Australia recall Beale
Australia coach Robbie Deans has recalled out-of-form utility back Kurtley Beale to the Wallabies starting side for their Rugby Championship match against South Africa in Perth on Saturday. Beale, one of Deans’s most dangerous attacking weapons when firing, was demoted to the bench for Australia’s second straight defeat to New Zealand in Auckland last month after playing a dreadful match in the opener in Sydney a week earlier. Beale slots in at fullback, with Adam Ashley-Cooper shifting to outside center to replace the dropped Rob Horne. Queensland Reds speedster Dom Shipperley will make his debut after being named on the right wing, replacing Drew Mitchell, who is injured. Back-rower Scott Higginbotham has been dropped to the bench in favor of 36-year-old Radike Samo, who takes the No. 8 position in an otherwise unchanged forward pack.
Lleyton set for record
Lleyton Hewitt has been selected to play against Germany in what will be an Australian record 33rd Davis Cup tie. The former No. 1-ranked Hewitt will beat the record he shares with Todd Woodbridge if he plays singles or doubles in the World Group playoff at Hamburg starting on Sept. 14. Hewitt was included in the squad announced by captain Pat Rafter on Tuesday, joining Bernard Tomic, Chris Guccione, Matt Ebdon and newcomer James Duckworth. Rafter said: “We obviously know that the German team goes in as favorites ... We have chosen a squad that we think will be undaunted and in great shape to fight and scrap every inch of the way.” Australia is aiming to return to the elite World Group for the first time since 2007.
Zenit sign Hulk, Witsel
Big-spending Zenit St Petersburg have splashed a record 80 million euros (US$100.9 million) on Brazil striker Hulk and Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel, signing each to a five-year contract, the Russian champions said on Monday. Hulk, 26, joined Zenit from Porto and the 23-year-old Witsel moved from Portuguese rivals Benfica. “It’s now official. Both players had signed five-year deals,” Zenit spokesman Dmitry Tsimmerman said. A club source said Zenit had paid 40 million euros for each player. Hulk helped Porto to win three Portuguese league titles and the 2011 Europa League trophy after joining from the Japanese J League in 2008. Zenit, drawn in Champions League Group C along with AC Milan, Anderlecht and Malaga, will be able to use both players in Europe’s premier club competition.
Galatasaray sign Cris
Galatasaray have signed Brazil centerback Cris from Olympique Lyon on a year-long contract, the Turkish league and Ligue 1 clubs said on Monday. “Olympique Lyon announce they had agreed to break the contract of defender Cris, who signed a one-year deal on Monday with Turkish club Galatasaray,” Lyon said on their Web site. The 35-year-old will have his spell at champions Galatasaray automatically extended for a further year if he plays at least 25 games, the Turkish club said on their Web site. Cris spent eight years at Lyon, whom he joined from Bayer Leverkusen in 2003, winning four French league titles and two French Cups. He quickly became one of the best centerbacks in the French league, but struggled to find his top form after he suffered torn knee ligaments early in the 2007-2008 season. Cris has 18 caps for Brazil.