All Blacks dispute settled
The New Zealand Rugby Players Association, representing the All Blacks, have finally reached agreement with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) on a World Cup-winning bonus payment. "While remuneration negotiations are always difficult processes in any industry or profession, the NZRU is pleased both parties were able to resolve this issue once we went to mediation," NZRU chief executive Chris Moller told reporters yesterday. The All Blacks will be paid a total of NZ$80,000 (US$47,110) if they lift the cup. Agreement was reached yesterday morning after 12 hours of negotiations in front of a Department of Labor mediator broke up after midnight on Tuesday. The NZRU had said if agreement could not be reached, a "worst case scenario" would be the selection of a second or third-string team to travel to Australia for the World Cup which starts in October.
Third seed Justine Henin-Hardenne showed the form that won her this year's French Open title when she destroyed Greece's Eleni Daniilidou 6-1 6-1 in the second round of the US$1 million Acura Classic on Tuesday. In her first WTA Tour match since she lost to world No. 1 Serena Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals on July 3, the Belgian was too strong for Daniilidou, 21, who won their only previous meeting, in the Netherlands on grass last year. "I'm a completely different player now," Henin-Hardenne told reporters. "I gave up seven match points there and, at that time, I wasn't in good mental shape. "Tonight I played aggressive when I needed to and I was patient when I had to be. I served well and pushed her into mistakes."