■ RUGBY UNION
Young ‘Lomu’ in tug of war
A 20-year-old player compared to All Blacks great Jonah Lomu has become the subject of a tug of war between his native Fiji and adopted country Australia. The Fiji Times newspaper reported yesterday that Fiji-born Ratu Nasiganiyavi, the son of former Fiji international Isei Nasiganiyavi, played for Australia under-20s in their 51-12 win over Fiji’s under-20 side at Sydney on Saturday. Although by playing in that match Nasiganiyavi seems to have ruled out any chance of playing for Fiji in the near future, the Fiji Rugby Union hopes he will eventually return to their national colors. Nasiganiyavi moved from Fiji to Australia when he was three months old when his father took up a contract with the Queensland Reds. Fiji Rugby Union high performance manager Peter Murphy said Nasiganiyavi had indicated a strong desire to play for Fiji. “We’ve been looking at him for a while,” Murphy said. “[Fiji coach] Ilivasi [Tabua] and I have spoken to him.”
Bulls forward busted
Bulls forward Joakim Noah was arrested in Florida on Sunday on charges of marijuana possession and having an open alcohol container. Noah was stopped shortly before 2am when a police officer saw him on a sidewalk carrying a plastic cup containing an “amber-colored” liquid, according to a Gainesville police report. Authorities found the beverage was alcoholic, putting him in violation of city law that prohibits drinking alcohol on the street. After Noah was taken to the police station, police found a marijuana cigarette in his pocket. Sumner Hallett, public information officer for the Gainesville Police Department, said Noah cooperated with police and “bonded himself out” of jail by being fingerprinted and accepting a court date next month. Noah, 23, could face up to six months in jail and a US$500 fine on the misdemeanor charges.
Cassano no alien: Donadoni
Temperamental striker Antonio Cassano should not be treated like he is from another planet, Italy coach Roberto Donadoni said on Sunday. Eyebrows were raised last week when the 25-year-old was surprisingly named in Donadoni’s provisional Euro 2008 squad, having not been called up since 2006. The Sampdoria forward, on loan from Real Madrid, has had a superb season but also served a five-match ban for verbally abusing a referee and throwing his shirt towards him. “Antonio Cassano is just a lad, don’t make him into an alien,” the coach told a news conference. “I believe after that heavy suspension in the league he has understood what it means to be in a group.”
Sven linked to Mexico job
Manchester City coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, facing the sack from the English Premiership side, can count Mexico’s national side as his next possible destination, Mexican media reported on Sunday. Reports quoted Mexican soccer agent Juan Carlos Padilla as saying Eriksson was on the verge of accepting a two-year deal to lead Mexico to the 2010 World Cup. “We already know what the Mexican FA are looking for and we would accept their terms if they call us again,” Mexican newspaper La Jornada quoted Padilla as saying from Manchester. “If the Mexican FA decide to take him on, he will be their coach and the Mexican national team will be his top choice. It’s a contract for the cycle up to the next World Cup and after that we’ll see what happens,” Padilla said.