SPORTS DAY: Beast 'surprised' Cyril knew who he was
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Beast gets surprise call from Ramaphosa
Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira has revealed how President Cyril Ramaphosa phoned him to celebrate his 100th cap ahead of the Springboks’ Test against England in Bloemfontein on Saturday. Mtawarira said he initially doubted that the caller was really Ramaphosa and he challenged him. “He said ‘it’s the president.’ I said ‘Oh’. When I realised who it was I got very formal‚ very quickly. He thanked me for what I had done and for inspiring South Africans. I was just really surprised that he knew who I was. He told me he’s calling to congratulate me. He said it is an inspiration for the whole South Africa. He kept it short. I just kept saying: ‘Yes Sir’‚ thank you Sir’.”
Captain Kolarov fires Serbia to victory
Aleksandar Kolarov produced a moment of captain’s inspiration, curling home a superb free kick as Serbia got their World Cup Group E campaign going with a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica on Sunday. With Costa Rica proving a tough nut to crack, Kolarov stepped up to bury a 25m effort from wide on the right, lighting up an otherwise tight game in the Russian city of Samara. Serbia had dominated against a Costa Rica side who had rarely threatened after a bright start, but chances were thin on the ground until Kolarov made the breakthrough in the 56th minute.
Toyota win Le Mans with double F1 champ Alonso
Toyota won the Le Mans 24 Hours race on Sunday with Spain’s double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso victorious on his debut and now one step away from the triple crown of motorsport. The triumph, expected after champions Porsche withdrew in 2017, came at the 20th attempt for Toyota, which became only the second Japanese manufacturer to win the world’s greatest endurance race after Mazda in 1991. Alonso shared the No 8 Toyota TS050 hybrid with Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima, who secured pole position and took the chequered flag.
Lorenzo in second straight win for Ducati
Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo powered from pole to claim victory in a second straight race at the Grand Prix of Catalunya on Sunday ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi. The three-time world MotoGP champion won at Mugello last time out in his first win for Ducati, and celebrated his victory at Montmelo wildly after a race in which half the competitors failed to finish. After seven of the season’s 19 races, Lorenzo stands seventh in the overall standings on 66 points, with Marquez atop the pile on 115, followed by Rossi (88) and Maverick Vinales (77).
TENNISFederer marks No 1 ranking with 98th title
Roger Federer celebrated returning to the top of the world rankings by defeating Milos Raonic in the final of the Stuttgart Open on Sunday and lifting the 98th tour-level title of his garlanded career. The 36-year-old, who by reaching the final had already guaranteed his return to world No 1, supplanting Rafael Nadal, continued his domination over the Canadian with a 6-4 7-6(3) victory. Federer’s 78-minute win, sealing his first Stuttgart triumph, was the perfect tonic for the Swiss in the build-up to defending his Wimbledon crown, having extended his unbeaten 12-month sequence in grass-court matches to 16.
England’s Vunipola brothers, Genge leave SA tour
Vunipola brothers Billy and Mako, as well as prop Ellis Genge, have left England’s tour of South Africa ahead of the third and final Test in Cape Town on Saturday. No 8 Billy Vunipola re-fractured his arm in Saturday’s 23-12 loss to the Springboks in Bloemfontein, which meant the home side clinched the series 2-0 with a game to spare. Prop Mako Vunipola is heading back to England for family reasons by prior arrangement with team management, while Genge sustained a knee injury in training. Exeter Chiefs’ Alec Hepburn has been called up as a front-row replacement.
Return to the top may be slow: Murray
Andy Murray insists he can still win Grand Slams after almost a year on the sidelines with a hip injury, but the Scot doesn’t expect to add another Wimbledon title to his collection this season. Murray will play his first competitive match since Wimbledon 2017 when he faces Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the Queen’s Club first round next week. The former world No 1 is finally ready to return to action after surgery in January. Murray’s ranking has dipped to 157 during his enforced lay-off. “I don’t think you miss a year of playing and then come back and start winning Grand Slams. That isn’t how this works,” Murray told the BBC. “So, the expectations for me are very, very low right now and I’ll reassess what my goals are when I’m back out there competing and feeling good again.”
Sri Lanka skipper charged over ball tampering
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was charged by the ICC on Sunday over ball tampering in the second Test against the West Indies in St Lucia. Play started two hours late on Saturday after the Sri Lankans, led by Chandimal, refused to take the field following a decision by umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould to charge the tourists with altering the state of the ball during the latter stages of Friday’s play. The International Cricket Council announced on Twitter that Chandimal had been charged for “breaching Level 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct”. The rule cited deals with altering the state of the ball.
SOCCERCan’t compare Messi and Ronaldo: Silva
Portugal’s Adrien Silva refused to be drawn on comparisons between teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi after wildly contrasting fortunes for the global stars in their opening games at the World Cup. Ronaldo rescued Portugal with a hat-trick in a thrilling 3-3 draw with title contenders Spain, while Messi missed a penalty as Argentina were held 1-1 by tournament newcomers Iceland. “You can’t compare Messi with Ronaldo,” Leicester City midfielder Silva said on Sunday. “We have a leader, he’s with us and he must do what he must do. He has to help us as best as he can.”
Ireland’s breakthrough win ‘not monumental’
Coach Joe Schmidt says there was nothing “monumental” in Ireland’s first win over the Wallabies in Australia for 39 years, unless a Test series triumph is delivered next weekend. Flyhalf Johnny Sexton starred as the Six Nations champions downed the Wallabies 26-21 in Melbourne on Saturday for their first Test win in Australia since 1979. The series decider will be in Sydney on Saturday. New Zealander Schmidt said he was not basking in Ireland’s breakthrough win and that everything now hinged on the third Test.
AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE