All Blacks Sevens surprised to be recognised in San Francisco

The All Blacks Sevens team have been taken aback by the number of people recognising them in San Francisco ahead of the Sevens World Cup this weekend.

The New Zealand men's side went through strength and conditioning exercises today. Source: 1 NEWS

The team have been tourists in the Bay Area with players enjoying a tour of Alcatraz Island and taking in a Giants' baseball game at AT&T Park, which is hosting the World Cup.

While playing tourist, rookie Andrew Knewstubb has been surprised by the number of fans. 

“It’s pretty weird, walking around the street and people stop you for a photo and an autograph and stuff, and know your name,” he said.

“It’s crazy to be on the other side of the world and people know who you are."

Coach Clark Laidlaw said the new city, new stadium and new tournament had definitely energised the team after what he admitted had been a long season.

“We’re all quite excited by a new city, a new venue, a new tournament format, keeping everyone on their toes,” he said.

He said the All Blacks Sevens’ attractive style of play would hopefully help World Rugby make more of an inroad into the US market.

The All Blacks Sevens will play the winner of Russia v Hong Kong in their first match on Saturday 21 July (kick off 3.31pm NZT).

The Black Ferns Sevens face Mexico in their opening match of the World Cup on Friday 20 July (kick off 6.50am Saturday 21 July NZT).

Every game of the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens will be live from July 21-23 on TVNZ’s Duke channel - Freeview 13, Sky 23, and streaming on tvnz.co.nz

Andrew Knewstubb said the team had been stopped around the city for photos and autographs ahead of the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand’s women's and men's sevens teams have had a chance to see for themselves how much the game has grown. Source: 1 NEWS

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US Lottery jackpot balloons to whopping NZ$996 million

The fourth-largest lottery prize in US history will be on the line as numbers are drawn for the Mega Millions game's $US654 million (NZ$996 million) jackpot.

The grand prize for tomorrow's (NZT) draw has grown so enormous because no one has won the jackpot since July 24.

Although the jackpot is massive, the odds of matching all six numbers and becoming instantly wealthy are remarkably small at one in 302.5 million.

The estimated $US654 million jackpot refers to the annuity option, paid out over 29 years. The cash option, which is favoured by nearly all winners, is $372 million (NZ$566).

Mega Millions is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mega Millions lottery tickets
Mega Millions lottery tickets Source: Associated Press

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Bolters galore: Get to know the eight rookies in the All Blacks' end-of-year tour squad

The All Blacks named eight new players to their ranks yesterday as the 51-man Northern Tour squad was revealed. Get to know each one and their journey to selection below.

Dalton Papalii

Auckland's Dalton Papali'i (C celebrate a try with team mate Jordan Trainor (R during the Lions vs Auckland Mitre 10 Cup rugby match at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Thursday the 4th of October 2018. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville / www.Photosport.nz
Auckland's Dalton Papali'i celebrate a try with team mate Jordan Trainor. Source: Photosport

Midway through last year, Auckland loose forward Dalton Papali'i was revelling in a second World Under 20 Championship with New Zealand, as a winner in Georgia.

Despite the successes, he remained quiet working on his game and returned to his province to work on his game.

But opportunity came knocking this year as the Blues were hit by a severe injury crisis and Papali'i was signed.

After a limited role with the Super Rugby franchise, the 21-year-old played outstanding rugby for Auckland in this year's Mitre 10 Cup competition topping the tackles count late in the season.

Papali'i also captained his St Kentigern's College First XV and in 2015 led the New Zealand Schools side to a convincing win over their Aussie counterparts.

George Bridge

Bridge said he was blown away when he was approached by the Crusaders for the long-term deal. Source: 1 NEWS

The 23-year-old outside back has stamped his mark in the successful environment of the Crusaders Super Rugby team.

Born in Gisborne, Bridge moved down to Christchurch six years ago to play club rugby and was selected in the under 20s national team as well as Canterbury for the Mitre 10 Cup.

Fast forward to last year, Bridge had an outstanding Super Rugby debut during the Crusaders' successful 2017 campaign and was named their Rookie of the Year.

That impressive form continued in 2018, finishing second-equal on the leading try scorers list with 15 tries as his team defended their title.

Earlier this year Bridge signed with the club and New Zealand Rugby until 2022.

