Sat, Oct 15, 2016 - Page 16 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Staff writer, with Agencies

ICE HOCKEY

Penguins begin defense

Pittsburgh began their defense of the Stanley Cup with a 3-2 victory over Washington on Thursday, with Phil Kessel beating Braden Holtby in the fourth round of a shootout for the winning tally. Kessel’s wrist shot over Holtby’s glove was initially ruled no goal, but was overturned on replay. Marc-Andre Fleury then saved Alex Ovechkin’s attempt from in close to help the Penguins improve to 5-0 against Washington in season openers. Patric Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin scored as the Penguins capped a celebratory night in which they lifted their latest Stanley Cup banner to the rafters. Andre Burakovsky scored twice for Washington. Holtby made 28 stops, but allowed three goals in the shootout.

RUGBY UNION

Fiji team to play in NRC

A Fiji team are to join Australia’s National Rugby Championship (NRC) next year, laying the platform for a potential future push for a Pacific island team in Super Rugby. Fiji provided one of the feel-good stories in Rio de Janeiro in August when their men’s side won the first rugby sevens Olympic title, securing the nation’s first-ever medal in the process. While being frontrunners in the abbreviated sevens format, Fiji have never progressed beyond the World Cup quarter-finals in the traditional 15-a-side game. Because of a lack of infrastructure and funding, talented rugby players have tended to go abroad to Europe, New Zealand or Australia to seek professional opportunities. The momentum of the exodus has recently been increasing. To help Fiji keep some homegrown talent at home, World Rugby is underwriting the participation of the Fiji Warriors in Australia’s NRC. “The Fiji brand of rugby is arguably the most exciting brand of rugby in the world and their inclusion in the NRC will enhance the competition both in terms of the quality of rugby and by adding a huge amount of support and interest from the Fijian communities both in Fiji and here in Australia,” Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver said at the official announcement yesterday.

CRICKET

Tahir, South Africa fined

Spinner Imran Tahir has been fined 30 percent of his match fee for his heated exchange with Australia batsman David Warner, while South Africa were penalized for maintaining a slow over-rate in Wednesday’s fifth ODI against Australia in Cape Town. Tahir showed a lack of respect toward the umpires when he ignored them during his verbal spat with Warner and the behavior was deemed “contrary to the spirit of the game,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) said. South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was docked 20 percent of his match fee and the rest of the team 10 percent for the slow over rate. Both Du Plessis and Tahir pleaded guilty and accepted the sanctions.

CRICKET

Pakistan take control

Pakistan moved into a commanding position against the West Indies in the day-night Test in Dubai last night. At press time, Pakistan had moved to 406-2 against the pink-ball attack in the United Arab Emirates, who dismissed Sami Aslam for 90 on Thursday and Asad Shafiq for 67 yesterday. Azhar Ali was on 207 not out, batting with Babar Azam on 25 not out.

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