Monthly Archives: April 2019

Apr
17
  • McKenzie makes eight Australia changes for Scotland test

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    Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Cummins were two of the six suspended for the ‘inappropriate levels of alcohol’ meaning Joe Tomane and Chris Feauai-Sautia will be the starting wingers in Edinburgh.

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    Tomane will win just his eighth cap while Feauai-Sautia earns his second.

    Front rowers Tatafu Polota-Nau and Benn Robinson lost their place on the bench with Saia Fainga’a and Ben Alexander taking over, while openside flanker Liam Gill was replaced by Ben McCalman.

    Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan was the only one of the six sanctioned players named in Saturday’s squad with McKenzie forced to put him on the bench because of a lack of front row numbers in his tour party.

    He will serve his one-match ban in the test against Wales in Cardiff next week.

    McKenzie’s squad was hit further by a hamstring injury to Matt Toomua and a five-week ban for Tevita Kurirani after a dangerous tackle in Dublin, meaning goalkicker Christian Leali’ifano will form a new centre pairing with the versatile Mike Harris.

    Harris has played eight tests in a variety of positions for the Wallabies.

    STILL CONFIDENT

    Despite its relative inexperience, the backline boasts Israel Folau at fullback and the accomplished halfback pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper. Understudies Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley were further changes named on the bench.

    Despite the high number of changes, McKenzie remained confident of a win over the struggling Scots.

    “We’ve made some difficult selection decisions this week and now I’ll be looking to see how those individuals with an opportunity respond to the challenge,” McKenzie said in a statement after announcing the team on Thursday.

    “All Spring Tour, I’ve been impressed by the competition we’ve been able to create in a number of positions. Now, some of those guys get a chance to impress in new roles this week.”

    McKenzie, who took over from Robbie Deans after the home series defeat by the British and Irish Lions in July, has enjoyed a promising European tour after a tough opening against Southern Hemisphere opposition in the Rugby Championship.

    A narrow 20-13 loss to England was followed by a blow out 50-20 win over Italy in Rome before the Wallabies cut open Ireland with ease in their four try success in Dublin.

    Scotland were beaten 28-0 at home by South Africa last week but are aiming for three straight wins over the Wallabies following a 9-8 home victory four years ago and a surprise 9-6 success last year in Newcastle.

    Team: 15-Israel Folau, 14-Joe Tomane, 13-Christian Leali’ifano, 12-Mike Harris, 11-Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10-Quade Cooper, 9-Will Genia, 8-Ben Mowen (captain), 7-Michael Hooper, 6-Scott Fardy, 5-James Horwill, 4-Rob Simmons, 3-Sekope Kepu, 2-Stephen Moore, 1-James Slipper.

    Replacements: 16-Saia Fainga’a, 17-Ben Alexander, 18-Paddy Ryan, 19-Sitaleki Timani, 20-Ben McCalman, 21-Nic White, 22-Nick Phipps, 23-Bernard Foley.

    (Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O’Brien)

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Apr
17
  • Kallis returns to South Africa ODI squad

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    Jacques Kallis was recalled to South Africa’s one-day squad on Thursday for two home series against Pakistan and India, putting the veteran allrounder in line to play his first ODI in nearly two years.

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    The 38-year-old Kallis appeared in the last of his 321 ODIs at home against New Zealand in February 2012 and has been rested from the short format since, part of South Africa’s plan to manage his workload ahead of a likely swansong at the 2015 World Cup.

    Kallis replaced Twenty20 captain Faf du Plessis in a 14-man squad named by Cricket South Africa for three one-day games against Pakistan this month and three against India in December.

    Pakistan-born legspinner Imran Tahir was also retained at the expense of left-arm slow bowler Robin Peterson.

    Opening batsman and Test captain Graeme Smith returned to the ODI squad after leaving the tour of United Arab Emirates with post-concussion syndrome as a result of being hit on the head by a bouncing delivery from giant Pakistan fast bowler Mohammed Irfan last month.

    Smith was advised to rest after experiencing delayed symptoms of blurred vision and dizziness. Cricket South Africa said Smith had now made “a complete recovery.”

    Kallis returned after a long absence, underlining South Africa’s intention to keep him in contention to play at the World Cup in two years, when he will be nearly 40.

    Kallis has defied talk of retirement and continues to be one of South Africa’s most consistent performers in Test cricket, while making rare appearances for his country in the 50- and 20-over formats. He has said winning a 50-over World Cup is his last ambition.

