Stormers beat Lions 27-17
The Stormers returned from the month-long international break to beat the Lions 27-17 in their South African derby in the Super 15 in Cape Town, South Africa, on Saturday. Without Springboks Eben Etzebeth and Bryan Habana, the Stormers crossed through fullback Gio Aplon, loose forward Jebb Sinclair and wing Gerhard van den Heever to come through a brave challenge from the coachless Lions at Newlands. The visitors from Johannesburg had shrugged off their problems with coach John Mitchell’s suspension to close it to 13-10 early in the second half after captain Joshua Strauss’ rampaging run and score. Howver, Canada international Sinclair and Van der Heever scored in the last 10 minutes to seal victory for the Stormers and keep them ahead in the South African conference and second overall behind New Zealand’s Waikato Chiefs.
Bulls beat Cheetahs 40-24
The Bulls beat the Cheetahs 40-24 in Super 15 rugby in Pretoria on Saturday after an early blitz from the three-time champions put them back into the playoff places with two regular-season rounds to go. The Bulls scored four tries in the first half and another two early in the second for a 40-0 lead before the Cheetahs’ late charge. Springboks Pierre Spies, Dean Greyling, Zane Kirchner and Francois Hougaard crossed in the first 40, and fellow internationals Werner Kruger and Bjorn Basson went over in the second for the Bulls’ winning start to the final stages of the southern hemisphere competition. The Cheetahs took an hour to register their first points at Loftus Versfeld before prop WP Nel crashed over for the first of their four tries.
Egypt lose to lowly CAR
Record seven-time champions Egypt will miss consecutive Africa Cup of Nations tournaments for the first time since 1968 after being held to a 1-1 draw in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Saturday. Stunned 3-2 at home in a delayed first leg played behind closed doors two weeks ago, the Pharaohs fell behind midway through the first half in Bangui when captain Foxi Kethevoama scored. Veteran striker Emad Moteab, one of four players brought into the side by American coach Bob Bradley after the Alexandria debacle, leveled late in the second half, but the visitors never looked like scoring the other two goals they needed to salvage the tie. After winning a record three titles on the trot between 2006 and 2010, Egypt finished last behind Niger, South Africa and Sierra Leone in this year’s qualifying group. Now they have fallen at the first hurdle on the road to next yera’s finals in South Africa after starting as strong favorites to eliminate opponents 14 places lower on the FIFA Africa rankings. While the cancelation of the domestic league after 74 fans died in riots after a game in Port Said on Feb. 1 robbed Egyptian players of match practice, it has given Bradley more time than usual with the national squad.
Lyon sell Belfodil
French Ligue 1 club Lyon on Saturday confirmed the sale of 20-year-old Ishak Belfodil to Italian side Parma. Belfodil, 20, made just 10 league appearances and three Champions League appearances for Lyon and spent the second half of last season on loan in Serie A at Bologna. Lyon confirmed that they will receive an initial transfer fee of 2.5 million euros (US$3.2 million) plus bonuses and 20 percent of any future sell-on fee.