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.
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.
Canada is celebrating its 40th year of delivering on world-class tennis, and they are enjoying unprecedented success in the international arena.
Forty years ago tennis was a sport for the select few. The Canadian stars were trained in private clubs and the entire tennis scene was immersed in an unhealthy presumed privilege. Today that picture has changed entirely, and most of the outstanding tennis talent delivered by the country is stemming from elsewhere in the world — the children of immigrants. Félix Auger-Alisassime is a teenage sensation whose father is originally from Togo in West Africa. Vasek Pospisil has roots in the Czech Republic. Milos Raonic is a child of Montenegro. Bianca Andreescu started her tennis career in Romania, the homeland of her parents. Fernandez’s parents lived in Laval in Ecuador. What seems to be the common denominator between all these stars is that somewhere in the more recent history, their parents moved from elsewhere to settle in Canada.
Their parents decided to make the sacrifice of working hard to provide a better future for their children. Tennis is no longer only for the Canadian elite. It isn’t only the children of immigrants who achieve success through hard work on the court. Eugenie Bouchard is from Canadian decent, and even though she has been going through a couple of tough times on the court, she is very dedicated and hard at work to achieve great success. They are very successful. For the first time in history, four Canadian male players are represented on the ATP 100 rankings. Canadian teen sensations Leyla Annie Fernandez and Bianca Andreescu are climbing the ladder of success on the women’s rankings. Some of the young Canadian talent to keep an eye out for is Felix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca Andreescu.
There are many reasons why Felix is considered to be the 2019 breakout player. Not only is he dominating much more seasoned players, but he also moved up to be the youngest player featuring on the top 100. He defeated Tsitsipas during the Indian Wells, Grigor Dimitrov had to bend the knee before him at Queens Club and so did Nick Kyrgios. He also became the youngest star to reach the semi-finals during the Miami Open. The youngster is only 18 years old, and already he has the tennis world at his feet.
Her most inspiring attribute is coming back from dire situations. This year Andreescu is moving up the ladder at a tremendous speed and recently became the fifth Canadian to enter the courter finals since 1979 in the Rogers Cup. Her motto driving her to success is that if you don’t succeed, you need to find a way to deliver what is required to bring you back to where you belong. The 19-year-old star is currently 27th ranked on ATP rankings and is promising an exciting contribution to the future of Canadian tennis. Indeed it is no longer the face which was presented forty years ago by the Canadian tennis elite.
FIFA announced this week that a unanimous decision was made that the 2023 Women’s World Cup will allow 32 teams to participate. This is equal to the number of teams participating in the Men’s Cup since 1998 and putting the two events on a level playing field.
Women’s Football Growing Undeniably
The great success that the Women’s World Cup had this year in France, as the hosting country, made it clear to all that women’s soccer is growing into a much larger sporting event. The event in France recorded record viewing numbers from all over the globe. It is considered to be the Women’s World Cup which was the most-watched in the history of the tournament. To keep up with the momentum which the competition created, FIFA made the change to allow an expanded version of the match. This was according to Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA. He also mentioned that he is very excited about this becoming a reality for women’s soccer and that this is only the first of many more proposal to enhance the game.
Updates on Hosting Requirements
Currently, eight countries have placed bids on hosting the event, of the nine states which were expected to bid by October this year. These include Australia, Argentina, South Africa, South Korea, Bolivia, New Zealand, Japan and Colombia. These countries, as well as other eligible countries, will receive updates on the new bidding requirements to host the more significant event. Those who have already placed their bids are now allowed to withdraw from the game if they so decide and others can still add their request. The process is due to close again in December this year and then during May, next year FIFA will announce the hosting country for the 2023 event. FIFA made this decision remotely, and it came ahead of a formal meeting, which is due to take place later this year in Shanghai.
Allowing for Better Opportunities in Women’s Soccer
By expanding the event to 32 teams, many more women will now have the possibility of qualifying to play on the international level. Since the tournament is seen as the top of the pyramid of women’s soccer, being hosted only every four years, it is vital to give all women dedicated to the sport, a fair chance of excelling in it. It will also mean that much smaller clubs will now have a goal to work towards and start to prepare their teams to qualify on an international level. The decision made by FIFA is considered a great stride towards strengthening the future of this sport for women. Since 1991 when only 12 teams were participating, the event has grown to the 24 teams which competed in France. The United States National Women’s Team were the champions this year. Ultimately FIFA is aiming at strengthening not only the desire to achieve but also to develop the much-needed infrastructure to accommodate these events.
