced off the tournament hosting roster after suffering three serious earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks in the space of 12 catastrophically destructive months.

Rugby folk from every last farflung corner of the union landscape have raised funds for the relief fund, with the total standing at something close to £250,000.

There have been meaningful contributions from governing bodies while online sporting memorabilia auctions continue to generate much-needed funds for the area.

Not that there is much in the way of light at the end of the tunnel: insurance payouts are slow at best and non-existent at worst. Few expect the city to be fully back on its feet this side of 2020.

Pipe ban takes wind out of Scotland

A ban on bagpipes at the World Cup has knocked the wind out of the Scotland team.

The unique sound is frequently heard before matches at Murrayfield but it has been missing here due to the tournament organisers' decision to ban musical instruments from all venues.

Scotland won their opening two matches in the homely surroundings of Invercargill, which had a large influx of Scottish settlers in the late 19th century, but the team said they had missed the traditional sound of the pipes.

"When you arrive at the ground and are warming up, you quite like to hear the sound of bagpipes," Scotland kicking coach Duncan Hodge said.

10 The number of World Cup place-kickers whose success rate is below 50pc -- they include England's Jonny Wilkinson and Ireland's Jonathan Sexton.


The phrase "Ulster/Namibia", written on the Springbok blackboard at their Taupo team hotel ahead of today's clash with their close neighbours. Did Ruan Pienaar and Johann Muller spot some similarities between Namibia and the Irish province?


"I am really glad I went, I feel we have been given a spiritual lift by the tree." -- Japan's captain Takashi Kikutani, following the squad's visit to the sacred tree 'Tane Mahuta' ahead of their clash with Tonga. The Tongans cut them down 31-18.

"There are a few things I would have changed. I should have transferred to my right hand and there was a picture of me in the Irish Independent with my tongue nearly half-way down my neck, I probably would have changed my look as well if I knew it would be in the paper." -- Tommy Bowe on the intercept try that wasn't.


Pool D: South Africa v Namibia

Live, UTV/Setanta Ireland, 9.0


Pool C: Australia v USA

Live, UTV/Setanta Ireland, 9.30

Irish Independent

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