Brett Cameron

Brett Cameron of Canterbury during the Mitre 10 Cup rugby match, Canterbury v Manawatu, Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, 6th September 2018.Copyright photo: John Davidson / www.photosport.nz
Brett Cameron of Canterbury makes a run. Source: Photosport

21-year-old Canterbury first-five Brett Cameron first came on the radar in last year's Mitre 10 Cup playoffs, making an assured performance in the semi-final in just his third provincial outing.

However, Cameron also made waves in 2014 when he was plucked from Wanganui's small Cullinane College and named in the New Zealand Schools training squad.

After school, Cameron headed south to Lincoln University and into the Canterbury provincial team. He played one match for the Crusaders this year.

Gareth Evans

Hurricanes reserve Gareth Evans in action during the Super 15 Rugby match - Chiefs v Hurricanes played at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand on Friday 13 July 2018.

Copyright photo: © Bruce Lim / www.photosport.nz
Gareth Evans makes a run for the Hurricanes. Source: Photosport

Born and bred in the Hawke’s Bay, 27-year-old loose forward Gareth Evans shifted south to Otago University to study and made the Otago provincial side in 2011.

He went on to play three years for the province, becoming known for his abrasive style and huge work rate.

He was drafted into the Highlanders for the 2014 season, making 14 appearances in his debut year, before helping the side to their maiden Super Rugby title in 2015 and victory over the touring British & Irish Lions in 2017.

The younger brother of 2009 All Black Bryn Evans, Gareth transferred to the Hurricanes in 2018 and quickly established himself as the first choice No. 8.

Bryn Hall

Bryn Hall will face his old teammates in a classic Kiwi derby this weekend. Source: 1 NEWS

Auckland-born Bryn Hall, 26, has plenty of leadership experience under his belt, having captained his St Peter's College First XV, was co-captain of New Zealand Under 20 in 2012, and North Harbour provincial captain in 2015.

The halfback made his provincial debut for North Harbour in 2012 and strong performances saw him selected for the Blues for the 2013 season.

He spent four years with the Blues before transferring to the Crusaders in 2017 and was part of their Championship-winning season. He also earned selection in the Māori All Blacks during last year's Lions Tour.

Tyrel Lomax

Mako player Tyrel Lomax during their Mitre 10 Cup game Tasman v Canterbury. Lansdowne Park, Blenheim, New Zealand. Friday 17 August 2018. ©Copyright Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz
Mako player Tyrel Lomax during their Mitre 10 Cup game Tasman v Canterbury. Source: Photosport

Tyrel Lomax grew up playing rugby league in Australia, before making the switch to rugby union.

The 22-year-old prop played his first year of Super Rugby for the Melbourne Rebels in 2017, before returning to New Zealand.

He played for the Tasman Mako in last year's Mitre 10 Cup and after a solid debut season was selected as one of 10 new caps in the Māori All Blacks for their tour to Canada and France.

Lomax joined the Highlanders in 2018, making 15 appearances.

Lomax played for Australian schoolboys in 2014 and the Australian U20 side the following year. His father is former Kiwis rugby league prop John Lomax.

Reuben O’Neill

Taranaki's Reuben O'Neill (L) with team mate  Ben Matwijow celebrate their win during the Mitre 10 Cup rugby match between Taranaki and Auckland at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth on Thursday the 13th of October 2016. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville / www.Photosport.nz
Taranaki's Reuben O'Neill (L) with team mate Ben Matwijow celebrate in 2016. Source: Photosport

Taranaki prop Reuben O’Neill, 23, has overcome injury and a diabetes diagnosis early in his career to take his rugby to the next level.

O’Neill was selected in the New Zealand Schools side in 2012 and followed that up three years with selection to the Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup squad after successfully returning to rugby from a back injury.

O'Neill was a member of the Taranaki side which upset Canterbury to take the Ranfurly Shield in 2017, alongside All Blacks teammate Angus Ta’avao.

He has continued to shore up the scrum so far this year and his strength and power in the front row has reportedly caught the attention of the All Blacks selectors.

Matt Proctor

Centre for the defending champions Matt Proctor spoke after his side were drawn to play away in Japan, instead of in front of their own fans. Source: 1 NEWS

A standout player for both the Hurricanes and the Wellington Lions provincial side, Matt Proctor made his Super Rugby debut in 2013 and was a part of the Hurricanes side that secured their first Super Rugby title in 2016.

