Norrie’s moment of glory

Cameron Norrie, whose parents live in Bucklands Beach, took on eight-time champion Roger Federer in the third round at Wimbledon. Photo Times London

Cameron Norrie would not have fancied his chances of advancing beyond the third round at Wimbledon against Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer but was delighted to have taken a set off him.

The 25-yer-old former Macleans College student has come a long way since dominating junior events in New Zealand.

Born in Johannesburg to Scottish father, David, and Welsh mother, Helen, who migrated to New Zealand when he was three, Cameron’s idols from a young age were Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal. Moving to Texas Christian University in 2014, he became the top male singles college player in the United States before turning professional and moving to London in 2017.

A leftie who favours his backhand, he is currently ranked No 2 in Great Britain and No 34 in the world.

Having lost his first two sets to Federer 6-4, 6-4, Norrie played brilliantly to win the third 7-5 before losing the fourth 6-4.

This is the third consecutive time he has lost in the third round of majors, having previously lost to Nadal in the Australian and French Opens.

Since turning professional, he has won $2,664,941 in prize money.

Meanwhile spare a thought for Caleb Clarke who sacrificed Super Rugby and his All Blacks jersey in his bid to make the NZ men’s sevens team to the Tokyo Olympics.

He’s still going, but only as one of three non-playing reserves.

Another sad omission is Niall Williams, sister of Sonny Bill, who failed to make the Black Ferns women’s side because of an injured neck.

Although the team has plenty of speedsters in the shape of Portia Woodman, Michaela Blyde, Ruby Tui, Tyla Nathan-Wong and Stacey Fluhler, they will miss Williams’ workaholic contribution. More of a grinder than a shiner, her offloads and tackling have been outstanding.

While young Caleb Clarke’s Olympic bid failed, veteran George Bridge returned to his All Blacks left wing berth against Tonga and impressed by popping up all over the field to create overlaps for team-mates.

However, no-one did it better than fearless fullback Damian McKenzie with peerless right wing Will Jordan the main beneficiary with five of the 16 tries in the 102-0 riot.

With 13 newcomers because of Covid-19 and the reluctance of British and French clubs to release their professionals, Tonga never had a chance although their Mt Smart supporters remained the biggest winners in cheering their hapless team throughout.

Although discipline around the ruck area still remains a problem, the All Blacks were otherwise faultless with Sam Whitelock and Dane Coles leading a tightly knit front five and Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane and Luke Jacobson excelling in the loose.

With Sam Cane, Ardie Savea and Shannon Frizell out with injuries, the loose forward depth is outstanding with lively Ethan Blackadder making  a big impact coming off the reserves bench

The speed and accuracy of the backline’s passing was exceptional with Brad Weber (3) and Papalii (2) adding to Jordan’s five as multiple try-scorers.

Pleasing also was the straight running and fast, unselfish offloads of newcomer Quinn Tupaea and Rieko Ioane.

Meanwhile it’s time world rugby allowed the Pacific nations to call on former All Blacks and Wallabies to represent them.

What a difference Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa, Vaea Fifita, Ngani Laumape, Waisake Nahola, Steven Luatua and Charlie Faumuina would make!

  • Ivan Agnew is an award-winning sports writer