SPORTS DAY: Rassie on a roll after Murrayfield test
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Boks pass another tough test
The Springboks passed a tough Test on their slog through Britain and France at Murrayfield on Saturday‚ to add another small entry in coach Rassie Erasmus’s improving catalogue. The 26-20 win over a very good Scotland team was the Boks’ seventh of the year and their third away win of the season‚ which is as many road wins as they achieved in two years under Allister Coetzee. Erasmus inherited a team in disarray after two seasons of record losses and embarrassing performances. He has slowly pieced the parts back together to make the Boks a force in world rugby again. They are still some way off the consistent standard set by New Zealand‚ Ireland and even Wales‚ who have been under the same head coaches for a collective 22 years. The Boks are on their third coach in as many years and while their consistency and depth are not at the same level‚ they are as good as any of those teams on their day.
Safa-SABC row continues after Bafana blackout
The SA Football Association (Safa) has said it tried to give the SABC every opportunity to broadcast Saturday’s 1-1 draw between Bafana Bafana and Nigeria‚ but that the broadcaster declined. Safa said the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at FNB Stadium‚ plus the Mandela Challenge match against Paraguay at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday night‚ were offered to the SABC at a cut rate. But the SABC had declined these offers. Safa wished “to apologise to the nation and the football-loving public for the fact that the SABC failed to broadcast the Bafana Bafana vs Nigeria Afcon qualifier this afternoon”.
Teen fractures spine in Macau horror crash
A 17-year-old female driver suffered a fractured spine when her car flew off the track in a horrifying crash at the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix on Sunday. Van Amersfoort Racing’s Sophia Floersch was conscious and stable after her car became airborne and hurtled into a marshals’ and photographers’ area. Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi, two photographers and a marshal were also taken to hospital. All were being treated in hospital, said the Macau Grand Prix Organising Committee. Dramatic footage captured gasps from the crowd as Floersch’s machine flew through the air and into safety netting at the Guia Circuit’s Lisboa bend, a sharp right-hander. The German, running 16th, lost control in a contact down the straight, launched off a kerb and bounced off Tsuboi’s TOM’s Racing car. She later reassured her fans on Twitter: “Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into surgery tomorrow morning.”
Baxter defends Serero’s forgettable return to Bafana
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has defended Thulani Serero’s lukewarm performance in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria after the Holland-based midfielder failed to live up to expectation. Serero returned from self-imposed Bafana exile and then proceeded to deliver a forgettable 60-minute performance that did very little to influence the team’s fortunes in a game they needed to win to book a place in next year’s Nations Cup tournament in Cameroon. “We didn’t get Thulani on the ball in the spaces he can operate and because he’s not played with us a lot he wasn’t able himself to get to those spaces and demand the ball‚” said Baxter. “He was unsure‚ so that’s why I took him off because he was not affecting the game at all.”
Somalia holds first competition since civil war
Somalia has held its first boxing competition in more than three decades, with young fighters in the conflict-torn nation dreaming of a career in international rings. The three-day lightweight boxing competition that wrapped up on Sunday took place in the capital Mogadishu, where athletes squared off in a ring set up on a basketball court surrounded by ruined buildings that bore witness to the country’s long conflict. The fighters were cheered by dozens of residents, many of whom had never seen or heard of boxing before in a country where football and basketball are far more popular, even before the war when such competitions were rare.
England win second Test to seal Sri Lanka series
Jack Leach’s first five-wicket haul clinched an overwhelming win for England in the second Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday that sealed the series with a match to go. England needed just 30 minutes on the fifth day to take the final three wickets with Leach fittingly getting last man Malinda Pushpakmura caught and bowled to set off celebrations. It was England’s first away series win since beating SA in 2015-16 and their first series win in Sri Lanka since 2001. Sri Lanka needed 301 in their second innings to register an upset win but managed just 243 at the Pallekele ground. England’s 57-run win followed their convincing victory in the first Test in Galle.
Molinari crowned Race to Dubai champ
Francesco Molinari clinched the Race to Dubai title after defending champion Tommy Fleetwood failed to win the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on Sunday. Molinari has enjoyed a remarkable season, winning his maiden major championship at the British Open along with his first Rolex Series title at the BMW PGA Championship. Englishman Fleetwood, who needed to win at the Jumeirah Golf Estates to overtake Molinari in European Tour’s money list, finished with a final-round four-under-par 68 to end 10-under overall, four shots off the current clubhouse target.
Kiwis praise Schmidt for outsmarting All Blacks
New Zealanders have been quick to find a way to celebrate Ireland’s historic Test win in Dublin, highlighting that the All Blacks’ loss was at least masterminded by a Kiwi. In a country where 20% of the population claim Irish ancestry, the All Blacks’ defeat on Saturday was still seen by some as a win for New Zealand. The 16-9 victory was the third time in the teams’ last three clashes that Ireland have won, and the first on home soil. It was also the first time in 20 years that the All Blacks have been kept tryless and held to single figures in the same match. But that was parked to one side as the New Zealand media highlighted headlines such as “Irish ‘import’ play pays off” and “Schmidt a Kiwi at heart”, referring to New Zealand-born Ireland coach Joe Schmidt. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen led the praise, saying his reigning world champions were “beaten by a better team” and Schmidt’s Ireland deserved to be favourites for the World Cup in Japan next year.
India ‘taking no prisoners’ against Australia
India’s head coach Ravi Shastri says his side will take no prisoners in their forthcoming test series against Australia, who are still formidable opponents despite results going against them in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal. The scandal, which occurred during the third test against SA in Cape Town in March, resulted in year-long bans for former Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner, with batsman Cameron Bancroft suspended for nine months. Shastri believes Australia will still be strong in the four-match series that starts next month and being deprived of key players will not weaken them significantly on home soil. “I always believe no team is weak at home,” Shastri, whose side have never won a test series in Australia, said in Brisbane on Sunday. “We might have three or four players not playing when a team comes to India, but God forbid if anyone says it is a weak Indian team because you will be surprised.”
Dominant Ogier rules world rally for sixth year
Dominant Frenchman Sebastien Ogier clinched his sixth world rally title on Sunday in a gripping final race of the year at Australia, denying Belgian Thierry Neuville and Estonia’s Ott Tanak maiden crowns. In one of the closest seasons of recent times, the M-Sport Ford driver came to Coffs Harbour with a three-point cushion over Hyundai’s Neuville and 23 in front of Toyota ace Tanak. All he needed to do was stay ahead of the Belgian and in touch with Tanak over the three days of frantic driving along dusty and slippery roads. The experienced campaigner and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia did just that, getting an early edge when Neuville lost 40 seconds on day one after blowing a tyre. When Neuville swiped a bank and ripped a wheel from his car and Tanak clipped a tree, forcing their retirements as they took risks in a desperate bid to make up time, the title was his before the rally finished.
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE