Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Suncorp stadium to host two rugby games this week...

Suncorp Stadium to host two rugby games this week...

Suncorp Stadium to host two top-level rugby games this week...

Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia is to host two top level rugby games this week.

On Wednesday Queensland's Maroons and New South Wale's Blues fight out the rugby league State of Origin decider - one each with one to go. Will it be the Maroons winning Series 6, or the Blues winning Series 1 for the first time in six years? My pick: Queensland by 12 and Under

So to Suncorp in the weekend: The minor Super 15 premiers, the Queensland Reds up against every Cantabrian and Christchurchite living. Earthquake ravaged Christchurch needs something to feel good about after the worst few months in the history of the South Island. The Crusaders have a habit of getting to top form at the right time. If they win this week, it will be their eighth title. The Queensland Reds have yet to win a title in any Super rugby competition. After what the did to the Stormers last week in Capetown, the Crusaders could win by 13 and over. But it is the grand final and all sorts of strange things can happen in finals. The Crusaders will win this game for their hometown.

Travelling hasn't been a problem for this team without a home stadium this year. AMI Stadium (Lancaster Park is the grass) will be assessed in a few days and its future decided. Even with a thumbs - up, it would take a couple of years to repair the stadium and relay a new turf. If its thumbs down, a new stadium will be built somewhere else in the greater Christchurch area.

I was born and raised in Christchurch, and competed there as a secondary school athlete. Shirley Boys High, terribly damaged in the February earthquake, finished third in a 4 x 100 yard relay final back in 1958. I would be heartbroken along with 400,000 others in the greater Christchurch region, if the stadium had to be demolished. Cross-fingers for this week's decision! Now its in the hands of the rugby gods!

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Giant Kiwi rugby prop saves her life but cracks her rib in the process...

Giant Kiwi rugby prop saves her life but cracks her rib in the process...

Giant Kiwi rugby prop saves here life and cracks her rib in the process...

One Dunedin diner credits Highlanders skipper Jamie Mackintosh with saving her life, though he cracked her rib in the process.

Wendy Knight started choking on a piece of steak when she was having dinner with her family at the Dunedin Lone Star restaurant.

"I thought I was going to die ... I really did," the 44-year-old told the New Zealand Herald.

"It was totally my fault. It got caught in the back of throat and I couldn't get it to go down or bring it back up again."

Unable to breathe, she felt someone behind her perform the Heimlich manoeuvre, which dislodged the offending piece of meat.

It turned out to be Mackintosh, who was dining with fellow Highlanders Tony Brown, Jimmy Cowan, Aaron Smith and Jarrad Hoeata at the time.

She then vomited.

"I didn't know who it was. I didn't know where they came from ... I didn't even get a chance to say thanks."

Though she didn’t know who Mackintosh was before the incident, she said she was now "his number one fan".

"He probably saved my life."

Mackintosh told the Herald he had never had any medical training, but knew what to do in the event of someone choking.

"I obviously buggered it up if I cracked her rib," he said. Jamie Mackintosh is a former All Black, born and bred in the deep south of New Zealand's Southland Province, and a member of the Highlanders Super Rugby franchise for a number of years.

Acknowledgements. NZ Herald/ Msn Sports

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vandalised St Matthews billboard accuses Anglican Church of discrimination...

Vandalised St Matthews  billboard accuses Anglican Church of discrimination...

A billboard designed to challenge the Anglican Church's view on gay and lesbian priests has already been vandalised.

Auckland Anglican Church has put up a billboard outside its church, displaying a "Gay-Dar" meter that shows "Straight" on one side and "Gay" on the other and suggests the Anglican Church uses this to assess potential priests.

The church, which offers same-sex blessings among its services, has courted controversy with previous billboards, including one that depicted Mary and Joseph in bed with the caption: "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow."

The latest "Gay-Dar" billboard had been vandalised by midday today with the cross ripped off it.

Reverend Clay Nelson said the damage appeared to be sabotage, which was frustrating.

The cross would probably be replaced, he told Radio New Zealand.

Vicar Glynn Cardy said St Matthew's had endured enough of New Zealand's Anglican bishops refusing to consider a candidate for ordination if they were gay or lesbian and in a committed relationship.

The congregation voted unanimously at a recent general meeting to send a letter to their bishop respectfully asking him to end this discrimination in their diocese.

"We see this as an issue of discrimination that harms not only the gay and lesbian community, but society and ultimately the church as well," Mr Cardy said.

The church had initiated a petition in the parish and online asking people to support their call for all the New Zealand bishops to end what they believed was an unjust practice, he said.

He invited people to sign the petition and follow the debate on its website and Facebook page.

The New Zealand Anglican Church had been debating the issue of ordaining gays and lesbians since the 1990s.

Mr Cardy said some bishops in New Zealand had in the past ordained gay and lesbian candidates.

``However, following the international furore around the 2004 consecration of Gene Robinson -- an American priest who is gay and in a committed relationship -- New Zealand's bishops have seemed more concerned to promote unity with the majority rather than uphold justice for a minority.''

Bishop Philip Richardson of Taranaki said the stumbling block was that the Anglican Church had not yet agreed as a whole to whether or not ``sexual orientation towards those of one's own gender is a consequence of wilful human sinfulness, or an expression of God-given diversity''.

Rev Nelson, priest associate of St Matthew's, said he was amazed that ``in this day and age, with all the information and science available to us that `the church' can still argue that sexual orientation is a matter of wilfulness''.

It appeared that justice was being held hostage by ignorance and the bishops must enlighten the church and end the discrimination, Rev Nelson said.

Acknowledgements: - with NZPA

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