FRISCO, Texas – Two Southland Conference softball student-athletes have been named to the 2019 Google Cloud Academic All-America® Teams, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Thursday.Sam Houston State’s Lindsey Mcleod is a first-team selection, while Houston Baptist’s Demi Janak nabbed a spot on the third team roster. The two Southland Conference representatives are each making repeat appearances to the Academic All-America teams after being named third-team selections in 2018.McLeod added to her postseason honors with the first team Academic All-America distinction after claiming the 2019 Southland Conference Pitcher and Player of the Year awards. She was a first team all-conference nod, a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Third Team All-Region selection as well as a 2019 Google Cloud Academic All-District® First Team honoree.Prior to her graduation in May, McLeod broke the Sam Houston State career strikeouts record (721). She paved the way for the Bearkats’ 2019 postseason run, leading SHSU to a Southland Tournament championship before leading her squad to a 1-0 upset over No. 9 Texas in the opening round of the NCAA Softball Tournament. The Austin, Texas, native concluded her career at Sam Houston State with a 4.0 grade-point average (GPA), obtaining her degree in public health.Janak was named a Third Team Academic All-American for the second consecutive season. The Spring, Texas, product concluded her senior campaign leading the Huskies with 40 hits in total, 20 of which went for extra bases. In addition to a team-best .301 batting average, Janak accounted for 23 runs and six homers throughout her senior season. She also completed the year with a flawless 4.0 GPA as an accounting major.For a complete list of the 2019 Google Cloud Academic All-America® selections, visit here.
10 Mark Glatt78 HALL OF FAMER McANALLY ADDS TO SANTA ANITA WINS 2 8 15% 47% 14 14% 11 16% 42% 41% 17 11% JockeyMts $2,881,669 Drayden Van Dyke152 9 34 12 53% $1,486,014 2nd 27% 37 21% 28 18% 3rd 14 13 21% 14 9 14% 11 $675,351 12 22 ITM% 53% 18% OUTSIDE POST SHOULDN’T HAMPER SHOW IT N MOE ITGood news and bad news for Gary Sherlock in Sunday’s Grade III Los Flores Stakes: the consistent filly he trains, Show It N Moe It, goes from the inside to the outside in the six furlong test for older fillies and mares.The bad news, she’s moving from a victory against California-breds in the Feb. 24 Spring Fever Stakes to a graded stakes in open company. She has never won a graded race.Show It N Moe It, who will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano for the ninth consecutive time, broke from the rail winning the Spring Fever and drew eight of nine for the Los Flores.“The outside is better, but I’m going from a Cal-bred to a Grade III, and she’s never won a graded race, but she was third in one (Grade III LA Woman, 6 ½ furlongs here on Oct. 7, 2018),” Sherlock said of the four-year-old daughter of Grace Upon Grace, who has a 6-4-4 record from 19 starts and earnings of $435,604.“She’s doing really well,” Sherlock added, “plus I’ve got no other place to run her.”The $100,000 Los Flores, race eight of nine with a 1 p.m. first post time: Amuse, Drayden Van Dyke, 5-1; Spectator, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Lady Suebee, Joel Rosario, 6-1; True Royalty, Aaron Gryder, 20-1; Phantom Proton, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; Danuska’s My Girl, Geovanni Franco, 6-1; Dream Tree, Mike Smith, 3-1; Emboldened, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Show It N Moe It, Rafael; Bejarano, 5-1; and Moon Kitty, Evin Roman, 20-1.POTENTIAL $3 MILLION PAYOUT FOR SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOTWith a CHRB-approved mandatory payout on the table and the likelihood of a $3 million pool looming, there is a 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot into Saturday at Santa Anita of $815,939.The popular wager, which allows players to cover 10 times as many horses per race than the original