Cheetahs v Blues

Highlanders v RedsForce v HurricanesChiefs v CrusadersRebels v BrumbiesBulls v SharksLions v Stormers
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Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, Saturday 4.10am (AEST) Last meeting: Round 6 2014 – Blues 40-30, Eden ParkHead-to-head:  Played 8 Cheetahs 2 Blues 6In Bloemfontein:  Played 4 Cheetahs 2 Blues 2Referee:  Rohan Hoffmann (AUS)TV: Live, FoxSports 502Ladbrokes: Cheetahs $1.67, Blues $2.25 BetEasy: Cheetahs $1.60, Blues $2.35

AAP writes: The Cheetahs will be well rested after round one’s surprise win over the Sharks was followed by a bye. The Republic touring-Blues on the other have had a tough start to their campaign with two losses against top four sides. They’ve made changes aplenty, with rookie Melani Nanai replacing Ben Lam on the wing and Lolagi Visinia starting at fullback. That sees Charles Piutau move to outside centre, Hamish Northcott to No.12, and Francis Saili to the bench. All Blacks Charlie Faumuina and Patrick Tuipulotu also make their first starts of the season in the pack. Meanwhile the Cheetahs welcome back Springboks flyer Cornal Hendricks, while Carl Wegner comes in for the injured Lood de Jager (elbow).

CHEETAHS: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Venter, Michael van der Spuy, Raymond Rhule, Joe Pietersen, Sarel Pretorius, Willie Britz, Oupa Mohoje, Jean Cook, Francois Uys (capt), Carl Wegner, Coenie Oosthuizen, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Danie Mienie. Reserves: Stephan Coetzee, BG Uys, Maks van Dyk, Boom Prinsloo, Tienie Burger, Tian Meyer, Willie du Plessis, Johan Sadie.

BLUES: Lolagi Visinia, Melani Nanai, Charles Piutau, Hamish Northcott, Tevita Li, Ihaia West, Jimmy Cowan, Jerome Kaino (capt), Brendon O’Connor, Luke Braid, Patrick Tuipulotu, Josh Bekhuis, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Matt Moulds, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Angus Ta’avao, Steven Luatua, Akira Ioane, Jamison Gibson-Park, Simon Hickey, Francis Saili

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Chiefs v Crusaders

Highlanders v RedsForce v HurricanesCheetahs v BluesRebels v BrumbiesBulls v SharksLions v Stormers
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Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST) Last meeting: Round 10 2014 – Crusaders 18-17, Waikato StadiumHead-to-head:  Played 25 Chiefs 9 Crusaders 16In Hamilton:  Played 14 Chiefs 6 Crusaders 8Referee:  Mike Fraser (NZL)TV: Live, FoxSports 502Ladbrokes: Chiefs $1.57, Crusaders $2.38 BetEasy: Chiefs $1.60, Crusaders $2.35

AAP writes: It’s hard to argue against this being the match of the round, with both sides coming into the clash on the back of strong wins. Sonny Bill Williams returns to the Chiefs line-up after a late withdrawal last week, pushing the impressive Charlie Ngatai to outside centre. Sam Cane also returns to blindside, and Augustine Pulu has been given the nod at halfback. For the Crusaders, Colin Slade remains at flyhalf while Dan Carter nurses his leg injury. Tom Taylor comes in at fullback for Israel Dagg (quad strain). In the forwards, Jordan Taufua and Nepo Laulala come in for No.8 Luke Whitelock (benched) and prop Owen Franks (suspended) respectively.

CHIEFS: Tom Marshall, Bryce Heem, Charlie Ngatai, Sonny Bill Williams, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden. Augustine Pulu, Liam Messam, Sam Cane, Michael Fitzgerald, Brodie Retallick, Matt Symons, Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Pauliasi Manu. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Slate Tokolahi, Mitchell Graham, Johan Bardoul, Sean Polwart, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie, Seta Tamanivalu

CRUSADERS: Tom Taylor, Robbie Fruean, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Johnny McNicholl, Colin Slade, Mitchell Drummond, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd, Richie McCaw, Scott Barnett, Luke Romano, Nepe Laulala, Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Codie Taylor, Joe Moody, Alex Hodgman, Jimmy Tupou, Luke Whitelock, Andy Ellis, Nathaniel Apa, Nafi Tuitavake.

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Rebels v Brumbies

Highlanders v RedsForce v HurricanesCheetahs v BluesChiefs v CrusadersBulls v SharksLions v Stormers
Nanjing Night Net

AAMI Park, Melbourne, Saturday 7.40pm (AEST) Last meeting: Round 16 2014 – Brumbies 37-10, GIO StadiumHead-to-head:  Played 8 Rebels 2 Brumbies 6In Melbourne:  Played 4 Rebels 2 Brumbies 2Referee:  Steve Walsh (AUS)TV: Live, FoxSports 502Ladbrokes: Rebels $2.75, Brumbies $1.44 BetEasy: Rebels $2.85, Brumbies $1.42

AAP writes: The Brumbies were pipped by the Chiefs after the buzzer last week, while the Rebels were overrun late by the Waratahs. Both sides would have felt they should have won their matches, and they’ll be eager to bounce back here. The Brumbies’ only starting change is the return of captain Stephen Moore from the bench, while Jesse Mogg returns from his shoulder surgery to find a spot on the pine. For the Rebels, scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker returns from suspension to the starting line-up at the expense of Luke Burgess. The Brumbies have built their resurgence since 2011 upon avoiding back-to-back losses. That said, they got touched up 32-24 against the Rebels at AAMI Park early last year. Should be tight.

