April 2018 Sports update – part 1

The last 6 months of sports in New Zealand has seen many fine performances from the nation’s teams and individuals. There are, of course, times when the results have not been so positive, but that is the nature of sport and every team in the world gets to experience the taste of defeat.

The Hurricanes have made a fine start in The Super XV

The case in point are the All Blacks. They are comfortably the best side in the world, yet in their last match in the tri nations, they lost to Australia in October. This was the first victory for the Australians in their last eight attempts, however it did not stop the New Zealanders from retaining their rugby championship which they have won on five occasions in the last six years.

The New Zealand club sides are currently in the middle of the Super XV 2018 season. The most successful side this year is currently the Wellington Hurricanes, but the Canterbury Crusaders, the Waikato Chiefs and the Highlanders are not far behind, having lost only 2 games each. In the last 6 seasons the competition has been won by a New Zealand side on 5 occasions.

The Rugby League World Cup was co-hosted by New Zealand in October and the side were strongly fancied. Surprisingly, they were knocked out of the competition in the quarter when Fiji defeated them in a low-scoring 4-2 win in the Wellington stadium. Currently, the New Zealand Warriors are lying in third position in the NRL, having won 5 of their first league fixtures.

New Zealand’s cricket side have just finished a two match test series against the visiting England team. They won the series 1-0 after recording a comfortable innings and 49 run victory. The win was setup by the fine bowling of Trent Bolt and Tim Southee, as England were bowled out for 58 in their first innings.

When New Zealand batted, Captain Kane Williamson scored his 18th century for his country. No player has scored more hundreds for the nation, and although the home side were made to work hard for the draw in the second test, they managed to do this without too many scares.

Williamson acknowledges the applause on reaching his 18th test century

The country’s football team, the All Whites, sadly missed out on qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They lost 2-0 away in Peru, having qualified for the final play off game. This means that they will not be present in the finals that are taking place in the summer of 2018.

One of the biggest boxing contests of 2018 occurred in March at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, which was the World Heavy Championship fight between Britain’s Anthony Joshua and New Zealand’s Joseph Parker. With both men holding a different version of the title, this was a unification fight.

In a close contest, the fight went the full distance of the 12 rounds, but at the end Joshua got the unanimous judges’ decision in his favor. This was Parkers’ first defeat in his 25-fight career and the quality of his performance has failed to damage his prospects for future world championship opportunities.

In the world of gold, in the 2018 season Lydia Ko has so far struggled to recreate the form that made her the leading world player prior to 2016. Her recent injuries, a change of coach and using 11 different caddies in 5 years have combined to see her struggle to make any top ten places.

So far in 2018 she has competed in 7 LPGA tournaments with her best result being the 10th place she achieved at the HSBC’s Women’s World Championship in Singapore. She once held the record for being the youngest winner of a professional golf tournament, but in the past year the win in Thailand by the local 14-year-old school girl Atthaya Thitikul, resulted in the record being taken away from her.

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