Month: August 2019

Six Wallabies suspended after drinking session

“Those standards were compromised in the lead-up to Saturday’s victory over Ireland with a group of players making the decision to stay out late and consume inappropriate levels of alcohol during the early hours of Wednesday morning.

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Wingers Adam Ashley Cooper and Nick Cummins, front-rowers Tatafu Polota-Nau and Benn Robinson, and backrower Liam Gill have been stood down for Saturday’s test with Scotland at Murrayfield.

Front-rower Paddy Ryan has also been given a one-game ban, but will serve his suspension in the Wallabies’ final tour match, against Wales in Cardiff on November 30, because international regulations state all squads must contain at least four props. Australia have only five in their touring party of 32.

McKenzie gave written disciplinary warnings to Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga’a, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps, while Scott Fardy, Mike Harris, Ben McCalman and Nic White received verbal warnings.

“Let’s be clear – these are internal sanctions and aren’t a result of any complaints or reports of inappropriate or sinister behaviour while our players were out,” said McKenzie, whose team beat Ireland 32-15. “Instead, we have chosen to address an issue that has come up internally and we are now being up-front about it.

“We’ve done this because we need to continually reinforce the need for our players to make smart decisions to benefit the team.

“The worst thing you could do for the Wallabies in the long-term is do nothing, because that would mean we would be ignoring poor culture and a significant performance issue.

“We will always take action in relation to examples of poor culture when it’s warranted – doing nothing to address poor behaviour will never be an option. We’ve taken on the challenge of re-defining our team culture.”

In September James O’Connor was dropped from the Australia squad after he was thrown out of Perth airport after an alcohol-related row with staff while Kurtley Beale spent time in rehab earlier in the year following a drinking suspension from his club.

McKenzie, who succeeded Robbie Deans as Wallabies coach in July, said he would not use the absent players as an excuse for a poor performance against Scotland.

“For us, this is a great opportunity to circle the wagons and re-calibrate our behaviours to get back on track off the field,” he said.

(Editing by Justin Palmer)

Clicktivism: Why social media is not good for charity

Almost all of us have done it.

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A click here, a like there. Maybe hitting follow to a cause that’s been mentioned by a celebrity.

 

The warm, fuzzy feeling that your Facebook friends can see you stand for something, that you’re drawing attention to big issues.

 

But no – it doesn’t really work like that.

 

Not according to a new study that says that so-called “slacktivists” are precisely the sort of people who don’t help change anything.

 

The debate about the value of online activism came in the wake of the Arab spring.

 

Some attributing sweeping social change in countries such as Eqypt, to the powers of social media.

 

But others have used campaigns like Kony 2012 to argue that it spawned meaningless actions of change over social media

 

“The way we define slacktivism is when the consumer is willing to make small tokens of support,” says Kate White from the University of British Columbia. “When the small act of token support is very public in nature and people can kind of signal to others that they have already helped the cause they actually arent more likey to help later.”

 

What the research says is that public displays of support like pins and stickers and Facebook ‘likes’ make us feel like job done we can take it easy.

 

When in actual fact it’s always time and money that gets anything done – not raising awareness.

 

Take two huge awareness campaigns: Pink ribbons for breast cancer and Movember for prostate cancer.

 

Despite the efforts to increase public awareness, even though 95 per cent of women agree that a breast screen could save their life just one-in-two women aged between 50-74 don’t follow the recommended mammogram checks

 

Similarly only 41 per cent of men aged 40-74 have been tested for prostate cancer in the last 12 months, despite those same men saying that it’s the important health issue facing them.

 

This is despite all the moustaches and all the pink ribbons you see, in the street and across social media

 

The ineffectiveness of online awareness campaigns are causing some charities to get tough about the way they get their message across.

 

The world’s largest petition platform, change.org, agrees that clicktisim stops further engagement.

 

A Yale study showed that door-to-door political campaigning and phone calls with the candidate are the best ways to win votes.

 

It dismisses social messages that are not personalized and lack that level deeper of engagement.

 

There’s a lot of causes vying for your support and it’s hard to feel like you can make a difference.

 

The key is to choose one or two you care about rather than liking 20 on Facebook.

 

And supporting those charities with your time and money offline as much as you do online.

The Feed airs weeknights at 19:30 on SBS 2. You can also follow The Feed on Twitter at @TheFeedSBS2, or ‘LIKE’ SBS 2 on Facebook to stay in the loop.

Wallaby bans aimed at improving team

A terse Ewen McKenzie has made no apologies for suspending six Wallabies in a hard-line move designed to set the standards required to win the 2015 World Cup.

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Highly-respected 90-Test back Adam Ashley-Cooper is among five players axed from this weekend’s Scotland Test after staying out late and drinking in the build-up to last weekend’s win over Ireland.

The one-match bans compromise team selections for Sunday morning’s (AEDT) Test at Murrayfield but McKenzie is determined to improve team culture and behavioural standards at the start of his coaching tenure.

“We’re a high-performance team and we’re trying to climb the hill, climb the mountain, and get back to the top of world rugby,” he said in Edinburgh on Monday night (AEDT).

“It’s a significant enough challenge as it is with what our opponents present without making it difficult for ourselves.”

Ashley-Cooper, fellow starting winger Nick Cummins, as well as reserve forwards Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Liam Gill have been stood down from Sunday morning’s Test at Murrayfield, the fourth match on Australia’s end-of-season tour.

Second-string prop Paddy Ryan also received a one-match ban but will serve the suspension in the final match on tour, against Wales, so the Wallabies can supply a proper bench against the Scots.

Nine more players received disciplinary warnings as almost half the 32-man squad went out in the early hours of Wednesday morning after having dinner in Dublin on Tuesday night.

While the Wallabies don’t apply a curfew and allow a couple of glasses of wine at their Tuesday team dinner, McKenzie said it was a clear break of internal protocols.

Punishments varied depending on how late they stayed, how much alcohol players consumed and whether they were in the match-day 23.

Team management took two full days to uncover what had occurred and McKenzie handed down his punishments to players on Sunday morning.

He stressed there wasn’t enough time between finding out the full story and the Ireland clash, won 32-15 in the world No.4-ranked team’s best display of a forgettable year, to mete out bans earlier.

“There’s nothing sinister (involved),” he said. “This is about us making decisions about ourselves and judging ourselves

“We’re setting up the right behaviours and setting the right standards to be competitive at the World Cup (and) obviously we need to be … presenting the right image.

“The easiest thing to do in these situations is to do nothing. But to do nothing will give you mediocrity. We need to set high standards.”

It comes after the Australian Rugby Union cut wayward star James O’Connor loose eight weeks ago.

Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga’a, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps all received written warnings while starting flanker Scott Fardy, Mike Harris, Ben McCalman and reserve halfback Nic White were given verbal warnings.

Ashley-Cooper, loose-head prop Robinson and hooker Polota-Nau have been regular starting Test players for the past seven seasons.

McKenzie said he was “massively disappointed” and admitted there were some varying reactions to the bans from suspended players.

“On the whole they sucked it up and accepted they did wrong,” he said. “There’s a lot of disappointment in themselves

“It’s a significant embarrassment for themselves that they will miss the game.”

The loss of Cummins and Ashley-Cooper, added to Tuesday’s judicial hearing against red-carded centre Tevita Kuridrani, means McKenzie will have to be “creative” in his backline selections against the Scots.

Zlatan and I can take the pressure – Sweden coach Hamren

It is likely to be the 32-year-old Ibrahimovic’s last chance of making it to the finals and with Hamren’s contract running out at the end of the year, the coach knows defeat will spell the end of his tenure.

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“It’s happened to me a few times before as a club coach, when you know that if we lose a game there’s not much left of the job,” Hamren told reporters on Monday.

“But I’m not thinking about that one bit. My focus is on succeeding and if we do succeed we don’t need to discuss it.”

Asked if it was possible to heap too much pressure on Paris St Germain striker Ibrahimovic trumping Portugal ace Cristiano Ronaldo, Hamren said his player could handle it.

“He’s been at this level for many, many years and for us it’s not Ronaldo v Zlatan it’s Portugal v Sweden,” the coach explained.

Hamren said Sweden would have to attack more than they did in the first leg on Friday, a match decided by a brave diving header from Ronaldo, but also show a measure of caution.

“We need to score, that’s for sure,” the coach added. “They can play more for the result, they have an advantage in that.

GOOD TEAM

“We meet a really good team with really good international players so we can’t start the match and just go forward and have the ambition to score easy and early because then they’re going to punish us quickly.”

The Sweden squad have practised penalties in case the teams finish level on aggregate.

“Those who are used to taking penalties, they don’t need to have some training because they do it a lot,” said Hamren. “But the players who aren’t used to taking penalties, they took some today.

“It’s a mental thing of course and if it’s been a long time then they need to have done it before the game.”

Midfielder Pontus Wernbloom told Reuters that practising adequately for penalties was impossible.

“It’s easy to do in training but when you’re out there in front of 60,000 people and everything can be won or lost, it’s difficult,” he said.

Asked if he would be prepared to take the fifth and final penalty that might send Sweden through to the World Cup in Brazil in June, Wernbloom laughed.

“If you ask me now I would say ‘no’ but when you’re out there you never know. We’ll see.” he said.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Former UCI boss could be called before doping inquiry

Disgraced cyclist Armstrong, stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping, alleged in an interview with the Daily Mail on Monday that Verbruggen had helped him to backdate a prescription.

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Verbruggen, an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has denied wrongdoing.

In 1999, as Armstrong was on his way to winning his first Tour, the American failed a drugs test for corticosteroids but later provided a prescription, which he admitted was backdated.

Current UCI president Brian Cookson pledged to restore credibility in cycling and the governing body when he took over from Pat McQuaid, Verbruggen’s successor, last September.

“The UCI’s Independent Commission of Inquiry is in the process of being set up and we are in advanced discussions with stakeholders on its terms of reference to allow full investigation of any allegations relating to doping and wrongdoing at the UCI,” said a UCI statement on Monday.

“The commission will invite individuals to provide evidence and we would urge all those involved to come forward and help the commission in its work in the best interests of the sport of cycling.

“This investigation is essential to the well-being of cycling in fully understanding the doping culture of the past, the role of the UCI at that time and helping us all to move forward to a clean and healthy future.”

Earlier this month, Verbruggen denied that he had ever been involved in a doping cover-up.

“I have been frequently accused that, in my UCI presidency, my federation would not have been too serious in its anti-doping policy and that – in particular the Lance Armstrong case – the UCI and myself have been involved in covering up positive tests,” the Dutchman wrote in a letter to Olympic officials.

“Cover-ups never took place.”

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon)