Argentina win first Test
Captain Felipe Contepomi scored 22 points as Argentina made a winning start to their program of Tests this month with a 37-22 victory over Italy in San Juan, Chile, on Saturday. Contepomi ran in one of four tries by his team and also kicked three penalties and four conversions for the Pumas. Italy had the better of the opening half hour at the Estadio Bicentenario with Kristopher Burton slotting an early penalty and the pack earning a penalty try converted by the flyhalf. However, Argentina changed ends 13-10 ahead after flanker Tomas Leonardi’s try and a conversion by Contepomi, 35. Italy scrumhalf Edoardo Gori scored a try from a scrum early in the second half. The home side then took the upper hand. Prop Rodrigo Roncero, Leonardo Senatore and Contepomi ran in tries between the 54th and 72nd minutes to settle the match. Flanker Mauro Bergamasco then grabbed another try for Italy converted by replacement back Riccardo Bocchino.
Vettel grabs pole position
Sebastian Vettel secured his second pole position of the season and 32nd of his career in Montreal on Saturday when he clocked the fastest time during qualifying for yesterday’s Canadian Grand Prix. The 24-year-old Red Bull driver, last year’s pole-winner, scorched to the front of the grid in dramatic style with a fastest lap of the Gilles Villenauve circuit in 1 minute, 13.784 seconds. That meant he wound up a third of a second faster than second-placed Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, closely followed by championship leader Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, who was third quickest.
Sagan claims stage win
Versatile Slovakian Peter Sagan claimed another stage win on the Tour of Switzerland on Saturday after beating home hope Fabian Cancellara in the opening time trial. RadioShack’s Cancellara, a former four-time world time trial champion, had won on the same course in Lugano the past two years. However, Sagan (Liquigas), the winner of two stages last year, scorched over the 7.3km course to clock a time of 9 minutes, 43 seconds to beat the Swiss by four seconds.
O’Hern joins threesome
Nick O’Hern birdied three of the last five holes to surge into a three-way tie for the lead in Saturday’s third round of the St Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee, while overnight pacesetter Rory McIlroy slipped back. Australian left-hander O’Hern, still seeking his first USPGA Tour title since joining the circuit in 2005, carded a second successive three-under par-67 on a tricky day for scoring at the wind-swept TPC Southwind. O’Hern rattled up three consecutive birdies from the par-three 14th to finish at six-under 204, level with US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III (68) and his fellow American John Merrick (69).
Westwood wins in Sweden
World No. 3 Lee Westwood completed his buildup to next week’s US Open with a convincing five-shot win at the Scandinavian Masters in Stockholm on Saturday. Taking a three-shot advantage over fellow Briton and Ryder Cup teammate Ross Fisher into the final round, Westwood maintained plenty of distance between himself and the chasing pack all day. He made sure of victory with an eagle three at the par-five 12th before closing with a three-under 69 and a four-round tally of 269, 19 under.
Messi stars in Argentina win
Lionel Messi recorded his second international hat-trick as Argentina edged Brazil 4-3 in a friendly on Saturday. Messi, who finished the season with a club and country record 82 goals, scored all three times off sizzling dashes through the Brazil defense. Romulo opened the scoring in the 23rd minute five-time world champions Brazil, who went with a young squad in front of a crowd of 81,994 at the MetLife Stadium in New York. Messi gave Argentina a 2-1 lead with goals in the 31st and 34th minutes on superb runs. Brazil’s Oscar tied the score in the 56th minute and Hulk converted a corner dropped by goalkeeper Sergio Romero in the 72nd. Argentina rallied three minutes later when Federico Fernandez scored off a corner by Sergio Aguero. In the 84th minute, Messi picked up the ball in the midfield, charged ahead and blasted a left-footed shot from long range that went in just under the crossbar.