SPORTS DAY: ‘Stormers can’t be worse than against Bulls’
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Swys expects Stormers to hit back
Guided by the belief that the Stormers cannot be any worse than they were against the Bulls at Loftus‚ Lions coach Swys de Bruin is expecting to face a team on the rebound in their Super Rugby clash at Newlands on Saturday. “It is Newlands‚ it’s Cape Town‚ it’s a very proud franchise. They will bounce back like never before. We all know it. We believe what happened at Loftus was a case of maybe they underestimated the Bulls‚” said De Bruin. He reminded that the Stormers “still have 11 or 12 current Springboks”‚ before adding “we are under no illusions”.
Van Zyl to quit Stade Francais
A “sad” Piet van Zyl announced Thursday he will quit Stade Francais at the end of the season to return home to SA to run the family farm. “It’s nothing against rugby. I love the rugby here. I love the club and I really enjoyed the experience,” said the 29-year-old, who was capped three times by the Springboks between 2013-16 and has started 12 of 16 Top 14 matches this season, having arrived in Paris last summer.
Jones eager to ‘spoil the party’ against Wales
England coach Eddie Jones takes his side to Cardiff for a potential Six Nations title-decider against Wales having promised to “spoil the party” at the Principality Stadium. England and Wales are the only two unbeaten sides left in this season’s Championship after the opening two rounds. Wales are on an 11-match unbeaten run, with just one more win required to break their all-time record set from 1907-1910.
Coles to start for first time since 2017
All Blacks hooker Dane Coles will make his first Super Rugby start since 2017 after he was named in the Wellington Hurricanes side to face the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday. He played his first game for the Hurricanes in almost 18 months last Saturday, coming off the bench in their 20-19 victory over the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney. While he brought Coles back, Hurricanes coach John Plumtree erred on the side of caution by leaving Beauden Barrett out of the matchday 23.
We mustn’t lose to Wits, says Pitso
Pitso Mosimane has brushed off suggestions that Mamelodi Sundowns’ highly anticipated top-of-the-table clash against leaders Bidvest Wits on Saturday could decide the destiny of the league title. “I don’t think the game on Saturday will determine the championship because there is still a long way to go‚” said Mosimane‚ adding that even a draw would suffice for them away from home. “Obviously we want to go there and win the match to boost our position on the log‚ but even if we don’t win it’s still okay. The most important thing is we don’t lose.”
‘Baxter denies quit comment’
SA Football Association president Danny Jordaan has said Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has denied telling the media he would step down from the position should SA not qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. “I asked him. He denies having said that.” It was pointed out to Jordaan that Baxter’s statements were on record. The president responded: “He denies that. I asked him. He says no. [He says] ‘It’s the media again; they are coming with these stories’.”
United primed to dent Liverpool title bid Manchester United may not be in the title race but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could have a big say in who does win the Premier League, starting with Sunday’s clash against Liverpool at Old Trafford. Manchester City lead the Premier League on goal difference from Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool with both teams on 65 points – 14 ahead of fourth-placed United.
Osaka must learn to deal with limelight: Kvitova
Two-times Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova says Naomi Osaka’s shyness is a problem for her as she struggles to deal with the increased scrutiny in the wake of her success at the Grand Slams and her rise to the top of the world rankings. A tearful Osaka admitted difficulty in dealing with the attention of being the world’s top-ranked woman after a shock defeat by France’s Kristina Mladenovic at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday. “She’s number one, Grand Slam winner, everyone just wants to beat her. That’s how players are thinking,” Kvitova, beaten by Osaka in the Melbourne final, told reporters.
Ferrari seem to be ahead of Mercedes: Bottas
Ferrari are looking stronger than Mercedes in testing and the F1 champions have work to do before next month’s season-opening race in Australia, Valtteri Bottas said on Thursday. The Finn, teammate to five-times world champion Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, gave his assessment on the final day of the first four-day pre-season test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. “They do seem very strong,” Bottas said of Ferrari, Mercedes’ closest rivals last year.
Breakdancing set for 2024 debut
Breakdancing is set to make its debut as an Olympic sport at Paris 2024, the head of the local organising committee said on Thursday. Skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing, which have already been added to the programme for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, have been invited to return in Paris four years later.
Coaches ‘stole tens of thousands’ from curlers
South Korea’s “Garlic Girls” curling team were exploited by their coaches who stole tens of thousands of dollars of prize money from the Olympic medal-winners, the sports ministry said on Thursday. The curlers, who come from a town famous for garlic farming, became a media sensation as they swept their way to Olympic silver. But last November they publicly accused their coaches of verbal abuse and intrusive control and claimed they had not received their prize money from previous competitions, prompting public outrage and a probe by the sports ministry.
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE