New Zealand Maori celebrated their debut in the Pacific Nations Cup with a scratchy 20-9 first-round victory over a brave Tonga yesterday.
The match could have gone either way until the 72nd minute, when the Maoris scored the second of their two tries to give themselves a comfortable buffer.
The Maori were making their first appearance in the Pacific competition, replacing the Junior All Blacks who romped to victory in the Cup’s first two years.
Tonga continued their good form from the World Cup, holding their own in the forwards and keeping the more favored opposition to 3-3 at halftime.
Both teams took a long time to settle into their first appearances of the season, and a heavy penalty count stopped the game from flowing through long stretches.
Maori No. 8 Thomas Waldrom stood out, with strong running and offloading, while Tongan flankers Nili Latu and Hale T-Pole helped ensure their side held their own up front despite a big territorial disadvantage.
Flyhalf Fangatapu Apikotoa played a major part in preventing the Maori making more of their territorial advantage, repeatedly getting his team out of trouble with long clearing kicks and scoring all Tonga’s points from penalties.
The Tongans never threw in the towel, but their generally disciplined display was spoiled by yellow cards in the second spell to fullback Sione Tu’ipulotu and inside center Epeli Taione for illegal tackles.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017