Sharpe to help Wallabies
Australia’s most-capped forward Nathan Sharpe is to lend his weight to the Wallabies coaching setup for the British and Irish Lions’ tour next month and July. Second-rower Sharpe never played against the Lions for his country, but he has signed on to help the forwards, a statement said yesterday ahead of the unveiling of the tourists’ squad later in the day. “I’m looking forward to doing all I can to help get the team ready for what is coming,” Sharpe said. “It’s a once every 12 years opportunity, isn’t it? The fact that you can play for 11 seasons at Test level, as I did, and not get to play against them shows both how rare the opportunity is, but also how much of a privilege it will be for the guys that get to represent the Wallabies in this series.” Head coach Robbie Deans said the decision to have Sharpe assist forwards coach Andrew Blades was straightforward. “It’s appropriate,” Deans said. Sharpe captained the Wallabies 10 times and won in 70 of his 116 Test appearances.
Kings’ move bid denied
An NBA relocation committee has unanimously recommended that the league’s board of governors deny the Sacramento Kings’ bid to relocate to Seattle, the NBA announced on Monday. The board, comprised of NBA club owners or their designated representatives, is to meet in the week of May 13 to decide the issue, the NBA said in a statement. The decision is a smack in the face to the Kings’ owners, the Maloof family, who had agreed to sell their 65 percent share of the team to hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer for US$357 million. However, it bolsters the hopes of eight investors led by Vivek Ranadive, a 55-year-old software company chairman from India and part-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, who hope to keep the Kings in California’s capital. NBA commissioner David Stern said he considered the Ranadive plan a binding offer and said the bids are “in the same ballpark with respect to the net result to the selling family.” Stern has also said that the timeline to build a new home arena for the club in either city would be a crucial issue in deciding the team’s fate.
Avalanche to get first pick
The Colorado Avalanche, who finished with the second-worst record in the National Hockey League (NHL) this season, will pick first in next month’s NHL draft after winning the top spot in a lottery on Monday night. The Avalanche had the second-best chance of claiming the top pick at 18.8 percent, but came through to the disappointment of Florida, which had the best chance at the top pick, one-in-four odds, but must settle for the second selection. Tampa Bay will pick third, followed by Nashville, Carolina, Calgary, Edmonton, Buffalo, New Jersey, Dallas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Winnipeg and Columbus. The remaining selection order will be determined by the results of the NHL playoffs that began yesterday. The NHL draft is to be staged on June 30 in Newark, New Jersey.
Dodig upsets Davydenko
Ivan Dodig of Croatia upset two-time champion Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the BMW Open on Monday. Dmitry Tursunov of Russia defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 6-3, 6-4 at the clay-court event. Daniel Brands beat Tobias Kamke 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in an all-German match, while Marinko Matosevic of Australia beat German wild-card Kevin Krawietz 6-2, 6-4.