Regional Sports News
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New Zealand has retained the Bledisloe Cup for the 14th-straight year after outclassing an improved Wallabies outfit 29-9 in Saturday’s second Test in Wellington.
Despite a vastly better performance than last week’s capitulation in Sydney, Australia never looked likely to win and could do little to stop the All Blacks once their irresistible catch-and-pass game clicked into gear.
The result brings Australia’s losing streak under Michael Cheika to six matches – one short of the seven defeats in 2005 that eventually led to the sacking of Eddie Jones.
A sold-out crowd of 35,372 was on hand at a windswept Wellington Stadium, where the Wallabies have not won for 16 years.
They began with clear intent but still fell down in key areas, coughing up three lineouts and struggling to contain the slick, polished world champions, missing 27 tackles to six.
Quade Cooper had a mixed showing in his first Test for almost a year and, as expected, was booed with nearly every touch.
The All Blacks were not as clinical as last week but were still far too good for Australia.
They led 15-9 at half-time after Australia debutant Reece Hodge nailed a 52-metre penalty shot but spent most of the second stanza in cruise control, with tries from Julian Savea and Sam Cane snuffing out any chance of an unlikely Australian comeback.
Winger Israel Dagg also crossed for a first-half double, his second try set up by a scintillating Beauden Barrett run.
The Wallabies barely had a sniff in attack with the All Blacks dominating possession and territory all night.
The closest they came was when Nick Phipps crossed in the dying moments but lost control of the ball as he tried to touch down.
Australia’s only scores were two penalties from Bernard Foley and one 35th-minute three-pointer by Hodge, who was thrown into the mix earlier than expected after veteran winger Adam Ashley-Cooper went off with concussion in the 17th minute.
Two-Test lock Adam Coleman was also yellow-carded just before the interval for a late shoulder charge on Ben Smith.
The Wallabies will look to recover from what has been a nightmare fortnight when they face South Africa on September 10 at Lang Park.
The final Bledisloe Test will be played at Eden Park on October 22.
Kenya has arrested three top members of its Olympic committee, a witness says, after mismanagement nearly derailed the country’s participation in the Rio Games.
The east African nation notched its biggest-ever medal haul in Brazil, but doping and organisational challenges plagued its preparations.
Chef de mission Stephen Arap Soi and assistant secretary of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) James Chacha were taken to a police station in Nairobi upon arrival from the Olympics on Friday, alongside the body’s secretary general, Francis K Paul, the witness said.
Another official, Athletics Kenya chief executive Susan Kamau said she was also questioned by police but shortly released.
With six golds, as many silvers and one bronze medal, Kenya finished second only to the US in the athletics table.
But its athletics pedigree has been tainted with up to 40 runners failing doping tests in the past four years.
Its struggle to convince authorities it was taking the issue seriously threatened its participation in Rio.
In April, Kenya’s president signed into law a bill criminalising doping, as demanded by the World Anti-Doping Agency, to avoid a Rio ban and the government has promised a tighter rein in the future.
At the Games, Kenya’s Olympic committee sent home a sprinting coach after he was accused of posing as an athlete to doping testers.
The coach said he had borrowed an accreditation pass to seek a meal in the athletes village.
Kenya’s athletics manager was also sent home from the Olympics and is being detained while police investigate allegations that he had warned athletes before the Games about drugs tests in return for cash.
He denies any wrongdoing.
The Kenyan government had warned of measures against officials accused of mismanaging preparations before the competition’s conclusion.
Sports Minister Hassan Wario said he had disbanded NOC-K and set up a committee to probe mismanagement, and it will report its findings by September 30.