As you may have heard, the Steve Hansen has named 41 dudes in his All Blacks squad for their upcoming Test in Samoa and then the Rugby Championship. You probably know who has been selected and who hasn't, you'd have to be setting up shop underneath a rock to not know, so why bother?
Saturday night saw the Under 20 World Cup come to a close with Serbia taking a late 2-1 win over Brazil in a pulsating affair. I was rooting for the Serb's to win it all which obviously brought me great joy as the countered through the middle to near perfection, knocking home the winner and then celebrating as only footballers know how - an orgy.
It's been a pleasure to have the Under 20 World Cup on our shores, showcasing the best young footballers on the planet, but doing so with a festive sort of vibe. I've loved it and I don't think we could expect our nation to get in behind much more than we did with football fans not only getting out and supporting our kiwi lads, but there were always decent crowds at the other fixtures as well.
Personally, I think it showed that Aotearoa is a beautifully diverse place. I don't know whether many of the fans of various nations at this World Cup came specifically to watch or whether they were locals who are from those nations, but each country appeared to have some nice pockets of support. I'm going to give Aotearoa the benefit of the doubt here and say that, especially in the case of the final, that the Serbians and Brazilians in the stands were locals who got out in force to support their lads.
But it's not just diversity in culture, it's also diversity in what we love and what we find entertaining. I said it a few weeks ago that this World Cup has shown that a large portion of Aotearoa is stuck on rugby, with the old school rugby folk being rather naive in thinking that there isn't much of a football following here. There definitely is though and the way that we supported this World Cup with communities getting in behind various teams and a wide range of fans getting to games despite it being a terrible time of the year to watch live sport, shows that we're diverse in our sporting interests.
I read a rather interesting story about the possibility of hosting the Women's World Cup, which kept on talking about the lack of fans showing up for these Under 20 games. Given the weather and the fact that you would have to be a pretty die-hard footballin' fan to recognise most of the names, I think we've done bloody well to support this World Cup. To host a ladies World Cup would be something else.
I want to single out one player who is my World Cup Kingpin - Brazil's Danilo. Brazil attack like water flowing down the Southern Alps with the perfect mix of skill and understanding, but Danilo's efforts in the midfield where he was an immense physical presence and strength on the ball made him standout. Hopefully we see Danilo continue to rise through the ranks and add to his 20 games for Braga in Portugal
We've also just had a big result in the Women's World Cup with the Matildas, yup, of the waltzing variety defeating Brazil in their round of 16 clash. Most of the other results went as expected today with Canada beating Switzerland 1-0 and France beat Korea 3-0 but the Aussie ladies have thrown a spanner into the works with a 1-0 win over the Brazilians.
Goalie Lydia Williams was influential with a bunch of key saves while holding midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight earned her second player of the match award in consecutive games. The hero however was Kyah Simon who scored the winner...
That means that our quarter finalists so far are Germany, who will play France, China, Australia and Canada with Norway still to play England, USA up against Columbia and Japan taking on the Netherlands in the remaining three games of the round of 16.
The Black Sticks ladies got their World Hockey League Semi Finals off to a nice start with a handy 12-0 win over Poland. Poland aren't exactly a world hockey powerhouse so it's an understandable result and one that shouldn't be read too much into, it is however a solid winning start. We managed a better effort than the Aussies who beat Poland 9-0 today.
The ladies now face India who went down 1-0 to Belgium, which will go down tomorrow. This should go down as a win for the kiwis, with anything other than a dominating performance likely to be a disappointment as they prepare to take on Australia later in the week. The Black Sticks and Australia should finish first and second in their pool and there's a strong chance that the Black Sticks could find themselves going deep into the knockout rounds.
Paul Henare has named a trial squad for the Tall Blacks as they star their preparations for the Oceania Championship against the Boomers. Everything we're hearing points to Steven Adams being available for this series which will obviously be a huge boost to the squad, but with Adams yet to meet with the new Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan, you never know.
It's a decent looking squad, but the Boomers will definitely start as favourites if they can get some if not all of their NBA players on board. Here's the Tall Blacks trial squad...
Tom Abercrombie, Steven Adams, Duane Bailey, Everard Bartlett, Finn Delany, Isaac Fotu, Leon Henry, Shea Ili, Jarrod Kenny, Rob Loe, Jordan Ngatai, Dion Prewster, Ethan Rusbatch, Lindsay Tait, Reuben Te Rangi, Sam Timmins, Mika Vukona, Corey Webster, Tai Wynyard, Matt Freeman, Casey Frank, Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa.
In the Tall Blacks' favour is a very healthy overseas tour before the Oceania series where they will spend most of July in Europe with fixtures against Great Britain, Croatia, Slovenia and the Stankovic Cup with Venezuela, China and Mexico also taking part there.
The US Open is winding down and I'd be a fool to write about what's happening right now, but it's hard not to love the look of this Jordan Spieth chap. Golf is in desperate need of 'that dude' and Rory McIlroy just doesn't really do it for me, he just seems like a bit of a dick but I love Spieth. With Tiger Woods no longer a factor, regardless of what he or any other Tiger fan says, Spieth has the golfing world at his feet and I'm the newest member of Team Spieth.
I'm not a rugby hater, chill out. Big shout to the Otago Highlanders and everyone down south for that big win over the Chiefs and the atmosphere that it was played in. Apparently it's been a long time between drinks for you folk so enjoy it, although you'll have to watch from a distance as the Highlanders take on the Waratahs in Sydney.
Yeah you know that the Hurricanes are at home to the ACT Brumbies, but I was very interested to see that Liam Messam and Sonny Bill Williams will forgo a Super Rugby season to chase Olympic glory in the Sevens. All power to them as they are both perfectly suited to Sevens and an Olympic medal is only reserved for very few athletes.
See ya later Quade, it's been a pleasure.