(Picture: Fox Sports)
This isn’t really how I envisioned commencing my first weekend review. To be honest, I had it planned out to be full of celebratory pats on the back of the Wallabies boys after taking out yet another series against the Lions. But something, something “chickens before they hatch” and I’m finding myself in the rather unenviable position of trying to come up with something that doesn’t involve swearing and sobbing hysterically into my trusty laptop.
I’ve managed to console myself with the knowledge that there is no chance Australia can lose to anything resembling England or Britain this week. Right? RIGHT?!!
The weekend saw Australian gold stocks plummet dramatically on the back of what can only be described as an unmitigated disaster in Sydney – and it appears the hardest hit were those who purchased shares in “Brand O’Connor” which bottomed out quicker than the Greek economy.
After a lacklustre start at arguably the most disputed jersey in the Wallabies squad, James O’Connor found himself not only without a series victory against the Welsh & Rest Lions, but looking for a Super Rugby franchise for 2014 and beyond after the Melbourne Rebels confirmed they would not be extending his contract beyond season end. At least he’ll have plenty of time to get a decent haircut in the off season.
Whilst still on the subject of rugby, the boys from Bloemfontein made their first Super Rugby play-offs after a crushing defeat of the Auckland Blues, which saw Blues coach Sir John Kirwan opt to miss his press conference through “disappointment”. All I know is, if disappointment is what keeps Kirwan away from the press, he probably should be thankful he wasn’t at the helm last year.
Sebastian Vettel was aiming for his first ever German Grand Prix – yep, prior to 2013 he had never won in his home country – and Mark Webber had a point to prove after announcing his Formula One retirement. Whilst a little competition between team-mates is generally a good thing, try explaining that to the cameraman who wound up being struck by one of Webber’s tyres after an unsafe release from pit lane by a crew determined to have Mark back on track before Vettel. I hear the guy is okay and currently recovering in hospital from a broken collarbone and ribs – thank heavens – but perhaps Red Bull need to concentrate on not giving their TYRES wings. Vettel wound up winning from Kimi Raikkonen and fellow Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean, yet the result was probably overshadowed by yet another incident.
Unbelievably, the flying tyre in pit lane was not the strangest sight at Nuerburgring, which also saw the Marussia of Jules Bianchi take on a life of it’s own when, driverless after an engine failure, the car decided to roll backwards down the hill onto the track into the path of oncoming vehicles. Again, thankfully, the incident could have been a lot worse than it was, but we did learn two things: firstly, never under-rate the value of a handbrake; and secondly, a Marussia without a driver can actually travel backwards faster than it can under full race conditions.
Le Tour is in full swing with “British” rider Chris Froome seemingly taking on all and leaving them in his dust, but you’ll excuse me these days for not celebrating any apparent form of miracle on a bike for at least another decade. With the tour tarnished so consistently over and over again, it’s getting harder and harder to get involved in anything but the picturesque countryside that participants tour through. Then again, in seeing some of the hills that those boys climb, I think you’d really have to be either slightly insane or on some really good juice to even consider it in the first place. Let’s be honest, with the amount of urine tests that those cyclists must take these days, the yellow jersey is probably as yellow as anything around the leader gets.
What probably should be more worrying for the world is the fact that Chris Froome is Kenyan born – it’s not enough that they leave us all for dead in the long distance foot races, but now they’re crossing into the long distance cycling? Accordingly, I have re-adjusted my tip for the 2016 Bathurst 1000 to be won by Kaguna Mbuli of Nairobi.
The Durban July at Greyville was run and won by rank outsider Heavy Metal, making Smanga Khumalo the first black jockey to win the prestigious event in the shortened race card. Heavy rain from Thursday sparked concerns of a ridiculously soft track, but that was not to be; and with favourite Capetown Noir failing to feature anywhere near the finish, bookies made a killing. Honestly. Even an Aussie could have told you that anything from the Cape would have struggled to hold their own in KZN.
Despite an ongoing investigation into alleged systemic drug use at the Essendon Football Club, the apparent farce continues for yet another several months with no charges or suspensions imminent. Cue the AFL football gods, who appear to work in mysterious ways. Last year’s best and fairest winner Jobe Watson, who late last month confessed to being one of those at the club to use banned drugs and now looks set to miss the next four or so weeks with a broken collarbone after a heavy crunch. Look out ASADA, if you’re not going to be serious about things, it looks like the universe has a way of settling things anyway.
The trolling banner of the round also must go to those at Windy Hill who, despite the ongoing allegations, thought of the caption “Always Keep It Clean”. A little too late, some might suggest…
Finally, this year’s Wimbledon Championship was shaping up to be almost literally a case of Last Man Standing, with a ridiculous amount of injuries halting the assaults of far too many in both the womens and mens draws – yet through it all, both Marion Bartoli and Andy Murray managed to triumph, both in straight sets. Bartoli became the first Frenchwoman since Amelie Mauresmo took out the title in 2006, defeating Sabine Lisicki in straight sets, whilst Andy Murray became the first Wimbledon mens tennis champion that the British could actually celebrate in 77 years, defeating world number one Novak Djokovic convincingly in straight sets.
The less said about Murray’s victory in particular, the better as far as I’m concerned, but let’s make this very clear to you all; the last time England celebrated a mens singles victory at Wimbledon was also an Ashes year. England won the first two tests – and wound up losing the series 3-2.
I like to believe in omens, and let’s be frank – at the moment, that omen is about the only hope we have.
Enjoy the week.