Tag Archives: omens

Dan Carter can rock England for New Zealand

Dan can Paint It Black: Stones fan Carter set to rock HQ and make it 10 on the trot for Kiwis

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UPDATED:

23:34 GMT, 27 November 2012

It says a lot for Dan Carter’s status in New Zealand that when the All
Black fly-half announced that his wife, Honor, is expecting their first
child, the country’s Prime Minister was quick to publicly pass on his
congratulations.

What John Key and all Kiwis recognise is that their record-breaking No
10 is a national treasure, not to mention the world’s all-time leading
points scorer and — by common consent — the finest fly-half in the
history of Test rugby.

The 30-year-old is revered in his homeland and respected around the
globe. He has been the poster-boy for the sport for several years,
having long since reluctantly acquired the mantle which once sat
uncomfortably on Jonny Wilkinson’s shoulders.

Respected: Dan Carter (centre) is a key player for New Zealand

Respected: Dan Carter (centre) is a key player for New Zealand

Stones fan: Carter went to watch the legendary rock band

Stones fan: Carter went to watch the legendary rock band

Carter is a figurehead for the game but when he is abroad, in countries
where rugby is not king, he is able to enjoy the rare delights of a
lower profile. He can blend into a crowd, which is exactly what he did
on Sunday. Just hours after arriving in London from Cardiff, he paid a
visit to the O2 Arena to watch The Rolling Stones. ‘It was awesome,’ he
said. ‘It was amazing. I was rocking out!’

Having relished the role of the excited fan, he is now in business mode,
which spells trouble for England. Carter missed the All Blacks’
victories over Italy and Wales while recovering from an injury to his
achilles-calf area, but expects to be fit for the tour finale,
Saturday’s QBE International at Twickenham.

Stuart Lancaster has enough on his plate without having to tackle the
omens which Carter will bring to HQ. Rewind to June 2003 and the
fresh-faced prospect from rural Canterbury was an unused replacement as
the England of Martin Johnson and Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Phil
Vickery and all came to Wellington and beat the All Blacks en route to
World Cup glory.

Since then, since Carter has become a points machine,
it has been Kiwi dominance all the way in this fixture. Nine games, nine
New Zealand wins.

Pricey: Tickets to see Mick Jagger and Co cost top dollar

Pricey: Tickets to see Mick Jagger and Co cost top dollar

Surprise: Carter believes England should have kicked on after their 2003 triumph

Surprise: Carter believes England should have kicked on after their 2003 triumph

Dan Carter

‘I’m surprised England haven’t done more since 2003,’ said Carter.
‘They’ve shown the strength of their side only in patches since then.
Maybe consistency is what’s been lacking. They’ve got the players, so
talent’s not an issue.’

Recalling the night in Wellington when Sir Clive Woodward’s team
conquered his compatriots while he sat on the bench, Carter added: ‘It
was in 2003 that I got the All Black jersey for the first time, though
unfortunately I didn’t get on. England were in their prime and had a
successful year. We have real pride in not losing at home but they
taught us a lesson that night.’

Since then, his star has risen rapidly while England’s fortunes have
declined. Carter quickly asserted his credentials as a fly-half with the
full tool box — kicking precision and robust defence, mental fortitude
and vision, quick hands and nimble feet.

He reached the bar which had been set by Wilkinson and soared past it,
with the proof of his claim to be the world’s leading playmaker
delivered one night back in Wellington’s ‘Cake Tin’ in 2005, when he led
the Lions a merry dance in a complete display of the No 10 arts.

That, and so many other performances of the highest class, have helped
New Zealand regain their pre-eminence in the global game. Sadly, when
they finally claimed their Holy Grail by winning a home World Cup last
year, Carter missed the sharp end of the tournament through injury.

To see the Kiwi response to his demise at first hand was to understand
his role as a focal point of so much hope and expectation. Negative
bulletins about Carter prompt nationwide panic. It is a small-scale
version of the phenomenon in India, where public morale is intrinsically
linked to the health and batting exploits of Sachin Tendulkar.

So when Carter revealed on Twitter yesterday that Honor, a former New
Zealand hockey captain, is 21 weeks pregnant, the announcement made
waves. He was typically bashful about all the fuss. After admitting to
being ‘very excited’, he was asked if he hoped his child would be
sporting. Stuttering for an appropriate answer, he eventually came up
with: ‘Yeah . . . reasonable genes there, so who knows…!’

