SPORTS DAY: Will Rassie hit 50% transformation target?
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Rassie expected to hit World Cup targets
Transformation targets are set at 50% for next year’s World Cup and Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is expected to hover around that benchmark when he names his starting team for Saturday’s opening Test against England at Ellis Park. Erasmus will name his team on Thursday and, although he has an inflated group of 43 players‚ the splitting of his resources for last week’s Test against Wales means he has less room to manoeuvre than meets the eye. The men who played in Washington‚ with the possible exception of Pieter-Steph du Toit who captained in the US capital‚ aren’t real contenders for a starting berth this weekend.
France looking to set the tone at All Black fortress
Eden Park has been a graveyard for visiting rugby teams for over 20 years but France will look for a strong first-up performance on Saturday to try to catch the All Blacks off guard early in the series. The All Blacks are riding an 11-test winning streak over the visitors and are unbeaten in their last 40 tests at the Auckland fortress since their 1994 upset by the French.
Baxter looks overseas for BafanaHaving persuaded Joel Untersee to play for Bafana Bafana‚ coach Stuart Baxter has turned to three potential national team players based in England and they have all expressed an interest in representing South Africa. Swiss junior international Untersee is due in South Africa in the coming weeks to sort out the paperwork to acquire his citizenship and the Juventus right-sided player could appear for Bafana for the first time in the African Nations Cup qualifier against Libya in September. Baxter has met with Preston North End attacking midfielder Tom Barkhuizen‚ Crystal Palace defender Nikola Tavares, and Southampton winger Siph Mdlalose.
Will Leopards be allowed to play in Thohoyandou?
Thohoyandou Stadium might be the “slaughterhouse” that gives newly promoted Black Leopards a massive advantage in the Absa Premiership next season, but there is no guarantee the promotion-relegation playoff winners are going to be allow to play there when the new campaign kicks off in August. The stadium‚ which previously has had sections condemned‚ faces a vigorous inspection by the Premier Soccer League before Leopards are allowed to continue using it as their home ground.
Israel slams Argentina football cancellation
Israel has lashed out at Argentina’s national football team over the cancellation of a pre-World Cup friendly in Jerusalem, as Palestinians celebrated the decision after protesting the game. The Israeli embassy in Argentina on Tuesday announced the “suspension” of Saturday’s sold-out match in Jerusalem, citing what it called “threats and provocations” against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi. “It’s a shame that Argentina’s footballing nobility did not withstand the pressure from Israeli-hating inciters,” Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on Twitter.
Mayweather back on top of Forbes best-paid listUS boxer Floyd Mayweather’s blockbuster fight against Conor McGregor has pushed him back to the top of the Forbes list of best-paid athletes for the fourth time in seven years. Mayweather, who goes by the nickname “Money”, earned $275-million from last year’s fight against Irish Mixed Martial Arts champion McGregor, whose cut of the purse elevated him to fourth spot on the US business magazine’s list. The fight pushed Mayweather’s career earnings to $1-billion, joining US basketball great Michael Jordan and golfer Tiger Woods as the only athletes to have reached 10 figures in earnings, Forbes said. There were no women in the list, with tennis icon Serena Williams, the sole female representative last year, having dropped out of the rankings after taking a break from the sport due to the birth of her daughter.
Ponting joins Australian coaching staff
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has joined the Australian coaching staff for the side’s five one-day internationals and one Twenty20 international game against England in June. Ponting joins former team mate Justin Langer, who was appointed coach of the team on a four-year term after Darren Lehmann resigned in the wake of a ball-tampering scandal in March. “Ricky is one of the greats of the game, and since he was already in England doing some commentary we saw it as a great opportunity to have him join our team for this important series,” Langer said.
Cricket Australia chief to stand down
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland has announced he will stand down in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal that rattled the game and an acrimonious pay dispute with players. Sutherland, who has been chief executive for 17 of his 20 years with Cricket Australia, has given 12 months’ notice and will continue in his role until a suitable replacement is found.
Coates backs Thorpe on call to ban medal targets
Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates has backed Ian Thorpe’s call for an end to medal targets at the Games to ease the pressure on athletes. The AOC has set, but not met, targets of top-five finishes in the medals table at the last three Summer Games, while individual sports have also had their own targets. “Ian and the AOC are completely at one on this subject,” Coates said. “We actively stepped away from setting targets for the very reasons that Ian has rightly raised in recent days.”
AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE