Sun, Nov 11, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ RUGBY UNION

Perpignan, Gloucester win

Perpignan beat Newport Gwent Dragons 23-19 while Gloucester won 32-14 at Ulster on the opening night of the 2007/2008 European Rugby Cup. Ceri Sweeney followed up tries by Joe Bearman and Gareth Wyatt as the Welsh region out-scored their hosts three tries to two at Stade Aime Giral. But the boot of Cedric Rosalen proved the difference as the 2003 cup finalists held on for victory. Newport made their return to the Cup after failing to qualify last season and were handed a daunting opening tie at Perpignan, who boast one of the best home records in the competition. Meanwhile Gloucester made the perfect start to their campaign with a thumping bonus-point win over Ulster at Ravenhill. The Cherry and Whites blitzed Ulster with five tries in the first half-hour to ensure maximum points. Flyhalf Ryan Lamb led the way with 12 points from a try, conversion and two penalties.

■ Motorsport

Bourdais in fine form

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais said he came to Mexico City to win the Grand Prix and leave the Champ Car World Series on a high note. So far, he's on his way to keeping his word. The French driver, who next season will race for Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula 1, set a track record at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with a lap time of 1 minute, 24.698 seconds in the first qualifying session for Sunday's race. Bourdais, the Newman-Haas driver who won in Mexico in 2004 and last year, broke the record of 1:24.801 set in 2006 by Justin Wilson to secure a place in the first row. "The car was very competitive on the track. My team did a great job again. No surprise there," Bourdais said. "It's a place we've been pretty solid here in Mexico City, pretty competitive and solid at the front. Everything is going according to plan." Bourdais wrapped up his fourth series title in the last race in Australia.

■ Motorsport

Indy 500 winners impress

It was a good day for Indianapolis 500 winners in qualifying on Friday for NASCAR's Checker Auto Parts 500. Sam Hornish joined Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya as former Indy 500 winners to earn a spot in today's race at Phoenix International Raceway -- marking the first time in NASCAR history three former Indy champions will be in the field. Carl Edwards won his first pole in almost two years by turning a lap of 213.67kph around the mile (1,600m) oval in his Roush Fenway Ford. Martin Truex, who had the pole last week in Texas and finished third, qualified second at 213.64 kph. It was Edwards' first pole start since Homestead in 2005. "Three-thousandths of a second is a little tough to swallow," Truex said.

■ Soccer

Mandela Challenge team

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan was among 17 players chosen by US soccer coach Bob Bradley on Friday to face South Africa in the 2007 Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, the Americans' final game of the year. Other players on the initial roster for the Nov. 17 game in Johannesburg, South Africa, include Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey of Fulham, Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard and Rangers midfielder DaMarcus Beasley. South Africa will host the 2010 World Cup. "This match is a great way to cap off a very productive year," said Bradley, who is 11-1-5 this year. "Once again we have the opportunity to draw on a group of players who will certainly play a large role in our attempt to qualify for the 2010 World Cup."

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