SPORTS DAY: Hamstring twitch twinges Lions nerves
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
RUGBYLions sweat over Dyantyi ahead of final
The Lions will be sweating on the availability of star left wing Aphiwe Dyantyi ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders in Christchurch. Dyantyi‚ who scored the most gloriously individualistic try against the Waratahs in the Lions’ 44-26 semifinal win‚ did not return for the second half owing to a hamstring injury. The Springbok was replaced by fellow international Courtnall Skosan‚ who scored a try shortly before the full-time siren. “Let’s hope he’s fine‚” said coach Swys de Bruin about Dyantyi. “He has a hamstring that twitched. But what a guy to sub him with? Courtnall is brilliant as well.”
Nothing to touch Hamilton in Hungary
Lewis Hamilton cruised to a dominant fifth win of the season in his Mercedes in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix to extend his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel to 24 points. The defending world champion came home 17.123 seconds ahead of title rival and fellow four-time champion Vettel of Ferrari after the German had survived a collision with Valtteri Bottas, in the second Mercedes. That came on lap 65, of the 70, when Vettel finally passed Bottas, but the Finn’s right front wing touched his rear left tyre under braking, damaging his front wing and wrecking Mercedes’ hopes of a one-two finish. Kimi Raikkonen finished third, his fifth podium finish in a row, in the second Ferrari ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who surged from 12th on the grid to fourth for Red Bull ahead of Bottas, who finished fifth after a late pit stop. It was Hamilton’s record sixth win in Hungary, his fifth this season and the 67th of his career.
Rabada, Shamsi set up SA’s big win
Bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Tabraiz Shamsi starred on Sunday in South Africa’s five-wicket hammering of Sri Lanka in the first one-day international – some consolation for a disappointing tour. They claimed four wickets each to help bowl out Sri Lanka for 193, a total the visitors passed in just 31 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. South Africa’s chase depended on an 86-run third-wicket stand between Quinton de Kock and skipper Faf du Plessis, who both hit 47. Off-spinner Akila Dananjaya struck at crucial moments to get three wickets, but Jean-Paul Duminy ensured a swift chase with his 32-ball unbeaten 53. But it was a superb opening pace spell from Rabada and Shamsi’s career-best figures of 4-33 with his left-arm wrist spin that led South Africa to their first victory of the tour after being swept aside in a two-Test series.
Injuries hit Crusaders as Lions showdown looms
The Canterbury Crusaders will be without bruising flanker Jordan Taufua for next weekend’s Super Rugby final against the Golden Lions after he suffered a broken arm against the Wellington Hurricanes. Coach Scott Robertson also faced a question mark over backline leader Ryan Crotty and was grappling with a dwindling stock of hookers on Sunday as he began to prepare for the showdown in Christchurch. Injuries aside, Robertson viewed Saturday’s semifinal victory over the Hurricanes as a sign his defending champions were tracking well to claim a ninth title, with discipline, defence and the skills of fly-half Richie Mo’unga working as planned. After the Crusaders cruised to a 30-12 semifinal victory, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd pointed to the strength of their powerful forward pack.
Olympic champ Biles victorious in return
Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles made a triumphant, if imperfect, return to competition on Saturday, winning the senior all-around crown at the US Classic in Columbus, Ohio. Biles, who tied an Olympic record with five medals, four of them gold, at the Rio Games, hadn’t competed since 2016 and showed some signs of nerves with a fall and a few uncharacteristic wobbles. Nevertheless, Biles took the senior all-around title with a total of 58.700 points. Riley McCusker of Brielle, New Jersey, tallied 57.500 for second, with 2017 World all-around champion Morgan Hurd rounding out the top three at 56.350.
Mourinho frustrated with under-strength United
Jose Mourinho has hit out at Manchester United’s transfer window inactivity after watching his under-strength squad crash to a 4-1 defeat against Liverpool in the latest stop of their pre-season US tour. Mourinho said he expected to bring in only one new player before the new Premier League season kicks off despite submitting a list of five transfer targets to club bosses earlier this year. United’s failure to bolster their resources and the absence of several key first-team players following the World Cup has forced Mourinho to field several untested youngsters during the US tour. On Saturday, United were torn apart by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the Red Devils’ penultimate game before facing Real Madrid in Miami on Tuesday. They face a further friendly against Bayern Munich in Munich on August 5.
TENNISBerrettini stuns Bautista Agut for career-first title
Italy’s Matteo Berrettini overcame second seed Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(9) 6-4 to win his first title at the Swiss Open in Gstaad on Sunday. World No 17 Bautista Agut, playing in his first event since he suffered a hip injury in Halle, gave everything to stay in contention after fending off five break points, but failed to match his opponent’s powerful groundstrokes. Berrettini, 22, snatched the opening-set tiebreak 11-9 before converting a break point in the 10th game of the second to wrap up the victory. “From the beginning until the end it was really tough to break him,” Berrettini said. “I served really good most of the days and it was an unbelievable tiebreak."
Qatar’s World Cup bid ‘used black operations’
Qatar’s successful, controversy-plagued bid to host the 2022 World Cup has been hit by further allegations that it used a secret “black operations” propaganda campaign to undermine rival bids in violation of Fifa rules, according to The Sunday Times. The newspaper – which also made allegations in 2014 about Qatar buying the vote, but of which they were subsequently cleared after a two-year Fifa investigation – says e-mails leaked by a whistle-blower from the bid team show they paid a US-based office of a public relations firm as well as former CIA agents to disseminate “fake propaganda” concerning main rivals Australia and the US during their campaign to host the 2022 competition.
BOXINGGarcia overpowers Easter to unify titles
American boxer Mikey Garcia unified the WBC and IBF lightweight titles on Saturday by overpowering Robert Easter in a 12-round battle of undefeated champions. Garcia, 30, retained his WBC title and grabbed Easter’s IBF belt with a unanimous-decision victory at Staples Center arena in Los Angeles. “It is a great accomplishment. Now we are back,” said Garcia. “I prepared for the best. He gave a great fight but I was in control most of the fight and did what I had to do to win.” Garcia seized control of the fight early, flooring American Easter in the third round with a left hook to the chin. It was just the second time in his career that Easter was knocked down.
India awaits Kohli magic in England Tests
Virat Kohli has plundered Test runs in virtually every corner of the cricket world, but England is a scoring desert for India’s superstar captain ahead of a tricky five-match series. He returned from his first England series in 2014 with just 134 runs from five Tests, unable to counter swing bowlers. India, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain, lost the series 3-1. The 29-year-old Kohli is now back in England as reigning International Cricket Council player of the year and the world’s leading batsman with an average of more than 53 in 66 Tests. He has hit 301 runs in six limited-overs matches on the tour. India won the Twenty20 series and lost the one-day internationals, but Kohli knows that his Test performance, starting in Edgbaston on Wednesday, will be the benchmark of success.
AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE