The World Cup is only four days old and already the treatment rooms are full of the sick and injured. \nThe bad news on Tana Umaga's injured knee was confirmed as a ruptured ligament on Monday while England sent for another scrumhalf with three of them hobbling around in danger of missing the showdown with South Africa. \nUmaga suffered his injury colliding with All Blacks teammate Carlos Spencer in Saturday's 70-7 victory over Italy in Melbourne. \nThe team confirmed the talented center had ruptured the posterior ligament of his left knee but hadn't given up hope that he would be back to play some part in the rugby World Cup. \nIn a statement, the All Blacks said Norm Maxwell had been contacted as a standby option but there was "no certainty he would be the replacement if in fact a replacement for Umaga is required." \nSpencer and winger Joe Rokocoko also suffered injuries during the game but team spokesman Matt McIlraith said they were "not major injury concerns." \nFiji will have to play the US on Wednesday without winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca, but not because of injury. On Monday night, he was suspended for two matches by a judiciary hearing for his part in a brawl during last Saturday's loss to France. \nThe decision, announced after a hearing that went nearly four hours, suspended Caucaunibuca until Oct. 23, meaning he will miss Fiji's next two matches against the US in Brisbane and against Japan in Townsville. \nHe will be available for Fiji's last pool match against Scotland in Sydney on Nov. 1. \nMillions of TV viewers saw the winger, who had already scored a memorable try during his team's 61-18 loss at Brisbane, launch himself into a brawl that had already started after a double tackle on French flyhalf Frederic Michalak. \nIn the England camp, there were more wounded players and, unfortunately for coach Clive Woodward, they were all scrumhalves. \nInjuries to first-choice scrumhalf Matt Dawson, backup Kyran Bracken and possibly third choice Andy Gomarsall led Woodward to scramble for cover in the early hours of Monday. \nBracken failed to take his place on the bench in Sunday's 84-6 win over Georgia because of a back injury, Dawson came off in the first half and spent the rest of the game with ice strapped to his knee and Gomarsall appeared to hobble from the field at the end. \nWith Bath's Martyn Wood already boarding a plane for Australia after Austin Healey apparently ruled himself out through injury, Dawson said he hoped to make it for the crucial match against the Springboks on Saturday. \n"I came off towards halftime with a knock on my leg but don't believe it will affect my availability for selection," the British Lion said. \n"It was decided that I should come off more as a precaution than anything. South Africa is a match that none of us wants to miss." \nThe match in Perth is rated the biggest of all 44 pool games. \nWhoever wins has a comparatively easy ride through to the semis while the loser almost certain will face championship favorite New Zealand in the quarters. \nThe last time they met, a 53-3 victory for England 11 months ago, South Africa had a player sent off and were accused of dirty play. \nSpringboks captain Corne Krige said Monday his players had their penalty infringements counted during the this year's Super 12 and Tri-Nations campaigns this year as part of an effort to clean up their rugby. \n"Guys have been monitored, habitual criminals have been spoken to," said Krige, who was accused by the Australians of spitting. "They've been hard on us so our penalty count has come down in Super 12 and Tri-Nations and we'll keep working on that." \nThe defending champion Australians have their injury and illness problems too. \nAlready ruled out of Saturday's game against Romania, lock David Giffin is still recovering from a horror fall on his head and shoulder against Argentina, center Stirling Mortlock building up strength after a stomach bug and fullback Chris Latham trying to regain fitness after pneumonia. \nHaving been trounced by the All Blacks, the Italians faced up to Tonga in Group D with a virtually brand new lineup. Only winger Nicola Mazzucato survives from the starting lineup although many others are on the bench. \nCoach John Kirwan has stuck by his promise that he would use all his squad members in the first two matches. \nThat means experienced stars such as team captain Alessandro Troncon, center Christian Stoica, brothers Denis and Manuel Dallan and flanker Aaron Persico will start against the Tongans who won their only other meeting with the Italians 28-25 at the 1999 World Cup. \nMeanwhile, the US announced the lineup for its first game of the tournament against Fiji and hoping for a better result that last time, when the Eagles lost all three matches. \nCoach Tom Billups warned that his players "could be a handful" for unwary opponents.
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7