Sharpe to return again
Veteran Wallaby lock Nathan Sharpe yesterday agreed to postpone his retirement again after a mayday call from Robbie Deans to keep going for the four-Test tour of Europe next month. The 34-year-old announced in February he would quit all competitive rugby at the end of July and move into the resources industry, while also working as a media commentator. However, he was enticed into staying on for the inaugural Rugby Championship over the Australian winter after injuries sidelined James Horwill and the forced retirement of Dan Vickerman. He had an exceptional tournament, taking the captaincy when injury hit David Pocock and then Will Genia, and agreed to remain with the squad for the Tests against England, France, Italy and Wales from Nov. 10.
Pietersen welcome: Broad
Kevin Pietersen will be welcomed back into the England team when the controversial middle-order batsman returns to the national side, Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad said on Wednesday. “Once the England management have decided when he’s available to return, he’ll be welcomed back into the changing room,” Broad told reporters at a book launch. The 32-year-old Pietersen, England’s best batsman in all forms of the game, has signed a new four-month contract after he was dropped in August for sending text messages about former Test skipper Andrew Strauss to South Africa players during the series between the two sides. He also admitted there had been problems in the dressing room. After lengthy negotiations, Pietersen was awarded another central contract which could be extended until September next year and will return to the England side following a “reintegration process.”
Muamba to meet Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter will hold talks with Fabrice Muamba later this month as the player who unexpectedly recovered from an on-field cardiac arrest considers a career in soccer politics. The midfielder was forced to retire in August, four months after collapsing at Tottenham while playing for Bolton in front of a global television audience. Muamba finds going to matches tough emotionally, but says he’s now attracted to sports politics. On the sidelines of the Leaders in Football Conference, Muamba said: “I like this kind of side of it, making decisions ... I have a meeting with Sepp Blatter.’’ The former England under-21 international says “hopefully he can get a job for me.’’ The meeting is due to take place in Zurich on Oct. 30.
Hand gesture earns ban
UEFA has banned Montpellier coach Rene Girard from one Champions League match for directing an obscene hand gesture at the Schalke bench after the teams drew 2-2 last week. UEFA says a second ban for improper conduct was suspended for a three-year probationary period. Girard will serve the ban — which bars him from contacting players or coaches in the stadium — when Montpellier host Olympiakos on Oct. 24. He was fined 5,000 euros (US$6,430). The French coach made the gesture in a heated touchline exchange after his 10-man team scored a late equalizer in Germany last week. UEFA says it fined Montpellier 17,000 euros because five of their players received yellow cards and fans threw missiles and fireworks.