More comfortable territory was any talk of Saturday’s Test. While Carter
diplomatically suggested England can ‘beat any team on their day’, it
was somewhat more revealing when he described the hosts as
‘well-structured’. In direct opposition to him at Twickenham will be
21-year-old Owen Farrell of Saracens, who has eight caps to the Kiwi’s
93. It will be a classic case of master versus pupil.

This may be the last game in a gruelling season, but for the All Blacks
and their icon, there can be no easing off now. Steve Hansen’s side have
a 20-match unbeaten run to protect and Carter is adamant there is no
danger of complacency despite their nine-year hold on this fixture. For
his own part, the fire still burns.

‘Every time you get to pull on the black jersey you’re wanting to
perform,’ he said. ‘The drive is still there, which is important. The
hunger and desire to play the best I can every week is still there,
which is a good sign.’

It is a particularly bad sign for England. Carter has had his fun
watching the Stones. Now he is on his way back to Twickenham, ready to
paint it black once more.

DAN CARTER'S TWITTER COMPETITION

Carter with rugby tickets

After sampling the most expensive tickets in town at the Rolling Stones concert, New Zealand star Dan Carter is offering his Twitter followers some freebies.

The fly-half is giving away two pairs of tickets (pictured right) for England’s crunch game against the All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday. The catch Entrants have to submit a ‘creative’ film explaining why they deserve the tickets, performed in front of a London landmark.

Carter will announce the winner at midday on Friday.

Tweets from @DanCarter

‘Last leg of the tour and I think we should do something crazy and creative for #EnglandDCHookup’

‘In order to win double pass to the England game, you need to send me a #creative video on why you want those tickets.’

‘The video needs to include a well known London landmark in the background. Remember you have to be able to attend the game in person.’

‘Shy & don’t want to be in the video that’s fine as long the video is creative, includes a London landmark and why you want those tickets’

Roger Federer beats Janko Tipsarevic at ATP World Tour Finals

Federer begins hunt for hat-trick of O2 crowns by making short work of Tipsarevic

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UPDATED:

16:03 GMT, 6 November 2012

Roger Federer wasted little time in opening the defence of his Barclays ATP World Tour Finals crown with a 6-3 6-1 victory over Janko Tipsarevic at London's O2 Arena.

The Swiss star is looking for a hat-trick of titles in Greenwich and a seventh at the tournament overall having set a new record with his final triumph over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 12 months ago.

Federer opted against defending his Paris Masters crown last week to prepare for London and he certainly looked sharp as he brushed aside the challenge of Tipsarevic.

Roger and out: Federer waves to the crowd after beating Janko Tipsarevic at the ATP World Tour Finals

Roger and out: Federer waves to the crowd after beating Janko Tipsarevic at the ATP World Tour Finals

Smash hit: The great Swiss lost just four games on his way to victory against the Serbian

Smash hit: The great Swiss lost just four games on his way to victory against the Serbian

The Serb did play in the French capital but retired during the third set of his clash with eventual runner-up Jerzy Janowicz because of dizziness and admitted on Monday he was not feeling 100 per cent.

Federer took control from the off, to the delight of his many fans in the arena, breaking the Tipsarevic serve in the second game and cruising through the rest of the first set.

Tipsarevic, a direct entrant here because of Rafael Nadal's withdrawal through injury, had never beaten Federer in five previous meetings so the omens were not good.

Serving up a treat: The defending champion put on a brilliant display for the packed crowd

Serving up a treat: The defending champion put on a brilliant display for the packed crowd

Specs appeal: Tipsarevic hits a forehand to Federer at the O2 Arena on Tuesday afternoon

Specs appeal: Tipsarevic hits a forehand to Federer at the O2 Arena on Tuesday afternoon

He held serve at the start of the
second set but from there the second seed did not lose a game, polishing
off victory in only an hour and eight minutes.

The win also earned Federer another
piece of history as it was his 40th in the competition, moving him ahead
of Ivan Lendl, with whom he had jointly held the record.

Wimbledon 2012: Serena Williams beats Yaroslava Shvedova

Serena sees off golden girl Shvedova in tense final set to march into quarter-finals

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UPDATED:

14:48 GMT, 2 July 2012

Four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams came through a tough test of her title credentials on a damp and drizzly Court No 2 as she saw off Yaroslava Shvedova in three sets.

Conditions were rarely better than grim, with a strong wind ripping around for the duration and the final games being played under fine rain.

