SPORTS DAY: At 37, Brits can still be key for World Cup
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
‘Retired’ Brits set for dramatic recall
Veteran hooker Schalk Brits is set for a dramatic recall to Test rugby against England this weekend after Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus indicated he would feature in the third Test at Newlands. Erasmus isn’t willing to write off Brits, 37, just yet. The coach believes that Brits could be the perfect player to call on in a World Cup emergency. “Schalk Brits comes into the reckoning for sure‚” Erasmus said in Cape Town on Monday. “He will probably start off the bench. He is definitely one of those guys we want to test. Although he is 37 now I can see him playing on if he wants to. His plan was to retire but after this weekend we will have a good sit down and see where we are with depth. We have seen in previous World Cups that you need good cover in certain positions — nine‚ 10‚ hooker, No5 lock and fullback are those areas that need depth because if you lose players in those positions a month before the World Cup‚ you need reserves.”
Australia upset with Ireland’s ‘blocking’
Australia are considering lodging a complaint with match officials against what they consider Ireland’s illegal blocking tactics on fullback Israel Folau, according to Wallabies attack coach Stephen Larkham. Ireland edged the second test 26-21 in Melbourne on Saturday to set up a decider in the three-match series but their treatment of Folau and slowing down of Australia’s ball at the breakdown have infuriated the hosts.
French fullback has red card cancelled
The red card that saw French fullback Benjamin Fall sent off in the second Test against New Zealand was cancelled Monday by a World Rugby judicial committee. Fall’s dismissal, following a midair collision which left All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett concussed, came 12 minutes into Saturday’s Test in Wellington that New Zealand won 26-13.
Mourinho expects teams to recover from slow startsJose Mourinho lauded an “amazing day for football” after heavyweights Germany and Brazil failed to win their opening World Cup fixtures on Sunday, but the Manchester United manager expects them both to rebound from sluggish starts. “They all will qualify and the best of these top teams will come in the knockout,” the Portuguese said. “I think they all know how good they are. I think they all know they are going to improve. It’s probably good for them to put their feet on the ground and it’s probably good for their countrymen also to keep calm.”
Ronaldo bust swapped at Madeira airport
The controversial bronze bust of Cristiano Ronaldo at the airport on Madeira which bears his name has been replaced, Portuguese media reported on Monday. “This bust is much better than the other one, that’s what everyone thinks,” Hugo Aveiro, brother of the five-time Ballon d’or, winner, told the Diario de Noticias da Madeira newspaper. “A Spanish sculptor offered this new bust ... so good that we decided to change it,” he added.
Tahir joins list of notable absenteesNo AB de Villiers and Morné Morkel was a given‚ no Dale Steyn was all but confirmed last week‚ but no Imran Tahir? The legspinner is South Africa’s top ranked one-day bowler‚ second among the world’s spinners‚ and sixth overall. Why wouldn’t the selectors pick him for the five ODIs and sole T20 South Africa will play in Sri Lanka in July and August? “We have taken the strategic decision to rest Imran Tahir so that we can get a clearer picture as to who our best second spinner is to back him up at the World Cup‚” said selection convenor Linda Zondi.
Koepka rises to fourth after triumph
Newly-crowned 2018 US Open champion Brooks Koepka climbed to a career-high world ranking of fourth on Monday, after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills with a one-shot victory. The 28-year-old American, who has missed much of the season with a wrist injury, jumped five spots from ninth in the rankings, while also gaining valuable Ryder Cup points. Koepka’s rise saw Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, who all missed the cut last week, drop a place.
Koreas to form joint teams
North and South Korea agreed on Monday to form unified teams for some sports at the upcoming Asian Games — a move which highlights the rapprochement on the peninsula that began with the Winter Olympics. Officials from the two Koreas met at the border truce village of Panmunjom on Monday and reached several agreements aimed at strengthening sporting ties. “The South and the North agreed to march together at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Asian Games ... and to form joint teams for certain sports,” said a joint Seoul-Pyongyang statement released by the South’s sports ministry.
AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE