Sport Super League Big Changes Tour - Part two
That sounds magic! Super Rugby Pacific draw features weekend with all teams playing in one city
Super Rugby Pacific will gets its own version of the NRL’s Magic Round when Melbourne hosts every team in round two of next year’s competition. The full competition draw was released by Super Rugby Pacific on Monday, with newcomers Moana Pasifika ‘hosting’ the Brumbies at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium at 5.05pm AEDT on Friday February 18, 2022. The debuts of Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua, who will start away to the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday February 19 were set as part of the draw released by joint venture partners New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia (RA).
Leeds Rhinos, the two Hull clubs and Castleford Tigers are next up as Sky Sports rugby league expert Jon Wells looks ahead to 2022...
Yesterday we signed off whilst fumbling for passports in Toulouse and heading back to England to continue our club-to-club Big Changes Tour. Well, as we touch down at Leeds Bradford Airport today we only have a short trip to perhaps the best example of the big changes I see at Super League clubs ahead of a crucial 2022.
Leeds Rhinos have acted following another trophy-less season - one season too long for a club with the fan-base and resources at its disposal. Their heavy defeat to St Helens in the 2021 semi-final highlighted the gap which currently exists between the top and the very top, and forced the one-time virtual tenants of Old Trafford to watch on as the new powerhouses of the sport went toe to toe in Manchester.
Morikawa honoured by European Tour
Collin Morikawa has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour ahead of this week's season finale in Dubai.Morikawa received the accolade in recognition of his memorable victory at The 149th Open at Royal St Georges in July, a final-round 66 earning him a two-shot win over Jordan Spieth on his debut in the Championship.
Super League Big Changes Tour - Part one
The Rhinos have responded accordingly, with Aiden Sezer signed from the Huddersfield Giants, followed by his ex-Canberra Raiders team-mate Blake Austin as well as significant additions in James Bentley and David Fusitu'a.
These are four very high-quality signings in my opinion, but make no mistake, this is a real shake up. Out of the door goes fan favourite Konrad Hurrell and their captain for the last two seasons, the man they paid a hefty fee for back in 2019, is gone too.
Luke Gale will be aiming to be a force for Hull FC next season, but more on that in a moment. Added into the mix are the persistent rumours Richard Agar will be moving upstairs and a new head coach will be installed for 2022, although whether that happens ahead of pre-season is another matter.
FIFA 22: BVB Jewel Moukoko now officially in the game
Munich - as well as in the past 28 years, EA Sports also brings a new FIFA game to the market this year. On July 11, the official trailer was presented, Ran.de has all known innovations in Liveblog: © imago / twitter @ xnoahhd1 moukoko +++ bvb-jewel moukoko now officially in FIFA 22 playable +++ The wait Has an end to FIFA 22 fans who want to play with Dortmund's Top Talent Youssoufa Moukoko in the football simulation of EA Sports.
What Rhinos fans are seeing is a big response, a big reaction, a big change in direction and a real show of faith in their incoming stars that they are willing to install in particular a brand-new half back pairing, again.
The fall-out of that change at Headingley is that the aforementioned Gale will be aiming to be a force instead for Hull FC in 2022, as they look to the England international half-back and former Man of Steel to help them shed the 'Could Do Better' tag which has dogged them recently.
The Black and Whites continue to be an enigma, don't they? Injury and inconsistency dogged them again in 2021 and an eventual eighth-placed finish, not to mention the ignominy of having to watch their bitter rivals from the east of the city reach the play-off semi-finals, has prompted more change - and I actually think they've done a great bit of business here.
I'll take you up into the stands at the MKM Stadium to show you what I mean, because it is from this vantage point that you will really be able to see just how well Luke Gale will complement this team in harness with Josh Reynolds.
Wells: The Super League Big Changes Tour
In the first of a four-part series, Sky Sports rugby league pundit Jon Wells looks at changes at Super League's clubs.As all players report back to their clubs for the start of pre-season ahead of Super League XXVII, I get the feeling there has been much more activity in terms of personnel movement - on and off the field - than for as long as I can remember. There appears to have been more rolls of the dice, more gambles, more new pages turned.
The change is subtle, but it's there if you look. Marc Sneyd, who has moved on to accommodate Gale's arrival, is a superb player and genuinely gifted with the boot - but he doesn't engage the defensive line in the same way as Gale.
There's a difference here, by the way, between taking on the defensive line - for example, as you will see Austin do for Leeds - and engaging defenders. This is Gale's huge strength.