But Williams overcame the elements, as well as her in-form opponent – Shvedova recorded the first-ever 'golden set' at a grand slam on Saturday – to progress to a 12th Wimbledon quarter-final, winning 6-1, 2-6, 7-5.

Safely through: Serena Williams celebrates after defeating Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova

Safely through: Serena Williams celebrates after defeating Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova

Power games: Williams blasts a forehand to Shvedova on Court No 2 at the All England Club

Power games: Williams blasts a forehand to Shvedova on Court No 2 at the All England Club

Her winning shot – a backhand that
Shvedova failed to respond to – came with the rest of the courts taking
shelter from the rain, but Williams insisted afterwards she never
considered asking to leave the court.

'I didn't want to lose today, I
thought stay relaxed,' she said. 'I felt fine. We both wanted to keep
playing as it was so deep into the match. I didn't want to stop and I
don't think she did.'

It had looked as though the match
would be wrapped up in no time at all when Williams took the opening set
without barely breaking sweat.

Shvedova actually took the first point
of the match, raising fanciful hopes of another perfect set, but that
was neither likely nor expected and she then lost her first service game
when she netted a forehand.

Dangerous opponent: The sixth seed is chasing a fifth Wimbledon crown

Dangerous opponent: The sixth seed is chasing a fifth Wimbledon crown

Her second game with ball in hand went
in Williams' favour too and at 4-0 down with 11 minutes gone, the omens
were not good for the 24-year-old from Kazakhstan.

She made a fist of the closing games,
though, and despite losing the set was far more competitive, highlighted
when she broke WIlliams in the sixth game of the second set when she
forced the American to net.

Another break in the eighth game – a
backhand winner completing the job – got her level at 1-1 and set up a
decider, which was a chanceless affair until Williams earned a
seventh-game break point.

She was unable to take it, Shvedova
serving away from trouble, and when she squandered three more in the
ninth game, it appeared that fortune was not with Williams.

Dogged: Kazakhstan's Shvedova pushed Williams all the way into the third and deciding set

Dogged: Kazakhstan's Shvedova pushed Williams all the way into the third and deciding set

But when another chance came her way
at 5-5 she took it, albeit through her opponent's error, and she served
out for the match, digging out a brilliant backhand lob at 30-30 to set
up her one and only match point.

Austrian Tamira Paszek was the first woman to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon as she claimed an impressive win over Roberta Vinci.

Champion at Eastbourne in the week leading up to Wimbledon, the 21-year-old has kept her form together and had too much for Italian 21st seed Vinci today in posting a 6-2, 6-2 success.

Unseeded Paszek has reached a second successive Wimbledon quarter-final. She was beaten last year by Victoria Azarenka, who was preparing to take on Ana Ivanovic today for the right to play Paszek again.

The win was her ninth in a row on grass.

World Snooker 2012: Ronnie O"Sullivan leads Mark Williams

Rocket Ronnie turns on the style as former champion takes charge against Williams

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UPDATED:

16:41 GMT, 29 April 2012

Crucible showman Ronnie O'Sullivan turned on the style as he went close to thrashing Mark Williams with a session to spare.

Williams took the final two frames of the session to guarantee they must return on Monday evening, but the Welshman is surely destined to lose to O'Sullivan at the Crucible for the fourth time in seven years.

The pair have met in 2006, 2008 and 2010, with the result going O'Sullivan's way each time, and this time he has armed himself with an imposing 11-5 lead in their best-of-25-frames match.

Nearly there: Ronnie O'Sullivan leads 11-5 against Mark Williams

Nearly there: Ronnie O'Sullivan leads 11-5 against Mark Williams

It has been a decade since Williams last beat O'Sullivan, with that success coming at the Thailand Masters.

Once O'Sullivan came from 3-2 behind to lead 5-3 overnight, the omens were not good for Williams, and his hopes were soon in tatters as the frames raced by once they resumed.

There were two sparkling centuries amid a barrage of blistering breaks, with O'Sullivan running through his repertoire of shots long and short, spins of all imaginable type, and no little shrewd safety.

O'Sullivan was terrific in each of the afternoon's opening four frames, although he often had Williams' mistakes to thanks for his opportunities.

In the first, Williams missed an attempted plant to let O'Sullivan in for a break of 107.

Mountain to climb: Williams cannot afford any more slip-ups

Mountain to climb: Williams cannot afford any more slip-ups

The gap went to three frames, and it was soon four. Williams was put in deep trouble behind the brown, and played the white off the side and top cushions but the wrong side of his intended target red, missing all the balls and leaving an easy starter.

