SPORTS DAY: Gio back in green and gold for Euro tour


SPORTS DAY: Gio back in green and gold for Euro tour

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sports editor

Boks recall ‘forgotten’ Aplon for Europe tour
SA recalled Gio Aplon and included uncapped Ruhan Nel, Sergeal Petersen and JD Schickerling in a 36-man squad named Saturday for a four-Test tour of Europe during November. The Springboks, who have won five Tests and lost five this year, face England, France, Scotland and Wales on consecutive Saturdays from November 3. Japan-based fullback/wing Aplon, who formerly played for Western Province and in France, is a forgotten man of SA rugby, having last worn the green and gold six years ago. Wing Petersen, centre Nel and lock Schickerling were part of the Western Province team that was beaten 17-12 by the Sharks in the Currie Cup final in Cape Town on Saturday. “Gio has experience of playing in the challenging European conditions from his club rugby stint in France,” said coach Johan “Rassie” Erasmus.
Solinas apologises for derby defeat
Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas apologised to his team’s supporters for his side’s 2-1 Soweto derby defeat against arch foes Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday. A full house of more than 90‚000 supporters watched an entertaining Absa Premiership match-up, where Chiefs took the lead through Khama Billiat in the 15th minute. But Pirates powered back through goals by Innocent Maela (29th) and Vincent Pule (32nd). “We started the game very well. We scored — we led 1-0‚” Solinas said. “After that [in the first half] we lost concentration. We lost the distances and defensively it was soft. In the second half the guys performed very well. We created the chances. I think this derby was balanced. Pirates did not dominate‚ maybe Kaizer Chiefs did not dominate. But congratulations to Pirates for winning this derby. And apologies to our supporters, because when you have lost the derby it’s painful."
WP performance a car wreck: Dobson
Western Province coach John Dobson described his team’s performance in losing the Currie Cup final 17-12 to the Sharks as “the worst of the season” and a “car wreck”. WP were well beaten despite the tight score‚ thanks mainly to the Sharks’ inability to round off several gilt-edged chances. But the Durban side did enough to capture their eighth title against a team that was unbeaten going into the final. “It was far and away our worst performance of the season and the Sharks thoroughly deserved to win the match‚ of that I have no doubt‚” Dobson said. “But we have to look at facts and take out the emotion. If you are going to lose eight lineouts‚ you are going to make something like 40 more tackles. It’s very hard to defend turnovers. You are going backwards and they have the forward momentum.”
Fans in shock after Leicester City chopper crash
Fans laid down football scarves and shirts outside Leicester City’s King Power stadium on Sunday, a day after a helicopter belonging to the club’s Thai owner crashed outside the grounds. Dozens of candles and flowers could also be seen among the tributes, as well as an image of Hindu god Ganesha. “I was really upset, I can’t get to sleep over it,” said Leicester City fan Kanti Patel, as emergency workers pored over the crash site. There was no confirmation whether 60-year-old billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who frequently flies to and from Leicester’s home games by helicopter, was on board the aircraft. But many in the city in central England and in Vichai’s homeland already feared the worst for the man they credit with the club’s against-all-odds Premier League title victory in 2016. “It means a lot to me, he did a lot for the club,” Patel said.
Kiptum sets half-marathon world record
Kenyan Abraham Kiptum set a world record of 58 minutes and 18 seconds in the men’s race at the Valencia half-marathon in Spain on Sunday. Kiptum’s time was five seconds better than the previous mark set by Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese in Lisbon in 2010. Ethiopian Jemal Yimer finished second, two seconds behind Kiptum, with his countryman, Abadi Hadi, in third. Kiptum broke away from the pack at the 10km mark, going 51 seconds under his previous best to hold off the Ethiopian duo. Kenyan athletes now hold the world records for the men’s and women’s half-marathon, after Joyciline Jepkosgei set the women’s mark at the same venue last year.
Schauffele wins WGC-HSBC Champions in playoff
