Rhinos advance to semis
Leeds Rhinos on Friday secured their place in the Super League semi-finals after a comfortable 38-26 victory over Challenge Cup winners Hull FC. Rob Burrow, Brad Singleton, Liam Sutcliffe and Mitch Garbutt all got first-half tries for the hosts, with Hull FC managing tries in reply through Steve Michaels and Scott Taylor. Scores from Danny Washbrook and Josh Bowden brought Hull further back into the game, but Adam Cuthbertson and Matt Parcell went over for Leeds. Elsewhere, Wigan Warriors bounced back from their defeat in the Challenge Cup final, beating rivals St Helens with a four-try 26-16 win, with Oliver Gildart scoring a pair of tries for the visitors. Anthony Gelling and George Williams also went over for the Warriors. Three converted tries in the second half was enough to help Castlefield Tigers, already guaranteed the league leaders’ shield, to a 24-16 victory away at Huddersfield Giants. Jacob Miller and Tyler Randell both scored a pair of tries for Wakefield Trinity as they thrashed Salford Red Devils 43-18.
Gloucester edge Exeter
Jason Woodward’s last-gasp try for Gloucester on Friday condemned champions Exeter to a heartbreaking 28-21 defeat in their opening match of the Premiership season. Exeter — for whom Sam Simmonds had scored a brace of tries in the first-half canceled out by Jeremy Thrush’s double, also in the first period — had fought back to level the pulsating encounter at 21-21 only for their defense to wilt in the final seconds. The night’s other match between two sides likely to be involved in a relegation battle saw Newcastle Falcons thrash Worcester Warriors 35-8 to earn themselves a bonus point. It was not a good evening for Worcester’s British and Irish Lions star Ben Te’o, who came into the starting lineup at short notice and then lasted less than a half-hour before going off injured.
Ulster demolish Cheetahs
Ulster on Friday overwhelmed the Cheetahs 42-19 to give the first South Africa side to appear in the Pro14 competition an idea of the standard they will have to reach to be competitive. In all, Ulster crossed six times. Ironically, and something that will bring little pleasure to the Cheetahs or fellow South African side Southern Kings, who were yesterday to play at Welsh outfit Scarlets, Ulster’s two outstanding performers were both South Africans — back row forwards Marcell Coetzee and Jean Deysel. The hosts took their foot off the pedal after establishing a commanding lead, and once both Coetzee and impressive flyhalf Christian Lealiifano were taken off 11 minutes into the second half, the tempo dropped away and they strolled to victory.
UEFA launches PSG probe
UEFA on Friday opened a “formal investigation” into Paris Saint-Germain after the French club broke the world transfer record to sign Neymar. European soccer’s governing body said it would look at whether PSG had violated its Financial Fair Play rules. “The investigation will focus on the compliance of the club with the break-even requirement, particularly in light of its recent transfer activity,” UEFA said in a statement. PSG signed Brazilian striker Neymar for a world-record 222 million euros (US$263.3 million) on Aug. 3 and completed a loan move for Kylian Mbappe on Thursday in a deal that includes an option to buy the French teenager for 180 million euros.
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7