aking to the crowd post-match and Warwi

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HOUSTON -- Initial funding has been approved for a $105 million redevelopment of the Houston Astrodome that would include raising the two bottom floors to accommodate about 1,400 parking spaces.Harris County commissioners voted Tuesday to spend $10.5 million on the projects initial design.Plans call for the bottom floors of the county-owned Astrodome to be raised for parking so that it can be used for festivals, conferences and commercial uses across more than 550,000 square feet of air-conditioned space.Parking revenue, hotel occupancy taxes and county general funds are expected to cover the cost of the redevelopment.The Astrodome opened in 1965 but has been vacant for 17 years, falling into disrepair and declared unfit for occupancy in 2009. Voters in 2013 rejected a $217 million bond for renovations. 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Chris Covington Jersey .J. Jefferson has been charged with assaulting his girlfriend. History does not always repeat itself, but it can have resonant echoes. In 2011, Richie McCaw told a worldwide TV audience that he was completely shagged after New Zealands World Cup final victory over France.Consciously or not, McCaw -- a player deeply aware of All Blacks heritage -- channelled another black-clad back rower, speaking on the same ground, Eden Park, after another famous victory.It was 60 years ago to the day, on Sept. 1, 1956, that Peter Jones stood in front of broadcast microphones at Eden Park and confessed himself absolutely buggered. He was speaking to a very different New Zealand.It was a strait-laced society in which public use of the word bullsh-- could lead to criminal charges as late as the 1970s. This was the New Zealand of 6 oclock closing, its people the most isolated on the globe rather than being, as they would become once cheap air travel was available, the worlds great travellers.A sense of claustrophobia may have contributed to the febrile atmosphere which accompanied the Springboks through their 1956 tour of New Zealand. Sober chroniclers like New Zealands leading contemporary historian James Belich have likened it to war fever. Terry McLean, its leading rugby writer, wrote of the country having lost its sense of proportion.This was also a very different rugby world. International teams did not fly in and out as they now do, on annual quick-fire Test-only tours. They pitched up once a decade -- and the war meant the Boks had not been seen in New Zealand since 1937 -- and stayed for an entire season. The Boks had been in New Zealand for three months and the match at Eden Park, last of a four-Test series, was their 23rd.New Zealand had yet to beat South Africa in a series in four meetings dating back to 1921. The Boks had not lost a series to anyone since 1896. Bitter memories still rankled of the 4-0 whitewash inflicted on a highly-fancied All Blacks team on their last trip to South Africa in 1949. The All Blacks had scored more tries in three of the Tests, but fell victim to penalties kicked by Boks prop Okey Geffin from decisions by South African referees. More than half a century later, All Blacks prop Kevin Skinner remained convinced that they would have won with neutral referees.Rugby mattered even more to New Zealand in 1956 than it does now. Historian Jock Phillips, then an enthusiastic schoolboy rugby fan but as an adult a trenchantly critical chronicler of New Zealand society, reckons the 1950s the zenith of the masculine holy trinity of beer, betting and rugby.Warwick Roger, whose Old Heroes evocation of the tour remains one of the high-points of rugby literature, the nearest the game has got to baseball writer Roger Kahns Boys of Summer, recalls a rather flat mental and social landscape.Excitement mounted from the Boks first match, against Waikato in Hamilton. Thirty-one thousand fans crammed into a ground designed for 3,000 fewer and the fired-up Mooloos charged into a 14-0 lead before halftime. Reduced to 14 men by an injury early in the second half, they hung on for a famous victory by 14-10.A pattern of brutally, sometimes viciously, competitive contests in front of packed, frenzied crowds had been set and would last for the next three months. The first test was the 10th match, five weeks into the tour.New Zealand won 10-6 at Dunedin, in spite of losing debutant prop Mark Irwin with injured ribs. Tries from lock Richard Tiny White, one of the finest of the long All Blacks tradition of athletic ball-handling second rows, and wing Ron Jarden ensured the victory, but it was clear that the ferocious scrummaging of Bok props Chris Koch and Jaap Bekker, both veterans of 1949, was a major problem for the All Blacks.Worry became more like national panic three weeks later at Wellington. The Boks tied the series by winning 8-3, and again dominated the scrums. The All Black selectors had struggled to find their best team, making five changes to the pack after the first test.For the third they called up giant Waikato