Neonatal program helped indigenous mums

A maternity program using Aboriginal grandmothers led to greatly improved health outcomes for indigenous mothers and their babies.

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The Aboriginal Maternity Group Practice Program (AMGPP) aimed to provide culturally appropriate care.

It employed Aboriginal grandmothers, Aboriginal health officers, and midwives who worked with existing antenatal services in south metropolitan Perth.

Women who attended the program between July 2011 and December 2012 had significantly improved outcomes than pregnant indigenous women in two other groups.

The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, said the AMGPP babies were significantly less likely to be born pre-term, to require resuscitation at birth or to have a hospital-stay of more than five days.

Pre-term births are linked to infant mortality, particularly in Aboriginal women, and to chronic disease throughout life.

“Australian Aboriginal women are at greater risk of complications during pregnancy and labour than non-indigenous Australian women,” said the researchers, Dr Christina Bertilone and Dr Suzanne McEvoy.

The reasons include a higher prevalence of medical, life-style and socio-economic risk factors, and lower antenatal care participation rates.

The Aboriginal grandmothers were respected women in the local community with good community networks.

They identified pregnant women, assisted with access to services including transport, provided support including being present at appointments if requested, and advised on cultural and health promotion.

The AMGPP could be adapted to similar settings for improved outcomes for mothers and babies, the authors said.

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Shorten ‘had no big role in Rudd return’

Bill Shorten’s support was not a game-changer in Kevin Rudd’s return to the Labor leadership in 2013, a new essay says.

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Journalist David Marr has uncovered new details about Mr Shorten’s lesser role in the Rudd return in a Quarterly Essay published on Monday entitled Faction Man.

Media reports to date have suggested Mr Shorten’s factional ties were vital to the restoration of Mr Rudd.

But Marr writes that Shorten’s factional power base had completely fractured in early 2013, as MPs came to the conclusion only Mr Rudd could save their seats at the election due later in the year.

The NSW Right threatened to “ignore Shorten in future leadership contests if he didn’t shift too”, Marr says.

Mr Shorten publicly supported Ms Gillard, but privately commissioned his own research in his Victorian seat of Maribyrnong which showed a 13 per cent swing against him if Ms Gillard was to remain leader at the election, the essay says.

Marr says despite Mr Shorten’s long history of factional deals, going back to his time in student politics, he brought only one other vote with him in the caucus vote that restored Mr Rudd.

Since then, factional lines continued to break down, and Mr Shorten’s closest allies had been unable to control candidate preselections.

Marr writes that Mr Shorten’s deal to get the ALP national conference in July to support asylum seeker boat turnbacks involved making promises to union bosses on several seats in state upper houses, a place on a China trade mission and a deputy mayoralty on the fringe of a capital city.

A former Gillard government minister tells Marr the opposition leader is ambitious for his own sake: “He wants to be PM because he wants to be PM. Everything is about becoming PM.”

Union veteran Bill Kelty says Mr Shorten’s appearance at the unions royal commission this year had hurt the Labor leader.

“I rang him afterwards and said to him: `If you want this job, there is something called pain. To be prime minister you have to absorb the pain.'”

A Labor veteran says the opposition may need to accept a return to government could take six years.

“You’re really accepting a two-term strategy with deep confidence in your abilities to manage a disparate rumbling caucus and a bristling, insincerely loyal frontbench for six years. Faux mateyness over the chopsticks. Gripes and grievances behind closed doors.”

Mr Shorten says in an interview with Marr that he has a clear aim in the lead-up to the election.

“I know what the nation should look like in 10 and 15 years time and it’s up to me to tell that story to the nation.”

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History makers Japan ready to write Scotland chapter

Bookmakers suggest that Scotland should win the Pool B clash, but Japan have become fan favourites and chants of support for the Brave Blossoms will ring out at Kingsholm to fill the void left by tournament organisers’ bagpipes ban.

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If they weren’t already, Scotland’s players will be well aware of what to expect from Japan, who made the rest of the rugby world sit up and take notice with Saturday’s triumph over the Springboks.

Scotland have made it to the semi-final stage once before, but that was more than two decades ago. In the previous tournament they failed to make it beyond the group stage and they finished last in this year’s Six Nations.

There are only a handful of players in the current Scotland squad that played in the 2011 tournament, but that could prove to be a blessing.

The team is now packed with fresh talent, including fullback Stuart Hogg, centre Mark Bennett and flyhalf Finn Russell, as well as a host of foreign imports brought in by Kiwi coach Vern Cotter.

More than a third of the squad were not born in Scotland, the most eye-catching of whom is loose forward Josh Strauss, who only qualified on Saturday under three-year residency rules.

In previous meetings between the sides, Scotland have been able to dominate physically and in 2004 they ran in 14 tries against the Japanese in a 100-8 victory.

That will not be the case on Wednesday.

Japan are masters of the scything chop tackle and under the tutorship of Australian coach Eddie Jones have added an aggression factor that blunted the Springboks at the weekend.

With captain Michael Leitch marshalling the defensive effort from the back row and the reliable boot of fullback Ayumu Gorumaru kicking points, Japan will fancy their chances against a Scotland side with a habit of folding in the last quarter.

Then again, after the Brave Blossoms’ marathon effort against South Africa, a sprightly Scotland will look to capitalise on any understandable fatigue in the Japan camp.

Teams

Scotland: 1-Alasdair Dickinson, 2-Ross Ford, 3-Willem Nel, 4-Grant Gilchrist, 5-Jonny Gray, 6-Ryan Wilson, 7-John Hardie, 8-David Denton; 9-Greig Laidlaw, 10-Finn Russell, 11-Sean Lamont, 12-Matt Scott, 13-Mark Bennett, 14-Tommy Seymour, 15-Stuart Hogg

Replacements: 16-Fraser Brown, 17-Ryan Grant, 18-Jon Welsh, 19-Richie Gray, 20-Josh Strauss, 21-Henry Pyrgos, 22-Peter Horne, 23-Sean Maitland

Japan: 1-Keita Inagaki, 2-Shota Horie, 3-Hiroshi Yamashita, 4-Luke Thompson, 5-Justin Ives, 6-Michael Leitch (captain), 7-Michael Broadhurst, 8-Amanaki Mafi, 9-Fumiaki Tanaka, 10- Harumichi Tatekawa, 11-Kenki Fukuoka, 12-Yu Tamura, 13-Male Sa’u, 14-Kotaro Matsushima, 15-Ayumu Goromaru

Replacements: 16-Takeshi Kizu, 17-Masataka Mikami, 18-Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19-Shinya Makabe, 20-Shoji Ito, 21-Hendrik Tui, 22-Atsushi Hiwasa, 23-Karne Hesketh

(Editing by David Goodman)

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Wales not dispirited by injury woes, says Lydiate

Having lost fullback Leigh Halfpenny and scrumhalf Rhys Webb before the tournament, six Wales players suffered injuries in their opening win over Uruguay ahead of the Pool A showdown against hosts England on Saturday.

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“We’ve had more injuries than we’d like but it is just the way it goes sometimes,” Lydiate told reporters.

“There are boys to come in to fill those places and as a squad we’re in a strong place. We’ve got a massive challenge this week and we’ve just got to focus on each day and each game as it comes.”

Lydiate believes playing England on their home ground is just the challenge Wales need.”It’s hard but we’ve just got to focus on the task in hand and there’s no better opportunity to come up here and play England in their own back yard,” he said.

Wales lost at home to England in this year’s Six Nations and have not fared well against their arch-rivals recently.

“The World Cup is always different,” Lydiate said.

“We always love playing against England but the last run of games hasn’t gone in our favour. We want to put that right this week.”

Lydiate was impressed by England’s performance in their opening 35-11 win over Fiji.

“England played well at the weekend and had a good result against a strong Fiji team,” he said.

“We know we’ve got our work cut out but that adds to the flavour.”

Lydiate sustained a head injury after coming on as a replacement against Uruguay but is fully fit.

“I was fine to come back on but there was only 10 seconds left in the game,” he said.

“I passed my off-field test straight away to come back on so I’ll just have another test now in the week. I feel fine.”

(Reporting by Ed Osmond; editing by Justin Palmer)

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Wallabies and Fiji ready to entertain in Cardiff

The Wallabies, winners of both previous World Cups played in Britain, finally get their campaign under way six days into the tournament and will be strong favourites to start with a win over the Pacific Islanders.

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After Japan’s victory over the Springboks on Saturday, however, no one is taking anything for granted and Fiji showed enough in their defeat against England to suggest that they are capable of an upset if everything comes together.

Playing under a closed roof should facilitate the famed running game of both sides, even if some players in the first two matches in Cardiff have complained that the humidity can make the ball slippery.