O'Sullivan had a plant red in a break of 74, and Williams could only stew in his seat.

A 51 guided O'Sullivan towards an 8-3 lead, before a 68 took him to the interval four frames from victory.

The genius was still at work when they returned, firstly with a 128 which was followed by a sprint to 93.

That made it nine frames in a row for the 36-year-old from 3-2 behind, and a free Monday evening was by that stage looking a probability.

O'Sullivan had chances early in the 15th frame too, but two reds were not followed by colours and Williams seized his chance, making 86 to guarantee him another night in Sheffield.

Williams had never lost a Crucible match with a session to spare, so to keep that record intact was his consolation from a miserable afternoon.

The 37-year-old Ebbw Vale man, champion at the Crucible in 2000 and 2003, scrambled through what proved easily the scrappiest frame of the session to trim O'Sullivan's lead to six frames.

The most recent of O'Sullivan's three world titles came in 2008, when he beat Williams 13-7 in the second round.

This time the margin could be heavier, with the performance leaving no doubt he is in the mood for a fourth Crucible crown.

Jenson Button: It"s great for F1 that Red Bull aren"t winning

It's great for F1 that Red Bull aren't winning, says Australian GP winner Button

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UPDATED:

14:57 GMT, 19 March 2012

Jenson Button is hoping Sebastian Vettel will become accustomed to the sight of seeing a McLaren ahead of him this season rather than in his mirrors.

Vettel's statistics over the last two years en route to winning back-to-back Formula One world titles are extraordinary.

Champagne moment: Button celebrates his win at the Australian Grand Prix

Champagne moment: Button celebrates his win at the Australian Grand Prix

From 38 races, Vettel qualified on pole 25 times, was on the front row of the grid a total of 32 occasions overall, won 16 races and was on the podium at a further 11.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

It has been a phenomenal run, but there is hope after Sunday's opening race of the season that the tide has finally turned, with Vettel bemoaning his lot after being forced to settle for being distinctly second best at Melbourne's Albert Park.

When told that Vettel disliked the McLarens giving him such a hard time, Button said: 'Hopefully he'll get used to it.

'It's great for the sport the Red Bulls weren't on the front row. Since Monza (the Italian Grand Prix) 2010 there had been a Red Bull on the front row, but we pushed them off.

Out of position: Vettel could only manage sixth in qualifying

Out of position: Vettel could only manage sixth in qualifying

'That's important for the sport, although you can never discount them. They are always there.'

From the first all-British front row for 17 years, and McLaren's first for two and a half years, Lewis Hamilton claimed his 20th pole, edging Button in qualifying.

However, Button dominated the race itself after overtaking Hamilton into the first corner, leading for 57 of the 58 laps, with Vettel describing him as 'unbeatable'.

If Button is a fan of omens, the winner in Australia in five of the last six seasons has gone on to clinch the title, including Button himself in 2009, although the 32-year-old is also the one anomaly in 2010.

Give hat back: Vettel steals Button's cap as the drivers pose for the cameras

Give hat back: Vettel steals Button's cap as the drivers pose for the cameras

Informed of the start after his 13th race victory, Button added: 'That sounds great doesn't it I hope it is the case again, but you can't get carried away.

'But to win here at the start is great for me and motivates the whole team, not that they really need it.

'I'm in a great place with the team, I feel so at home in the car and it's something that gives me a lot of confidence.'

Button is aware of how much it would mean for McLaren to again be on top of the F1 world after winning just one drivers' title since 1999 and going without a constructors' crown since 1998.

'As a driver you go through a season thinking about the drivers' championship,' Button said.

'That's the one that as a kid you get excited about, getting into Formula One and fighting for a world championship.

'The constructors' is key for a team, but if the team could win the drivers' and not the constructors' then they'd be ecstatic.

'If Lewis and I are both competitive as we both are, both world champions, both fighting at the front, there's always the chance you will win the constructors'.

'But you win and lose as a team and although they're both important, the team know the way we think, that we're fighters and we want to get what we want.

'It's always the way it is. This team has been fantastic this year – in fact every year I've been with them – but this year especially.

'They've worked so hard and it really means a lot to us to be so strong at the first race after a couple of years of struggle and everyone saying 'McLaren aren't good at the start of the year'.

'We are now and we just have to hope our progress is as good as previous years. It's going to be difficult because we've a very high target, but what a perfect start to the season.'