By Nick MulvenneyBernard Foley kicked a long-range penalty a minute from time to give the New South Wales Waratahs their maiden Super Rugby title with a 33-32 victory over the seven-times champion Canterbury Crusaders in a thrilling final on Saturday.The Waratahs dreams of a first title in their third final were hanging by a thread when the Wallabies flyhalf calmly slotted his seventh penalty of the night from 44 metres to send the record crowd of 61,823 at the Olympic Stadium into raptures.The Waratahs also had tries either side of half time from centre Adam Ashley-Cooper but they had to dig deep in the second half when the Crusaders erased an early deficit and took a slender lead.It was a first win in 12 matches over a decade against the New Zealanders, who had won the first two finals between the teams in 2005 and 2008.“The Crusaders really lifted their game in the second half and showed why they’re the kings of the finals,” said Waratahs coach Michael Cheika, who has transformed the underachieving state side in his two years at the helm.“But we’ve been working really hard on our persistence all year and it paid off for us.”The Crusaders had tries from flanker Matt Todd and winger Nemani Nadolo – his 12th of the season – along with 20 points from the boot of flyhalf Colin Slade but their wait for an eighth title will now go into a seventh season.The Waratahs, as they have often this season, started at a canter and were 8-0 up inside five minutes after Foley kicked his first penalty and Ashley-Cooper finished off a breathless move by barging through three tacklers to touch down.The Crusaders appeared shellshocked by the Waratahs’ opening salvo – making uncharacteristic handling errors and looking fragile at the set piece – and two more Foley penalties extended the lead to 14-0 after 15 minutes.The New Zealanders had too much quality to simply lie down, though, and from a counter-attack from inside their own 22 on 18 minutes, number eight Kieran Read offloaded to flanker Todd, who brushed off Ashley-Cooper’s tackle to score in the corner.Dan Carter added the extras in one of his last contributions before he departed the contest on the half-hour mark with a corked thigh, leaving Slade to trade a couple of penalties apiece with Foley before the break.CONTROVERSIAL DECISIONThree minutes after halftime and the scores were all square at 20-20 after another sweeping Crusaders counter-attack resulted in Nadolo touching down in the corner.It was a controversial decision confirmed by referee Craig Joubert only after review of the TV pictures, which suggested the Fijian’s foot might have gone into touch.Slade converted and added a penalty after the Waratahs scrum collapsed under pressure in the 48th minute to put the Crusaders ahead for the first time at 23-20.Foley missed a chance to level the scores a couple of minutes later but made no mistake with his next attempt only for Slade to slot another penalty to maintain the three-point cushion.The Crusaders were now dominating the breakdown but the Waratahs stuck to their task and managed to get enough quick ball to launch another assault with Ashley-Cooper again crashing through tacklers to give the home side the lead at 30-26.Slade kicked two more penalties, though, to give the Crusaders a two-point lead but ultimately it only set the stage for Foley, who got his chance when Richie McCaw infringed at the breakdown.“We’re absolutely gutted,” said Crusaders skipper Read.“We definitely started slowly and I was proud of the way we fought back. In the end it came down to one kick. That’s footie I guess.”The crowd was a record for a Super Rugby match, beating the 55,000 that watched the Bulls beat the Waikato Chiefs in the 2009 final in Pretoria.
Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min’s late goal sealed a 1-0 home victory against Manchester City in an absorbing Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.With Spurs talisman Harry Kane having hobbled off injured and favourites City beginning to turn the screw, Son sent the home fans inside the London club’s majestic new stadium into delirium as he fired past Ederson in the 78th minute.Quadruple-chasing City, beaten at the same stage last year by Liverpool, were not at their slick best and Sergio Aguero’s first-half penalty miss proved costly.The Argentine’s spot kick was superbly saved by Hugo Lloris after VAR adjudged defender Danny Rose to have handled.Tottenham showed great discipline to preserve their lead and will now go to The Etihad next Wednesday with their hopes of a first Champions League semi-final appearance intact.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The Washington Post: Supreme Court Aligns Against The Have-Nots On Tuesday, the justices were presented with a golden opportunity to further increase inequality. The court heard arguments in Harris v. Quinn, a case testing whether home-care providers who work under a union contract with the state of Illinois can avoid paying dues that support the union’s collective-bargaining work. (Under the law, they already can decline to pay the share of dues that goes to the union’s political work.) Home-care workers are hired by aging or disabled individuals and their families, some of whom are eligible to have the expense picked up by Medicaid. That arrangement means the home-care workers’ pay levels are set by the states — making both the state and the individual a worker’s employer of record (Harold Meyerson, 1/21). USA Today: Abortion Rights A Tale Of 2 Countries: Our View Precisely 41 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that women have a constitutional right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb. In a later decision, the justices held that states must not place an “undue burden” on that right. Today, in too many places for too many women, those protections are becoming all but meaningless. Abortions are fraught with so many restrictions that they are hard to obtain in a growing number of states and almost impossible to obtain in a few (1/21). USA Today: Protect Unborn Children All Over: Opposing View Abortion is not the only matter on which laws have differed greatly among states. For many years, the freedom of choice to own slaves was strongly protected in some states, but restricted and even prohibited in others where abolitionists had the political power to “impose their morality.” … Today, the right-to-life objective is to achieve protection for unborn children everywhere, but our challenge is a similar one. How do we enlighten the blindness of those who adamantly exclude children not yet born from the protected human family? (Mary Spaulding Balch, 1/21). Bloomberg: Cut Medicare Subsidies Health insurance companies have started a campaign to protect the government payments they get for operating private Medicare plans. Anybody who wants to see the U.S. rein in its bloated and inefficient health-care system, and keep the Affordable Care Act affordable, should hope they fail. The program at issue here is Medicare Advantage, which pays private insurers to provide Medicare health benefits (1/21).Tampa Bay Times: For Best Trauma Care, Volume Tops Location In all my years working for hospitals, I’ve never seen anything as misleading and inflammatory as the advertising campaign being waged against trauma centers like Tampa General. … Here’s a simple question: Would you rather go to a trauma center that is convenient, or one that treats so many of these cases that it improves your chances for a better outcome? Multiple studies have shown that patients have better outcomes at high-volume trauma centers like our Level 1 facility. When it comes to trauma, closer isn’t always better. … The recent ad campaign by a third-party group that attacks TGH and other safety-net hospitals employs a simple formula — instill fear in the public to get what cannot be justified legally or supported by science (Jim Burkhart, 1/21). Des Moines Register: There Is Some Iowa Health Reform Good News Fortunately, business looks promising so far for one Iowa insurer. CoOportunity Health, which offers policies in Iowa and Nebraska, saw its business grow from 2,000 members at the end of November to 35,000 members at the end of December. It signed up twice as many Iowans as projected by the end of 2013 and has already surpassed its enrollment projections for 2015. … Also, to the pleasant surprise of actuaries, the youngest customers who are generally healthier and use less health care are buying more expensive plans with richer benefits. If you look at all the policies sold by CoOportunity, the age of new enrollees is evenly divided (1/21). The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Obamacare: Uninsured Americans Still Staying Away So Far It’s been a while since we checked in on Obamacare. The number of technical glitches is down — though there are still important shortfalls, such as the website’s lack of security — and now the problems are, as expected, focusing more on the product itself. The worst news of late comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reports perhaps only one in nine people who have bought health insurance under the law so far didn’t have insurance before (Kyle Wingfield, 1/21). The Fiscal Times: My Obamacare Policy Comparison Was a Breakeven Deal Those who didn’t have health insurance prior to the Obamacare rollout don’t have an easy way to compare the costs of the new marketplace plans to existing ones. But for those who already had individual policies, there is a viable means of comparison. Count me in that boat (John F. Wasik, 1/22). The Oregonian: We Won’t Know How Good Obamacare Is, A Cancer Survivor Says, Until The Health Crisis Is Upon Us For six years, Chris Carvalho paid from $3,274 to $5,452 annually in premiums on a catastrophic-care insurance policy. Then he had a catastrophe. An exhausting battle with colorectal cancer that reframed Carvalho’s understanding and appreciation of the Affordable Care Act and the fractured health-care system it has replaced. “The conversation we’re having on health care is focused on these warring ideologies and people nitpicking the computer systems,” says Carvalho, a 54-year-old freelance nature photographer. “The real issue? People get sick. And as a society, we need to decide how we’re going to handle that. … But there are a lot of people walking around right now who don’t know how endangered their financial well-being is because they haven’t tested their insurance policy” (Steve Duin, 1/21). Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Rate Increase Predictions For Obamacare Are Premature Yes, fewer young people have signed up for Obamacare so far than hoped. And, yes, the mix of young, healthier people in the health care exchanges is a critical piece of information for companies providing coverage as they set rates. But it’s way too early to make predictions at this point — it’s like trying to predict the final score of an NBA game at the end of the first quarter. Good luck with that (1/21). Viewpoints: High Court Weighs Home Health Care Workers’ Union Rights; Abortion Protections Becoming ‘All But Meaningless’