SPORTS DAY: No more excuses – Pote puts his foot down

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SPORTS DAY: No more excuses – Pote puts his foot down

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

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RUGBY
Pote wants no more bull After six long years of failure to qualify for the knockout stages of Super Rugby‚ Bulls coach Pote Human has admitted that the time for excuses is over at Loftus Versfeld and he has challenged his players to approach the tournament with a positive mentality. “I am a coach who doesn’t like excuses. If you don’t make it‚ you don’t make it, and there is no excuse‚” Human said at Loftus on Wednesday‚ where he announced an experienced squad that included Bok veterans Schalk Brits and Duane Vermeulen to face the Stormers in a friendly on Sunday in Cape Town. “It doesn’t matter if there is an issue about the referee‚ the weather or the travelling. Wherever we are going to be playing‚ we will go out there to do a job and try to win rugby matches.”
Senatla ready for fifteens
Sevens star Seabelo Senatla says he used time after groin surgery in July 2018 to prepare his body and mind for a full assault on the longer version of the game. “I haven’t had a pre-season for about four seasons‚ which made it difficult every time I came back to fifteens for two reasons‚” said Senatla, who scored 224 tries for the Blitzboks on the World Sevens Series. “I was in the deep end in terms of game plan and the systems‚ and I always had to try and catch up as I wasn’t part of the pre-season. Secondly, I wasn’t always fully conditioned for fifteens. This time I’ve been able to condition my body and to be in the system‚ which allows me to understand the game plan better.”
France name Willemse for Wales match
SA-born Paul Willemse will make his debut for France in Friday’s Six Nations opener against Wales in Paris. Willemse, a 2012 junior world champion with the Baby Boks, arrived on French soil in 2014 as a 21-year-old, received his French passport in November, and will become the 11th SA-born player to wear France’s blue jersey. Also making his debut against the Welsh and facing a baptism of fire in midfield will be Romain Ntamack, the 19-year-old son of emblematic ex-France back Emile who is preferred to vice-captain Mathieu Bastareaud.
SOCCER
Plane cushions found in search for Sala
Investigators searching for a lost plane carrying Premier League soccer player Emiliano Sala said on Wednesday they had found two seat cushions near the French coast that probably belonged to the aircraft. Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said part of a seat cushion had been found on a beach near Surtainville on the northern coast. A second cushion was found in the same area later that same day.
Neymar out for 10 weeks
Neymar will miss both legs of Paris Saint-Germain’s forthcoming Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester United after the French club confirmed on Tuesday that the world’s most expensive player would be out for 10 weeks with a metatarsal injury. Neymar will not undergo surgery.
Asian body probes shoe-throwing semifinal
Asia’s football body promised a “thorough investigation” on Wednesday after the United Arab Emirates’ turbulent Asian Cup semifinal loss to arch-rivals Qatar, during which fans hurled shoes and bottles. Plastic water bottles pelted the turf and several shoes were hurled, an Arab insult, as Qatar celebrated the second goal in Tuesday’s 4-0 rout of the tournament hosts.
TENNIS
Hewitt slams new Davis Cup format
Australia Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt has slammed former Barcelona football star Gerard Pique over the tournament’s controversial new format, saying it is “ridiculous” and would hurt the sport. Pique’s investment group Kosmos proposed the format that will bring together 18 nations for a week at the end of the tennis season for a championship finale. “I personally don’t think all the top players will play. Now we’re being run by a Spanish football player ... that’s like me coming out asking to change things for the Champions League – it’s ridiculous.” DOPING
Move to criminalise global doping fraud US lawmakers introduced the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act on Tuesday with rare bipartisan support to criminalise international doping fraud conspiracies, a week after the World Anti-Doping Agency decided against suspending Russia. The proposed law aims to ensure that fraud against American competitors wouldn’t go unpunished, with penalties up to a $1m fine and 10 years in prison. “Now is the time to ... send a signal that Russia and other sponsors of state-directed fraud can’t use corruption as a tool of foreign policy,” US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said.
Russian gets eight-year ban
Russia’s former world weightlifting champion Khadzhimurat Akkaev has been banned for eight years for a third doping offence since 2005, the domestic weightlifting federation said. The 33-year-old, who won the world title in the 105kg category in Paris in 2011 and 2004 Olympic silver medal in the 94kg category, will remain suspended until August 1 2024.
RACING
Champion Australian horse trainer arrested
Australian police raided the stables of Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir on Wednesday as part of an investigation into corruption and the possible use of electric-shock devices on horses. Three men, aged 48, 38 and 26, were arrested on warrants in relation to sporting integrity matters, Victoria police said. They were later released pending further investigation, Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said. Local media reported that Weir, 48, was one of the people arrested.
MMA
McGregor, Nurmagomedov suspended
Conor McGregor and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov were each fined and suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday for their roles in a post-match melee in October 2018 in Las Vegas. Copies of the agreements showed the commission voted to hand Nurmagomedov a nine-month ban and $500,000 fine while McGregor was given a six-month ban and $50,000 fine.​
– AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE

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