Xander Schauffele celebrated his 25th birthday week in some style by beating fellow American Tony Finau in a playoff to win the $10m WGC-HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International course on Sunday. The 2017 PGA Tour rookie-of-year picked up birdies on the last two holes of his final round to join Finau on 14-under-par, and sank a birdie putt on his second trip to the 18th green, before watching Finau come up short with a longer effort. Schauffele, who turned 25 on Thursday, mixed six birdies with two bogeys for a fourth-round four-under 68 to rein in Finau, who started the day with a three-stroke advantage and finished with a 71. Defending champion Justin Rose shot a 72 to finish four shots behind the leading pair in third place, which was only just insufficient for the Briton to replace Brooks Koepka as world number one. It was a third victory on the PGA Tour for Schauffele, after his wins at the Greenbrier Classic and Tour Championship in 2017, and earned him a cheque for $1.7m, along with a big kickstart in the race to the 2019 Fedex Cup. “It means a lot. Last season I really wanted to justify my rookie year by winning, but I wasn’t able to do it,” the Californian said.
Vinales snaps Yamaha winless streak
Spain’s Maverick Vinales made the most of an early retirement for world champion Marc Marquez to bring an end to Yamaha’s longest MotoGP winless streak with a victory in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on Sunday. The 23-year-old gave the Japanese marque a first victory in 26 races since last year’s Dutch TT at Assen, comfortably holding off a charging Andrea Iannone over the final couple of laps to take the chequered flag in 40 minutes, 51.081 seconds. “It feels amazing, it’s been such a difficult year for me, I can’t believe I’ve won,” Vinales said. “The bike was perfect today. When I crossed the line, there were tears in my eyes.” Iannone finished 1.543 seconds back to take second for Suzuki, ahead of his fellow Italian, Andrea Dovizioso, who did his chances of securing second place in the riders’ championship no harm by finishing third on his Ducati. Marquez, who sewed up his fifth MotoGP title with three races to spare in Japan last weekend, started on pole, but lasted only five of the 27 laps in the race.
Jacobs grabs IBF middleweight title
Daniel Jacobs claimed the vacant IBF middleweight title as he traded in his sparring gloves for the real thing on Saturday to take a split-decision victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. The two former training partners have sparred more than 300 rounds together early in their careers, but Saturday’s clash at Madison Square Garden was the real thing. Jacobs earned a hard-fought split-decision victory, with two judges scoring it 115-112 and the other having Derevyanchenko the winner at 114-113. “I felt like I dug deep,” said Jacobs. “I felt like I used my range and tried to use my boxing ability on the outside as much as I can because those are my best attributes.” Jacobs is hoping this win lands him a shot at middleweight kingpin Canelo Alvarez. Jacobs said he has been having trouble getting good fights, but now that he has the IBF belt he has more clout.
Nowitzki says LeBron James can catch Kareem
German NBA star Dirk Nowitzki says he sees no reason why LeBron James can’t finish up as the greatest scorer in NBA history. “If he stays healthy, the way he’s looking and moving, he has a chance at Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar),” Nowitzki told American sports broadcaster ESPN. “His numbers have been unbelievable. He doesn’t seem to slow down. The stuff he was doing last year in year 15 was incredible. If he keeps this up, he can pass Kareem,” who scored a total of 38,387 points. James finished with 35 points against the San Antonio Spurs to pass Nowitzki for sixth place on the all-time scoring list Saturday and became the game’s active overall points leader. He needed 21 points to surpass Nowitzki and now has a total of 31,202 points. James recorded his 21st point on a 17-foot jumper from the right side with 7:51 left in the third quarter of a 110-106 loss to the Spurs. He also passed Shaquille O’Neal for sixth on the all-time field goals list in the third quarter. In his 19-year career, O’Neal finished with 11,330.
Masterstroke sees veteran Loeb win Catalan rally
Sebastien Loeb won the Rally of Catalunya on Sunday when a last-minute tactical change to hard tyres on rain-soaked roads gave him a shock lead as conditions suddenly dried. The 44-year-old nine-time world champion eventually won in his Citroen by two seconds from Ford’s Sebastien Ogier, with Britain’s Elfyn Evans in third after holding on to a slender lead in a reverse-final special. The result puts Ogier on 204 points, just three ahead of Thierry Neuville on 201, with a single rally remaining in Australia (November 15 to 18), where Ott Tanak on 181 has an outside shot at the title too. “I would have prefered to win the rally, but I’m really happy with the points,” Ogier said. “Now he (Neuville) has to beat me in Australia.” The Belgian Neuville could have snatched victory himself, but hit a rock on the final special, breaking his back wheel and flying over the finish line with a flat trye. This was Loeb’s 79th career win. He, in fact, retired from full-time rallying in 2012, competing in a handful of rallies since as he juggles interests in other forms of motorsport.

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