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World Rugby toughen eligibility laws but Tongan Thor free to play

World Rugby has announced players across the globe will now have to serve a five-year eligibility period before they can represent a national side. But a delay in its implementation until 2020 will allow Queensland Reds prop Taniela Tupou – known as the “Tongan Thor” – to be eligible for Wallabies selection this year.
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World Rugby executives met in Tokyo to discuss the Regulation 8 guidelines that relate to player eligibility.

A decision to extend the residency requirement from 36 months to 60 months was made with the intention of “protecting the integrity and sanctity of international rugby in the modern elite environment”.

It means players will find it significantly tougher to switch allegiances, however the increase to five years will not come into effect until December 31, 2020.

“This extension to the residency period within a forward-thinking reform package will ensure a close, credible and established link between a union and players, which is good for rugby and good for fans,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver was opposed to the change as recently as last year, saying he felt the tweak would leave rugby vulnerable to having players poached by a code such as rugby league that did not have complicated international eligibility rules.

But Pulver changed his tune this year, stressing the move from three years to five would have little impact on the Wallabies.

“At a World Rugby level, what we’re trying to do is to preserve the integrity of national teams,” Pulver said in February. “Frankly, if you are a Fijian that lives in Fiji, you should play for Fiji … you shouldn’t play for any other country. Same in Tonga, same in Samoa, same right around the world. It’s very important we preserve that.

“We support this change. It is a very healthy international change. Of the last 90 players that have used the residency rule to play for Australia, only two have used the 36-month residency rule.”

The two players are Fijian born Sefa Naivalu, who made his debut off the bench last year in Pretoria against South Africa, and 11-Test winger Henry Speight from the Brumbies.

As for 20-year-old rising star Tupou, he will not be affected by the changes but will still have to serve the mandatory three-year requirement.

Tupou is eligible for Wallabies selection later this year after being picked on the spring tour at the end of 2016 as a development player.

For some time, France and Argentina have pushed for five-year eligibility requirements in the hope of preventing national sides from plucking players from other nations and getting them into their systems quickly.

Argentina were the only side at the 2015 World Cup with an entire squad of locally-born players.

World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, who hails from Argentina, lauded the decision on Wednesday.

“This is an historic moment for the sport and a great step towards protecting the integrity, ethos and stature of international rugby,” Pichot said. “National team representation is the reward for devoting your career, your rugby life, to your nation and these amendments will ensure that the international arena is full of players devoted to their nation, who got there on merit.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Hidden garden

EXOTIC: Visitors to Mr Bull’s Gardens pose for this 19th century Lake Macquarie Library photo. Photo: history.lakemac南京夜网419论坛BULLS Garden Road near Charlestown is very familiar to most Lake Macquarie people. But what’s the real story behind it?
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Believe it or not, more than 100 years ago this road going south, off Dudley Road, went to Mr Bull’s famous exotic gardens, hidden in bush.

Today, this major tourist attraction has long disappeared. The road winds for about two kilometres from near Whitebridge Cemetery to link with Oakdale Road at Gateshead.

Best known as a traffic shortcut, it’s also the road where the landmark O’Malleys aquariums does business.

What is normally forgotten these days is that around 1860 Edmund Bull bought a 60-acre plot here, in what is now Whitebridge, to gradually create a botanical paradise.

Eight of his children worked on rotation in the gardens initially. Two brothers at a time, as young as 14 years, were left alone in the bush for a fortnight, clearing the land.

Here, they lived on corn beef, tea, flour and sugar supplemented by what they could catch, such as possums, pigeons, parrots and bandicoots.

At night, there were the haunting cries of dingoes stalking their young cattle, some of which by morning would be without their tails.

Gradually, over decades, the cleared bush developed into some of the finest gardens in Australia. Now, after land changes, only the name Bulls Garden Road stands as a reminder of past glories.

Some of the garden splendour, however, survived until at least 1936.

Lake Macquarie City librarians today believe Mr Bull’s Gardens were located east of Whitebridge’s present Bulls Garden Road. Part of the road though outlines the boundary of the original land grant.

A gully of running water once cut through the land, creating a large rock pool, or miniature lake, leading to a waterfall. On the hills, an orchard was planted to obtain a livelihood, but the rest was moulded into a ‘hobby’ scenic garden.

Many seeds and plants largely unknown then in Australiawere planted. There were seeds from America and Java and bulbs from Holland, plus 24 varieties of camellia from Japan.

The cool gully full of palms, big ferns, staghorns and fat clumps of cane was beautifully landscaped, terraced by tiers of stonewalls. Rockpools and a row of fishponds under a great coral tree completed the picture.

Both Edmund and his second wife, Mary, were later buried at nearby Whitebridge Cemetery, in 1899 and 1903 respectively.

But it was a son, Sid Bull, who did much to create the legend as we know it today. Sid, who took over management of the attraction in 1904,allowed free public access to the gardens where his family lived on site and made a good living supplying refreshments, flowers and fruit to visitors.

People caught the train to then nearby Whitebridge station. Hundreds of people flocked to the gardens each weekend or on holidays.

There were once as many as 200 horse-carriages at a time pulled up on the grass outside.

Masters of sailing ships anchored in Newcastle Harbour who had heard of the beauty of the gardens hired buggies to make a special trip to the area.

Here, beside the waterfall was a small mine from which the Bull family collected coal.

Visiting the site in 1947, Herald writer Ian Healy reported only remnants of the gardens remained between plots of sub-divided land. He then heard tales of ships’ captains who once liked to creep into the mine, with picks, to chip off small pieces “which they treasured like gold”.

One of the greatest threats to the site were occasional bush fires. Early model cars then bought visitors in bigger numbers to the gardens and thefts of flowers and fruit increased.

Mr Bull’s gardens, which had once grown all tropical fruit from paw paws, pineapples and mangoes to tulips and violets, closed in the 1930s after about 70 years.

Sidney Bull and his wife then relocated from Whitebridge to Wallsend in 1937.

His father, pioneer Edmund Bull who had come to NSW in 1837, was from a long line of gardeners who had cultivated plants in Scotland and the Isle of Wight for several hundred years.

At first he lived at Folly Park, Mayfield, in 1854 before the industries came. Bull Street was named after him.

Sidney Bull said later that his father had grown the first bananas in Newcastle, but “nobody would buy them . . . the majority of people were suspicious of their taste and worth”.

The family then eventually moved to remote Whitebridge and the rest is history.

Linking the pastWELL, well. It’s not often you learn something new about local history.

It all started when author Doug Saxon, of Fishing Point, dropped me a note recently.

FORGOTTEN FIGURE: Michael Scott, pictured around 1940.

“I’m emailing you to let you know that, after three years of research, my book, Michael Scott. An Artistic Life, has finally been printed,” he wrote.

“The final product is 162 pages (A4) with some 90 photographs.

“You’re probably never heard of Michael Scott, but in the 1950s and 1960s he was well known throughout Australia, particularly as the founder of the Blake Prize for religious art.

“He also had strong connections to the Hunter – his father was medical superintendent at the Morisset Hospital and his uncle and benefactor was AA Rankin after whom Rankin Park Hospital and the adjoining suburb are named.”

According to Saxon, Scott was also a significant figure in changing Australian church architecture in the late 1950s and 1960s.

It turns out that Scott was also a newspaper columnist, radio broadcaster and lecturer on both religious art and church architecture while holding office in a number of church, government and community organisations.

In 1946, Scott was the first public figure to call for state aid for Catholic schools.

Author Saxon’s interest in Scott began after being appointed principal of Bonnells Bay Primary School (formerly Morisset East Public) on the western shore of Lake Macquarie, in January 1983.

Here, he received a letter from Michael Scott of Dublin, Ireland, seeking information about the school he attended from 1915 to 1917.

Michael Scott planned to write an account of his “incredibly happy days in the little (Morisset) bush school”.

Then in 2012, when Saxon set out to write the school’s centenary history, he found the letter sent to him 30 years earlier.

Saxon’s follow-up research uncovered that Scott had become orphaned at age 12 and had later become a Catholic priest.

At age 17, he gave up the opportunity to be a lawyer to become a Jesuit instead, fuelled by a sense of obligation to help those who’d helped his family. Intrigued, Saxon set out on the path to discover more.

This included that in 1968, Michael Scott became the first Australian Jesuit to leave to marry a woman he’d met in Dublin and fallen in love with almost 40 years earlier.

Saxon’s self-funded book ($30) is being launched on Saturday, May 13, at Adamstown Uniting Church.

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Man arrested wearing bra

Man arrested wearing bra BAIL: Keith William Green is mobbed my the media after being released from the Newcastle courthouse cells on Wednesday afternoon.
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FREE: Keith William Green is mobbed my the media after being released from the Newcastle courthouse cells on Wednesday afternoon.

TweetFacebookAccused Maryville peeping tom Keith William Green is released from custody. Story to come. @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/ySqCDoMsvk

— Sam Rigney (@SamRigney) May 10, 2017

Keith William Green, 55, of Raymond Terrace, appeared in Newcastle Local Court in handcuffs, a pair of green prison-issue shorts and a jumper on Wednesday charged with enter dwelling with intent and peep or pry.

His solicitor, Kristy Wade, pleaded not guilty to both charges and applied for bail on Mr Green’s behalf.

According to a statement of police facts, the alleged victim was at home on Sunday night when she saw a man standing in her backyard.

She grabbed a torch and the man, who was was wearing only a pair of white underpants, fled.

Then on Tuesday night about 11.25pm, the woman was asleep in her unit when she heard someone come in.