Take a look down there as Hull FC practice; the set-up to the plays they are running in attack are that much clearer. Luke has got his edge on point; the start positions, the timing, the angle of the run - all communicated, barked even, to his teammates by a real general of the sports field, all of which will mean that they engage and commit defenders more regularly than before.
This, in turn, will equate to an extra quarter of a second, more often, for the mercurial Jake Connor and he will take care of the rest.
The big change here was the call to end Sneyd's FC career because he has been exceptional, in a different way than Gale will be, over a number of years for this team. But I do think that this is the difference for them in 2022 which could turn them into a play-off team.
New-look European golf tour to host first tournament in Japan
The new-look European Tour will make its first foray into the lucrative Japan golf market in 2022 after adding the ISPS Handa Championship to next year's recently announced schedule. The ISPS Handa Championship, with a purse of $2 million, will be co-sanctioned with the Japan Golf Tour (JGTO) and the inaugural event will be the first of a three-year deal. Japan great Isao Aoki, chairman of the JGTO, said it had been a "long-cherished desire" to host a European Tour event in the golf-mad country and "we can't wait to hold it".
Now, since we're in East Yorkshire, our obvious next stop is Hull Kingston Rovers and what a season they had under the ice-cool guidance of Tony Smith, inspired by the courage and resilience displayed by their former player Mose Masoe in the face of life-changing injury.
It has infused this club with a drive and purpose which means there has been change afoot at the Robins for some time already, and perhaps this is one of a small handful of clubs not reacting in the same way as others. This is well-stewarded organic growth and development in action.
Let's not be naïve here, there has been some serious money spent in the last 18 months in this part of the city too, but it has been targeted recruitment and the return on that investment has been clear, and it has been tightly focused again ahead of the 2022 season.
In Sam Wood they have secured the services of one of the bright young things making his way in Super League last season and I have been hugely impressed with Frankie Halton every time I have seen him pull on a Featherstone Rovers shirt in the Championship in 2021. They will be great additions and will develop well in that environment.
But their key signing for the upcoming season is one of the very best in Super League in Lachlan Coote. He has been absolutely integral to St Helens' success in the time he has been with them and will add so much to a squad already brimming with promise. Robins fans should be rightly excited at what is to come next year.
Teen star Sophie Dwyer headlines Australian Diamonds squad for Quad Series
Sophie Dwyer has had a breakout year in Super Netball, where she was largely expected to come off the bench. Now the sharp shooter has her sights set on an Australian debut.Set in London, the series will be vital preparation for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, especially considering the Diamonds won't have taken to the court since losing the Constellation Cup in March.
Back along the M62 then, westbound, and the next club we reach is at junction 32, and a visit to The Mend-A-Hose Jungle. The end of the Daryl Powell era has brought with it much change at Castleford Tigers, both on and off the field.
A change in head coach very often means new support staff too, and the incoming Lee Radford has made significant changes in that department. Just poke your head round the door here and you will witness the planning going on between Radford and his long-time right-hand man in Andy Last.
But, since it's rude to eavesdrop, let's leave them to it for now and look elsewhere for more big changes at Cas - and they come on the field, where a coach is truly and vicariously judged by the performances their players deliver.
Tigers fans will, I think, look at their signings with optimism as it gives them a decent clue as to the style of play that they can expect to see in 2022. High turnover of player personnel was inevitable, but perhaps it is best not to analyse the number of players in and out, rather the type of player that Radford has opted for.
It is a real mix of speed (Jake Mamo), durability (George Lawler), power (Mahe Fonua, Bureta Faraimo) and ball-playing ability (Joe Westerman) which, if they click, could really help smooth what is going to be a challenging transition period. Yes, it's the end of an era at Cas, but that just ushers in the start of a new one for the West Yorkshire side.
And while we'll take a break for today, we'll reconvene just down the road tomorrow to take a peek at another West Yorkshire side, also in a state of flux.
Super League Big Changes Tour - Part four
Jon Wells rounds off his Big Changes Tour with a look at three teams tipped to challenge for the Super League title.We ended yesterday's leg of the Big Changes Tour at the AJ Bell Stadium as we ran the rule over the comings and goings at the Salford Red Devils ahead of the 2022 season.
Fears new Covid super-variant Omicron ALREADY is already in Australia .
Health Minister Greg Hunt on Saturday announced Australia would be joining Europe and the US in closing its borders to nine southern African countries to stop the new variant from entering the country. There are though 20 returned travellers quarantining in the Northern Territory who were repatriated from South Africa last week - one of whom has tested positive to Covid.Health officials in the Northern Territory are expected to confirm whether or not the infected case has the hyper-virulent new variant later on Saturday evening.