SPORTS DAY: Chiefs defeat was embarrassing, says Pote
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Chiefs humiliated Bulls‚ admits Human
As he surveyed the wreckage of their unexpected and heavy 56-20 defeat to the Chiefs at Loftus on Saturday‚ Bulls coach Pote Human admitted that the result was embarrassing. The Bulls hosted the New Zealanders on the back of two good wins over the Lions and Sharks but they disintegrated against the Chiefs side who went into the game under pressure and lying at the bottom of the overall Super Rugby standings. The Bulls‚ who have dropped to fourth in the SA conference‚ were outscored seven tries to two and were outplayed and outmuscled in every department by the Chiefs who registered their first win of the campaign after six matches. “We didn’t pitch up at all‚ I think we were still on a bye. I gave the guys some time off last week because we had a bye and I think they were still off‚” said Human about one of their heaviest defeats at Loftus.
Ref Berahino home to help Burundi qualify
Saido Berahino’s decision to return and play for the country his family fled when he was just a boy paid off at the weekend as the Stoke City winger helped Burundi to qualify for a first African Cup of Nations finals appearance. A 1-1 draw at home to Gabon in Bujumbura on Saturday ensured second place for Burundi in their group, setting off wild celebrations in the small East African country. Berahino told Radio France International. “It was crazy from start to finish, from the moment we went to the stadium until when we left. It’s been totally unimaginable.” Now 25, Berahino fled the country at the age of 10 with his mother after his father was killed in civil strife. He was given refugee status in UK, where he began his career at West Bromwich Albion, played for England at under-21 level and was even called up to the senior squad.
‘We don’t make excuses’: Crusaders after loss
Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has said his team will bounce back after the New South Wales Waratahs ended their 19-game winning streak, refusing to blame the defeat on an emotional and traumatic week. The reigning Super Rugby champions lost 20-12 on Saturday in their first match since a white supremacist shot dead 50 people at two mosques in their home city of Christchurch. The attacks deeply affected the Crusaders, with their match in the immediate aftermath cancelled so the players could return home to their communities. In Sydney on Saturday they were subdued, starting slowly and uncharacteristically making a series of handling errors on a wet evening. “We were really desperate to play well and represent our people and show how much we care,” Robertson said. Wearing armbands with the words “United 15-03-2019”, marking the day of the tragedy, the Crusaders lacked early focus and gave away two tries within the opening 11 minutes, which proved decisive.
Hend pips Elvira after lightning strikes at Maybank
Australian Scott Hend beat Spanish overnight leader Nacho Elvira with a birdie on the first playoff hole to win the co-sanctioned $3m Maybank Championship after wild weather triggered a dramatic finish on Sunday. Hend was leading Elvira by a single stroke with the leading pair on the final fairway when torrential rain started falling on the Saujana Golf and Country Club. The first crack of thunder came as Elvira hit his approach shot to the 18th green and, with lightning flashing around them, the players were forced off the course before either could attempt a putt. They returned after 100 minutes and Elvira nailed his birdie putt from 9m for a two-under-par 70 to tie the scores at 15-under 273 and force the playoff. “What a putt by Nacho ... it was fantastic,” Hend said. “If I was to go out there and hit that putt you would say you would hole it one in 10 times. It was an amazing putt, and in the situation he holed it.”
AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Patriots owner apologises after prostitution charges
NFL champion New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft has apologised, making his first public comments since being charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida last month. The 77-year-old billionaire was among 25 men charged with soliciting prostitution in two January visits to a South Florida massage parlour, accused of paying for illicit sex after a police investigation into human trafficking and women forced into prostitution. “I am truly sorry,” Kraft said. “I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.” Kraft has pleaded innocent on two misdemeanor solicitation charges but had made no comment until the statement, posted on the NFL’s website.
Osaka left to regret ‘immaturity’ in Hsieh loss
World No 1 Naomi Osaka berated herself for a lack of maturity and focus on Saturday as she fell in three sets to Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei in the third round of the Miami Open. The Japanese star was left floored by the battling instincts of the world No 27, who brilliantly came from a break down in the final two sets for a 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory, making amends for losing a dramatic encounter at the 2019 Australian Open. Osaka was dejected but, to her credit, laid bare her frustrations afterwards, insisting she lacked mental clarity and the ability to deal with the pressure of being the best in the world. Hsieh, who completed one of the best wins of her career in two hours and 18 minutes, will now play Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki for a place in the quarterfinals and put to rest memories of being a set and 4-1 up at Melbourne before losing to eventual champion Osaka.
Stormers rue missed chances as injuries mount
The Stormers were left to rue another missed opportunity when they slumped to a 34-28 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday. In a match where the lead changed hands five times‚ the Stormers had their chances to end their lengthy losing streak in New Zealand. In the end they came up short thanks to their own errors and some dubious officiating. They now head to Auckland to face the Blues with mounting injury and availability problems. Lock Salmaan Moerat failed a head injury assessment (HIA) test during the Hurricanes match and will probably miss the Blues clash. Flank Pieter-Steph du Toit is set to return to Cape Town because his wife is due to go into labour, while lock Eben Etzebeth still has to pass his final HIA protocol to be cleared to play.
Ronaldo-inspired Kean says more records to come
Teenage star Moise Kean said on Saturday he had learnt from Juventus teammate Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring his first goal for Italy in what he hopes will be a record-breaking career. The 19-year-old forward was the first player born in the 21st century to score for the senior team, with the second goal on 74 minutes in a 2-0 Euro 2020 qualifying Group J win over Finland in Udine. Italy coach Roberto Mancini chose Kean to replace the injured Federico Chiesa in a three-pronged attack along with Juventus teammate Federico Bernardeschi and Ciro Immobile. “I learn from Cristiano Ronaldo, in training, I steal his secrets,” said Keane. “I always try to be ready and train regularly so that I’m prepared when the time comes. This is a beautiful evening, but I know that I still have so many records to beat and I intend to beat them.”
Reds revival rolls on as Brumbies brushed aside
A revival by the Queensland Reds gathered pace on Sunday with their second win in a row, storming past a tired and outplayed ACT Brumbies 36-14 in energy-sapping conditions. The Brisbane-based team crashed to defeat in their opening three Super Rugby games, but stunned the Sunwolves in Tokyo last weekend with a gritty 34-31 win and dominated the Brumbies. Scott Higginbotham, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Tate McDermott, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Bryce Hegarty all scored tries for a bonus-point victory. It was testament to their fitness in a game played in stifling 34°C heat and high humidity, in which the Brumbies flagged in the second half. “Really pleased with how we started, it’s something we’ve been working on for the past few weeks,” said Reds skipper Samu Kerevi. “Really proud of the boys,” he added, saying their “intent” throughout the entire 80 minutes was what pleased him most.
Serena out of Miami Open with knee injury
Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Miami Open with a left knee injury, tournament officials said. It is the second consecutive WTA event in which the American has been unable to continue, after her retirement from last week’s tournament in Indian Wells with a viral illness. “I am disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open due to a left knee injury,” the former world No 1 said. “I hope to be back next year to play at this one-of-a-kind tournament in front of the incredible fans here in Miami.” The eight-times Miami champion had begun the tournament with a tough three-set victory over Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson, winning 6-3 1-6 6-1 on Friday. “I knew I could play a lot better than I was playing,” Williams had said afterwards of her error-ridden second set.
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE