Peter Anderson ๐Ÿ… With the Euros finished I spent a quiet weekend on the sporting front. 

After spending the morning out in the sun, I retired indoors to catch up on some Olympics. I had recorded the cycling road race which was won by Richard Carapaz, following on from his third place at the Tour de France. I then watched some archery. The excellent South Koreans took gold in the mixed team event, dispatching the Dutch in the thrilling final. 

This is one of the joys of watching the Olympics, watching sports that you normally don't watch.

Following the archery, I watched the highlights of the hockey as the Irish women beat South Africa in their first group game, and Team GB men beat the same country in theirs. Just like the archery, the only time I watch hockey is at the Olympics. Unfortunately, with the time zone difference this Olympics will mostly be watched via the highlights. For me the best of the Olympics is always the athletics, and with no Usain Bolt this time I will be following the exploits of up-and-coming superstar Sydney McLaughlin in the women's 400m hurdles. At the tender age of twenty-one she is already the world record holder and the only woman in history to run the distance in under 52 seconds. The athletics kicks off on Friday, look out for young Sydney.

Following on from my afternoon of Olympics came the rugby and the first test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions on Saturday evening. Unlike in recent tours there aren't many Irishmen to cheer on this time. Given the lack of Irishmen and the complete lack of spectators in the stadium due to covid restrictions, it was hard to get excited about this Lion's tour. The last tour in 2017 to New Zealand was a classic and the "Neil Jenkins" tour in South Africa in 1997 was one of the greatest ever, yet somehow this one, in the middle of a pandemic, seems a bit of an anti-climax. 

Nonetheless, I watched the game and was not disappointed. After a typically bruising first 15 mins the hosts settled better and dominated the first period, but the Lions came out pumped for the second half and forced multiple penalties from the South Africans. Both sides also scored a try each but the Lions came out on top, winning the game 17-22. Two South African tries were controversially chalked off on VAR review to the disgust of the home side, which sets up the next test nicely this Saturday. The Springboks will be desperate to win the test and avoid losing the series in the second match and the dreaded "dead" last game. 

So, plenty of sport to keep us going until the new footy season kicks off in a couple of weeks' time.

Peter Anderson is a Unionist with a keen interest in sports.


Olympics & Rugby

Peter Anderson ๐Ÿ… With the Euros finished I spent a quiet weekend on the sporting front. 

After spending the morning out in the sun, I retired indoors to catch up on some Olympics. I had recorded the cycling road race which was won by Richard Carapaz, following on from his third place at the Tour de France. I then watched some archery. The excellent South Koreans took gold in the mixed team event, dispatching the Dutch in the thrilling final. 

This is one of the joys of watching the Olympics, watching sports that you normally don't watch.

Following the archery, I watched the highlights of the hockey as the Irish women beat South Africa in their first group game, and Team GB men beat the same country in theirs. Just like the archery, the only time I watch hockey is at the Olympics. Unfortunately, with the time zone difference this Olympics will mostly be watched via the highlights. For me the best of the Olympics is always the athletics, and with no Usain Bolt this time I will be following the exploits of up-and-coming superstar Sydney McLaughlin in the women's 400m hurdles. At the tender age of twenty-one she is already the world record holder and the only woman in history to run the distance in under 52 seconds. The athletics kicks off on Friday, look out for young Sydney.

Following on from my afternoon of Olympics came the rugby and the first test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions on Saturday evening. Unlike in recent tours there aren't many Irishmen to cheer on this time. Given the lack of Irishmen and the complete lack of spectators in the stadium due to covid restrictions, it was hard to get excited about this Lion's tour. The last tour in 2017 to New Zealand was a classic and the "Neil Jenkins" tour in South Africa in 1997 was one of the greatest ever, yet somehow this one, in the middle of a pandemic, seems a bit of an anti-climax. 

Nonetheless, I watched the game and was not disappointed. After a typically bruising first 15 mins the hosts settled better and dominated the first period, but the Lions came out pumped for the second half and forced multiple penalties from the South Africans. Both sides also scored a try each but the Lions came out on top, winning the game 17-22. Two South African tries were controversially chalked off on VAR review to the disgust of the home side, which sets up the next test nicely this Saturday. The Springboks will be desperate to win the test and avoid losing the series in the second match and the dreaded "dead" last game. 

So, plenty of sport to keep us going until the new footy season kicks off in a couple of weeks' time.

Peter Anderson is a Unionist with a keen interest in sports.


9 comments:

  1. I've had what you might call a chequered experience with rugby. I fought the anti-apartheid struggle around the issue in Aotearoa NZ.
    The dude at the controls of this plane is one of my closest friends on the planet.
    Lost his pilots licence and went to jail for this action.
    His name? Marx Jones.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkZMIySG75c

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  2. Mt friend is passionate about rugby but it is something I never really watched with the feeling I have for soccer. Years ago I remember the greats like Duckham, JPR Williams, Gareth Edwards. I would find it hard to name a current player other than Johnny Sexton.

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  3. I had to play rugby at school as grammars didn't play footy back then. I don't love it like I do the footy. The big games are good if the weather is okay, but if it is raining or windy rugby is hard to watch, too many knock-ons etc Also in footy minnows can park the bus and play on the counter and get a shock win. In rugby minnows get overwhelmed and, again, it is hard to watch. I do like the Lion's tours though and Ireland in the world cup etc.

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    1. when a child I used to watch Rugby League every Saturday on Grandstand. Then we would eagerly watch the Teleprinter punching out the results of the soccer - all leading up to the climax: Dr Who!! Most memorable rugby moment - has to be Don Fox missing the penalty for Wakefield in the last kick of the game against Leeds in the 68 cup final. It was the strangest miss ever - he had no keeper to beat: it was a rugby penalty from right in front of the posts. Shows what nerves can do even to the best of players. And he was a brilliant rugby player.

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  4. AM

    That was the pattern of my Saturday afternoon childhood as well.

    You may not be surprised to know that Leeds Rhinos are my other club sporting allegiance; their clubs colours are the same as LUFC, yellow blue and white and the supporters' anthem, Marching on Together.

    RL is rather easier on the eye than RU being more open and less broken up by scrums.

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  5. I like watching the Rugby 7's as it's faster. Watched the Matilda's v US in footy last night and 2 things stood out. Women should play football on a smaller pitch and there's nothing more boring to watch than 2 teams who have both qualified for the next round as long as the score stays the same pass the ball between the same three players for 10 minutes while the commentators struggle to find words!

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  6. Stumbled across a rugby match when I was in South Africa. Never had I given a passing thought to the sport but was totally captivated by the skills on these 12 or 13 year old Afrikaner kids. They were playing barefoot which I thought was bizarre but they had great precision, timing, speed and passion. It was like even if they were blindfolded they could have passed it perfectly back to the teammate. Had not the slightest clue what I was watching or the rules but I enjoyed it. Interesting and exciting sport.

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  7. I loved Saturday Grandstand. I used to watch it every week with my Granda. We would watch all the sports except horseracing. I hated when they broke away from the rugby league for the 3:30 at Chepstow!

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  8. I still support Celtic, I may be the only one left ..29/07/2021

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