full-black Don Clarke, so launching one of the great All Blacks careers and recalled two veterans, prop Kevin Skinner and ball-handling number eight Peter Jones.Skinner was a former All Blacks captain, a veteran of 1949 and by general consent still the most formidable prop in New Zealand. But South African memories focus on his having formerly been New Zealands amateur heavyweight boxing champions and the havoc he wrought in the third test at Christchurch, brawling with Koch in the first half, then switching sides after halftime for a similarly brutal contest with Bekker.ddddddddddddSkinner for the rest of his life denied that his boxing skills were a relevant factor, in 2002 telling me: I dont think what I did had a big bearing on the match, but certain people in the news media made it out that way. My theory is that the South Africans had been kicking the black man around since 1658 and were used to the idea that nobody would hit them back. After wed sorted a few things out in the front row, they got on with playing a bit better.Less remembered is the spectacular start made by Don Clarke, who began an international career which would see him score 200 point before anyone else managed to attain even 100 in matches between the established rugby nations. His two penalties and the wide-angled conversion of Canterbury wing Morrie Dixons try gave the All Blacks an 11 point lead -- a huge margin at a time when double figures was more often than not a winning score -- in the first 15 minutes.The Boks fought back brilliantly after halftime. Tries by back row Butch Lochner and wing Wilf Rosenberg, both converted by full-back Basie Vivier, cut the margin to 11-10 during a third quarter which also saw referee Bill Fright issue a general warning to the two captains, Vivier and Bob Duff. It took late tries from Jarden and White to seal the issue for the All Blacks 17-10.New Zealand could not now lose the series, but excitement diminished little, if at all, in the fortnight which remained before the final test in Auckland. Two of the matches played in the interim also echo to this day -- New Zealand Universities 22-15 defeat of the tourists at Wellington for a 70 yard solo try by former All Blacks centre John Tanner and the Boks 37-0 defeat of the Maoris because of allegations, still debated, that the home team was hopelessly hamstrung by official demands that they tone down their physicality.The Boks were by this time an unhappy, divided squad. Manager Danie Craven was lumbered with an unpopular deputy whose real role was to be a political commissar from the Broederbond, the hugely influential Afrikaaner secret society. Vivier, an unexpected captain, was too fallible a player to command respect. And three months of New Zealand rugby fever had worn them down.But they still had to be beaten. The overnight queue at Eden Park was estimated at 15,000 and 61,240 packed into the ground for what All Blacks hooker Ron Hemi would recall as the hardest game I ever played in.The All Blacks led 3-0, a Don Clarke penalty, before the pivotal moment early in the second half. Hemi, a famed dribbler at a time when this was still a significant rugby skill, broke with the ball at his feet, then kicked infield to where Jones kicked on. Vivier looked likely to reach the loose ball first but Jones, displaying an extraordinary turn of speed, beat him to it and charged untouched to the line amid crowd bedlam. Clarkes conversion and another penalty made a late Bok try academic.The final minutes were perhaps the low point of a tour in which violence was never very far away. White was kicked so viciously in the spine by a Bok boot that the watching Warwick Roger feared we were seeing the making of a paraplegic before our eyes. It took more than 40 years for Bekker, a few weeks before his death in 1999, to own up as the perpetrator.It was the end of 60 years of Springbok invincibility, arguably the greatest moment in New Zealand rugby history to that point. Yet relief, rather than joy, seems to have been the predominant emotion. New Zealand journalist Fred Boshier reported that the players only seemed interested in getting off the pitch. All Blacks five-eighth Ross Brown reckoned that he slept badly for three months after the series ended while back row Bill Clark, a rare All Black who became an opponent of contact with apartheid-era South Africa, in 2002 recalled to me the genuine dislike between the teams.Jones radio interview appears to have been the sole moment of cheer. A famous photograph shows Dr. Craven speaking to the crowd post-match and Warwick Roger, with characteristic perception, points to its most remarkable feature: The All Blacks had won, the Springboks had been crushed, but everybody looks drained. One man has his hand to his chin and appears to be in deep thought. There isnt one happy face among the whole crowd. Cheap Jerseys Store Discount NFL Jerseys Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2018 Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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