Against the odds: rugby loves an upset

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS It may not be seen as too significant, but over the weekend two results caught the eye; one a surprising Aviva Premiership result, the other a lower-tier Test that although against the odds, will not have registered on too many radars.The first was a rare loss for reigning European Champions Cup and Premiership holders Saracens against Harlequins. A strong rearguard effort and tries sweeping in from distance resigned Sarries to a 17-10 loss and Maro Itoje’s first defeat in a top-flight match he has started for his club or England ­ an incredible run that lasted 31 games.The other result on Saturday worth noting was Poland’s 22-0 walloping of Ukraine ­ a side who were much higher than them in the world rankings. The opening win of the Rugby European Trophy meant that the Eastern European side climbed three places in the rankings to 34 in the world, while Ukraine fell from 27 to 28.Why bring both of these up in the same breath? Because rugby fans love an upset. There is something about the underdog snarling their way to victory that gets us excited. We look set for another season of ups and downs. We may not see Connacht double up in the Pro12, but maybe La Rochelle can cling on to first place in France’s Top 14? Scarlets may be the only Welsh side in this season’s Champions Cup, but can their incredibly talented back-line come alive or can the other three sides take inspiration from the Dragons’ surprising 23-21 won over Gloucester in the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup last year, with maybe one of them lifting the trophy?You may be lucky enough to tell when the next upset is coming from, but guaranteed there will be one somewhere and you can bet the rest of us will find ourselves involuntarily revelling in the result as well. Against the odds: Japan’s famous victory over South Africa in 2015 Incredible journey: Connacht win the Pro12 title against the oddsWe will talk about Japan’s 2015 Rugby World Cup victory over South Africa for as long as we live. We shook our heads, chuckled and said, “They’ve done it again!” when Japan’s men’s sevens pulled off a shock win over their New Zealand counterparts in the recent Olympic games. In that same tournament an unfancied Team GB got all the way to a silver medal. And how often will we hear of Connacht’s wonderful rush to the Guinness Pro12 title last season? It was ­ a trophy success lovingly compared to Leicester City’s stunning title grab in the English Premier League soccer – and one which would have made you a fair windfall had you used the best rugby union betting tips.Of course these upsets don’t always go in your favour. Wales fans still cringe whenever their side draw a Pacific Islands nation in the World Cup, harking back in pain to 1991’s 16-13 loss to (Western) Samoa, 38-31 loss to the same side four years later or 2007’s 38-34 loss to Fiji.last_img read more

‘I Love Long Island’ Campaign Tackles Harmful Lawn Fertilizers

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A local environmental group is taking the fight against water pollution straight to Long Islanders’ lawns through a new “I Love Long Island” campaign meant to curb the use of potentially harmful high-nitrogen fertilizers.The ambitious project, spearheaded by the nonprofit Grassroots Environmental Education, coincides with Earth Day, which is on April 22. To raise awareness about pesticides and high-nitrogen fertilizer, Doug Wood, associate director of Grassroots Environmental Education, founded ILoveLongIsland.org. The site provides educational material about certain lawn products and encourages people to sign a pledge to refrain from using fertilizers containing 10 percent nitrogen or more on their property. A coalition of more than 30 environmental groups has already signed the pledge. “This is like heroin for your lawn,” Wood said, explaining that grass and plants eventually become too dependent on such products to survive. Part of the problem is people are constantly seeking “that perfect lawn…but they don’t realize there’s a payment for this,” he said, adding that stormwater runoff can lead to contaminated drinking water, algae blooms and fish kills. Wood sees an opportunity in changing people’s habits toward how they treat their lawns. “This is a problem that people can do something about,” he said. Along with launching the new website, GEE is creating 500 “I Love Long Island” lawn signs that will be ready for distribution on Earth Day, and he commissioned a short video explaining the potential dangers associated with high-nitrogen products. The animated video, “I Love Long Island—The Movie,” depicts a Long Islander convincing his neighbor who enjoys fishing to make the switch to more environmentally friendly products. One of the biggest threats to Long Island’s water supply is nitrogen, which can seep into the Island’s many waterways and vulnerable underground aquifers, which are the main source of the region’s drinking water. While nitrogen produced by wastewater has been blamed for threatening protective marshlands, experts also point to other pollutants and fertilizer as possible factors of environmental degradation. Wood acknowledges that many homeowners are simply unaware about the effects of high-nitrogen products, and he’s sympathetic to landscapers who understand potential consequences but are “kind of forced by the market to use these chemicals.” He also understands that the higher price tag associated with organic fertilizers can be a deterrent. “I’m not trying to take business away from anybody…I’d like to see everyone do well,” he said. In the past, Wood’s organization has trained more than 1,000 landscapers in the science of lawn care, and was hired by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to train school facility directors on the topic. New York, he noted, is the only state in the country that prohibits pesticides on school grounds. Now Wood and a coalition of groups that signed on to the “I Love Long Island” pledge are hoping to educate residents who want to do their part in protecting the region’s natural resources.last_img read more

