The All Blacks might have unearthed the next Jonah Lomu after 21-year-old Caleb Clarke yesterday proved to be a one-man demolition squad in the All Blacks’ 27-7 whipping of Australia in Auckland, New Zealand.
Clarke, the son of former All Black Eroni Clarke, takes an uncomplicated approach to using his 1.84m, 107kg frame.
“When you get the ball, just run. You don’t have to think about anything,” he said after his first Test start, after making his debut off the bench last week in the drawn first Bledisloe Cup Test.
As the All Blacks lifted their aggression and accuracy in Auckland, much of it was off Caleb Clarke’s bruising runs.
The build-up to Ardie Savea’s try was a standout as Caleb Clarke bulldozed his way through most of the Wallabies side before off-loading in sight of the line.
“Michael Hooper grabbed my nuts just then,” Caleb Clarke said afterward. “I was really sore. I was trying to push his hand off.”
Caleb Clarke also bounced off four tacklers as the All Blacks worked their way toward Aaron Smith’s opening try in the first half.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was left counting the cost of 40 missed tackles, many of them on Caleb Clarke.
The comparisons between Caleb Clarke and Lomu, the former All Blacks wing who is regarded as rugby’s first global superstar, are obvious with both big, fast and direct runners and playing in the No. 11 shirt.
The modest Caleb Clarke is humbled to be compared to his hero, who died in 2015 after battling a long-term kidney disorder.
“He was a big part of my childhood and I know he was a big part of my dad’s life. When he passed away it affected my dad. He wasn’t the same for a few weeks. I feel like I have a big responsibility to do the jersey justice,” he told Stuff on the eve of the Test.
Eroni Clarke, a 10-Test All Black, played alongside Lomu in 1998.
Such was Caleb Clarke’s performance that he received a standing ovation from sections of the crowed when he was replaced late in the game.
“I got caught up in the moment. I wanted to jog and clap everyone else, but then I started cramping and I had to walk,” he said.
It was also an emotional time for Caleb Clarke having his family there to watch, particularly his grandmother who was widowed earlier this year.
“The more special thing was having my nana there in the crowd ... when I saw my nana that’s when the waterworks started,” he said.
News of the MLB’s decision to pull this summer’s All-Star Game from Georgia over its sweeping new voting law reverberated among fans on Saturday, while Georgia Governor Brian Kemp vowed to defend the measure, saying that “free and fair elections” are worth any threats, boycotts or lawsuits. The Republican governor told a news conference that the MLB “caved to fear and lies from liberal activists” when it yanked the July 13 game from Atlanta’s Truist Park. He added that the decision would hurt working people in the state and have long-term consequences on the economy. “I want to be clear: I will not
TAKE TWO: Tainan TSG are the favorites going into this season, which starts on Sunday. They have fearsome forwards and national ’keeper Pan Wen-chieh between the posts Defending champions Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) face a tough challenge from their southern neighbors Taipower and CPC FC when the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) season starts this weekend with four matches on Sunday. Promoting grassroots soccer, and organizing relegation and promotion between the top and second divisions last year was important for the progression of Taiwanese soccer, CTFA chairman Chiou I-jen told a news conference in Taipei yesterday. “We are going in the right direction ... and becoming more competitive” for international competitions, Chiou said. Still the favorites, Tainan TSG have the league’s most fearsome forwards, with three international star players.
INSULT: Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby was involved in a heated exchange with Cadiz’s Juan Cala before indicating to the referee that he was leaving the pitch Valencia’s players on Sunday walked off during their La Liga game with Cadiz in protest against racist abuse, with coach Javi Gracia later claiming they were told they would be punished if they refused to resume the match. The fixture was stopped in the 37th minute after Valencia said their player Mouctar Diakhaby was the victim of a racial insult. Diakhaby had been involved in a heated exchange with Cadiz’s Juan Cala before indicating to the referee David Medie Jimenez that he was leaving the pitch. The Frenchman’s teammates followed him off and Cadiz also went down the tunnel soon after. About 15
Nine-year-old Thai kickboxer Pornpattara “Tata” Peachaurai is eager to get back in the ring after COVID-19 curbs brought his fight season to a halt more than five months ago. The money he earns is vital income for his family. “All the money from boxing, the regular payment and the tips, it all goes to mum,” the lean young fighter said. “I’m proud to be a boxer and to earn money for my mum.” Tata’s last fight was in October last year, before a second COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand shut down sports events as bans on large gatherings were reimposed. “I cannot box. I