IRB Sevens title wide open
Argentina beat England 19-14 in the final of the US round of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens in San Diego, California, on Sunday to throw the world series wide open. England and South Africa now share the lead in the series with 60 points, eight clear of New Zealand on 52. Argentina are fourth on 48, ahead of Fiji (32), Kenya (24) and the US (20). Argentina claimed only their second IRB Sevens series title, to go with their 2004 victory in California. The Pumas reached the final with a 19-14 victory over the US. In the other semi-final, England came back from a 12 point deficit to South Africa for a 22-19 victory. In the Cup quarter-finals, Argentina advanced with a 21-5 victory over Samoa while England downed Fiji 12-10. South Africa beat New Zealand 19-7 and the US beat Kenya 14-7. In the final of the Plate, New Zealand avenged their day-one loss to Kenya with a 22-7 victory.
Weather delays play
Fierce winds and rain wiped out play on Sunday at the PGA Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, leaving officials hoping to complete the US$6.1 million tournament yesterday. Dustin Johnson held a comfortable four-shot lead after 54 holes thanks to birdies on four of his last nine holes on Saturday en route to a 15-under total of 201. Canadian Mike Weir was lying second on 205 and South African Retief Goosen, a two-time US Open champion, was lying third on 206.
Spain’s Francisco Mancebo won the first stage of the Tour of California on Sunday and claimed the leader’s yellow jersey as prologue winner Fabian Cancellara pulled out because of illness. Rock Racing’s Mancebo led much of the cold, rain-soaked, wind-swept stage and held on at the finish to beat Belgian Jurgen Van de Walle and Italian Francesco Nibali and finish ahead of a group that included American Astana rider Lance Armstrong, who had his time-trial bike stolen. Cancellara, who started in the yellow jersey after winning the individual time-trial prologue in Sacramento, withdrew in the midst of the stage because of a fever. Armstrong’s time trial bike, valued at more than US$10,000, was taken from a team truck in Sacramento.
Argentina win Pan American
Argentina claimed the Pan American Cup women’s field hockey title in Hamilton, Bermuda, on Sunday after beating the US 7-6 in a penalty shootout and then weathering a US appeal into the validity of the win. The US appealed the result of the final immediately after losing it to Argentina, but the petition was eventually denied. The Americans and Argentina finished 2-2 at the end of regulation time and extra time, forcing the shootout. The US appealed over Argentina’s first successful penalty in the second round. Noel Barrionuevo stepped away from her stroke after Scottish umpire Jean Duncan blew her whistle for the penalty to be taken. Under the laws of the game, there can be no delay after the whistle. The US said that penalty should have been considered a miss. The US would then have won because Caroline Nichols, who was next up, made the goal. But two other rules clouded the case for the appeals committee. First, the whistle can be blown only when the player was in position, and Duncan was believed to have awarded the score because Barrionuevo was not ready. Second, a team cannot appeal an umpire’s decision.