I could have won more if I’d got serious: Bolt

first_imgBy Mitch PhillipsMONACO,(Reuters)-Looking back at his astonishing career on the night he was named Athlete of the Year for the sixth time, Usain Bolt said his only real regret was not taking his sport more seriously at an earlier age.“Maybe I would have been at four Olympics,” the superstar Jamaican sprinter told reporters on Friday before being crowned IAAF male Athlete of the Year again on the back of his amazing Rio de Janeiro Games sprint triple-triple in August.“The award is definitely a big deal, it proves all the hard work has paid off,” he said after Olympic 10,000 meters champion and world record holder Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia took the women’s equivalent.“The fans helped vote for this and it’s for the fans I keep doing it.”With nine Olympic golds in the drawer, Bolt plans to hang up his spikes next year after a farewell tour of his favorite venues.He will run the 100 metre only before competing at the world championships in London where he will be gunning for his 12th and 13th world titles if he goes in the relay.“When I look back the only real thing I think I would change was to have got more serious more quickly,” said Bolt.“I was relying more on my talent. If I’d got more serious I think I would have done a lot more in my career. It’s shocking but it’s true. Maybe if I’d started younger I’d have had four Olympics.”Despite his multiple titles and world records, Bolt said the race that would always have a particular place in his heart was the world junior championships in his home country when he won the 200 as a 15-year-old.“That was special,” he said. “That was the beginning. Jamaica 2002, where it all began. That was the biggest step.”However, it was a defeat five years later that made the biggest impact.Bolt took the 200 silver behind American Tyson Gay at the 2007 Osaka world championships and it was a real wake-up call.“After I lost I remember going to my coach saying, ‘I really tried my best but what can I do to win because I really need to win?’,” Bolt explained.“He said: ‘You’re slacking off in the gym. If you want to win you have to get stronger.’ So I was like ‘alright’. I knew what I needed to do and from then I took the step and just worked and worked.”SPECTACULAR STYLEWithin nine months Bolt was the 100 world record holder and weeks later blasted himself into worldwide consciousness by winning the 100 and 200 and 4×100 relay at the Beijing Olympics in spectacular style.Having found a way to win he was in no mood to stop, repeating the feat at London 2012 and, despite early season injuries, doing it again in Rio.Now 30 and with his speediest days behind him, Bolt is trimming his workrate to enjoy one last season, running a series of 100 races only.“Next year is mainly for the fans,” said Bolt who always gives up a huge amount of time to sign autographs and pose for photos every time he races.“It’s a last opportunity for some people to see me run and a chance for me to say goodbye. I’d like to go back to some of my favorite places to run, Ostrava, Lausanne, maybe Paris.”And then that will be it. The man who has carried his troubled sport, sometimes single-handed, for a decade will step aside for the next generation.There will be no Michael Phelps-style comeback at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics either.“Oh no,” he said. “My coach said, ‘Do not retire and come back, don’t ever do that’.“It’s a bit different for swimming but for most track and field athletes it never goes well.“I’m still talking to people about what I will do afterwards and I definitely want to stay involved in the sport but at the moment I am just looking forward to doing nothing,” said Bolt.last_img read more