Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Sports briefs

Rugby Union

Gregan bites back

Australia captain George Gregan defended himself yesterday against accusations his game is slipping in the build-up to the World Cup. The Wallabies skipper has been under attack from the media since his team's 50-21 loss to New Zealand with some critics calling for him to be dropped. Gregan admitted his form this season had been inconsistent but said it was getting better and he was ready for a big performance in today's Tri-Nations match with South Africa. "My form has been a little bit inconsistent, there have been some really good parts of my game this year, but there are areas where it can improve," he said.

Rugby Union

Former cap loses leg

New Zealand rugby league international Tawera Nikau has had his right leg amputated due to complications from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident, hospital officials said yesterday. Surgeons at Hamilton's Waikato Hospital on Wednesday amputated Nikau's right leg below the knee because of complications arising from his July 1 crash. Nikau was injured when his motorcycle struck an oncoming car on a rural road at Ohinewai in the central North Island. Nikau, a loose forward, played 19 tests for New Zealand and later captained New Zealand Maori at the rugby league World Cup.

Cricket

Waugh second to Bradman

Test cricket's second leading run-scorer Steve Waugh is the best player Australia has produced apart from Don Bradman, Zimbabwe coach Geoff Marsh said yesterday. "I think he has to be rated as one of the best, if not the [best]," Marsh told reporters in Perth. "Obviously Bradman stands alone, but I reckon his record speaks for itself," Marsh said of his former team mate Waugh. "His captaincy record is outstanding and his performance with the bat speaks for itself. All Stephen's hundreds in test cricket, they are all under pressure." The late Australian great Bradman, widely regarded as the best batsman to play the game, hit 29 centuries and averaged an unrivalled 99.94 in 52 tests.

Soccer

Man U fined for price fixing

The British government on Friday fined 10 businesses, including the Manchester United soccer club, for fixing prices on replica uniforms sold to the public. Manchester United was fined British Pound 1,652,000 (US$2.6 million), but the largest fine assessed was British Pound 8,373,000 (US$13.4 million) against JJB Sports. The manufacturer, Umbro, was fined British Pound 6,641,000 (US$10.6 million), the Office of Fair Trading said. The agency said agreements among some of the parties set prices for the top popular short-sleeved adult and junior shirts of the England team and for Manchester United.

Soccer

Celtic team returns unhurt

Celtic players returned to Glasgow on Thursday, one day after the plane they were traveling in had to abort takeoff at a Lithuanian airport because of a mechanical glitch. The problem, which may have been caused by an insect flying into a tube that feeds the airspeed indicator, was believed to have occurred as the plane landed in Lithuania. Celtic, which beat Kaunas 4-0 in a Champions League preliminary round match earlier on Wednesday, was forced to spend an extra night away from home. Using another plane, players, coaches and journalists returned to Scotland late Thursday afternoon.

Soccer

Real tickets sell out

All 16,000 tickets to see Real Madrid play in Hong Kong on Aug. 8 sold out within six hours of going on sale after fans queued for up to four days to be sure of getting seats. More than 3,000 people were waiting when the box office opened at 9pm Thursday with a strict limit of four tickets per fan. The box office stayed open until the last ticket was sold at 2:55am yesterday. Officials put out public appeals to fans not to join the queue Thursday night, saying they had no chance of getting tickets, but hundreds more people arrived until the box office eventually shut down. Student Yau Ka-king, who emerged clutching his four tickets after camping outside Hong Kong Stadium since Sunday, said: "What I want now is a shower and a good sleep."

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