Louis Luyt dies aged 80
Former controversial South African rugby kingpin, business magnate and politician Louis Luyt died on Friday aged 80 in a Durban hospital from unknown causes. Luyt was best known as the outspoken boss of South African rugby when the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 1995, a year after the fall of apartheid. That victory was immortalized in the Hollywood blockbuster Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman as then-South African president Nelson Mandela. In 1998, Luyt was accused of racism and financial mismanagement in his role as South African Rugby Union president, resulting in his resignation and a presidential inquiry. He refused to appear in front of a presidential commission and forced Mandela to court in a bid to clear his name. The Constitutional Court found against him and for Mandela. Luyt formed a political party and eventually became a member of parliament in 1999 as leader of the now defunct Federal Alliance. His business success was based on the founding of a fertilizer company and a brewery.
Sterne leads in Dubai
Overnight leader Richard Sterne sank a birdie on 18 to take a one-shot lead over Danish youngster Thorbjorn Olesen and two others at the halfway point of the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday. Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia pulled to within three of Sterne despite struggling with shoulder problems that required treatment midway through his round. Sterne, a South African who has struggled with his own injuries in recent years, finished the day with a 12-under total of 132. Olesen (66), Tommy Fleetwood (68) and Stephen Gallacher (70) were a shot back.
NBPA puts Hunter on leave
The NBA Players Association said on Friday that union chief Billy Hunter has been placed on indefinite leave following an independent report detailing shoddy business practices on his part. “Unfortunately, it appears that union management has lost sight of the NBPA’s only task, to serve the best interests of their membership,” said union president Derek Fisher, a veteran guard who signed with Dallas as a free agent this season, but was released on Dec. 22 last year. Fisher, who was among those calling for the review into Hunter’s management of the union, said the findings “confirm this unfortunate truth and we must now move forward as players.” The report found no evidence of illegal use of union funds, but found that Hunter withheld knowledge that his contract was not properly approved. The review also found that he used poor judgment in hiring — including the hiring of relatives — and spent improperly on travel and gifts.
Bremen beat Hannover
Striker Nils Petersen struck two late goals in a rousing finish to an otherwise scrappy match as Werder Bremen beat local rivals Hannover 96 2-0 on Friday to stop their recent rot in the Bundesliga. The game appeared set for a goalless draw when Werder defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ header was cleared off the line by Manuel Schmiedebach 10 minutes from time. The home team finally broke through when Eljero Elia worked an opening on the right and his low cross was turned in by Petersen at the near post with five minutes left. Petersen then provided the coup de grace with a fierce volley from just inside the area three minutes later, his ninth league goal of the season.