Leinster win fourth title
Leinster shrugged off the injury absence of star center Brian O’Driscoll to beat Stade Francais 34-13 on Friday to clinch the European Challenge Cup. It was the Irish side’s fourth continental title to add to their 2009, 2011 and last year’s European Cup triumphs. For Stade, it was another story of final heartbreak, having lost the 2011 Challenge Cup title match as well as suffering the agony of European Cup final losses in 2001 and 2005. Leinster, who scored four tries, also became just the fourth team to complete the European Cup-Challenge Cup double. British Lion Jonny Sexton shone brightly, being named man of the match for his perfect kicking and game control in a final where the French enjoyed the lions’ share of possession.
Clarett tests sevens skills
Former collegiate gridiron star Maurice Clarett, who went to prison on robbery and weapons charges, is testing his skills at rugby sevens with an eye toward the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The Columbus Dispatch newspaper reported on Friday that the former Ohio State star running back, who never made it in the National Football League, will play in the eight-team Ohio Rugby Sevens Invitational on Saturday at Mechanicsburg. Clarett is to play for the Columbus affiliate of Tiger Rugby, the development program to select US players for the 2016 Olympics. As an American football star, Clarett ran for 1,237 yards and scored 18 touchdowns in powering the Buckeyes to the 2002 US national college title. He was a 2005 NFL Draft pick by Denver, but did not make the squad.
Warner’s tweets probed
Cricket Australia is to investigate an extraordinary Twitter outburst by opening batsman David Warner that attacked two senior Australian cricket journalists. The 26-year-old Warner criticized News Limited journalists Robert Craddock and Malcolm Conn in an expletive-filled tirade, which has created headlines. A series of fiery rants were yesterday morning posted on Warner’s Twitter account in response to Craddock’s article on the perils of the rich and corrupt Indian Premier League. Warner is currently competing in the IPL as vice-captain of the Delhi Daredevils. His Twitter account has almost 190,000 followers. Among the tweets, which started at approximately 4am Indian time, Warner called Craddock a “prick,” and said they “talk shit” and branded Conn an “old fart” in an unprecedented attack. To Craddock, one tweet said: “Shock me @crashcraddock1 talking shit about ipl jealous prick. Get a real job. All you do is bag people. #getalife.” “Cricket Australia is attempting to contact Warner and will continue to investigate the matter,” Cricket Australia said in a statement yesterday. It was unclear whether Warner’s Twitter account had been hacked.
Ranadive group buys Kings
A group led by software magnate Vivek Ranadive of India has purchased the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Sacramento Kings and will keep the team in the California capital, according to several media reports. The Maloof family had made a deal to sell the club to a group that would have moved it to Seattle, but league owners voted 22-8 to reject that deal on Wednesday, setting the stage for the sale to Ranadive’s group for a record sum. Ranadive becomes the first NBA owner of Indian heritage at a time when the league has made moves to try and grow interest in basketball among the 1.2 billion people of cricket-loving India.
Pig head sparks probe
Stoke City have launched an internal investigation following reports that a pig’s head was found in the locker of one of the team’s players. The Premier League club says it “takes seriously reports of an incident” at its Clayton Wood training ground and “those responsible for any unacceptable behavior will be dealt with in accordance with the club’s disciplinary procedures.” Stoke midfielder Brek Shea posted a picture of him holding a pig’s head, which was severed down the middle, by the ears in the changing room. Shea tweeted “locker room banter gone wild!!!” The British media are reporting that the pig’s head was found in the locker of striker Kenwyne Jones. Another Stoke striker, Michael Owen, was the subject of a prank last week when he tweeted a picture of his car covered in eggs and flour.
Remy could play final game
Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy could play in his side’s final game of the season at Liverpool today, despite being investigated over rape allegations, the London club said on Friday. Remy was released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of rape along with three other men over an offense that is alleged to have taken place in London on May 6. The 26-year-old France international denies the claim. QPR manager Harry Redknapp would not discuss the matter during his pre-game press conference on Friday, but a club spokesman said that Remy was in contention to play at Anfield. “With regard to Loic Remy, the club can confirm he’s training today and will be available for selection against Liverpool, but the manager can’t take any questions on him,” the spokesman said. Remy joined QPR from Marseille in January for a club-record fee of ￡8 million (US$12.2 million), but despite scoring six goals since his arrival at Loftus Road, he could not prevent the team’s relegation from the Premier League.
UEFA reduces Malaga ban
European soccer’s governing body has revoked the second year of the ban it had imposed on Malaga for not meeting its financial fair-play regulations. While the club remains barred from European competition next season for failing to pay player wages and taxes on time, the second year of the ban had been lifted, Malaga said on Friday.
Purdy fails to make weight
England’s Lee Purdy failed to make weight for yesterday’s planned welterweight world title fight against champion Devon Alexander, squandering his chance for the crown. Purdy tipped the scales on Friday at 147.8 pounds (67kg), just over the 147-pound limit, while US southpaw Alexander weighed in at 146.7 pounds. As a result, Purdy cannot win the International Boxing Federation title even if he defeats Alexander, 24-1 with 13 knockouts, at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Purdy, 20-3 with one draw and 13 knockouts, has won five fights in a row. It was to have been Alexander’s first defense of the crown he took from US compatriot Randall Bailey in October last year. He has won three decisions since suffering his only loss, to Tim Bradley in January of 2011. Alexander’s fight has been cursed with bad luck from the start. He was to have fought England’s unbeaten Kell Brook, 29-0 with 19 knockouts, but a foot injury last month forced Brook to withdraw from the fight, which was earlier delayed by a Brook ankle injury in December last year and a February biceps injury to Alexander.