She walked into the lounge room and saw a man –wearing nothing but a pair of dark-coloured underpants – standing behind the lounge room door, court documents state.

“The alleged victim noticed that the accused had something protruding from the rear of his head but was unable to describe this object any further,” police facts state.The woman told police she recognised the man from a few nights earlier and told him to leave.The man ran out the front door and the alleged victim called police.

Police patrolled the area and allegedly found Mr Green running along Lewis Street at 11.36pm, court documents state.

At this stage, police allegehe was wearing underpants and a dark jumper and was carrying a bundle of ladies clothes and a black wig.

When police asked about the clothes, Mr Green allegedly said they were his.When asked about the cable ties and ratchet straps, the accused replied: “I don’t know”, court documents state.

Magistrate Robert Stone granted Mr Green bail on the condition he live at Raymond Terrace, report to police, adhere to a curfew, not enter the suburb of Maryville and provide a $1000 surety.

The matter was adjourned until June 22.

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Calls for Toowoomba Citytrain services to piggyback inland rail project

Train commuters use Queensland Rail trains in Brisbane. Photo: Jorge BrancoToowoomba mayor Paul Antonio has called for a new Citytrain link between his city and Brisbane to be piggy-backed on the federal government’s $8.4 billion budget commitment for the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail route.
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The huge spend was unveiled in federal Treasurer Scott Morrison’s second federal budget on Tuesday night and would cover most of its estimated $10.7 billion cost.

Once built, the 1700-kilometre rail link, nicknamed the “Steel Mississippi” by some, would take about 110 B-double trucks off the roads with every train journey.

Cr Antonio said the inland rail would revolutionise business in the Darling Downs, but it also needed to be future-proofed to allow for future use as a passenger route to Brisbane, 140 kilometres to Toowoomba’s east.

“We have about 100,000 people in Toowoomba and you’d probably need a bigger critical mass to make it work,” he said.

“But I think there’s an expectation in Toowoomba that upon the maturity of the inland rail route, where there’s probably two lines at least, that we’d be looking towards getting a train to Toowoomba.”

Cr Antonio said he and Lockyer Valley mayor Tanya Milligan had put together a proposal for an in-depth study into an extension of the Rosewood line to Withcott, at the base of the range.

With the inland rail, Cr Antonio said, it could go even further.

“As we build this (inland rail) line, I’ll be advocating for that capacity to be built into it,” he said.

“I think there are times to strike with projects like this and from now on is the time for us to put this on the table and say to the federal government and those who are funding this, ‘future-proof this now’.

“They’re talking about building a single-line tunnel through the hill. Why wouldn’t you at least double that and have at least a two-line tunnel, and maybe a three-line tunnel, to future-proof the project?”

Public transport lobbyist Robert Dow, from Rail: Back on Track, said the inland rail would be a “game changer” for south-east Queensland and urged all three levels of government to explore passenger options using the new tunnels through the ranges.

“The opportunity exists for the state government to run commuter trains to Toowoomba in almost half the time it takes the Westlander train on the existing track and alignment,” he said.

“The travel time efficiency savings flowing from the track improvements will make rail highly competitive with cars for the journey from Toowoomba to Brisbane.”

The extension of the Citytrain network would not necessarily require expensive electrification, Mr Dow said, as diesel hybrids could be used.

“They can run out the wires to Rosewood then switch over to batteries with a diesel back-up,” he said.

“They regenerate, but can run part of the way on battery then flick over to diesel. Japan’s got these things already – these things exist.”

Transport Minister and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said while the Queensland government could eventually explore a Toowoomba Citytrain link, the Cross River Rail remained the state’s top priority.

“Unless it’s built, south-east Queensland will eventually grind to a halt,” she said.

“We must act now to make sure our public transport system keeps pace with the rate of population growth.

“We will consider further upgrades and linkages on our Citytrain network but first and most importantly, we need to get on with the job and build Cross River Rail.”

As for the freight benefits of inland rail, Cr Antonio said it would “change the way business is done right across this region”.

He said it would drive Toowoomba’s push to be a major logistical hub and a place where food could be produced and prepared for export around the world.

“Close of 50 per cent of what goes out of the Port of Brisbane comes through Toowoomba, principally on a road system that was built for a different purpose but will be replaced by the bypass soon, and secondly on a rail line that was built just on 150 years ago,” he said.

“The reality is, there’s not been a lot done to that windy, three-foot-six gauge line in the intervening period.

“… Of the 3.5 million tonnes of primary agricultural product that’s produced in this area, only 180,000 tonnes goes out on rail.

“It’s just ridiculous when its more competitive in somewhere like Goondiwindi to cart the grain on a B-double train than it is to cart on a train in reasonably sizable loads.

“So the exporters of this region are being disadvantaged terribly by the lack of infrastructure.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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