On the brink of the Rugby World Cup to kick off in Japan, one record which is undoubtedly expected to be broken is the one standing for more than a decade. The record set by Percy Montgomery for the highest number of points scored for the South African Springbok team. The player chasing this record is Handre Pollard.
Montgomery is known for his trendy haircuts and white boots. The fullback of the Springboks played for his country during two World Cups. During 2007 he was part of the winning squad, just before he decided to hang up his boots for the last time. Montgomery debuted into the Springboks during the 1999 tournament. He was one of the strong forces on the field which led the Boks into the third place that year. During 2007 he was playing an instrumental role in gaining victory for South Africa and bringing the coveted trophy home once again. During the World Cups, Montgomery bagged a total of 111 points for the South African team, 12 points alone only from the final in Paris, defeating England for World Cup victory.
Second in Line
De Beer made his debut into the Springbok team at the same time as Montgomery. He managed his record when he managed five successful drop goals for South Africa while fighting it out with England in 1999. This number of drop goals remains a record number to take place during a tournament. De Beer only represented South Africa during the 1999 World Cup and managed a total of 97 points for the Springboks.
Third in Line
Pollard is standing on 93 points going into the tournament, and now it is only a complete lack of skill or injury which will prevent him from setting a new record within the Springbok camp. The 25-year-old is playing for the Bulls but also represented his country when playing for the Springboks in 2015. He is usually to be seen in the position of fly-half but was also part of the action in the past in the area of the centre.
Up to now, De Beer and Montgomery were the only South Africans to have made it to the list. This situation is expected to change soon, with Pollard bound to move up in position. Still, even though these three players have managed to set the record for the Springboks, it is a far reach to the top of the list. Currently still standing with Dan Carter playing for New Zealand in fourth place with 191, Michael Lynagh playing for the Aussies with 195, Gavin Hastings from Scotland at 227 and then miles ahead of them all, is Johnny Wilkinson who played for England with 277 points.
Over the past six years, the family of the seven-time World Champions was very tight-lipped regarding his condition. Only seldom reports would surface from close friends stating that he is unable to communicate or walk. In January this year, around his 50th birthday, his family made a statement they are doing all that is humanly possible and that he is getting excellent care. Otherwise, his wife Corinna has managed to keep her husband entirely out of the public eye. Therefore recent reports stating that the racing legend is conscious, are received with great excitement by his loyal fans.
Admitted in Paris
It was revealed this week that Schumacher was admitted to the George Pompidou hospital on Monday. Even though the hospital refrained from commenting at all due to privacy policies, it was revealed that a nurse did confirm that he is in their care and that he is conscious. During his time at the hospital, which seems like his third visit for treatment, he was also visited by Jean Todt, his former senior at Ferrari. Todt spent 45 minutes at the racer’s bedside. It also appears that over the past couple of weeks, Schumacher was also visited by other previous racing colleagues.
The reason why Schumacher was at the Parisian hospital is due to a very specialized form of stem cell treatment which he receives under the treatment of Professor Philippe Menasche. Menasche is the director of the Brain and Spinal cord institute at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital. This is where he initially examined Schumacher before sending him for treatment at the George Pompidou, where the 69-year-old professor is a practising cardiac surgeon. During 2014 Menasche was responsible for pioneering the successful transplant of stem cells unto a patient with heart failure. The assumption is that this is the same kind of pioneering work which he is applying to the legend as well. Stem cell treatment is used to aid recovery by reducing inflammation in the body. The stem cells distribute throughout the entire body and help the healing to take place faster.
The World is Starving for News about the Legend’s Condition
During December 2013, the entire world stood in shock when the news broke about his skiing accident and the severe head injury which he suffered when his helmet cracked open from the impact. For six months his medical team kept him under a medically induced sedation before he eventually was moved back home during September in 2014. Due to the tremendous amount of secrecy which his family maintained throughout his condition, fans haven’t had any real certainty about his actual state. Therefore rumours about him being conscious and seemingly better are well-received globally. One person who also urges the family to make some statement about the legend’s health is Nick Fry. Fry worked with Schumacher for three years at Ferrari and stated that millions of the fans have a genuine concern for their hero. Some update from the family would be much appreciated.
Since 2013, the international women’s team of Thailand has been present every year in the qualifying rounds for the ICCT20 World Cup. This year they are performing brilliantly, and there is only one game left to win, for them to make it to the World Cup, due take place next year in Australia. Considering the short history of cricket in this country, it is an extraordinary journey of immaculate success for these women.
In Thailand, cricket has mostly been played by expats from abroad. In 2007, the new CEO of the Association of Cricket in Thailand, Mohideen Kader, has gone to great lengths to introduce the sport to the local communities to recruit young Thai players for the team. This effort to increase the popularity of the competition was further expanded during 2008; then the local government recognized cricket as an official sport of the country. Today cricket is being played throughout the entire country and has teams in all 14 provinces representing the age groups U15, U19 as well as both a male and female teams in the senior league.
Captaining the Thai Team
In the position of captain of the Thailand Women’s team is Sornnarin Tippoch. Tippoch came from a softball background when she was introduced to cricket during the 2007 drive to expand the sport. At that stage, she was already 20 years old, which would be considered as rather late by most, yet this didn’t stop her. Merely one year later she was leading the Thai team as captain. Tippoch’s career is a classic example of how the sport expanded in Thailand. She immediately loved the game, and since she felt that it was relatively much like softball, the switch over happened smoothly for her. She also soon realized that cricket might be a much better opportunity for her to represent her country on a professional level.
