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26 Apr 2018 21:30
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby

    Bermuda triumph highlights NZ sports year

    The return of sailing's Auld Mug, a boy racer made good, a giant shot put heave and women's rugby exploits provide the memorable Kiwi sporting moments of 2017.


    The return of sailing's Auld Mug, a boy racer made good, a giant shot put heave and women's rugby exploits provide the memorable Kiwi sporting moments of 2017.

    SPORTING HIGHS

    America's Cup - Team NZ complete the ultimate smash and grab in Bermuda. Lacking the resources of their rivals, the Kiwi syndicate use design innovation and sailing excellence to charge through the challenger series. Their 7-1 dunking of defenders Team USA in the Cup Match is the ultimate revenge for their 2013 heartbreak in San Francisco.

    ----

    Motorsport - Brendon Hartley completes the dream of petrolheads the world over by earning a late-season Formula One contract. He's near the tail in four Grands Prix with Toro Rosso but does enough to earn a full contract in 2018. It caps a year in which he and Kiwi Earl Bamber combined in the World Endurance Championship-winning Porsche.

    Elsewhere, Indycar veteran Scott Dixon and a host of Kiwi Supercar drivers are narrowly denied championship titles.

    ----

    Athletics - Tom Walsh bulldozes his way into shot put history in London, becoming the first Kiwi male world championships medallist. To win gold, he overcomes a groin injury and protests from two of his US rivals over foul rulings. Walsh then shows it was no fluke by clinching the Diamond League series crown.

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    Women's Rugby - Dominant throughout the World Cup, the Black Ferns' defeat of arch rivals England in the final in Belfast sees them later crowned World Rugby's overall team of the Year. Brilliant winger Portia Woodman earns individual plaudits, having also played a part in the sevens team's world series domination.

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    Weightlifting - Laurel Hubbard becomes the first Kiwi weightlifting world champion, adding to a headline-grabbing year. The first transgender athlete to be selected for a Commonwealth Games, some of her women's heavyweight rivals express unease at the perceived unfairness of the former male lifter's background.

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    High-paid stars - Enjoying the first season of his lucrative post-rookie contract, centre Steven Adams starts showing signs of becoming a bona fide NBA star for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    All Whites striker Chris Wood's goal threat makes him the richest signing in Burnley FC history, helping his unheralded club sit amongst the big guns near the top of the English Premier League.

    ----

    Cycling - George Bennett's Tour of California triumph delivers the first general classification win for a Kiwi at a World Tour event. He later clambers into the top-10 midway through the Tour de France before withdrawing with sickness.

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    Super Rugby - A nine-year wait ends for impatient Crusaders fans, whose team make it title No.8. They win 17 of 18 games including a taxing final against the Lions in Johannesburg, capping a brilliant maiden campaign for coach Scott Robertson. The red and black NZ powerbase is entrenched by more NPC silverware for Canterbury.

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    Equestrian - At the 37th attempt, Andrew Nicholson finally wins the Badminton Horse Trials, achieving it on board Nereo. The fact it comes 18 months after breaking his neck in a training fall makes it all the more remarkable.

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    Tennis - Michael Venus lands rare grand slam glory for New Zealand, teaming with American Ryan Harrison to win the French Open doubles.

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    Rowing - Three of New Zealand's seven medals are gold in a typically powerful return at the world champs in Florida. Six of the medals come in two-person boats.

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    Sprint canoeing - Lisa Carrington adds to her world champs legacy with two more golds. She snares individual gold and silver, plus a K2 gold in tandem with Caitlin Ryan.

    SIMMERING UNDER THE SURFACE

    All Blacks - A drawn series against the British and Irish Lions was captivating and ultimately deflating. Steve Hansen's men end the season with an uncharacteristic two losses, one draw and several more patchy outings. They promise better in coming seasons after blooding a host of fringe players.

    ----

    Boxing - A frustrating year in which Joseph Parker manages just two defences of his WBO heavyweight title. Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury are clumsily dispatched before the war of words around a unification fight with Anthony Joshua commences.

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    Golf - Lydia Ko slips from first to ninth in the world rankings as her winless run stretches out to 18 months. Eleven LPGA top-10 finishes in 2017 suggests she's not far off her best though.

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    Soccer - Sweeping aside Oceania opposition but outclassed at the Confederations Cup tournament and by Peru in the final World Cup qualifying hurdle. The All Whites surprised no one in 2017. The struggles continue for the Wellington Phoenix.

    SPORTING LOWS

    Rugby league - Losses to Tonga and Fiji send the Kiwis packing from the World Cup in embarrassing fashion on home soil. Coach David Kidwell and the team's perceived uncaring attitude draws the most criticism. It follows another failed Warriors NRL campaign in which the last nine games are lost.

    ----

    Netball - Five losses to Australia and two defeats on home soil to England falls well below the Silver Ferns' expectations. Big strides are needed before the Commonwealth Games.

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    Cricket - The men's and women's teams blow it in their respective major tournaments. A pool loss to Bangladesh eliminates the Black Caps from the Champions Trophy early on but they remain handily ranked in all three formats. The highly-rated White Ferns crash out in the group stage of the World Cup.

    ----

    Motor rallying - Hayden Paddon's stocks dive in the WRC as back luck, errors and technical gremlins leave him eighth overall and staring at reduced drives next year.


    NZN




    © 2018 NZN, NZCity


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