Thank god for Monday. A whole week to recover from an exhausting weekend.
1. New Zealand Women’s Open
Lydia Ko (70, 61, 71) won by four strokes from Hannah Green (68, 70, 68)
Lydia banked her win with that 11-under second round on Saturday. Pure class all the way. Fascinating to watch such a talented young woman grow up in the public eye: her poise, confidence and humour shining through now.
2. Cricket World Cup
Australia 151 all out (32.2 overs)
New Zealand 152/9 (23.1 overs)
New Zealand won by 1 wicket
What was billed as a run-fest turned out to be a game of stunning bowling. Trent Boult gets the plaudits for a five-wicket haul, but it was the guile of Vettori who put the pressure on and created the gap. And Mitchell Starc’s almost-winning 6-wicket spell for the Aussies was brilliantly devastating.
Kane Williamson gets the heart-surgeon award for life-saving cool.
3. Super XV
Highlanders 20 – 13 Reds
Force 13 – 42 Hurricanes
Cheetahs 25 – 24 Blues
Chiefs 40 – 16 Crusaders
Rebels 15 – 20 Brumbies
Bulls 43 – 35 Sharks
Lions 19 – 22 Stormers
Fair to say, I think, that it’s normal transmission in Sanzar, except for the Hurricanes. Pinch yourself, rub your eyes, they’re three from three on the road. The set-piece looks solid, and the wings are smoking hot.
The Highlanders making hard work of dispatching the Rubbish Reds at home does not bode well for the rest of the comp. The Crusaders are having another slow start but don’t write them off yet, the Chiefs just look bloody well coached, and the Blues can’t close out a clutch play at the death.
The Brumbies look the best of the Aussies but still struggled in Melbourne. The Stormers top the South African conference, but the conference looks mediocre.
4. Six Nations
Scotland 19 – 22 Italy
France 13 – 20 Wales
Ireland 19 – 9 England
O Scotland. Just when we thought there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon, it turns out to be a false dawn. Italy won with a last gasp penalty try as the Scots pulled down a maul in front of the line, but FFS why were you in that position at all?
Wales pick up a win in Paris because the Frogs are, what? Directionless, disinterested? Just French?
Ireland controlled the game against the Poms, even if the score wasn’t scintillating. That makes it ten wins in a row for the Oirish, equalling their record.
Overall, the third round will confirm southern hemisphere prejudices about rugby on the wrong side of the world. Just seven tries in the three matches, and the boot prevails.