SPORTS DAY: Lashings of spice on the rugby front
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
PSDT wins SA player of the year award
Pieter-Steph du Toit admitted that he was “sore” and that he was “out of shape” by the time the 2018 season ended‚ but his indefatigable efforts were rewarded with a second SA Player of Year award in three seasons. He is the fifth player to win the award twice since 1992 after Bryan Habana (2005‚ 2007 and 2012)‚ Schalk Burger (2004 and 2011)‚ Jean de Villiers (2008 and 2013) and Fourie du Preez (2006 and 2009).
Last chance for Bulls players to win spots
The Bulls’ players have a last chance to impress coach Pote Human when they take on the Sharks in their last friendly match in Durban on Saturday before the start of the eagerly anticipated Super Rugby campaign next weekend. “There are still a few guys who must show me that they want to play Super Rugby this season and we will see on Saturday‚” coach Pote Human said when announcing a strong squad to travel to Durban.
Rebels extend Wessels contract The Melbourne Rebels on Thursday threw their support behind SA-born coach Dave Wessels by extending his contract for two years, saying he had transformed the club. “The transformation of this club into a genuine high-performance rugby programme during Dave’s tenure is nothing short of remarkable,” said Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson.
World Cup looms beyond weekend Six Nations matches between England and France at Twickenham and Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield need nothing to spice them up but the fact that both games will be repeated as key pool fixtures at the Rugby World Cup does add a layer of intrigue.
Davies to captain Wales
Jonathan Davies will captain Wales for the first time after being named as skipper by coach Warren Gatland for Saturday’s Six Nations match away to Italy in Rome. Regular captain Alun Wyn Jones is on the bench.
Mulder gets test call-up
SA have called up uncapped all-rounder Wiaan Mulder to their squad for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka that starts next week. His inclusion is the only addition to the squad that scored a clean sweep over Pakistan in their three-Test series in December and January.
Starc out injured
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the ODI series in India after sustaining a pectoral muscle injury during the second Test win over Sri Lanka, Cricket Australia said on Thursday. Kane Richardson will take his place in the 15-man squad. Meanwhile, Australia’s bowling coach David Saker quit on Thursday just months out from the World Cup and an Ashes tour to England “for the best interests of the team”.
Gayle returns to Windies squad
West Indies recalled veteran batsman Chris Gayle on Thursday for the first two ODIs against England in preparation for this year’s World Cup. The hard-hitting, 39-year-old Gayle last played for West Indies during a home series against Bangladesh last July, and could renew an explosive opening partnership alongside Evin Lewis.
Baxter prepared to quit if Bafana fail
Stuart Baxter stared down the barrel of a loaded gun on Wednesday and said he would quit his job as Bafana Bafana coach if the national team failed to qualify for this year’s African Nations Cup in Egypt. “If we do not qualify‚ certainly‚ certainly‚ I will tell the FA [Safa] that you had better make sure that you really want me to carry on because I will walk if you want‚” the Briton said. Bafana, who need to avoid defeat against Libya to book their ticket to the continental showpiece, will hold a training camp in Tunisia at least one week before the qualifier to prepare for the match.
Qatar rocket up world rankings
Qatar have climbed 38 places in the latest Fifa world rankings released on Thursday, reaching their highest position in more than quarter of a century on the back of their victorious Asian Cup campaign. The 2022 World Cup hosts are now ranked 55th, just ahead of Cameroon and Egypt. Bafana Bafana have dropped two spots to 74.
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE