SPORTS DAY: Dyantyi one of three new Springbok caps
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Three uncapped players in Springbok line-up
South Africa included three uncapped players as they overhauled their line-up for Saturday’s first Test against England after their second-string selection lost to Wales in the US last weekend. Wingers Aphiwe Dyantyi and S’busiso Nkosi and lock RG Snyman will win their first caps after being named on Thursday by coach Rassie Erasmus for the clash at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, the first of three Tests against the tourists. England coach Eddie Jones named a team that includes only seven survivors from a loss to Ireland in their last outing.
Wallabies bulk up for Ireland
Coach Michael Cheika has shown his hand by picking a forwards-dominated Wallabies squad to take on Six Nations champions Ireland in the first of three Tests in Brisbane on Saturday. Cheika, who coached Leinster to their first-ever European Cup in 2009, knows well the challenges of playing the Irish — currently ranked second in the world and unbeaten in their last 12 internationals.
Hopes for more South African Comrades winnersThere is great optimism that yet another South African runner could claim victory in this year’s Comrades Marathon on Sunday. Experts in long distance running cited natural speed‚ leg power and mental strength among key factors that have boosted local athletes in the down run version of the unforgiving 90km ultra-race. Going into Sunday’s race‚ six out of the last nine champions on the course from Pietermaritzburg to Durban have been South African since policeman Andrew Kelehe arrested the dominance of foreigners in 2001.
Bafana slip down the rankings
South Africa’s disappointing home draw with Madagascar in the 2018 Cosafa Cup quarterfinals on Sunday has cost them two places in the attest Fifa Word Rankings released on Thursday. Bafana Bafana have slipped to number 74 in the world and are 15th on the African continent‚ but remain the highest placed side in the Cosafa region.
Nadal overcomes hiccup to march into semifinals
Rafael Nadal lost his first set at the French Open since 2015 but that blip did not prevent the 10-times champion from marching into the semifinals with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over Diego Schwartzman in their rain-delayed match on Thursday. He will meet Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, who wept courtside after downing third seed Marin Cilic 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.
Islamic State threat hangs over World Cup
While moribund in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State (IS) group poses a real threat to Russia’s World Cup that must be taken seriously, security experts warn. Alarm bells have been ringing since disturbing photo-montages began to appear on social media late last year, the work of the IS propaganda arm known as the Wafa Media Foundation. Crude and explicit, they showed superstars such as Lionel Messi and Neymar dressed in the frighteningly familiar orange suits used for videotaped executions. Lying on the ground, with knives up against their throats or dying in flames, the message accompanying them was blunt. “You will not enjoy security until we live it in Muslim countries,” the posts said.
Playing in Eygpt toughened up LinksGift Links has toughened up physically and increased his speed of thinking on the ball in his first six months in Egypt‚ and the results were evident in a bright debut for Bafana Bafana at the Cosafa Cup. Links’s skill‚ quickness of thinking and ability to get free of closed situations‚ always looking for a positive pass‚ were instrumental in the young‚ emerging Bafana’s 4-1 Plate semifinal win against Namibia on Tuesday night. “Everything‚ the culture‚ the religion‚ is totally different. There’s nothing that even looks like here in South Africa‚” Links said. “Footballers don’t go out to clubs‚ partying‚ or whatever.”
Kohli named Indian cricketer of the year
Virat Kohli won India’s cricketer of the year award for the fifth time on Thursday for outstanding performances over the past two seasons.
AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE