SPORTS DAY: Limping Lions head Down Under
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Wounded Lions head off
The Lions depart for Australasia on Tuesday still shell-shocked from their 42-5 humiliation at the hands of the Sharks last Friday. That defeat was a sobering reminder that the Lions‚ when confronted with gifted and grizzled opposition‚ lack the grunt and wherewithal to be genuine title contenders this season.
Stormers wary of Genia and Cooper
The Stormers have earmarked Rebels halfbacks Will Genia and Quade Cooper as their biggest threats when the sides meet in Melbourne on Friday. The Wallaby pair have changed the Rebels into the leading Australian side this season. “Genia and Cooper are pushing their team around the park,” Stormers assistant coach Paul Feeney said. “They are two of the best players in the world ... We have to try and put them under pressure‚ and negate how they use the ball.”
Leitch points finger at Super cut
Japan captain Michael Leitch has accused some top-tier nations of wanting to keep high-level rugby to themselves after the Sunwolves, Japan’s representatives in Super Rugby, were told they would be cut from the elite competition after the 2020 season. “The Japanese team, we need exposure and we need to be playing top tier-one nations on a regular basis. I am very disappointed. The reason the national team now is making great steps towards beating quality sides is because we have got that exposure to a higher level.”
Cane returns from broken neck
Sam Cane has been cleared to return to contact training after breaking a bone in his neck and received another boost when he was invited to a one-day All Blacks camp, suggesting the flanker is still in coach Steve Hansen’s Rugby World Cup thoughts. Cane had to have an operation in SA after sustaining the injury playing against the Springboks in Pretoria last October, and the 27-year-old has not played since. However, his Waikato Chiefs coach, Colin Cooper, told reporters in Hamilton on Tuesday he had been cleared for contact.
Nedbank Cup returns to Durban
Durban will host its second Nedbank Cup final in three years after the Premier Soccer League (PSL) on Tuesday announced Moses Mabhida Stadium as the venue for this year’s edition. “The sponsors’ preferred venue in Bloemfontein was not available, for unforeseen reasons. It will therefore move to Moses Mabhida on May 18‚” PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza said on Tuesday.
Benni bags Belgian
Cape Town City appear to have landed another coup in the transfer market after the capture of Belgium junior international Keith Groeneveld. The 19-year-old defender was born in Kimberley to a Belgian father and SA mother‚ but moved to Europe at the age of four. He has come through the junior ranks at KV Mechelen and Standard Liege‚ and was once offered the chance to sign for the Manchester United academy‚ but felt at the time he was too young to move to England.
Coach sees positive in defeat
Defeat in the Limpopo derby at the weekend might well turn out to be a positive for the Black Leopards‚ who are next up against Orlando Pirates in the Absa Premiership on Wednesday‚ said coach Dylan Kerr after they lost to Polokwane City. “Maybe it’s a good thing because we don’t want to be overconfident. There was a lot of confidence‚ very good belief and a good atmosphere going into Sunday’s game‚” Kerr said. “We thought‚ ‘We are the better team‚ we are playing the better football’‚ and maybe thought it would be easy.”
Al Ahly suffered worst defeat since 1942
Sundowns’s five-goal thrashing of Al Ahly at the weekend was the biggest defeat in about 77 years for the Cairo giants. The 5-0 loss was the heaviest Ahly had suffered in international competition and their worst since Zamalek beat them 6-0 in the 1942 Egyptian Cup final.
Ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League trip to Old Trafford, the Catalans’ president has admitted even they could not compete with Manchester United’s then world record offer to bring Paul Pogba back to England in 2016. However, nearly three years on, United can feel they have still to receive sufficient bang for the bucks they paid to Juventus for Pogba in an £89m transfer fee. The French World Cup winner will start for just the second time in a Champions League knockout game for United on Wednesday.Ronaldo named in Juve squadCristiano Ronaldo is back from injury after being named in Juventus’s squad for Wednesday’s away Champions League quarterfinal against Ajax.Drinkwater didn’t drink just waterChelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater has been charged with drink driving after being involved in an accident near Manchester, British police said on Tuesday. “Danny Drinkwater, of Bollington Lane, was arrested shortly after 12.30am on Monday 8 April following a one-vehicle collision on Ashley Road in Mere,” Cheshire police said. He was released on bail and will appear in court on May 13.Pele back in Brazil after hospital stayFootball great Pele arrived back in Brazil Tuesday after a six-day hospital stay in France. The three-time World Cup winner was discharged from a Paris hospital late on Monday after treatment for an urinary infection.MOTOR SPORTF1 reaches 1,000 races From the first race at a converted World War 2 airbase in rural England to this weekend’s 1,000th grand prix at the $240m international circuit in Shanghai, F1 has come a long way since it all began in 1950. Silverstone held the first race 69 years ago and the British Grand Prix has remained, with the Italian GP, the only ever-present races on the calendar. In 70 seasons, F1 has visited 32 countries across five continents and a street circuit in Vietnam will be the newest addition next year.– AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE