SPORTS DAY: Kolisi starts for crunch clash against Bulls
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Key players back for Stormers
The Stormers will welcome back several key players when they meet the Bulls in a make-or-break Super Rugby clash at Newlands on Saturday. The Springbok trio of flank and skipper Siya Kolisi‚ tighthead Frans Malherbe and centre Damian de Allende are back in the starting lineup after last week’s 19-17 loss against the Brumbies. There is also a return for Bok tourist JD Schickerling in the second row after several weeks out with a shoulder injury while Bok hard man Eben Etzebeth is among the reserves after missing three weeks with a calf muscle injury. Hooker Scarra Ntubeni also makes a rare start with Bongi Mbonambi dropping to the bench in the other change to the pack while JJ Engelbrecht starts at outside centre in place of the injured Ruhan Nel. Jean-Luc du Plessis also returns to flyhalf after being rested against the Brumbies last week.
Pan European league still on the cards
More than 200 European clubs have been invited to an assembly in June to discuss the future of Uefa competition including the idea of a “pyramidal Pan European League System”. The European Club Association will also ask its 232 members, who include all of Europe’s top clubs, whether they feel that more European football is good for the game. The current European calendar runs until 2024 and the ECA, which is working with Uefa to devise new-look competitions, has said it wants more clubs playing more continental games.
Ekstein latest to leave Chiefs
Pule Ekstein headlined a player exodus at Naturena on Thursday after Kaizer Chiefs announced his departure and that of Venezulan striker Gustavo Paez. The 28-year-old Ekstein’s contract with Amakhosi was due to expire at the end of the season while Paez’s two-and-a-half years contract he signed in January 2017 was not renewed by the struggling Soweto giants. This means Ekstein‚ who missed several matches in recent weeks as negotiations for a new contract failed to yield a breakthrough‚ is free to join a club of his choice even outside the transfer window. Ekstein was promoted from the Chiefs development academy.Why Hunt dropped KeetBidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt dropped a bombshell when he revealed that No 1 goalkeeper Darren Keet’s decision not to sign a contract extension at the club was the main reason behind the player’s relegation to the sidelines. Hunt hinted in his trademark forthright manner that the deadlock led to the Bafana keeper’s exclusion from recent matches.ATHLETICSWayde backs out of SA champsWayde van Niekerk has withdrawn from the SA championships in Germiston‚ announcing his decision less than an hour before he was to run his 400m heat in the afternoon. Van Niekerk‚ who missed the whole of last season after injuring his knee and undergoing surgery in late 2017‚ cited the weather conditions‚ which were a little chilly. Not long before the Olympic and double world champion tweeted his decision‚ Thando Roto pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury in the men’s 100m semifinals.FORMULA ONELeclerc happy to make way for VettelCharles Leclerc said on Thursday he would be willing to move over again for Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, but only in certain situations. The 21-year-old Monegasque Formula One driver was running third in China two weeks ago when he was asked to allow Vettel through as Ferrari tried to take the fight to champions Mercedes. Leclerc obliged but Vettel was unable to stop Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas romping to the team’s third straight one-two finish. Vettel finished third but Leclerc fell to fifth behind Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.
Kenyan eyes London Marathon
Kenya’s Mary Keitany will seek to match Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen’s tally of four London Marathon titles on Sunday but, unlike her compatriot Eliud Kipchoge, bidding for a fourth win in the men’s race, she is by no means the hot favourite. Keitany won in 2011, 2012 and 2017 – when she set a women-only record (without male pacemakers) of 2hr 17min 1sec.
– AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE