Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

Climbing Eden Park

By Bogdan Cristel

After 40 hours of flying Bucharest - Amsterdam - Beijing - Auckland, I arrived in New Zealand; my first time in the Southern Hemisphere.

The first nice surprise here was that both my check-in pieces of luggage arrived on the same flight (I expected it to take a week and to be on the safe side packed a toothbrush in my hand luggage).

After a day of adjustment, with serious jet-leg (New Zealand is 9 hours ahead of Romania), slowly the Rugby World Cup started for me.

The first big assignment was the RWC opening ceremony and the first match. Reuters had three photographers covering it – Jacky Naegelen, Nigel Marple and me. When Tim Wimborne, our photo editor, asked if I wanted to be in an elevated position for the opening ceremony, I said yes without any thought. I had no idea what it meant.

The myth of rugby’s Jonny Wilkinson


A rugby writer, with tongue only half in cheek, once said it was possible to gauge an Englishman’s entire outlook on life by ascertaining whether he was a Stuart Barnes or a Rob Andrew fan in the years between 1985 and 1993.

Barnes, a cavalier among flyhalves who passionately embraced the running game, played only a handful of matches for the national team. Andrew, an accomplished all-rounder but with a game based increasingly on kicking, became an England institution.

No Aussie World Cup bid, good news for Asia?


Great news that Australia will not be bidding for the 2015 and 2019 rugby World Cups.

Not because Australia wouldn’t do as fantastic a job as it did in 2003 but because it increases the chance that Japan might finally get the nod to host the tournament in Asia for the first time.

RFU gets tough over French exodus


RUGBY-NATIONS/English rugby officials are not happy about leading players heading for the riches of France and, week by week, are ratcheting up the pressure on those heading across the Channel.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) seems not to be much interested in any benefits that might be accrued by players developing their game in a new environment – they want total control.