Sat, Jan 23, 2016 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

SOCCER

Garcia to start from bench

Former Liverpool player Luis Garcia is likely to start from the bench when he makes his A-League debut today for the Central Coast Mariners against the Western Sydney Wanderers. The 37-year-old Garcia, who played his previous competitive match almost a year ago, looked fresh and fit when he trained with the Mariners for the first time yesterday in heavy rain. The former Spain international said he was nervous before training with his new teammates for the first time. Soaked after the 90-minute session, he joked: “They told me it was nice weather here.” Mariners coach Tony Walmsley said he would likely hand Francesco Stella an A-League debut in the No. 10 jersey and Garcia would come off the bench as his workload was carefully managed.

CYCLING

Gerrans wins stage

Australian Simon Gerrans won a feisty sprint finish to claim yesterday’s 138km fourth stage of the Tour Down Under, setting himself up for his fourth overall victory in the event. Gerrans, who also won Thursday’s third stage in a sprint, had the advantage going into the fifth stage today, a 151.5km stretch from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill in South Australia State. “I’m absolutely thrilled with that,” the 35-year-old said, while thanking his team for making his run “as easy as possible.” Gerrans, the overall winner of the Tour Down Under in 2006, 2012 and 2014, will be hoping experience pays off when it comes to Willunga Hill. However, the Orica GreenEdge leader is taking nothing for granted, having been caught in a mass pile-up inside the final kilometer of Wednesday’s stage just after putting himself in a perfect position to take the stage win. “I still have to be very, very attentive going into Willunga tomorrow [today]. We have a nice little buffer there, but there’s still a heck of a lot of work to be done,” he said. In the general classifications, Gerrans (13 hours, 41 minutes, 58 seconds) leads fellow Australians Jay McCarthy (14 seconds back) and Rohan Dennis (26 seconds back).

RUGBY SEVENS

Quade Cooper joins squad

Quade Cooper has joined Australia’s rugby sevens program and is available for selection for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where the condensed version of the sport is to make its debut. The Australian Rugby Union yesterday announced that Cooper would be released by his French club, Toulon, for the Sydney, Paris and London stages of the Sevens World Series. An attacking flyhalf, Cooper has 58 Test caps for the Wallabies and has played at two World Cups. Australia finished third in 2011 and were runners-up to the All Blacks last year. “As a rugby player growing up, you never think you’ll have the chance to play at an Olympics, so I’ll be doing everything I can to make the squad,” Cooper said.

BASKETBALL

Knicks top ‘Forbes’ ranking

The New York Knicks are the most valuable team in the NBA at US$3 billion, one of 13 NBA clubs valued at more than US$1 billion this week by Forbes magazine. The Knicks returned to the top spot on Forbes’ list after a one-year absence when the Los Angeles Lakers claimed it last year. Forbes said the 20 percent rise in its valuation of the Knicks was fueled by the club’s new cable television deal and the fact that the Knicks have the highest premium-seating revenue in the league. The Lakers were second on the list at US$2.7 billion.

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