Du Toit gets ’Bok callup
Uncapped Sharks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit has been added to the South Africa squad to face Australia and New Zealand in their final two Rugby Championship Tests. Du Toit, who can also play as a flank, was drafted into the squad by coach Heyneke Meyer along with Stormers center Juan de Jongh. Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez also returns from club duty in Japan in a move that was always planned. The 21-year-old Du Toit was part of the Springbok squad in June, but had to withdraw because of a sternum injury. He has completed his rehabilitation and featured in the last two domestic Currie Cup matches for the Sharks. South Africa face Australia in Cape Town on Saturday, before welcoming New Zealand to Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Oct. 5.
Toulon go top in France
Toulon went to the French Top 14 summit on Saturday after an 18-12 win over Bayonne, which saw All Blacks lock Ali Williams mark his debut with a yellow card for stamping. Toulon lead Montpellier by one point, while Toulouse continued their winning home form with a welcome bonus-point 26-9 victory over defending champions Castres. It was Toulouse’s fourth victory this season at home, along with three away losses, and took the 19-time former champions onto 21 points, alongside Montpellier. Racing Metro are fourth, a point behind Montpellier and Toulouse, thanks to a 26-19 home win over Bordeaux-Begles. In Friday’s game, scrumhalf Jonathan Pelissie scored 31 points as Montpellier routed Clermont 43-3 in a bonus-point victory.
Sampdoria salvage draw
Sampdoria twice came from behind in the dying moments to rescue a 2-2 draw at Cagliari, while Chievo Verona recovered from an early setback to win their first Serie A game of the season 2-1 at home to Udinese on Saturday. Livorno missed the chance to catch the league leaders after a battling goalless draw at Genoa left the promoted side sixth, level on seven points with Juventus, Fiorentina and Inter, who are all to play today when pacesetters Napoli visit AC Milan. Fabio Liverani’s Genoa moved up a place to 13th with four points after a scrappy affair with few chances. The last-gasp draw earned by Delio Rossi’s Sampdoria thanks to Lorenzo De Silvestri’s added-time strike left them fourth from bottom on two points, while Cagliari stayed ninth with five. Chievo leapt out of the bottom three up to 13th place after their win, which put them level with Udinese on four points.
Marseille trail Monaco
Marseille’s disappointing week ended in a 0-0 draw at Bastia on Saturday, leaving them two points behind leaders Monaco, who were to travel to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) yesterday. Meanwhile, Rennes continued their fine form, with just one defeat from six matches, as Foued Kadir’s double inspired them to a 2-0 home win over Fabrizio Ravanelli’s winless Ajaccio and moved the Brittany side level with Marseille and PSG on 11 points. Second-placed Saint-Etienne’s 2-1 home defeat against Toulouse on Friday kept them on 12 points, while Marseille stay in fourth, behind PSG on goal difference. Bastia retain their place on eight points, five behind Claudio Ranieri’s Cote d’Azur outfit. Elsewhere, Montpellier threw away a 2-0 advantage as they were held to a 2-2 draw at French Cup finalists Evian that leaves both clubs camped in the lower half. Reims battled to a 1-1 draw against Guingamp and Lille took advantage of a Nolan Roux brace to see off Sochaux 2-0 away.
Cavendish wins stage
Mark Cavendish beat Italy’s Elia Viviani to win the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain on Saturday. The British national champion just did enough to hold off the fast-finishing Viviani in Guildford, south of London, in a 155km stage that started on Saturday at Epsom racecourse. Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, last year’s Olympic and Tour de France champion, finished in the pack to retain his overall lead heading into yesterday’s final stage in London. Wiggins is 26 seconds ahead of Swiss rider Martin Elmiger, with Britain’s Simon Yates third, 66 seconds back, following his victory on Dartmoor on Friday.
Fraser leads Italian Open
Marcus Fraser of Australia held a one-stroke lead over local favorite Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium and Joakim Lagergren of Sweden after the third round of the Italian Open on Saturday. The 95th-ranked Fraser posted a 4-under 68 to reach 11-under with a bogey-free round that included a chip-in for birdie on the sixth. Molinari, who became a member of the Golf Club Torino club when he was just eight years old, is aiming to win his national tournament for the second time, having won in Milan in 2006. Fraser said that it “will be difficult with Francesco just one shot behind and with the crowd willing him over the line, but I just have to play my game and try and spoil the party I suppose.”
Sayers to drop lawsuit
A lawyer for pro football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers said on Saturday he would drop a federal lawsuit filed on the former player’s behalf that accuses the National Football League of failing to warn him about and protect him against head injuries. Attorney John Winters said he would voluntarily withdraw the lawsuit, filed on Friday in US District Court in Chicago, after hearing from the Sayers’ family that the Chicago Bears great no longer wanted to pursue the matter. The lawsuit came three weeks after the league agreed to pay US$765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of former players, many suffering from dementia and health problems, who accused the league of hiding the dangers of brain injuries. Winters said Sayers, 70, contacted him earlier in the week, wanting to know about the concussion lawsuit. The lawsuit also accused helmet maker Riddell of failing to warn him of the risks of concussions, and not disclosing that the helmets would not prevent concussions.
Sharks rout Cheetahs 50-26
The Sharks scored seven tries to demolish the Cheetahs 50-26 in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday and reach the top of the South African Currie Cup table. A bonus-point victory brought the Durban side level with title-holders Western Province on 24 points and they have a superior points difference. The Lions rose one place to third by outscoring the Bulls five tries to four en route to a 35-26 Highveld derby triumph in Johannesburg. The Johannesburg outfit have 20 points, the Cheetahs 16, the Bulls 11 and Griquas 10 with three league rounds left, and the top four finishers qualify for the semi-finals. The Sharks were ahead within three minutes at Kings Park, led 26-16 by halftime, and scored the bonus-point fourth try five minutes into the second half. They welcomed back discarded Springboks Rugby Championship squad flanker Marcell Coetzee and he was voted man of the match. Young fly-half Fred Zeilinga was another candidate for the award, contributing 15 points with the boot and playing a pivotal role in the first three tries.