October 28, 2011
Posted: 1946 GMT
There is no shortage of storylines heading into the final game of the Fall Classic.
On Friday night, the Texas Rangers will either hoist their first ever World Series trophy, or the St. Louis Cardinals will triumph for the 11th time in their storied history – good enough for second most all-time. Read the rest of this entry »
October 25, 2011
Posted: 1727 GMT
Have you been able to digest Manchester City’s shocking 6-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford? I haven’t.
As far as I’m concerned, United’s biggest home defeat since 1955 was one of the most unexpected scores in recent English Premier League history.
How did this happen? I have my theory and it involves Alex Ferguson tinkering with his line-up too often and the simple fact that some of United’s players are overrated. Read the rest of this entry »
October 24, 2011
Posted: 1511 GMT
I expected this blog to be about the glory of New Zealand rugby; a poetic tribute to the majesty of the All Blacks and their record margin of victory. Instead, France produced a performance that stood up, grabbed you by the throat and demanded to be acknowledged.
Les Bleus were meant to be the chorus, the supporting cast. Instead, they stole the limelight from the intended stars of the World Cup final. The hosts were the team of the tournament but France were better at Eden Park on Sunday.
As I fly out of Auckland, more than four million New Zealanders are rightly hailing their new heroes – the country's first rugby world champions for nearly a quarter of a century. Monday's victory parade brought hundreds of thousands flooding on to the streets. Read the rest of this entry »
October 21, 2011
Posted: 1024 GMT
Like any other sport, rugby has plenty of clichés and one of them is to never write off the French. It won’t apply on Sunday at Eden Park Stadium, though, and I expect New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup final by a record margin.
A week ago, that would have been a bold prediction. Now, it seems a statement of the obvious. France’s stock has plunged further than the global finance markets, while the All Blacks look every inch the number one-ranked team in the world.
Rugby means so much in New Zealand, and the pressure on the All Blacks to win this tournament is so vast, that my usual professional detachment briefly deserted me on Sunday. Even I felt nervous ahead of the hosts’ semifinal showdown against Australia. Read the rest of this entry »
October 17, 2011
Posted: 2039 GMT
If it’s attention they wanted, then it’s attention they got. Russian clubs have splashed out some major cash this year, making their national league one of the most high-profile competitions in Europe.
With the new rich kids Anzhi Makhachkala on the block, a club linked with a new superstar practically every day, what are the implications for the transfer market? And what is the players’ true motivation to play in Russia? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: 1210 GMT
The death of British driver and two-time Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon in Sunday's IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas was graphic in its violence, distressing in its drama and a tragedy for all who knew him.
The 33-year-old, who started the race seeking to win a $5 million purse as victor, drove to his grave participating in the sport he loved.
IndyCar, America's most popular version of open-wheeled racing, is currently enduring its darkest hour as Wheldon's family and friends try to deal with his sudden departure. Read the rest of this entry »
October 14, 2011
Posted: 1804 GMT
I have always been intrigued by athletes who can perform under pressure. While many would crumble when the heat is on, they not only perform, they excel.
Being a racing driver is about as pressured as it can get. At speeds sometimes in excess of 200 miles per hour, these guys have to make split-second decisions with courage and skill in order to win a race and stay out of trouble. The sort of trouble that can be very bad for your health!
I was lucky enough to experience first-hand what these drivers go through when former DTM champion and F1 test driver Gary Paffett agreed to teach me how to drive a Mercedes C63 at Brands Hatch near London. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: 425 GMT
This was supposed to be the final.
Until Australia lost to Ireland during the pool stage, the number one and two rugby teams in the world – New Zealand’s All Blacks and Australia’s Wallabies – were expected to top their groups and not face each other until the World Cup final on October 23. Read the rest of this entry »
October 13, 2011
Posted: 1640 GMT
Flying to New Zealand for the final fortnight of the Rugby World cup is a bit like walking into the keepsake-crammed house of a collector; the obsession seems a bit unhealthy but you can't help admiring it just a little.
And it underlines how the hosts simply have to lift the trophy on home soil again, after a wait of 24 years.
It's as if the end of the world is nigh and the government wants to give advice to as many people as possible. That is, if a dearth of rugby was globally fatal and the only anecdote was posters of the All Blacks' players every few meters. Read the rest of this entry »
October 11, 2011
Posted: 1641 GMT
There were some big surprises for the traditional powerhouses of African football, as three former champions failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).
While we have to praise the likes of Niger, Burkina Faso and Botswana for making the finals of the competition, many fans will be disappointed that Nigeria's Super Eagles, the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and Egypt's all-conquering Pharaohs won’t be there.
The easy way to explain this phenomenon would be to say that the balance of power has shifted in Africa.
One could argue that some of the smaller nations have evolved tactically and technically and that many of their players are now gracing some of the biggest stages in the world with their clubs. Read the rest of this entry »