Hits and misses keep New Zealand in world focus

Matthew D’Souza – Hits and misses keep-Matthew D'Souza Web

2015 has been an extremely eventful year in Sport for New Zealand with the country featuring in the finals of three major World Cup tournaments – Cricket, Rugby and Netball.

Rugby

The All Blacks earned their place in history this year by winning the Rugby World Cup at the Twickenham Stadium in England, with captain Richie McCaw lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time in succession,

The achievement placed the All Blacks in a galaxy of its own as being the only team to achieve this feat in International Rugby. The event was a worthy farewell for many of the team’s great players like McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Keven Mealamu, who have announced their retirement.

Carter was awarded the World Rugby Player of the Year 2015 for the third time in the past decade.

Cricket

New Zealand also made history when its team reached the final of the 2015 ICC Cricket world cup which was their very first cricket world cup final. The Tournament, hosted jointly by Australia and New Zealand, saw sporting rivalry between the two nations re-ignited twice, once in the group stages at Eden Park in Auckland with the Black Caps taking the win in front of a packed home stadium and a second time at the finals at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, Melbourne, Australia.

New Zealand was the Runner-Up, losing the final to Australia.

However, Martin Guptill Black Cap batsman was the top run scorer in the Tournament.

A major cricketing event this year was the organisation of the ‘Cricket All Stars’ matches which took place at multiple venues in the USA during October/November.

The purpose was to reunite the legends of the game to play on American soil.

Shane Warne, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Glenn McGrath and Daniel Vettori were among the big names who graced this series.

Netball

The Silver Ferns were in fine form during the 2015 Netball World Cup held in Australia. They made it unbeaten to the finals where they faced their fiercest rivals – the Australian national team who won the World cup for a record 11th time.

Football

Barclays Premier League (English Football League): 2014-2015 Season winners Chelsea FC are now sitting at a shocking 14th place in the table just below West Bromwich Albion. Underdog Premier League table toppers Leicester City have taken the Premier League by storm this season considering they are in front of legendary English Clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City to name a few.

La Liga (Spanish Football League): 2014-2015 League winners FC Barcelona are currently at top of the table, two points clear of second place Atletico Madrid and four points clear of third place Real Madrid. The La Liga is still unchanged with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona occupying the top spots.

However, the arrival of young and strong Atletico Madrid has slightly unsettled the leaders, thanks to the expertise of Atletico’s coach Diego Simeone.

Bundesliga (German Football League): 2014/15 season winners FC Bayern Munich are dominating the Bundesliga having lost only one match this season. The Munich giants are five points clear of second place rival Borussia Dortmund and 14 points clear of third place Borussia Monchengladbach.

Serie A (Italian Football League): 2014/15 season winner Juventus is sitting at an astonishing fifth place in the table this season, one point behind fourth placed AS Roma and six points behind League Leaders Inter Milan with Italian Giants S.S.C Napoli sitting in second and ACF Fiorentina in third place.

Formula 1

Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton won his second consecutive World Championship and the third of his career. This Championship was not won without controversy with bitter rivalry between Hamilton and his teammate Nico Rosberg exhibited on the track. The two Ferraris of four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel and one-time world champion Kimi Raikkonen ranking at third and fourth place respectively.

Tennis

Reigning World Champion, Novak Djokovic, rounded off a stellar year by beating tennis legend Roger Federer in multiple grand slam finals this year to complete what is probably the best year of his career so far.

Matthew D’Souza is one of our Sports Correspondents based in Auckland. He is a student at Avondale College.

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