Australia coach Michael Cheika has long made it clear that the Wallabies will never play conservative rugby on his watch, whatever the conditions.

“That’s the way we play, to play with attack,” he told reporters in Bath on Monday.

“It’s part of our identity. We’re not going to change our ways just because it’s a World Cup.”

Australia will aim to unleash the likes of fullback Israel Folau, but first they must secure the ball. To that end, Cheika has selected twin openside flankers in David Pocock and Michael Hooper.

The last time the pair started together was in Australia’s August victory over the All Blacks in Sydney to secure the Rugby Championship.

“I’m not trying to claim there is any brilliant rocket science behind it,” Cheika added. “You just have two very good players.”

Fiji have some potent attacking weapons themselves, not least hulking winger Nemani Nadolo, who the Australians know very well from Super Rugby.

Regardless of the threat with ball in hand, however, Nadolo or flyhalf Ben Volavola must make the most of any points on offer from the kicking tee, which they to do against England.

Flanker Dominiko Waqaniburotu has been ruled out of the match after being suspended for a dangerous tackle against England and coach John McKee has made three other changes to freshen up his pack.

“Now it’s important we pick up a win,” said lock Tevita Cavubati. “We need to enjoy it as well, because that is when we express ourselves most. We don’t want to go into our shells now. We also know that one upset will change the pool altogether.”

Teams:

Australia: 1-Scott Sio, 2-Stephen Moore, 3-Sekope Kepu, 4-Kane Douglas, 5-Rob Simmons, 6-Scott Fardy, 7-Michael Hooper, 8-David Pocock, 9-Will Genia, 10-Bernard Foley, 11-Rob Horne, 12-Matt Giteau, 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 14-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 15-Israel Folau.

Replacements: 16-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17-James Slipper, 18-Greg Holmes, 19-Will Skelton, 20-Dean Mumm, 21-Nick Phipps, 22- Matt Toomua, 23-Kurtley Beale.

Fiji: 1-Campese Ma’afu, 2-Talemaitoga Tuapati, 3-Manasa Saulo, 4-Tevita Cavubati, 5-Leone Nakarawa, 6-Peceli Yato, 7-Akapusi Qera (captain), 8-Netani Talei; 9-Nikola Matawalu, 10-Ben Volavola, 11-Nemani Nadolo, 12-Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 13-Vereniki Goneva, 14-Waisea Nayacalevu, 15-Metuisela Talebula

Replacements: 16.-Viliame Veikoso, 17-Peni Ravai, 18-Isei Colati, 19-Nemia Soqeta, 20-Malakai Ravulo, 21-Nemia Kenatale,

22-Joshua Matavesi, 23-Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

(Editing by David Goodman)

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Winning matters more than style, says Ireland’s Kearney

The Six Nations champions have usually adopted a pragmatic approach under coach Joe Schmidt based on a powerful forward pack and the kicking skills of halfbacks Conor Murray and Jonny Sexton.

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“One of the criticisms of us in the Six Nations was that we weren’t scoring enough tries,” Kearney told reporters.

“Some of the chat this week was if we can try and approach this game with a similar sort of mind set in attack then we would get a few more tries.”

Kearney said that winning games was the most important thing.

“Listen, backs will tell you we’re in it for the tries and we like to play running rugby so when you get that you’re happy,” he said.

“Ideally you want to be scoring tries but it’s more important to win the games,” Kearney added.

“I think you’ll find as the tournament goes on and teams get more evenly matched, you’re going to see a lot more kicking ball and aerial contesting.”

Ireland were satisfied with their performance against Canada in Cardiff on Saturday after losing warm-up games to Wales and England.

“I think we have to be pretty pleased with how we started,” Kearney said.

“We got some good points on the board, scored some tries and got a good hit-out under a closed roof at the Millennium. No injuries. So a lot of positives there.

“There are a few things we can work on — our discipline in the second half, we got turned over a few times, maybe could have put away a few more opportunities but all in all quite pleasing.”

Ireland next face Romania in Pool D at Wembley on Sunday.

“Unbelievable. I was lucky enough to play there once before, but it wasn’t full,” Kearney said.

“There’s so much history and tradition. Even looking at it yesterday, breaking a record with the Argies and New Zealand, it looked like an unbelievable atmosphere and no-one knows how to party at games like the Irish.”

(Reporting by Ed Osmond, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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‘Truly sad’ Pettersen sorry for lack of sportsmanship

The Americans, who went on to win the trophy by 14 1/2 points to 13 1/2 after a spectacular display in Sunday’s singles, were enraged when European pair Pettersen and Charley Hull, 19, beat Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome in the morning fourballs.

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With their match all square, rookie Lee mistakenly believed her 16-inch putt at the 17th had been conceded by her opponents and picked the ball up, leaving the referee no choice but to award the hole to the Europeans in the women’s version of the Ryder Cup.

Most of the American ire was aimed at the experienced Pettersen who was initially unrepentant when she was quizzed by reporters at St Leon-Rot about the incident on Sunday evening but has now had a change of heart.

“I’ve never felt more gutted and truly sad about what went down,” the 34-year-old Norwegian said on Instagram on Monday.

“I am so sorry for not thinking about the bigger picture in the heat of the battle. I was trying my hardest for my team and put the match and the point that could be earned ahead of sportsmanship and the game of golf itself.”

Pettersen, the highest-ranked player in the European team, said she had personally sought out Inkster on Monday.

“To the U.S. team you guys have a great leader in Juli who I’ve always looked up to and respect so much,” said the world number eight.

“Knowing I need to make things ‘right’, I had a face to face chat with her before leaving Germany this morning to tell her in person how I really feel. I wanted her also to know I am sorry.

“I hope in time the U.S. team will forgive me and know I have learned a valuable lesson about what is truly important in this great game,” added Pettersen, a regular on the American circuit.

“To the fans of golf who watched on TV, I am sorry for the way I carried myself. I can be so much better and being an ambassador for this great game means a lot to me.

“I wish I could change Sunday for many reasons. Unfortunately I can’t,” said Pettersen, a veteran of eight Solheim Cup campaigns.

(Editing by Martyn Herman)

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Fullback Hogg returns for Scotland to face Japan

Scotland made three changes from their last warm-up match against France, which they lost 19-16, with Hogg, who has recovered from an ankle injury, selected ahead of Sean Maitland who is among the replacements.

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Sean Lamont comes in for Tim Visser on the wing with Visser dropping out of the matchday 23 while Richie Gray drops to the bench in favour of Grant Gilchrist in the only change to the pack.

Cotter’s team are short on World Cup experience.

Only Lamont, hooker Ross Ford, prop Alasdair Dickinson and lock Richie Gray, who is on the bench, remain from the side that lost to England in their final pool game at the 2011 tournament when the Scots failed to reach the knockout stage.

“We’ve prepared well for what will be a very tough test against a powerful and fit Japanese team, who like to play a high-tempo game,” Cotter told reporters.

“They (Japan) will have taken a lot of confidence from their opening win over South Africa however that doesn’t change our approach to this game or the pool.

“The priority for us to ensure that we get our jobs right with accuracy, and impose ourselves on the game.”

Scotland have won all four meetings with Japan, the last a 42-17 victory at Murrayfield two years ago, but the Cherry Blossoms will be on a high after stunning the Springboks 34-32 on Saturday.

Scotland: 1-Alasdair Dickinson, 2-Ross Ford, 3-Willem Nel, 4-Grant Gilchrist, 5-Jonny Gray, 6-Ryan Wilson, 7-John Hardie, 8-David Denton, 9-Greig Laidlaw, 10-Finn Russell, 11-Sean Lamont, 12-Matt Scott, 13-Mark Bennett, 14-Tommy Seymour, 15-Stuart Hogg

Replacements: 16-Fraser Brown, 17-Ryan Grant, 18-Jon Welsh, 19-Richie Gray, 20-Josh Strauss, 21-Henry Pyrgos, 22-Peter Horne, 23-Sean Maitland

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ed Osmond)

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France bank on Fofana for flair against Romania

With only four days rest after a 32-10 victory over Italy at Twickenham, Saint-Andre has made 13 changes to his team, possibly a risk but something he was planning all along.

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Centre Wesley Fofana returns from injury and it is an opportunity for Fiji-born wing Noa Nakaitaci to prove himself after a mediocre performance against the Azzurri.

Saint-Andre is hoping Fofana can inject traditional French flair into the back line which was missing on Saturday with centres Mathieu Bastareaud and Alexandre Dumoulin powerful but predictable with their lack of a change of pace.

Nakaitaci and Louis Picamoles are the only players not getting a rest but in the number eight’s case it is more about retaining balance in the side after his man-of-the-match performance and the fact he came off with 15 minutes left.

The versatile Morgan Parra, flyhalf in the French side that lost the 2011 final to New Zealand and back in the side in his more regular position of scrumhalf, is expected to take on the kicking duties in the absence of Frederic Michalak.

Freshness was a key in Saint-Andre’s selection given that it is Romania’s first match in a pool that also contains Ireland and Canada. The Irish top the standings after their 50-7 victory over the Canadians.

France face a very experienced Romania side with three players in their squad at their fourth World Cup, prop Paulica Ion and flyhalf Danut Dumbrava in the starting XV and back-row forward Ovidiu Tonita on the bench.

Prop Mihaita Lazar pointed to the fact that several Romania players know the French well since they play their club rugby in France.

“Every player in our squad who has gone overseas has improved,” he said. ”I can adapt quicker to different styles of play,” he said.

“I think the quality and competition over there (in France) is a lot greater so it will help me in this match particularly.”

Teams:

France: 1-Vincent Debaty, 2-Dimitri Szarzewski (captain), 3-Uini Atonio, 4-Bernard Le Roux, 5-Alexandre Flanquart, 6-Yannick Nyanga, 7-Fulgence Ouedraogo, 8-Louis Picamoles, 9-Morgan Parra, 10-Remi Tales, 11-Noa Nakaitaci, 12-Wesley Fofana, 13-Gael Fickou, 14-Sofiane Guitoune, 15-Brice Dulin.

Replacements: 16-Benjamin Kayser, 17-Eddy Ben Arous, 18-Nicolas Mas, 19-Yoann Maestri, 20-Damien Chouly, 21-Rory Kockott, 22-Frederic Michalak, 23-Mathieu Bastareaud

Romania: 1-Mihaita Lazar, 2-Otar Turashvili, 3-Paulica Ion,

4-Valentin Poparlan, 5-Johannes van Heerden, 6-Valentin Ursache, 7-Viorel Lucaci, 8-Mihai Macovei (captain); 9-Florin Surugiu,

10-Danut Dumbrava, 11-Adrian Apostol, 12-Florin Vlaicu,

13-Paula Kinikinilau, 14- Madalin Lemnaru, 15-Catalin Fercu

Replacements: 16-Andrei Radoi, 17-Andrei Ursache, 18-Horatiu Pungea, 19-Ovidiu Tonita, 20-Stelian Burcea, 21-Valentin Calafeteanu, 22-Ionut Botezatu, 23-Csaba Gal

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Fofana starts as France ring changes for Romania game

Of the 15 players who started the campaign with a 32-10 victory against Italy on Saturday, only wing Noa Nakaitaci and number eight Louis Picamoles were named in the starting line-up for Wednesday’s game at the Olympic Stadium (kickoff 2000 GMT).

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“Playing four days after (our game against) Italy, it was unthinkable to field the same team,” Saint-Andre explained.

“When we built our squad, we took that under consideration. We had to be able to name a second team able to perform against a team who will be fully fresh for their first game.”

Saint-Andre said he retained Picamoles in the starting line-up because the powerful forward would probably not play 80 minutes and was replaced after 65 minutes against Italy.

Usual starter Fofana, who was ruled out of the opener with a thigh injury, will start at centre alongside Gael Fickou.

Morgan Parra and Remi Tales come in for the Toulon pair of Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Frederic Michalak at scrumhalf and flyhalf respectively.

Hook Dimitri Sarzewski was named captain in place of the rested Thierry Dusautoir.

Team:

1-Vincent Debaty, 2-Dimitri Szarzewski (captain), 3-Uini Atonio, 4-Bernard Le Roux, 5-Alexandre Flanquart, 6-Yannick Nyanga, 7-Fulgence Ouedraogo, 8-Louis Picamoles, 9-Morgan Parra, 10-Remi Tales, 11-Noa Nakaitaci, 12-Wesley Fofana, 13-Gael Fickou, 14-Sofiane Guitoune, 15-Brice Dulin.

Replacements: 16-Benjamin Kayser, 17-Eddy Ben Arous, 18-Nicolas Mas, 19-Yoann Maestri, 20-Damien Chouly, 21-Rory Kockott, 22-Frederic Michalak, 23-Mathieu Bastareaud

(Corrects stand-in captain to Dimitri Szarzewski, not Vincent Debaty)

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by David Goodman)

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