His Super season was cut short by injury this year but he returned to captain Wellington’s 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign.

Proctor has represented the Māori All Blacks 10 times and his representative career also includes New Zealand Schools and New Zealand Under 20s.


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Donald Trump suggests 'rogue killers' murdered Saudi journalist

President Donald Trump suggested today that "rogue killers" could be responsible for the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an explanation offering US ally Saudi Arabia a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm. 

The Saudis continued to deny they killed the writer, but there were indications the story could soon change.

While Mr Trump commented at the White House, Turkish crime scene investigators finally entered the Saudi consulate to comb the building where Mr Khashoggi was last seen alive two weeks ago.

Mr Trump spoke after a personal 20-minute phone call with Saudi King Salman and as the president dispatched his secretary of state to Riyadh for a face-to-face discussion with the king. Late in the day, there were published reports that the Saudis were preparing to concede that Khashoggi, a US-based Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, had been killed in an interrogation gone wrong.

"The king firmly denied any knowledge of it," Mr  Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to survey hurricane damage in Florida and Georgia. Mr Trump said he didn't "want to get into (Salman's) mind," but he added, "it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. I mean, who knows? We're going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial."

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government and in particular Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman. Turkish officials have said he was killed and dismembered.

In a sign of new cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that could shed light on the disappearance, Turkish investigators wearing coveralls and gloves entered the consulate on Monday local time. It remained unclear what evidence they might be able to uncover. Earlier in the day, a cleaning crew with mops, trash bags and what appeared to be bottles of bleach walked in past waiting journalists.

Trump administration officials told The Associated Press that intelligence collected by the US is inconclusive as to what actually happened to Mr Khashoggi. With such a lack of clarity, the administration has not ruled out any possible scenario. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, hurriedly sent to Riyadh, expected to get more clarity during talks with Saudi leaders tomorrow. The White House expects credible answers quickly after Mr Pompeo wraps up his trip with a stop in Ankara for meetings with senior Turkish officials.

The State Department has urged a thorough investigation into Mr Khashoggi's disappearance and called on Saudi Arabia to be transparent about the results - advice broadly tracking messages from allies in Europe. Germany, Britain and France issued a joint statement over the weekend expressing "grave concern" and calling for a credible investigation to ensure those responsible for the disappearance "are held to account."

Mr Trump quoted the King today as saying that neither he nor his son, Crown Prince Mohammed, had any information about what had happened to Mr Khashoggi.

The prince, ambitious, aggressive and just 33 in a kingdom long ruled by aging monarchs, has considerable weight in Saudi government actions. He and Mr Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, have forged close ties.

Just last week, Mr Trump vowed to uncover the truth about what happened to Khashoggi and promised "severe punishment" for those responsible. But he has said repeatedly that he does not want to halt a proposed $US110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have said he should - because it would harm the US economically.

Saudi Arabia has pledged to retaliate economically for any US punitive action. That would be an unprecedented breach in a decades-old, deep economic and security relationship that is key to Washington's policies in the Middle East. A Saudi-owned satellite channel later suggested the world's largest oil exporter could wield that production as a weapon against America.

President Donald Trump stops to talk to members of the media outside the White House in Washington. Source: Associated Press


Remains of 10 foetuses and an infant found in one-time US funeral home

The remains of 10 foetuses and one infant were found hidden in a former funeral home that had lost its license when decomposing embalmed bodies were found there earlier this year.

Naveed Syed last month bought the one-time Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit. He plans to rehab the property and transform it into a community center.

An anonymous letter led state inspectors Friday to the decomposed remains hidden between the building’s first and second floors.

Syed said he was shocked about the development, adding he was resolved to help investigators in any way he could.

Authorities have said the foetuses were found together in a cardboard-like box while the full-term infant was in a coffin.

The remains were taken to the Wayne County medical examiner’s office, which is coordinating efforts with authorities to identify the remains.

No arrests have been made.

Cantrell Funeral Home was shut down and had its mortuary license suspended in April after decomposing embalmed bodies were found and other violations were discovered.

Syed says he plans to organize a funeral service for the families of the foetuses and infant once they become known.

The remains of 10 foetuses and one infant were found hidden in a former funeral home in Detroit that had lost its license when decomposing embalmed bodies were found there earlier this year. Source: Associated Press