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Andy Marinos
Australians confident Perth will host rescheduled All Blacks clash
22 August 2021, 7:15 AM

Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos is “optimistic” the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup meeting with New Zealand will go ahead in Perth despite the All Blacks’ withdrawal from next Saturday’s game because of concerns over COVID-19 restrictions.

The third meeting of the series between the teams, which also doubles up as the countries’ second clash in this year’s Rugby Championship – was scheduled to be played in West Australia on August 28.

But after a decision on Friday by New Zealand Rugby to pull out of the game sparked a war of words between the nations rugby officials, Marinos is confident the match can still happen on a later date.

“We’re working hard now with the West Australian government and the stadium to see if we can’t move that to September 4,” Marinos told Channel Nine on Sunday.

“We remain optimistic and confident we can get the game away eventually in Perth.”

NZR chief executive Mark Robinson on Saturday refuted claims RA not been consulted before the All Blacks pulled out having won the opening two encounters in Auckland earlier in the month.

“We had calls right through from Wednesday, Thursday, we put something in writing on Thursday and then we spoke to them before anything was released,” Robinson told Newstalk ZB.

“Certainly I know that senior All Blacks and Wallabies were discussing the situation and our players were making them aware of the reality of our situation.”

Despite the decision, which also saw the cancellation of the All Blacks’ home matches in The Rugby Championship against South Africa, Robinson stressed NZR still planned to play the third Bledisloe Cup game.

“We understand that Rugby Australia are under severe financial pressure,” said Robinson. “This is an important game for them and we are committed to playing that match.

“The reality is, under those circumstances, that frustration manifests with what we saw yesterday; a lot of emotion, a lot of frustration, sometimes possibly not all the information, and that’s the result of that.”

Marinos, however, remained unconvinced that the All Blacks had planned to travel to Perth for the game as it was scheduled.

“I don’t think they really had any intention of fulfilling that game on the 28th,” he said.

“We feel there’s been a significant amount of compromise and sacrifice on our side.

“We don’t feel that’s being reciprocated at the moment. They just keep putting up roadblocks.”

Vaccine
Western Cape health reiterates that COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary
21 August 2021, 12:30 PM

The Western Cape Health Department has reiterated that taking the COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary. This follows an anti-vaccination protest outside the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. The People’s Health Movement South Africa and Health Justice Initiative have organised the protest. This is in show of solidarity for Cape Town heart surgeon Doctor Susan Vosloo, following her anti-vaccination message.

The department says the vaccines are safe and highly effective. It has urged residents of the province to get information on vaccines from credible sources.

Meanwhile, the protesters claim they are being coerced to take the jab.

A protest against mandatory vaccination is under way outside the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. The People’s Health Movement South Africa and Health Justice Initiative have organised the protest.

Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever says they are aware of the protest. He says hospital security and police are working together to ensure the safety of staff and patients at the hospital.

Government’s vaccination roll-out campaign got off to a slow start, due to a failure to speedily begin talks with pharmaceutical companies. Challenges such as vaccine hesitancy and the difficulty of getting vaccines out to remote areas remain.

However, a Johannesburg University survey shows that vaccine acceptance has improved to nearly three quarters of the country’s 60-million population.

DISCUSSION | Addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

Age 18+ flock vaccination sites in Gauteng on Friday

Many Gauteng residents over the age of 18 are flocking to vaccination sites across the province to get their COVID-19 vaccines. This is after government announced that those aged between 18 and 34 will be allowed to get vaccinated from Friday.

The vaccination of this age group was only supposed to start on the first of next month. However, the Department of Health said on Wednesday that there were enough vaccines in the country to move the date forward.

South Africans aged between 18 and 34, have welcomed government’s decision to open the COVID-19 vaccinations for their age group – earlier than planned.

Many South Africans over the age of 18 have expressed excitement to finally have the opportunity to get their jab.

“I’m so excited that we finally get to take the coronavirus vaccination. I’ve been waiting a long time for this because it’s really hindering us from going overseas on holidays . You know some jobs need you to take the vaccine. So I’m glad that it’s finally here and I can’t wait to get it. I’m super thrilled to know that the vaccine is available for us over the age of 18 and I can’t wait to take it because that will get me one step closer to the opportunities that come forth, So yeah.”

Analysis | COVID-19 vaccinations opened for 18-year-old and older from Friday

All Blacks
Confused Mehrtens questions decision to cancel Bledisloe Cup clash
21 August 2021, 10:50 AM

All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens has said he is “disappointed” with the decision by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) to pull out of their test against Australia in Perth next weekend.

