SPORTS DAY: NZ say we’ll see who’s crying on Saturday

Sport

SPORTS DAY: NZ say we’ll see who’s crying on Saturday

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sunday Times sports editor


RUGBY
All Blacks still smarting from Springboks defeat
The All Blacks are not trying to mask the hurt they felt following their shock defeat to SA last month. In fact‚ if inside centre Ryan Crotty is to be believed‚ they’ve embraced it and will use it as part of their preparation for Saturday’s return clash at Loftus Versfeld. “It is different for everyone‚” said Crotty about managing the hurt. “You’ve just got to use it in how you prepare‚ and how genuine your week is in your preparation. You don’t leave any stone unturned. That is how you get the performance on Saturday. You can’t just pull up the herd and go ripping on Saturday.” 
Pollard on how he overcame a poor run of form
A few tweaks to his kicking technique and some introspection helped Springboks pivot Handrè Pollard to overcome a poor run of form at the beginning of this year’s Rugby Championship. “After the Super Rugby break‚ I spent about five weeks without playing the game and I lost my rhythm in that time‚” he said on Tuesday as the Boks prepared to host New Zealand at Loftus on Saturday. “I worked hard at it and it didn’t come back straight away‚ but the last two games have been a lot better. It took small tweaks and I have been working hard at it.”
TENNIS
Don’t call me cool, says Osaka
Naomi Osaka is the reigning US Open champion, the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam singles title and a fast-rising star of tennis – but do not call her cool. Osaka bolstered her growing fame as she thrashed unseeded American Danielle Collins 6-1, 6-0 in 53 minutes to saunter into round three of the China Open on Tuesday. Told afterwards that she had been branded “Queen of Cool” by an Australian tennis magazine, the 20-year-old looked startled. “I don’t like the word ‘cool’ because then I feel like when someone meets me, they’ll be disappointed or something. So they can use ‘expressionless’ or something,” she added with a smile, playing with the impression formed by some observers. “I think actually I’m very emotional.”
BOXING
Ex-world champ Rocchigiani killed in car accident
Germany’s former world boxing champion Graciano Rocchigiani, who won belts at two different weights, was killed in a car accident in Italy on Tuesday, aged just 54. Germany’s “Rocky” won the IBF world super middleweight belt in 1988, which he defended three times before vacating to step up to light-heavyweight. In 1998 he was crowned world champion for the second time when he took the vacant WBC light-heavyweight title with a split decision against US fighter Michael Nunn in Berlin. Overall, Rocchigiani won 41 of his 48 professional fights, 19 of which were by knockout.
GOLF
Organisers helping spectator hit by Koepka drive
Ryder Cup organisers are helping a spectator who said she had been blinded after being struck in the eye by a tee shot played by American Brooks Koepka during the weekend’s match against Europe. Corine Remande said she was unable to see out of her right eye after being hit when Koepka’s drive veered wide of the fairway on the sixth hole on Friday, the opening day of the event.
CRICKET
India eye Windies boost ahead of Australia tour
Stung by defeat in England and heading to Australia for a tough tour next month, India’s cricketers are looking for some confidence-boosting home victories against the West Indies from Thursday. The number one Test side and the winner of last week’s Asia Cup start as favourites against the eighth-ranked West Indies in the series of two Tests, five one-day internationals and three twenty20 games. But India may not find it so easy, with series defeats this year in England and South Africa revealing some serious chinks in India’s armour, at least away from home.
SOCCER
Bafana no longer guaranteed victory 
There was a time when Bafana Bafana had a seat at the continental football head table and were expected to brush past teams like Seychelles without breaking a sweat. Any doubts that those days are long gone were laid to rest this week by Bafana coach Stuart Baxter. Memories of the home and away defeats to Cape Verde a year ago were seemingly still very fresh in Baxter’s mind – Cape Verde upset Bafana 2-1 in Praia and repeated the trick with the same score in Durban a few days later – as he announced the squad to face 189th-ranked Seychelles in a 2019 African Nations Cup qualifier at FNB Stadium next Saturday. ‘‘I don’t think there’s anybody that really thinks historically we have been good at playing the so-called smaller nations‚” he said. ‘‘That said I don’t think that any of us ... you‚ me and the players have done ourselves any favours by trying to label Cape Verde as one of the smaller nations given the amount of players they have playing abroad and their record.”
Comitis calls on rivals to give local coaches a chance
Cape Town City chairman John Comitis says other club bosses must look inward rather than outside the country’s borders for coaches to take charge of their team. “We have a lot of talent in this country and people must give them a chance‚” he said in the wake of City’s success in the MTN8 at the weekend, when rookie coach Benni McCarthy picked up his maiden trophy at the age of 40, just over a year after first taking the job. “We keep on bringing coaches from outside the country and then we have these merry-go-round coaches that keep going from one club to the next. Benni has been a breath of fresh air. Yes‚ we did take a gamble but it was a very calculated one and we have a great support system around him‚ so there was every reason for him to succeed and he has done exactly that.”
Ronaldo denies ‘fake news’ rape claim
Police said they had reopened an investigation into a rape accusation made by a former model who says soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo attacked her in his Las Vegas hotel penthouse suite in 2009. Ronaldo, who now plays for Juventus in Italy’s Serie A, rejected the charges as “fake news” during a live chat on Instagram. Kathryn Mayorga, 34, of Las Vegas, accused Ronaldo, in a 32-page complaint filed last month with a district court in Nevada, of raping her on June 13 2009.
Kane plans to emulate Messi’s goal spree
Harry Kane has set his sights on emulating the incredible goal-scoring feats of Lionel Messi as the Tottenham striker prepares for his shoot-out with the Barcelona legend. Kane and Messi will be the leading men at Wembley on Wednesday when Tottenham host Barcelona in a crucial Champions League clash. Messi has already scored eight times this season, including a hat-trick in Barca’s European demolition of PSV Eindhoven, taking his career tally for the club to well over 500 goals.Kane has been prolific for Tottenham over the last four years, but he admits he needs to become even more ruthless with his finishing to approach the jaw-dropping statistics compiled by the Argentina forward.
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLive

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