Watch: Former All Black Adam Thomson shares raw footage of rough journey in Japanese hospital battling spinal infection

Former All Black Adam Thomson has shared emotional footage of the rollercoaster  he went through last year while battling a spinal infection in Japan.

The loose forward spent 57 days in a Tokyo hospital after falling ill suddenly with a mystery illness which was later diagnosed as lumbar discitis - a painful infection of the spine.

The 29-cap All Black shared video of his experience on his Instagram account, revealing in the caption reflecting on it wasn't easy.

"It wasn't easy to look back on this footage and piece together this video of our two months in a Japanese hospital over Xmas 2017," he said.

"There are some pretty raw moments and it's tough to relive some of the more challenging times but it was important to both of us (his partner Jessie Gurunathan included) to tell this story."

The 2011 World Cup winner said he found strength in the constant support around him.

"I couldn't be more thankful for the unconditional love and support I received throughout, it gave me the strength to stay positive and make it back on my feet again. You all know who you are and I hope you know you'll always have my gratitude."

The full eight-minute video can be viewed here.


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US to open wildlife refuge at ex-nuke site despite concern for public safety

The U.S. Interior Department said Friday (local time) it will go ahead with plans to open a wildlife refuge at the site of a former nuclear weapons plant in Colorado, after briefly putting the opening on hold amid concerns about public safety.

Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, on the perimeter of a government factory that made plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs, is scheduled to open Saturday.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke initially said Friday he would delay the opening to gather more information about safety.

The announcement came after Colorado Democratic congressman Jared Polis, who is running for governor, wrote Zinke expressing concerns that plutonium testing on the site was outdated and asking him to postpone the opening until new tests could be done.

Just one hour later, Zinke spokeswoman Faith Vander Voort said a review was complete and the refuge would open.

Vander Voort said the review was done by Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, the No. 2 leader at the department. Vander Voort did not provide any details of the review and did not immediately respond to an email seeking more information.

The Rocky Flats plutonium plant stopped work in 1989 after a 34-year history marred by fires, leaks and spills. It was shut down during a criminal investigation into environmental violations.

Rockwell International, the contractor then operating the plant, pleaded guilty in 1992 to charges that included allowing leaks of chemical and radioactive material and illegally disposing hazardous waste. The company was fined $18.5 million.

The plutonium plant was cleaned up at a cost of $7 billion, but it remains off-limits to the public.

The 8-square-mile (21-kilometer) buffer zone surrounding the manufacturing site was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a refuge.

Some groups worry that plutonium particles eluded the cleanup and could be sprinkled over the refuge, where hikers and cyclists could inadvertently stir them up or track them home.

Five environmental and community activist groups sued the government in May, arguing the refuge should remain closed until more testing is done.

Last month, a judge rejected their request to delay the opening while the lawsuit is heard. The lawsuit is pending in Denver federal court.

"My head is spinning," said Randall Weiner, an attorney for the plaintiffs, after the Interior Department's rapid reversal Friday.

"It seems like the (deputy) secretary did an awfully quick study to address the questions raised by Rep. Polis," he said.

Until this weekend, the only way to visit the refuge was to sign up for a short hike, guided by a Fish and Wildlife Service officer, offered once a month.

The agency plans to open about 16 kilometres of trails this weekend that will be open seven days a week. Visitors will be told to stay on the trails or roads.

The U.S. Interior Department said it would open the wildlife refuge after briefly putting the opening on hold amid concerns about public safety. Source: Associated Press


Ireland legend hails NZ's rugby approach - 'I had no idea of their way of coaching'

Former Ireland first-five and current Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O'Gara has spoken about the superiority of coaching in New Zealand, having helped the Christchurch franchise to a second straight Super Rugby title.

O'Gara, 41, joined the Crusaders at the beginning of 2018, with his impact quickly noticed by fans as first-five Richie Mo'unga's performances showed the impact of the 128-Test veteran's influence.

Speaking to The Telegraph, O'Gara was full of praise towards the impact New Zealand rugby has had on him as a coach.

"The positivity of rugby in New Zealand has rubbed off on me," he says.

"It has changed me massively. It is intense but fascinating. I had no idea of their way of coaching. I was of the model of telling players. They don't believe in that."

"Their mantra is, 'Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.'

"New Zealanders are humble and they practise skills, running, passing. Simple things to say but complex actions on the field. But the players there come in every day with this desire to get better, every day."

O'Gara also went on to confidently assert that the All Blacks could be beaten, however victory on a consistent basis against the defending world champions is another proposition entirely.

"Of course, the All Blacks can be beaten. But consistently beaten? I don't know about that, I don't think the natural talent is any better than what we have here."

"One thing you know, though, is that the All Blacks will perform. It is up to the other nations to perform, too."

Ronan O'Gara Assistant Coach of the Crusaders  during the Super Rugby match, Crusaders V Hurricanes, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, 25th May 2018.Copyright photo: John Davidson /
Ronan O'Gara. Source: Photosport

'He's keen for it' - Michael Cheika backing Israel Folau's switch to wing

Israel Folau has been named to make his Wallabies return against Argentina - but not in his usual position.

Instead, coach Michael Cheika starts Folau on the right wing for tonight's Rugby Championship clash on the Gold Coast, meaning the in-form Dane Haylett-Petty will remain at fullback.

Folau hasn't started a Test match on the wing since the 2013 Bledisloe Cup, having worn the No.15 jersey for his past 61 consecutive international appearances.

It's another selection curve ball from Cheika as he seeks to restore more potency to Australia's attack after a lean return in terms of points scored across their six outings so far this year.

Cheika still thinks Folau's best position is at fullback but said Haylett-Petty deserved to remain in the No.15 jersey, and Folau had responded well to the call.

"He's keen for it ... no-one volunteers and tells the coach where they're going to play. It's not like (reality television show) X Factor, they can't vote on it," Cheika said.

"He's just keen and excited to be back playing."

Star flanker David Pocock has also been earmarked for a return to the starting side after missing last week's win over the Springboks.

Cheika is adamant both Pocock (neck) and Folau (ankle) are fit to play after both were included in his original team to face South Africa only to drop out later.

Adam Coleman, who was also scratched from the Wallabies team on match-day to be with his pregnant partner Tonia, has been named on the bench with Izack Rodda to start alongside Rory Arnold in the second row.

Meanwhile, veteran prop Sekope Kepu has returned to the 23-man squad after surprisingly missing selection last week to replace Tom Robertson.

Cheika has resisted calls to start Taniela Tupou despite his match-turning performance off the bench against the Springboks.

Argentina comfortably beat South Africa at home last month before a spirited showing ended in a 46-24 loss to New Zealand last weekend.

Michael Hooper (right) captains Israel Folau at the Waratahs and Wallabies. Source: Photosport