NZR announced on Friday they would be withdrawing from the third Bledisloe Cup clash with the Wallabies, scheduled for next Saturday, as well as scrapping two home Rugby Championship meetings with South Africa.

The move came after New Zealand extended a nationwide lockdown against the coronavirus and Mehrtens called on the All Blacks to do more to assist the sport in tackling the challenges stemming from the pandemic.

“I have to say, even as a Kiwi, I’m disappointed in the decision by NZR,” Mehrtens wrote in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday.

“While I don’t know all the ins and outs, nor what the requirements are for the various travel regions, I am a little confused.

“The All Blacks were always going to have to leave New Zealand, so wouldn’t it have been better to do so sooner rather than later?

The juggling act becomes less complicated when two or more teams are at least in the same location, surely.

“I think that given the public appetite for rugby and the responsibility that players have it’s disappointing that not all teams are sharing the load.”

The All Blacks won the first two Bledisloe Cup matches this month after both were played at Auckland’s Eden Park following a decision by the New Zealand government to grant the Wallabies an exemption to pandemic travel restrictions.

No new venue or date has been decided for the postponed matches, with Queensland, Europe and South Africa among the possible options for the remaining matches to be played in the Rugby Championship.

“Are the Kiwis thinking about themselves? Perhaps,” wrote Mehrtens, the All Blacks’ second-highest point scorer of all time. “For the good of the game, it’s a real shame.

“I can understand the logic of trying to condense the Rugby Championship and northern hemisphere tours into one period, but the apparent lack of unity and cohesion between Australia and New Zealand is really disappointing.”

IEC
IEC’s decision to approach ConCourt instead of Parliament baffling: Tselane
21 August 2021, 10:40 AM

The Executive Chairperson of the Institute of Election Management Service Terry Tselane has described as baffling the IEC’s decision to approach the Constitutional Court instead of Parliament in its quest to have the local government election postponed to next year.

The IEC, a number of political parties and civil society organisations yesterday made presentations to the apex court for and against the postponement of the October 27 poll to February next year.

The court reserved judgment in the case.,

Tselane explains why the IEC may have chosen this route.

“The commission I think, instead of going to Parliament, chose to go to the Constitutional Court and I think the reason when they did so, as stated in their papers initially, is because they thought that they would not be able to get the relief they were seeking by going to Parliament. They were not going to get 75% of political parties supporting the postponement.”

Analysis of IEC’s ConCourt bid to postpone municipal elections: Dr. Ina Gouws

Wreckage
Hurricane Grace aims for Mexico, president urges people to shelter
21 August 2021, 7:50 AM

Hurricane Grace took aim at the oil-producing Mexican state of Veracruz early on Saturday, with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urging people in five states to seek shelter.

On Friday night, Grace was a Category 3 Hurricane, blowing maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 km per hour),with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Lopez Obrador said on Twitter that thousands of civil protection forces, the defense ministry and the navy, as well as state utility Commission Federal de Electricidad (CFE) were prepared.

“I ask the people of the regions of Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo to seek refuge in high places with relatives and in shelters that are being set up, “Lopez Obrador wrote.

Grace was about 105 miles (165 kilometers) north of the city of Veracruz late on Friday, moving west at 10 mph (17 kph), the Miami-based NHC said.

Through Sunday, the NHC forecast Grace would dump 6 to 12inches (15-30 cm) of rain over large swaths of eastern and central Mexico, and up to 18 inches in some areas. The heavy rainfall would likely cause areas of flash and urban flooding, it said.

In Tecolutla, a resort on the Gulf of Mexico in Veracruz state, residents spent hours on Friday afternoon taking hundreds of boats on land to keep them safe.

“Here in Tecolutla, we’ve had a culture of prevention for many years,” said Ricardo Pardinas, who offers boat tours to tourists. “These weather phenomena have caused damage.”

Veracruz and its waters are also home to several oil installations, including Petroleos Mexicanos’ Coatzacoalcos port and Lazaro Cardenas refinery in Minatitlan in the south of the state.

Earlier in the week, Grace pounded Mexico’s Caribbean coast, downing trees and causing power outages for nearly 700,000people, but without causing loss of life, authorities said.

It also doused Jamaica and Haiti, still reeling from a 7.2magnitude earthquake, with torrential rain.

Weather

 

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