Mon, Jan 23, 2012 - Page 7 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Staff Writer, with Agencies

RUGBY UNION

Clermont top Pool Four

Clermont Auvergne edged out Ulster 19-15 to finish top of Pool Four on Saturday, but both sides still qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals. Ulster go through as one of the best two runners-up irrespective of what happens in the final set of pool matches, despite succumbing to the boot of Morgan Parra and Ti’i Paulo’s try. Ireland’s Munster had already reached the last eight, but they were desperate to be the top seed by winning all their matches and they beat eliminated Northampton 51-36 away thanks to a hat-trick of tries from Simon Zebo and one apiece from B.J. Botha and Johne Murphy. Holders Leinster, who also qualified earlier this month, outclassed Montpellier 25-3 in their final Pool Three match. Toulouse stumbled into the knockout stages on Friday when a 34-24 defeat at Gloucester opened the door for Harlequins, but the London club could only lose 9-8 at Connacht in Pool Six.

GOLF

Grace, Colsaerts share lead

Branden Grace of South Africa and Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium had contrasting third rounds in wet and windy conditions to share the lead at the Volvo Golf Champions in George, South Africa, on Saturday. Grace made two double-bogeys on his back nine to shoot a two-over 75 and join Colsaerts (69) on 10-under 209. South African pair Retief Goosen (70) and Charl Schwartzel (68) were a stroke back. After two days of benign weather, the Links course showed a glimpse of its fearsome reputation as the wind and intermittent rain made for a difficult day. It took its toll on Spain’s Pablo Martin. The three-time European Tour winner shot a 90 to sit last on 20-over. European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal maintained his good form with a 72 and an eight-under 211 total.

GOLF

Humana Challenge halted

Play was suspended at the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, California, on Saturday because of strong winds and sand storms in the Coachella Valley, with the unfinished third round spilling over into yesterday. Organizers said third-round play would resume at 7:30am yesterday, before the final round was scheduled to get underway from 10am. Mark Wilson of the US, one of three leaders overnight, was three shots clear of the chasing pack at 21-under after 15 holes. Compatriot Ben Crane was in second after 12 holes with another American, Zach Johnson, a further stroke back after 13 holes.

SOCCER

Clark header seals US win

Ricardo Clark’s header in stoppage-time on Saturday lifted the US to a 1-0 victory over Venezuela in an international friendly. Clark, who came on in the 86th minute, rose to head Jermaine Jones’ corner kick past Venezuela goalkeeper Jose Morales. Neither country fielded their best side, with top players instead staying with their clubs. One exception was Jones, who was called up by US coach Jurgen Klinsmann for national duty as he is serving an eight-game suspension in Germany. The Schalke midfielder was slapped with the ban for intentionally stepping on Marco Reus of Borussia Moenchengladbach last month.

SOCCER

Mechelen shock Brugge

Taiwan international Xavier Chen’s KV Mechelen pulled off a surprise 1-0 win away at high-flying Club Brugge KV on Saturday. Alessandro Cordaro scored after just seven minutes and the visitors held on to grab all three points. Chen played the full 90 minutes.

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