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Upper Hutt Leader : December 28th 2011
19 UPPER HUTT LEADER, DECEMBER 28, 2011 SPORT State Highway 2, Te Marua (Just north of Upper Hutt) Monday 2nd January & Tuesday 3rd January 7.00 pm Start • Gates Open 5.30pm Visit www.wellingtonspeedway.co.nz 4265180AA OHLAD STO FOR ALL PRICES AND FURTHER DETAILS GO TO OUR WEBSITE Presented By Protecta Insurance www.wellingtonphoenix.com 4pm PHOENIX DOUBLE HEADER Conditions available at Ticketek Tickets available at Ticketek outlets or call 0800 Ticketek or www.ticketek.co.nz Rugby's big year undoubted winner SPORTS TALK JOSEPH ROMANOS Rugby joy: Even heavy rain didn't deter Wellingtonians from turning out for the All Blacks' victory parade on October 26. More than 100,000 people welcomed the Webb Ellis Cup winners. Photo: REBECCA THOMSON The Rugby World Cup dominated Wellington sport in 2011, as it did nationally. Not only did hundreds of thou- sands of Wellingtonians follow the World Cup, either by attending early matches or on television, but the city contributed some of the key members of the All Black squad. Piri Weepu, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Cory Jane and, to a lesser extent, Victor Vito, played important roles in the All Blacks. Wellington also claims a bit of pride, too, in the performance of Aaron Cruden of Manawatu and Andrew Hore of Taranaki, because of their link with the Hurricanes. By the end of the tournament, Hosea Gear had also been called into the squad, as injuries mounted. It was ironic that the All Blacks' triumph at the World Cup should make Wellingtonians feel so good about rugby. Earlier in the year, there'd been gnashing of teeth as the Hurricanes squad -- underperforming as usual -- disin- tegrated before our eyes. New Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett told Nonu and captain Hore they were no longer required. This caused massive dis- ruption, to the point that Weepu and Gear signed elsewhere soon after. With Neemia Tialata and John Schwalger heading off to take up contracts in France, and Rodney So'oialo bound for Japan, the Hurricanes lineup looks noticeably short of firepower. This will present a huge chal- lenge for Hammett and new cap- tain Conrad Smith. To round off an undistinguished season for Wellington, the Lions finished only sixth of seven teams in their ITM Cup section. Wellington didn't distinguish itself in other major sports, either. The Firebirds finished either last or second-last in all three cricket competitions -- first-class, one-day and Twenty20. This resulted in the sacking of coach Anthony Stuart. Also departing was popular Cricket Wellington chief executive Gavin Larsen. It doesn't seem to have made much difference. Under a new coach, Jamie Siddons, the injury- blighted Wellington team has struggled to make an impact in the 2011-12 competitions. The Wellington women, the Blaze, did much better, jostling with Canterbury for top honours. With Sophie Devine (now devoting herself to hockey with the goal of making the 2012 London Olympics) and a clutch of other internationals to the fore- front, the Wellington women were always competitive. There wasn't much for Welling- ton to smile about on the netball scene. The Pulse improved marginally in the trans-Tasman competition, but were still miles off the pace. In a rather low-key national netball championship, Wellington finished fourth. A fillip came late in the year when Waimarama Taumaunu was named to replace Ruth Aitken as the New Zealand team coach. Even the Wellington Phoenix football team failed to provide quite the spark of previous years. They finished sixth in the Aust- ralian league, slipping from third in 2010. Their start to the 2011-12 has hardly been propitious. The Phoenix did provide off- field fireworks, though, when foundation owner Terry Serepisos ran into financial problems and had to relinquish his hold on the club. He was replaced by a group of Wellington businessmen. The provincial men's hockey team finished fourth and the women seventh in the national league. The Wellington men did well in squash. Martin Knight won the national senior title and Evan Williams was voted most improved New Zealand male player. In addition, Wellington won the national senior teams event. Wellington rower Peter Taylor wasn't quite able to secure another world title. He and Storm Uru finished second in the men's lightweight double sculls at the world champs in Bled, Slovenia, which is still a performance not to be sneezed at Backstroke swimmer Gareth Kean made the final of the 100 metres in the world champion- ships in Shanghai and picked up two medals, including a gold, at the world university games. Olympic silver medallist Nick willis rebounded from injury to reach the final of the 1500m in the world track and field champion- ships in Daegu. Pero Cameron's Wellington Saints retained their national bas- ketball league title, beating Hawke's Bay 106-97. Perhaps the brightest news on the Wellington sports scene was the opening of the ASB indoor cen- tre in Rongotai in August. The centre has proved a huge success and there has not been the traffic chaos predicted by the nay- sayers.
December 21st 2011
January 4th 2012