    Kallis is considered South Africa’s greatest cricketer of the modern era and has made more Test and ODI runs than any other South African.

    He is also fifth on the country’s list of Test wicket-takers and third in ODIs, placing him as one of the game’s outstanding allrounders.

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Apr
17
  • Suck it up, McKenzie tells Dublin Six

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    Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has demanded his banished players suck up their disappointment as Australia prepare for one of their “greatest challenges” at Murrayfield.

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    Bans to the ‘Dublin Six’, combined with a tour-ending injury to Matt Toomua and suspension to Tevita Kuridrani, will see the Wallabies sport a patched-up backline against Scotland at the end of a tumultuous week.

    They will miss the entire three-quarter division that starred in the 32-15 win over Ireland, forcing McKenzie to manufacture playmaker Christian Leali’ifano into an outside centre.

    Leali’ifano, normally a No.12, has been selected to partner Kiwi-born Mike Harris in a makeshift midfield combination while rookie Chris Feauai-Sautia will make his run-on debut on one wing and Joe Tomane on the other.

    The changes and the drama surrounding the decision to stand down six players and warn nine others for their late-night drinking session in Dublin means Sunday morning’s (AEDT) encounter looms as a pivotal moment in McKenzie’s reign.

    “It will be one of our greatest challenges, given we have a bunch of changes,” he said.

    “The guys are going to be hungry for different reasons, so if you don’t get the best out of them now I don’t know when you will.

    “This is a test of character for everyone, for all of us, the coaches, the whole lot. It will be an important moment.”

    The fallout of the team sanctions – which has been criticised by the Rugby Union Players Association – has rubbed extra salt into the wounds of banned players.

    But McKenzie has told disappointed players – Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nick Cummins, Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Liam Gill and Paddy Ryan – to get back on the horse.

    “I’m sure plenty of guys will wish they could have their time again, but that’s the spent arrow, it’s gone,” he said. “Nothing’s going to change so we have to suck it up and get going.

    “What we can change is how we function as a group so we’ll pulled together. You circle the wagons and get on with it.”

    McKenzie admitted he briefly considered calling in France-based forwards Peter Kimlin and Dan Palmer to bolster his squad but their lack of recent match experience stopped him.

    It’s out wide where the Wallabies are most struggling for troops but the coach ruled Digby Ioane and Drew Mitchell, also playing in France, as ineligible because they chose to head overseas when they were still wanted, unlike Brumbies duo Kimlin and Palmer.

    The threadbare depth left in the backline stocks is shown by third-string halfback Nick Phipps selection on the bench as a back-up winger.

    Toomua’s hamstring strain couldn’t have been more untimely, especially with Kuridrani slugged with a five-week suspension for his tip tackle on Irish flanker Peter O’Mahony.

    McKenzie felt Kuridrani was harshly treated, hinting at inconsistencies within sentencing from previous cases, but was also cautious about rushing into an appeal.

    Wallabies: Israel Folau, Joe Tomane, Christian Leali’ifano, Mike Harris, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Ben Mowen (capt), Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Res: Saia Faingaa, Ben Alexander, Paddy Ryan, Sitaleki Timani, Ben McCalman, Nic White, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley.

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Apr
17
  • Managers of Australia’s detention centres blasted by UK MPs

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    The Public Accounts Committee called on the executives to explain themselves after a series of multi-million-dollar blunders.

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    The British investigations are unrelated to their outsourcing operations in Australia but a member of the British Public Accounts Committee says people in Australia should be concerned.

    Like in Australia, an increasing number of government services, including prisons, detention centres, schools and hospitals, are being managed by private companies.

    UK Opposition Labour MP Austin Mitchell says Australians should be concerned by what has happened in Britain.

    “A lot of things that have been made worse under this government were started by the Labour government, that goes for privatisation and outsourcing like this, it goes for reducing the functions of the state.

    “The Labour government did a lot of good but because spending was so high, it tried to economise in this fashion, and therefore it opened the door for the conservative government which believes in reducing the power of the state as an ideology, it opened the door for the conservative government to do it on a much bigger scale.”

    Listen: Serco/G4S wear blame for UK scandal, Stefan Armbruster reports

    UK INQUIRY ‘HAS IMPLICATIONS FOR AUSTRALIA’: LOEWENSTEIN

    Independent journalist Antony Loewenstein has been following the activities of multinational companies G4S and Serco in running detention centres in Australia and the UK.

    He has told SBS that the developments in the UK have significant implications for the management of Australia’s detention centres.

    “Most people don’t even know what they do here. They don’t get a lot of press, which is how they want it,” Loewenstein says.

    He says the track record of Serco’s management of detention centres in Australia and overseas in the past year is revealing.

    “Human rights abuses, understaffing, undertraining, [there’s] a lot of abuse going on, both towards asylum seekers but also the guards themselves are often mentally traumatised and the Australian government is well aware of this. This is a bipartisan issue.”

    Despite the documented incidents of poor management and transgressions, Loewenstein says G4S and Serco have shown little accountability and continue to receive contracts.

    “Serco has been running the Australian detention centres since 2009 in the Kevin Rudd Labor government. The contract then was $370 million roughly. 2013, we don’t have an exact figure but roughly $1.86 billion plus. Of course there’s been a massive surge in boats in the last year so there’s more people in detention.

    “And one of the things that is not examined enough is the fact is that it is known that the record of G4S and Serco, particularly in Britain for juvenile justice prisons, prisons in general, immigration detention centres is bad.”

    Listen: Antony Loewenstein speaks to SBS reporter Stefan Armbruster

    He says the Australian government still sees the benefits of outsourcing and privatising the management of detention centres outweighing the disadvantages.

    “There is a weird disconnect. And I think both sides of politics in Australia and the UK somehow believe that is more efficient, so to speak, or cheaper, or better to have a private corporation managing the most vulnerable people. And the record shows the exact opposite.”

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Apr
17
  • Key A-League trio back for Roar

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    Livewire striker Besart Berisha is set to come straight into the starting line-up in his return from injury for Brisbane’s A-League clash with Western Sydney.

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    The Albanian marksman had been sidelined for the Roar’s past four matches with a hamstring strain but coach Mike Mulvey labelled him a near-certain starter for Friday’s top-of-the-table clash.

    “We don’t want to put too much expectation on him but the thing I do know is he’s done the preparation,” Mulvey said.

    “He’s looking good. He’s looking sharp.”

    The Roar will also welcome back Socceroos pair Matt McKay and Ivan Franjic, with international commitments keeping them out of last week’s loss to Newcastle at a sodden Hunter Stadium.

    Franjic has pulled up well despite playing the full 90 minutes against Costa Rica midweek while McKay is “fresh as a daisy” according to Mulvey.

    McKay’s return means Jade North will move back from midfield to central defence with youngster James Donachie dropping to the bench.

    It caps a mixed week for Donachie, whose poor pass gave the Jets the ball for their winning goal last Sunday but the 20-year-old has signed a contract extension keeping him at the Roar until the end of 2017.

    The Wanderers, unbeaten in their past 18 regular-season matches, made the most of the Roar’s slip-up last week to move two points clear at the top of the ladder.

    Striker Youssouf Hersi is poised to return for the Wanderers after a foot injury, giving coach Tony Popovic a near full squad to choose from.

    The Roar are yet to beat the Wanderers and had their season ended by the Sydneysiders in last year’s finals campaign.

    “It’s been a short turnaround but we’ve spent our time recovering well for a formidable opponent,” Mulvey said.

    “They’re very well drilled … we need to make sure we’ve organised well.

    “If we can get an early goal and get the crowd behind us anything’s possible.”

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Apr
17
  • Dortmund hit by injury crisis ahead of Bayern clash

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    Dortmund, four points behind Bayern, must patch up a depleted back line with central defenders Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic out for months with injuries.

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    Left back Marcel Schmelzer and right back Lukasz Piszczek are also unavailable, with Germany international Schmelzer out for three weeks and Poland defender Piszczek only just back after a double hip surgery in the close season.

    Coach Juergen Klopp signed free agent Manuel Friedrich this week but it is still unclear whether the Germany international, who has not played since leaving Bayer Leverkusen last season, will be fit for the game.

    “I have never seen such an extreme situation at Dortmund. Our entire defence with which we won the double (in 2012) has been obliterated,” said Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said.

    “We should not be talking about the title now. We have to keep on their heels.”

    Dominant Bayern, who beat Dortmund 2-1 in last season’s Champions League final en route to winning the first treble by a German team, want revenge for their season-opening German Super Cup defeat to their fierce rivals.

    They will, however, be without winger Franck Ribery who cracked a rib in France’s 3-0 win over Ukraine on Tuesday, as coach Pep Guardiola looks to extend their record-breaking 37-game unbeaten run.