Growing As a Team
The team has been performing well enough every year to make it to the qualifying rounds, but during 2018 Harshal Pathak was employed as the new coach to the side, and since then their performance excelled. Some of the highlights which they managed to achieve are not only having four bowlers on their team with a record low of bowling averages of less than 500 balls, but also a record winning streak of 17 matches and winning the quadrangular series against Scotland, Netherlands and Ireland. This left them at the top of their group in the ICC T20 World Qualifiers. Pathak stated that when he joined, the team was already there with so much talent and ability, the only thing which he needed to provide was the right direction for them to follow and to get them there. He worked with them on improving their consistency as well as specific technical aspects of their game, and the results are showing.
There is a constant drive to expand the sport of soccer in the United States. Major League Soccer’s is also committed to providing the growing number of local soccer fans with clubs and stadiums. Thus the announcement was made this week that the town of St. Louis has been added as the 28th club in the league.
A Long and Winding Road to Success
During 2017, St. Louis had a bid to be included in MLS, but what it meant at that stage was a $60 million expense, paid out of tax revenue to be able to build a stadium. Using a referendum, the voters denied the payment. This was terrible news for the investment group which was at that stage in the process of getting a soccer club in St. Louis, Paul Edgerley. They ended up giving up on efforts, and the bid went cold.
Recently Carolyn Kindle Betz in her capacity as president of Enterprise Holdings Foundation started working with Jim Kavanaugh, the new CEO of World Wide Technology, to make this dream a reality. Kavanaugh is no newbie to the process since he was already involved during 2017 when he was still at Paul Edgerley. St. Louis is a town with a high soccer culture and getting their stadium would make sense. Therefore Betz and Kavanaugh as well as Andy Taylor, the executive chairman at the Enterprise Group, worked over many weeks with the rest of the Taylor family as owners of the club and the MLS, to achieve success. The main difference between now and 2017 is that the group has secure the majority of the funds needed for the construction of the stadium, from private funding.
The Future of St. Louis
The stadium is set to be built in Downtown St. Louis and the club will be based at this soccer-specific stadium. The stadium will also bring along some residential development with a new real estate development to be built surrounding the stadium. Even though the club of St.Louis will only join the MLS ranks in 2022, they are immediately set to work on a name, logo and team colours.
Regularly women are making a more and more impressive mark on the front of international professional sports. This is such a moment. The club of St. Louis’s ownership belongs to Betz, Kavanaugh and the Taylor family. Six women are in the Taylor family, and including Betz, this is the first club to join MLS which is predominantly female-owned.
The Change in the US Soccer Scene
Over time the increase in MLS expansion fee has risen dramatically. From when New York City FC joined MLS in 2013 for a $90 million payment, it now is estimated at $240 million. This is due to the increasing popularity of the sport in the US. Crowds are growing, and sponsorships are getting more profitable. It is indeed an era in US soccer history where it has become a lucrative investment to own a club.
In the blink of an eye, Andrea Dovizioso slipped past Marc Marquez, MotoGP World Champion, in a thrilling end to the Austrian Grand Prix. This win for Ducati on the final corner of the race left its mark on the Spaniard’s winning record.
A Duel Inside the Spielberg Red Bull Ring
The Spielberg Red Bull Ring was the scene where a duel between these two riders took place on Sunday. The Italian remained wheel-to-wheel with his rival for nine out of the 28 laps. Chasing Honda the entire time. Marquez had a 59th MotoGP pole start but moved into the front when only three more laps were remaining. Dovizioso was stuck to him the whole time, and when the last corner of the previous lap appeared, the Italian took his chance and sped past the Spaniard in the blink of an eye. The race left Marquez on 230 points. This is still a 58-point lead to Dovizioso’s 172 with 11 of a total of 19 tracks done.
The Austrian Track
Winning on this Austrian ring remains elusive for Marquez, while Dovizioso expressed his surprise with the results. He said that he was aware of the fact that it was his last chance to try and he just did something wild and crazy, and it worked out well. The Frenchman, Fabio Quartararo, racing for Petronas Yamaha, started with leading the first four laps and ended the race off being third. The other great Italian, Valentino Rossi, managed a fourth position on his Yamaha. He was followed by his teammate Maverick Vinales in the fifth position. Alex Rins on his Suzuki came in sixth.
Ducati had an unbeaten run over the past couple of years at the Spielberg Red Bull Ring. Since they joined in 2016, Ducati has been winning every single race. Dovizioso has been on the podium for all of them and in the winning position in 2017. After the race, Marquez stated that he had problems with controlling excessive sliding due to the wrong kind of rear tyre which he has chosen for the race. Nevertheless, he admitted that Dovisiozo had an incredible run on the track.
Moto2 race Action
It was a great moment though for South African, Brad Binder when he finished first and took his first win for the season after having some challenges with performing during the first part of the season on his Red Bull KTM. Not only could he celebrate his 24th birthday with a victory, but also made an end to a year-long dry spell in winning anything since last October. This win is an excellent way for KTM to move towards the end of the season. They have announced earlier on that they will mainly be focusing on MotoGP in the future and is quitting the Moto2 class at the end of the season. This expected break from Moto2 for KTM is expected to be around five years long, yet this is not a problem for Binder since he is moving in 2020 to the premier category.