REBELS: Mike Harris, Dom Shipperly, Tamati Ellison, Mitch Inman, Tom English, Jack Debreczeni. Nic Stirzaker, Scott Higginbotham, Colby Fainga’a, Sean McMahon, Lopeti Timani, Luke Jones, Laurie Weeks, Pat Leafa, Toby Smith. Reserves: Ben Whittaker, Cruze Ah-Nau, Paulo Alo-Emile, Sam Jeffries, Scott Fuglistaller, Luke Burgess, Bryce Hegarty, Sefanaia Naivalu

BRUMBIES: Robbie Coleman, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Ita Vaea, Jarrad Butler, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, Rory Arnold, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio. Reserves: Josh Mann-Rea, Ruan Smith, JP Smith, Blake Enever, Jordan Smiler, Michael Dowsett, James Dargaville, Jesse Mogg.

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Think Abbott’s hopeless? Now you can buy your own billboard

A Tony Abbott ”hopeless” poster at a service station in Sydney. Photo: Brianne MakinFor a flat $3500, you can nail your political colours – and PM Tony Abbott’s face – to the wall.
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That’s the premise of a new online activism campaign selling anti-Abbott billboards on the nation’s streets.

abbottsolutelynot南京夜网 launched this week in Sydney with a simple premise: donate money, and they’ll use it to put up posters featuring a glowering PM. Caption: HOPELESS.

It’s kind of similar to online hate-activism seller shipyourenemiesglitter南京夜网, but instead of shipping glitter it offers you the chance to plaster the PM’s glum face across the cityscape.

The campaign is the work of Sydney-based graphic designer Michael Agzarian. He put up $3000 of his own money to finance the first 4.5-metre tall billboard, erected in Sydney last week.

“Obama gave people hope, whereas Abbott just makes us feel hopeless – and is pretty hopeless himself,” Mr Agzarian told Fairfax Media.

“This is a government that is leaving a lot of people behind.”

The poster riffs off US graphic artist Shepard Fairey’s iconic HOPE poster, which became the motif for US President Barack Obama’s victorious election campaign.

Fairey’s image, conceived in a single day, imagined Obama as a combination of white and black, blue (Democrat) and red (Republican).

While admitting Fairey was the inspiration, Abbottsolutelynot’s image does not have such grand aspirations.

“Our poster depicts the grim situation Australia finds itself in with Tony Abbott as Prime Minister leading an equally inept and uncaring ministry,” the website says.

“Our first billboard is now in place in Sydney. We want more posters up around Sydney and other major cities like Canberra and Melbourne.”

Mr Agzarian is hoping his campaign taps into a wellspring of discontent – and maybe even goes viral online.

“The response so far has been staggering. It’s great to see people tweeting about it and taking selfies in front of it,” he said.

“The only negative feedback I’m getting is that Tony would never be seen wearing a red tie.”

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$630m in counter-terror funding yet to be spent

Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his speech on national security on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his speech on national security on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his speech on national security on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his speech on national security on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

A $630 million counter-terrorism funding boost the Abbott government announced six months ago has still not begun to flow to the country’s national security agencies, Fairfax Media can reveal.

The money is not expected to start reaching agencies such as ASIO, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission until April.

Agencies have meanwhile been forced to dip into their existing budgets to fund priorities such additional police officers to tackle the foreign fighter threat, counter-terrorism units at airports and financial experts to track jihadi money.

In his major national security address on Monday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “Last August, the government invested $630 million in a range of new counter-terrorism measures … The effect of these new measures has already been felt.”

But a written answer to a question by Labor to the Attorney-General’s department states that “funding is expected to be made available to agencies by April 2015”.

Mr Abbott cited several areas where the agencies were already benefiting from the additional resources, including counter-terrorism teams and the fast-tracking of 62 new biometric screening gates at international airports, 49 extra AFP officers working on the foreign fighter threat and a new ASIO “violent jihadist network mapping unit”. There is also a foreign fighters taskforce at the Australian Crime Commission and plans to combat extremist propaganda online.

The delay in the flow of money appears to stand in contrast to the urgency with which several tranches of new legislation were passed last year. A key inquiry report will be released on Friday into laws that would force phone and internet companies to keep “metadata” about customers’ communications for at least two years, which the government aims to pass next month.

A spokesman for Mr Abbott said stronger measures to combat terrorism were “already in place” and were funded by agencies’ “existing appropriations” in the knowledge that new money was coming.

“They have the authority to begin spending in line with announced policy proposals of the government and have done so to implement these urgent measures, as the internal management of agency budgets is a matter for individual agencies,” he said.

It is unclear what effect is being felt  by agencies. Customs, for instance, describes its current airport counter-terrorism teams as “interim”, indicating that not all 80 officers earmarked for the program are yet in place.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton declined to say how many were already in place, saying that would harm “operational effectiveness”. She said the teams are nonetheless present at all eight of the nation’s international airports and had “successfully intercepted a number of people of national security concern”.

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the significant new laws the government had passed with Labor’s support needed to be matched by increased resources for agencies.

“The Prime Minister committed this additional funding for our national security agencies almost seven months ago,” he said. “Labor has sought briefings on that funding commitment, but has so far received no further details.”

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