SPORTS DAY: Caster takes dead aim at Zola Budd’s record

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SPORTS DAY: Caster takes dead aim at Zola Budd’s record

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

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ATHLETICS
Caster eyes Zola Budd record
Caster Semenya is looking to break Zola Budd’s 34-year-old South African 1,500m record at the final Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix meet in Paarl on Thursday. Semenya‚ winner of the SA outdoor title at the national championships in Pretoria this past weekend‚ has already come close to the 4min 01.81sec Budd posted in Port Elizabeth on March 21‚ 1984. She went 4:01.99 at the African championships in Durban in 2016. 
CRICKET
Still plenty of needle with or without Rabada
There will still be plenty of needle in the third test between South Africa and Australia whether or not Kagiso Rabada wins his appeal against his suspension, opener Dean Elgar said on Monday.  Fast bowler Rabada is appealing against a ban handed down for brushing the shoulder of Australia captain Steve Smith in the hosts’ six-wicket victory in the second test in Port Elizabeth which levelled the four-match series at 1-1. The outcome should be decided by Wednesday. Elgar does not expect the intensity in what has been an acrimonious series to drop off.  “There has been a lot of niggle from both sides, but it is what you expect when you play quality opposition,” Elgar said. “The intensity should be there, that is what makes this format so special in my eyes. I am also one to give it out a bit in all the right measurements.”
SOCCER
Mokwena gets off Bafana flight after bungle
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter’s plan to take Orlando Pirates assistant mentor Rhulani Mokwena to Zambia as part of the national team’s technical staff has turned into a public relations nightmare after it emerged on Monday that the idea has been stopped dead in its tracks. Bafana will participate in a four nations tournament in Zambia this week and Baxter wanted Mokwena to accompany the national team as an observer to gain experience‚ with an eye to him even being national coach one day. But Mokwena will not be on the flight to Zambia on Tuesday after Baxter revealed that a communications breakdown between the South African Football Association and Pirates put paid to that idea.
‘Russian players are cleanest in the world’
Russia’s World Cup team doctor claimed on Monday that his country’s domestic football leagues were cleaner than any other sport on the planet. Doping allegations have dogged Russia as it prepares to host the World Cup for the first time in mid-June. Russian athletes were forced to take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Games under a neutral Olympic flag because of cheating at the 2014 event in Sochi.RUGBY
England need a rejuvenated Springboks, says Jones 
Captain Dylan Hartley said England had suffered a “big bump on the road” to next year’s World Cup but insisted they would bounce back from their mauling in the Six Nations. England’s next assignment is a tour of South Africa in June, where they will look to pick up the pieces of their fifth-placed Six Nations finish. Coach Eddie Jones said facing a “rejuvenated” South Africa was just what England needed to restore their confidence.  “It’s a good place, because we can get the team together and work together, day-in, day-out.” 
Spain cry foul over ref after Romania qualify
World Rugby has contacted Rugby Europe after Spain complained bitterly about the refereeing during their defeat by Belgium on Sunday which meant they missed a chance to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.  Spanish players were left fuming over the performance of Romanian official Vlad Iordachescu after an 18-10 defeat in Brussels gave Romania second spot behind Georgia in the Rugby Europe Championship standings.  Only the top two qualified automatically for next year’s tournament in Japan. Furious Spanish players pursued Iordachescu after the final whistle as coaching staff tried to restrain them while Spain’s rugby federation said it had warned Rugby Europe, whose president is Romanian, about appointing a Romanian referee for a game of such importance for both nations.  
SPORTS BETTING
Cut fixed odds bet maximum, says commission
The UK’s Gambling Commission on Monday said the maximum stake for fixed odds betting terminals in British betting shops should be cut to £30 (R504). The terminals, which allow players to bet on the outcome of various games, are an important source of income for high-street bookmakers.
AFP-Reuters-TimesLIVE

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