Rules waived for McAlister
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) yesterday granted an exemption to its eligibility rules to allow the speedy return of inside back Luke McAlister to the All Blacks. McAlister is due to return to New Zealand next month after playing for English club Sale for the last two seasons. He would normally become eligible for the All Blacks only after playing a season of Super 14 or the domestic provincial championship, under rules aimed at keeping the top players in domestic competitions. But star flyhalf Daniel Carter — also exempted from eligibility rules this year — is unlikely to be fit for the Tri-Nations series after rupturing his Achilles tendon playing for his French club, Perpignan, in February. NZRU chairman Jock Hobbs said that, due to injuries in McAlister’s favored flyhalf and inside center positions, the union decided to exempt him from the regulations. It is intended that the 25-year-old will play only in the June home Tests against France and Italy if other contenders are injured, but he would be available for the later Tri-Nations series starting in July.
Deccan charge ahead
Adam Gilchrist and Rohit Sharma hammered explosive half centuries to set up a comprehensive 24-run victory for the Deccan Chargers against the Bangalore Royal Challengers in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday. Unbeaten Deccan are top of the table after two matches. Their total of 184 for six was the highest of the competition so far and Bangalore never seriously threatened to match it before subsiding to 160-8.
Player charged over drugs
Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith was pulled over on Wednesday afternoon and found with crack cocaine and marijuana in his car, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Smith, who played 10 seasons for Jacksonville in the NFL, was pulled over on Interstate 95 in Jacksonville for excessive window tint on his 2009 Mercedes Benz, Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Bill Leeper said. The trooper reported that the inside of the car smelled like burnt marijuana. During a search, the trooper found crack cocaine, marijuana and a business card with powder cocaine residue in the car’s center console.
Ransomed watch recovered
Germany defender Arne Friedrich has been involved in a police sting after a thief attempted to extort 5,000 euros (US$6,475) from him for his Euro 2008 watch, it was reported on Wednesday. The 29-year-old Hertha Berlin captain, who has won 62 caps for Germany and played in last June’s Euro final, had his special watch stolen two months ago while he was working out in a fitness center in Berlin’s up-market suburb Charlottenburg, the Bild tabloid reported. The watch, engraved with Friedrich’s name and shirt number, was a limited edition time-piece by Swiss firm IWC, presented to each member of the Euro 2008 squad by the German Football Federation (DFB), and was stolen from his locker. A few days after the theft, the thief rang Friedrich claiming to have found the watch and demanded 5,000 euros to return it. The Germany star called police and a meeting was organized between Friedrich and the thief where the man was arrested and charged with extortion.