Eusebio Guinazu called up
Argentina have called hooker Eusebio Guinazu into their World Cup squad as a replacement for the injured Mario Ledesma, team sources said on Monday. Ledesma suffered a leg injury in the 37-13 semi-final defeat by South Africa on Sunday and will be replaced in the team by Alberto Vernet Basualdo for the third-place playoff against France on Friday. Guinazu, who plays for French club Agen and was part of Argentina's pre-tournament squad of 41 before missing the cut for the World Cup, is likely to be on the bench when coach Marcelo Loffreda names his side today.
■ NEW ZEALAND
Kiwis support Henry
Most New Zealanders say All Blacks coach Graham Henry should be retained despite the team's worst ever rugby World Cup performance, according to a survey released yesterday. New Zealand were beaten by France in the quarter-finals this month, leaving Henry in a tenuous position as the New Zealand Rugby Union reviews the failed campaign. While history shows failed World Cup coaches are not retained, the poll by UMR Research found 61 percent of New Zealanders thought Henry deserved to be reappointed. If he is given the axe, the poll found a majority of people were unsure who should replace him, with Canterbury Crusaders coach Robbie Deans seen as the best of the pack. As for the 18-20 loss to France, nearly two thirds of respondents put that down to one bad game by an otherwise champion team, the All Blacks having gone into the World Cup as the overwhelming favorites. That compared to 27 percent who said the result was down to a deep-seated weakness in the team.
Laporte changes nine
Coach Bernard Laporte yesterday made nine changes to his starting line-up for what will be last match in charge against Argentina in the World Cup third place play-off at the Parc des Prince in Paris on Friday. Laporte will stand down after eight years and 98 games at the helm hoping to bow out on a positive note one week after their 14-9 semi-final defeat to England last Saturday. Four of the changes come in the pack with the return of Jean-Baptiste Poux at loose-head prop, Lionel Nallet at lock and Yannick Nyanga and Imanol Harinordoquy in the back row. Among the backs, Frederic Michalak takes over at flyhalf with David Skrela at center, Christophe Dominici and Aurelien Rougerie on the wings and Clement Poitrenaud at fullback. Damien Traille, who played fullback against England returns to his more customary center position. It will be the second meeting between the two teams at this World Cup, Argentina having won the tournament opener 17-12 on Sept. 7. The Pumas lost 37-13 to South Africa on Sunday.
Sebastien Chabal cleared
France forward Sebastien Chabal was cleared on Monday night of a dangerous tackle charge by the Rugby World Cup disciplinary commission. Chabal had been cited for an alleged dangerous tackle on England second-row Simon Shaw during France's 14-9 semi-final loss on Saturday. He can now play in France's match for third place against Argentina on Friday. Judicial officer Professor Lorne Crerar determined that the actions of Chabal in the tackle on Shaw in the second minute of the second half "could not of themselves be construed to be an act of foul play," a RWC statement said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there
HOTSHOT: Luis Suarez scored his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez and Lionel Messi With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years. Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1. Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi. Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed. “These three points are very