    Bayern will also be without injured Bastian Schweinsteiger but defender Jerome Boateng is fit to play despite sustaining a minor knock on the heel in Germany’s over England win at Wembley on Tuesday.

    Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Guendogan, who will miss the big match through injury, said he hoped former Dortmund darling Mario Goetze would receive a good reception after his high-profile transfer in the close season.

    “I think he will come with a lot of respect because he knows how much he owes Dortmund.

    “It is still a bit unusual to see him in red but he is still a colleague. I hope there are no jeers and whistles but I do not assume that it will be that way. Emotions are high when it comes to football.”

    (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Justin Palmer)

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Apr
17
  • RBA not ruling out intervention on $A

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    The Australian dollar is higher than it should be and the Reserve Bank of Australia is keeping an open mind about intervening to bring it lower, governor Glenn Stevens says.

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    Although the RBA has expressed concern about the high Australian dollar, the benefits of intervention do not outweigh the costs at this point, Mr Stevens said in a speech marking the 30th anniversary of the floating of the Australian dollar.

    Intervention in the foreign exchange market would involve selling Australian dollars to buy foreign currency.

    “Overall, in this episode so far, the bank has not been convinced that large-scale intervention clearly passed the test of effectiveness versus cost,” Mr Stevens said.

    “But that doesn’t mean we will always eschew intervention.

    “In fact we remain open-minded on the issue.

    “It remains part of the toolkit.”

    Mr Stevens said the Australian dollar was “currently above levels we would expect to see in the medium term”.

    The high Australian dollar was partly why Australia’s cash rate was at a record low of 2.5 per cent, he said.

    “We have the situation the global economy gives us and we respond to that the best we can and at the moment that means the cash rate has to be at a 50-year low even though the economy is not at a 50-year weak point and inflation is not at a 50-year low either,” Mr Stevens said.

    “Part of the reason, but not the only reason, is that the currency has been very high and was initially slow to fall.

    “It’s been the boom of gloom – the rest of the world is much more confident in us than we are in ourselves, which is part of the reason why the exchange rate has been where it is.

    “There are positive signs. I think we have reasons to be optimistic.”

    Since the currency was floated, the market had generally moved the exchange rate to the right spot eventually, Mr Stevens said.

    “At various times we have worried that the market was behaving irrationally, believing that the exchange rate should have been somewhere other than where it was. And sometimes we were right about that,” Mr Stevens said.

    “Yet, looking back, on balance the evidence suggests, I think, that the market has mostly moved the exchange rate to about the right place, sooner or later.”

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Apr
17
  • Bali punch victim family ask for privacy

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    A big-hearted Australian who taught orphans to surf remains in a coma after being punched in Bali while trying to help a woman in danger.

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    Matt Scarff, 41, suffered major head injuries when punched by a stranger outside the Townhouse Club in Seminyak on November 15 after he went to a woman’s aid.

    Mr Scarff runs a Bali surf school and, says his best mate Dougal Pennefeather, was known as someone who helped others.

    “He’s been one of my best friends for 20 years and he’s always there for you,” he said.

    Mr Scarff has had brain surgery to relieve a clot and pressure on his brain from the injury and is being treated at Royal Perth Hospital where he remains in an induced coma.

    Mr Pennefeather said his friend was not an aggressive person.

    “He was obviously just at the wrong spot,” he told AAP on Thursday.

    Mr Pennefeather said Mr Scarff gave surfing lessons mainly to Southeast Asians, including orphans, and took groups to Java, as well as surf camps up the coast.

    A Facebook page had been set up to raise money for Mr Scarff’s travel expenses to return him to Australia because he did not have insurance.

    About $45,000 was needed to get CareFlight to transport him to Australia and extra money raised will be used to cover his rehabilitation costs.

    Organisers of the Facebook group posted late on Wednesday: “His family is overwhelmed with the love, support and concern shown from everyone. The doctors and medical staff at Sanglah Hospital in Bali have been amazing and we cannot thank them enough.”

    The family asked on Thursday that the media respected their privacy while Mr Scarff was in hospital in Perth.

    A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) spokesman said such incidents served as a reminder of the potential hazards Australians could face overseas.

    “It is important for Australians travelling or living overseas to ensure they have appropriate insurance coverage,” he said.

    Meanwhile, a social media campaign is aimed at finding the man who hit Mr Scarff.

    A photograph and a name of a man have been circulating on Instagram and Facebook.

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