■ RUGBY UNION
Deans puts his hand up
Canterbury Crusaders rugby coach Robbie Deans said yesterday he was interested in coaching the All Blacks and was no longer a candidate for the Australia coaching job. Both New Zealand and Australia were eliminated in the quarter-finals of last month's Rugby World Cup and Deans emerged as a leading candidate for the Wallabies coaching position vacated by John Connolly, and the All Blacks position, the future of which is uncertain. The New Zealand Rugby Union is awaiting the outcome of an independent inquiry into New Zealand's World Cup failure before deciding whether the incumbent, Graham Henry, will be reappointed.
Player scandal probed
South Korean soccer officials are investigating revelations that four senior players, including captain Lee Woon-jae and Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-guk, were involved in drinking and visiting prostitutes ahead of an important Asian Cup match in July. Seoul-based news Web site Newsis reported this week that Lee Woon-jae, Kim Sang-sik, Woo Sung-yong and Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-guk drank until the early hours of July 14 at a brothel in Jakarta, where the national team was based. On July 15, South Korea suffered an upset, 2-1 loss to Bahrain in Jakarta to drop to the bottom of Group D.
Midfielder's brother nabbed
Armed assailants kidnapped a teenage brother of Wilson Palacios, the Honduran midfielder for English Premier League club Birmingham, on Tuesday, authorities said. Edwin Rene Palacios, 15, was abducted from his home in La Ceiba, 350km north of Tegucigalpa on the country's Atlantic coast, Public Safety Department spokesman Hector Ivan Mejia said. "The family has asked us not to get involved, but the police are going to investigate the kidnapping," Mejia said. The kidnappers forced the door open violently and left the boy's parents bound and locked up in a room, Mejia added. He did not know if the kidnappers had demanded a ransom.
Defectors win first bouts
Cuban defectors and 2004 Olympic gold medalists Yuriorkis Gamboa and Yan Barthelemy won their first professional fights in the US on Tuesday. Gamboa scored a sixth-round technical knockout over Brazil's Adailton De Jesus at the Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood, Florida, an hour after Barthelemy won a unanimous decision over Kevin Hudgins on the same card. Gamboa's speed and power overwhelmed De Jesus during their junior-lightweight bout. Early in the sixth, Gamboa (7-0, 6 KOs) rocked De Jesus with a right to the head. A staggered De Jesus retreated to a corner, where Gamboa followed with a flurry of unanswered combinations. Referee Frank Santore stopped the bout 35 seconds into the round.
Younis appointed deputy
Pakistan yesterday appointed Younis Khan as deputy to captain Shoaib Malik for the tour of India starting later this week. Younis replaces opener Salman Butt, who lost his place in the final eleven because of poor batting form. Butt did not play in any of the five-match one-day series against South Africa which ended in the tourists' 3-2 win on Monday. The 29-year-old Younis refused to lead Pakistan when he was offered the captaincy following Inzamam-ul Haq's resignation in March.