The pressure of a local crowd rested firmly on this humble Irishman’s shoulders while the weather wasn’t in his favour. He managed to bring great jubilation for the local supporters when winning The Open in Portrush.
The Moment of Glory
The 32year-old Lowry managed to lift the Claret Jug, not only for himself but for entire Ireland as well. He started the final round with a four-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood playing for England. Through adverse weather conditions of rain and wind, he managed to parlay and enter into a six-shot win. Lowry closed the tournament on 1-over-par 72, and he also posted 15-under 269 total.
He delivered an immaculate performance for the first three days, but it was on the final day when the weather turned against him, and he had to refocus himself into the game a couple of times. Success on the Antrim coast was his, and the crowds couldn’t contain themselves. The strong presence of local support was visible through the number of Irish flags in the groups, and you could hear them chanting his name. When victory belonged to Ireland, the marshals had their hands full to keep the crowds off the greens. Lowry admitted later on to the added pressure he felt playing in front of a local group. An Irish win on Irish soil brought him however more than just the prize money of $1 935 000, but he also becomes the number one player for the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. It is also bringing the hope to Ireland that this win will sway the vote towards Ireland being chosen to host the 2026 Ryder Cup.
Winning The Open was the first significant cup which Lowry held in his hands. The Offaly man as he is nicknamed as a child of Clara in County Offaly was a scholar at the Athlone Institute of Technology. His amateur career debuted when he won the Irish Amateur Close Champion in 2007. It was, however, his win of the Irish Open, while still an amateur player, which entered him into the Official World Golf Ranking. It was shortly after this victory that he turned professional and debuted this career with the European Open in 2009. Some of his early highlights include finishing third in the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in 2009 in Japan and then in early 2010 he finished fourth in the Abu Dhabi Gold Championship. This win placed him in the ranks of the top 100 players on the Official World Golf Ranking list.
Lowry stems from a family of sporting legends representing Ireland. His family is initially from Ferbane and are mostly famous for Gaelic football. His father, Brendan Lowry as well as his two uncles, Mick and Sean Lowry achieved All-Ireland medals for their contribution in 1982. All of them played for the club in Offaly. Lowry’s dad was also the All-Star winner of 1981. He was the then best-left corner-forward playing for Ireland.
As Harry Kane provided a phenomenal hallway line goal during stoppage time towards the end of the 3-2 defeat against Juventus, it was clear that the hangover from the Champions League would only affect him off the field.
The captain for England, who recently enjoyed celebrations for his 26th birthday, removed an agonized figure just seven weeks earlier when he returned from injury to play his first match in nearly two months against Liverpool during the Champions League final.
On that evening, Kane was nothing near his usual self. He was still hampered and off the pace after a seven-week layoff which was caused by an ankle injury. Virgil van Dijk had a pretty easy match against the striker from Tottenham.
The Comeback of Harry Kane
Harry Kane reflected over the past few weeks as he made his return to the preseason in Asia, informing reporters that Madrid will haunt him for a long time. However, the incredible goal over Juventus was a fantastic start to draw the line and start again. Kane recently stated that the match against Liverpool in the Champions League final was challenging to get over, primarily because the entire team did so well to reach the final. He continued by saying that big games deserve the best performances and he, unfortunately, couldn’t play at his best, which hurt a great deal afterwards. The team was well aware that the Champions League was up for the taking, which is something Tottenham needs to deal with over the summer.
Although it’s a difficult one to get over, the team believes that they did exceptionally well to get that far in the Champions League which has given the team a boost of confidence as they start their new season at Wembley. It’s mainly down to the group to perform as well as they did last season and try their best to reach the finals once again to take the cup this time around hopefully.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Selection in Madrid
The selection of Harry Kane during the Champions League final in Madrid was perhaps the most important call from the head coach’s time in management. Without Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur managed to make it to the final where Lucas Moura, his replacement, managed to score a hat-trick against Ajax in a remarkable semi-final. During Harry’s absence, Fernando Llorente, Son Heung-Min, and Moura rose to the occasion along with Dele Alli finding his attacking force once again that was absent for most of the season.
However, when your primary striker scores consistently, it would have been a massive call for the head coach to overlook Harry Kane during the final in Madrid, even though he was unable to play for seven weeks. However, do you believe it was the right decision to include Harry Kane during the final? This is football at the end of the day, and everyone will have their opinion. Let’s hope the new season is better for Harry Kane.
The women’s soccer team from the United States have managed to dominate yet another group during the World Cup final to claim their fourth title on Sunday where they defeated the Netherlands in a phenomenal 2-0 victory that took place in Lyon, France to remain the World Cup champions successfully.
The Netherlands vs the United States
Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe both managed to score second-half goals for the incredible United States. It took the team more than an hour to break through the Netherlands defence successfully, but once it broke after several rushes, the United States took complete advantage of the situation and score twice for good measure. Rapinoe managed to break through the defence during the 61st minute with a penalty kick, while Lavelle managed to seal the win with a driving run that occurred during the 69th minute. After the match, Rapinoe was nominated as the most outstanding player of the tournament who stated that it was surreal how everything tuned out.
This was the second consecutive World Cup title for more than ten players in the United States squad, who managed to claim their first tournament four years ago in Canada. It also led to cement their exalted status as the gold standard when it comes to women’s soccer.
The tears started flowing freely after the incredible victory, ranging from Alex Morgan as the United States striker who managed to lead the tournament with six goals, to Kelley O’Hara who was unfortunately forced from the match after a dreadful head-to-head collision. The Netherlands was the only team that could actually match the United States in the tournament and even they shed a few tears after the match due to their unfortunate loss.
The Future for the United States
The Dutch were the only team in the tournament that managed to keep the United States from scoring a goal during the first half while playing in France. However, much like all the other teams before them, including England, France, Spain, Sweden, Chile, and Thailand, they were unable to hold off the United States forever.
The team provided everything they possibly could during their World Cup journey and Jill Ellis, the head coach for the United States women’s team, couldn’t thank her players enough for this prestigious win. Ellis managed to become the first head coach to claim successive titles in the Women’s World Cup, and her squad hasn’t lost a single game in this tournament since 2011. The future of the team is to reclaim the Olympic Championship that will take place in Tokyo.
There’s already massive plans set in motion once the team returns to the United States who will land in New York. After the group received their medals, the trophy was raised in a cloud of blue and gold confetti. There was also loads of chants from the crowd that promoted equal pay to women in a sport, which we believe is spot on after such an excellent performance.
If the Grand Prix in France was a showcase of everything wrong in modern Formula One, the Grand Prix in Austria proved what is still right in the world of motorsport. Despite having the same drivers, the same rules, and the same cars, all the necessary ingredients were available, including a surprise winner, wheel-to-wheel racing, and a decent serving of controversy. Why was the Grand Prix in Austria such a thriller and are we in for some more nail-biting races in 2019?
Red Bull Savours Victory
The victory by Max Verstappen was a considerable surprise for Red Bull and the millions of spectators from around the world. This was the first victory in 2019 that didn’t feature a Mercedes, and it managed to come from nowhere after Verstappen dropped from 2nd place on the grid to 8th during the opening lap, leaving him behind his teammate Pierre Gasly. Unexpectedly, Verstappen managed to take pole position at the end and lapped his teammate in the process.
The team boss stated after the Austria Grand Prix that the team was on fire during the second half of the race. The car was phenomenally quick, and the reality of the situation is that no one truly understands how this happened. However, the updates that were received over the last few races indicate that everything is finally coming together as it should. Victory in Austria was claimed the hard way as Verstappen had to pass three or the four primary opponents to claim pole position.
Although Red Bull doesn’t currently have a car to match it, the talent from Max Verstappen has been crystal-clear all year. He now leads both the Ferrari drivers when it comes to championship standings which tells you everything you need to know in terms of speed and consistency from this world-class driver, and while Sebastien Vettel and Charles Leclerc have made several mistakes, Max Verstappen took this opportunity to lead the pack.
The Austrian Grand Prix
The primary reason why the race on Sunday was so thrilling to watch was that all three of the top teams were racing for glory and pole position. Ferrari managed to get the fastest lap during qualifying. However, Vettel began the race out of place which meant Ferrari had their work cut out for them against a Mercedes that was second fastest in qualifying.
The Red Bull car seemed quite competitive in the race. However, no one anticipated that it would be the fastest car on the track during the second half of the Grand Prix. This was mainly down to the driver behind the wheel as well as the assistance from a remarkable tyre strategy that helped Verstappen to take control of the race on fresher tyres. Verstappen went for medium tyres, while Ferrari opted in for softer tyres which cost them dearly. Now that Max Verstappen has a victory, do you think it will create more opportunities going forward?