SPORTS DAY: It's not all Elton's fault, says Rassie
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
RUGBYBok coach refuses to throw Jantjies under the bus
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus took some of the blame for flyhalf Elton Jantjies’s poor performance in the third Test against England at Newlands on Saturday. The visitors won the match 25-10 to salvage some pride after going 2-0 down in the series in Bloemfontein a week earlier. Jantjies‚ playing his 26th Test‚ has seldom looked like a world-class pivot at this level and in Saturday’s wet and slippery conditions he struggled badly. He was substituted on the hour mark. “I don’t like taking my flyhalf off as long as he is making decisions‚” Erasmus said. “As long as he is making decisions you can judge if they are good or bad and then you can analyse them afterwards. But in this game ... the pressure was piling up on him as the charge-down showed ... Overall I thought the pressure was really on Elton and so I subbed him‚ believing I could relieve the pressure on him and still win the Test match. It as definitely not just an Elton problem because overall our pack didn’t dominate the match.”
Hamilton retakes lead with French Grand Prix win
Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton won the French Grand Prix from pole position for Mercedes on Sunday to retake the overall lead from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who finished fifth after a first lap collision. The victory was the 65th of Hamilton’s F1 career but the Briton’s first in France, which was returning to the calendar after a 10-year absence. He now leads Vettel by 14 points after eight of 21 races. Red Bull’s Dutch 20-year-old Max Verstappen took the chequered flag in second place with Kimi Raikkonen completing the podium for Ferrari.
England leave Panama shell shocked
England’s young team banished the ghost of past national failures with a record 6-1 thrashing of feeble Panama on Sunday that included a hat-trick by Harry Kane and eased them into the last 16. England’s biggest World Cup win yet, featuring two penalties by Kane then a fortuitous deflection off his heel, also guaranteed Belgium’s berth in the next round. Kane called his third “one of the luckiest goals of my life”. Ahead of their meeting on Thursday to decide who tops Group G, England and Belgium are level on points, goal difference and goals scored. Sunday’s game at a pulsating Nizhny Novgorod stadium left the shell-shocked Central Americans out of their debut tournament with nine goals conceded. It also eliminated Tunisia.
Chaves bites off more than he can chew
Tulani “Tulz” Mbenge produced one of the best performances of his career so far as he pounded Argentina veteran Diego Chaves into submission in the seventh round to win the vacant IBO welterweight crown at Emperors Palace on Saturday night. So frustrated was Mbenge’s opponent that he bit the South African on his left side in the third round‚ but he bit off more than he could chew. Mbenge‚ who took some good shots in the early rounds‚ got better as the fight went on‚ putting Chaves down in the sixth round. He got up and was saved by the bell‚ but Mbenge picked up where he left off in the seventh‚ overwhelming Chaves to put him down again. This time his corner threw in the towel.
MOTOR RACINGSaudi woman drives F1 car to mark end of ban
Renault stole a march on their Formula One rivals on Sunday when they gave a Saudi Arabian woman a chance to mark a special day by driving one of their cars ahead of Sunday’s French Grand Prix. On the same day that women celebrated being allowed to drive on the roads of Saudi Arabia, Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of her national motorsport federation, took the wheel of the same car in which Kimi Raikkonen won the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. She was part of a Renault “passion parade” hours ahead of the first French Grand Prix in a decade and the first to be held at the Le Castellet circuit for 28 years.
Boks World Cup contenders, say Jones and Erasmus
The Springboks will be strong contenders at next year’s World Cup in Japan after recovering from two dismal seasons that produced a number of unwanted records, according to South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus and his England counterpart Eddie Jones. “I think we can win the World Cup, but then I also think England can win the World Cup. Every single (top) team has a chance next year,” Erasmus said. “The challenges with us are the things that are not always seen (by the public), such as the minutes Siya (Kolisi) has played this season without a break.”
Choi secures British Open spot with Korea Open win
South Korea’s Choi Min-chel fired a two-under-par 69 in the final round on Sunday to win the Korea Open Golf Championship and secure a place in next month’s British Open. The 29-year-old sank a 10-feet birdie on the final hole to finish with a total of 12-under-par 272 at the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, two shots clear of compatriot and favourite Park Sang-hyun. The Koreans dominated their home event with only Americans Kevin Na and John Catlin breaking the top-10 with their tied-fifth finish.
German crisis averted for now, but there’s work to do
Toni Kroos’s last-gasp winner ensured that Germany remain in World Cup contention, but the holders are not yet safe from the threat of an ignominious group-stage exit. A 95th-minute free-kick from Kroos gave Joachim Loew’s side a dramatic 2-1 victory over Sweden in Sochi on Saturday, after a Marco Reus strike had cancelled out Ola Toivonen’s opener. After beginning the defence of the trophy with a 1-0 defeat against Mexico in Moscow, another loss by the Black Sea would have eliminated Germany in the first round of the World Cup for the first time since 1938.
RUGBYIrish eyes on All Blacks after Aussie series triumph
Coach Joe Schmidt says he is looking forward to testing Ireland against the mighty All Blacks later this year after their epic series victory in Australia. The well-drilled Irish came from a game down to win the series with a 20-16 win in Saturday’s final match for their first three-Test victory in the southern hemisphere, adding to their Grand Slam Six Nations triumph earlier this year. Ireland, who trail only world champions New Zealand in the international standings, had not won a series in Australia since they swept a two-Test tour in 1979. “I feel that potentially we were a little bit fortuitous and the margins are so fine,” Schmidt said. “I didn’t think we were far off in Brisbane (first Test) either. It’s been a fantastic series.”
Chikanga’s win throws series wide open
Zimbabwean runner Betha Chikanga of Maxed Club threw the Spar Grand Prix Series wide open with a scintillating win in the Durban leg of the Women’s 10km race on Sunday with an impressive time of 33.07. In a field that included some of the best short-distance runners in the country‚ the diminutive Chikanga from Harare led from start to finish with a consistent performance of a pace of just over three minutes per kilometre. The 21-year Chikanga‚ who finished second in the Two Oceans this year‚ crossed the line first and was followed by Glenrose Xaba of Boxer in a time of 33.27 and Nolene Conrad of KPMG was third in 33.43.
AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE