Sports round up archive

Thursday October 5th 2006.

The ICC Champions Trophy starts this weekend. Current World champions Australia will head into the tournament as favourites. They will be followed in the betting by home side India and Pakistan. Sri Lanka is fourth pick and the weight of the Sub-continent teams in the betting shows how much better they play on their home wickets.

For Australia and England this will be an important chance to get match fitness ahead of the Ashes later on this year. However, England are considered long shots with a number of key players out through injury with captain Andrew Flintoff resuming after a 12 week layoff.

Members of the victorious European Ryder Cup team will be out in force to challenge Colin Montgomerie when he defends his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title at St Andrews this weekend. Ernie Els will head into the tournament as favourite with Vijay Singh only ranked as an outsider to take home the crown.

Thursday October 12th 2006

Rugby League
In the first match of the 2006 Tri Nations series the Aussies will travel to Mt Smart Stadium to take on the Kiwis. The Kangaroos will be out for revenge after being ambushed during last season Tri Nations. The Australian team is packed full of talent and if they fire on the night they will be more than a handful for the Kiwis. It will be an interesting match up in the forwards with both teams possessing big hard running packs that are more than capable of putting on a game turning hit. For the Australians, look out for the Bulldogs pair of Willie Mason and Mark O'Meley to try and dominate the Kiwis early. For the New Zealanders the old warhorse Ruben Wiki and Roy Asotasi are more than capable of giving as good as they get. The big difference between the two teams is the quality of the back line. The Aussies have the likes of Justin Hodges, Mark Gasnier, Karmichael Hunt, Greg Inglis and Darren Lockyer which may prove too much for the somewhat inexperienced Kiwi back line.

NBL Basketball
In NBL action tonight, the NZ Breakers will host the Perth Wildcats. The Cats have had a great start to the season winning all four matches they have played and they have a very good opportunity to make it five wins and extend their lead on the ladder. The Breakers looked very solid against the Kings in their last game, though defensive lapses cost them in the fourth quarter and eventually lost them the game. If the New Zealand team is to win this week they will have to fix their leaky defence. In the other match tonight the new franchise Singapore Slingers will host the Wollongong Hawks. For the Slingers this game represents the middle of a busy schedule of matches as straight after this match they will have to travel to Melbourne. The Slingers are sitting on two wins out of four so far which the team will consider a good start to their season. They will have to be wary of the Hawks who will be desperate after only the one win and who have a good record on the road.

In the English Premier League this weekend Manchester United will play Wigan on Saturday night. Man Utd is currently sitting in first position on the EPL ladder, leading on goal difference. They have only dropped the one game this season, which was a 1-0 loss to Arsenal. It will be a massive task for Wigan to win this week, though with the home ground advantage they will be looking for the result. Last seasons Champions Chelsea are currently sitting in second position on the ladder dropping a game to Middlesbrough. They will play Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday morning in what will be a tough assignment for the Reading team.

Thursday October 19th 2006

Rugby League
The first Tri Nations test between the Australians and the Kiwis produced fireworks with first Matt King and Manu Vatuvei instigating a brawl and later Willie Mason was hit by a big shoulder charge from David Kidwell. The talk that has taken place during this week suggests that the encounter this Saturday night in Melbourne will have the same intensity. The Kiwis were a lot more physical in the first test, so if the Aussies adopt a more aggressive game plan the Kiwis will be more than capable of handling the Aussie forwards. Australia will find gaps in the big Kiwi forwards if they can get the quick ball and keep the New Zealanders on the back foot. While both teams have size and speed in the backs, the Aussies backline has more class and will again play a big part in this game.

NPC Rugby
The New Zealand National Provincial championship final will be played between Waikato and Wellington. On the way to the finals Wellington beat Auckland with former test skipper Tanu Umaga playing an instrumental role in his team's 30-15 win. This weekend's final will be his last appearance in the NPC and his team will be out to send him off in style. After finishing as minor premiers, Waikato has won through the finals series beating Southland 24-12 before thumping last years finalists Otago 44-15 last weekend. In the forwards for Waikato, Marty Holah and Liam Messam have been dominant in recent weeks so the loose forwards from the Northerners will have to step up to halt their charge.

The ATP Tennis Masters in Madrid continues tonight. Roger Federer is the dominant favourite heading into the tournament with Spaniard Rafael Nadal the second pick. Nadal will want to have a big tournament in front of his home crowd and at $5.50 in the betting could be great value. The WTA play a Tier 1 event in Zurich this week. In a very competitive betting market Maria Sharapova is the favourite followed by world number one Amelie Mauresmo. Former world number one, Martina Hingis, is fourth pick.

The ICC Champions Trophy is in full swing. On Friday night the Sri Lankans will take on the Kiwis. The New Zealanders had a surprise win over the South Africans in the first game while the Sri Lankans couldn't get over the top of an unsettled Pakistan team. Sri Lanka will head into this match as favourites but they may have trouble winning this match as the Kiwi bowlers looked in fine touch last match. In the other match the Australians will be out for redemption when they play England. This is the first time that these teams have meet since Australia's Ashes defeat last season. Expect both teams to be on their games because they will view this encounter as a prelude to the Ashes series next month.

Thursday October 27th 2006

Rugby League
Great Britain start their Tri Nations campaign this Saturday night when they play New Zealand in Christchurch. The Kiwis have already shown in this series they can be very physical and Great Britain will be ready for this. With the likes of Adrian Morley, Stuart Fielden and Andy Coley the Brits have forwards that can take the ball up and give as good as they get in defence. The New Zealanders were unlucky in some respects to lose to the Aussies last week with the class of the Aussies carving up a tired defence at the end of the game. The style of game that Great Britain play will be more suited to the Kiwis, so this match should be an epic encounter.

Tonight in the NBL the New Zealand Breakers will travel to Townsville to play the Crocs. Even after their upset win over the Bullets last week the Breakers are still sitting in tenth spot with three wins. The Crocs only have one more win though and are sitting in sixth spot on the ladder. The Breakers clicked in their win over the Bullets with point guard Paul Henare having his best game so far this season. If he continues to fire the Breakers are in with a very good chance to beat the Crocs.

In the other match, new franchise Singapore Slingers will host the Cairns Taipans. The Slingers lost in an upset to the struggling Razorbacks and after a blasting from coach Gordie McLeod they will be pepped up for the win this week. The Taipans will head into the match as slight favourites despite having only dropped two games this season. The big question mark is how they will handle the travel as this is their first trip to Singapore.

In the Chrysler Championship which tees off tonight, there is a very open betting field. The big names in the tournament Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Adam Scott and Retief Goosen are all in the market at very attractive odds and on form all of these players could be challenging on the last day.

In the ICC Champions Trophy match to be played tonight, the hosts India play the West Indies. The defending champions will be on a high after beating the Aussies in their first match. The Windies have one over the Indians in recent times beating them in a home series in May, though at home India will have a lot more to play for. The Windies have an injury cloud over inspirational captain Brian Lara and could find the going tough if he doesn't take the field. Sportingbet offers telephone only 'Live Betting' at the breaks on all the ICC matches.

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