two dollar minimum Pick Six, generated $158,614 in “new” money wagered Friday, helping to create a total Rainbow Six pool of $938,243. The huge pool helped provide a hefty payoff of $9,413.60 on nine consolation tickets with six winners each.With an 11-race card on tap, today’s Rainbow Six will be comprised of races six through 11, a sequence that will include the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby (race eight) and the Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap (race 10).Approximate post time for race six is 2:40 p.m. PT.LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:Omaha Beach (Black Cap) and Ky. Colonel (White Cap) work 5 furlongs (Mandella)John Sadler talks about Nolo Contesto in the Santa Anita Derby today.Bob Baffert discusses his planned tactics with Roadster and Game Winner in the Santa Anita DerbyJerry Hollendorfer discusses Vasilika in the Royal Heroine and Instagrand in the Santa Anita Derby today.Phil D’Amato talks about Foster Boi in the Echo Eddie Stakes at Santa Anita Park.Bob Baffert Talks Roadster Ahead of His Next Start in the Santa Anita Derby.Santa Anita Derby Memories: Laffit Pincay Jr. talks about the 1973 Santa Anita DerbyImprobable works 6 furlongs (Baffert) 4-5-19Ameerah B (Outside) and Koritsi work 5 furlongs (Sadler) 4-5-19Rickey B (Outside) and Stone Hands work 5 furlongs (Sadler) 4-5-19Mantaray Island (Outside) and Don’t Sell works 5 furlongs (O’Neill) 4-5-19FINISH LINES: Congratulations to Ron McAnally on adding to his career total of Santa Anita victories Friday when Roses and Candy rolled to a front-running 2 ¾-length score in the first race under Diego Sanchez. The 86-year-old Hall of Fame trainer ranks fourth all-time with 704, behind Bobby Frankel (917), Charlie Whittingham (869) and Bob Baffert (815). A four-year-old Candy Ride filly, Roses and Candy is owned by Ron’s wife, Deborah . . . With two wins yesterday, Flavien Prat moved within two of Joel Rosario, who returns to ride at Santa Anita this weekend after fulfilling commitments on the East Coast. Rosario has a 52-50 lead. In the trainers’ race, Doug O’Neill holds a comfortable 29-23 bulge over surging John Sadler, with Richard Baltas (22) and Peter Miller (21) within hailing distance . . . Favorites this meet are winning at a 36.41 rate, 150 of 412. The figure is lower on dirt, 35.29 percent (96 of 272) but higher on turf, 38.57 (54 of 140). (Current Through Friday, April 5) 6 ITM% 17% 59% 24 $246,680 8 $1,486,515 Flavien Prat185 40% 9% $982,035 50 Rafael Bejarano159 25% 9 Joel Rosario210 $328,459 $493,848 15% 34% 13 $1,531,897 Jeff Mullins50 19% 22 18% 25 3rd 9% 39% Joseph Talamo132 $1,423,393 24 7 11% Mario Gutierrez109 $1,425,389 Agapito Delgadillo63 Philip D’Amato108 $223,827 20 $291,897 $1,149,341 $921,734 6 47% 7 20 21 15 7 13 21 27 Edwin Maldonado76 Doug O’Neill177 33 $359,458 Geovanni Franco205 Kent Desormeaux109 Steve Knapp55 61% 12 39% $356,135 14% 11 $249,161 43% Tiago Pereira171 23 Jerry Hollendorfer99 55% William Spawr26 25 Win% 18% $1,060,146 $763,279 9 10 59% 22 25 33% $300,723 $1,394,838 7 26% 42% 29 William E. Morey56 Simon Callaghan31 Martin Pedroza76 $632,775 12% 23 9% 42% 6 Evin Roman92 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Vladimir Cerin57 10 7% Assael Espinoza131 3 J.C. Diaz, Jr.42 9 4 6 4 23 17 TrainerMts SHOW IT N MOE IT SEEKS FIRST GRADED STAKES VICTORY 29% 5 9 14 41% 38% 27% 12 16% 14 $1,005,192 J. Keith Desormeaux60 12 29 4 1st 12 Tyler Baze195 $291,450 50% Mike Puype44 22 $612,078 29% 13% 4 Peter Miller111 31 3 7 19% $2,612,707 33% 33% 14 65% 12 15% 42% $537,100 $320,053 7 15 $514,051 $1,519,558 17 Money Won 49% 42% Aaron Gryder70 Money Won 34 55% 62% 22 19 16% 1st 12% 9 8 26 10 29 10 $276,522 7 20% 5 17% 8 9 37 45% 20 14% Richard Mandella42 9 8 10 52% MANDATORY $3 MILLION JACKPOT AT END OF RAINBOW? Peter Eurton48 38% 9 6 11% 36% $419,429 6 Ruben Fuentes99 19 Mike Smith72 John Sadler87 17 39% 11 7 26 7 $216,797 50% 52 17 47% 3 $1,538,303 2nd $1,291,730 Win% 12 9 16% 11 38% 46% $140,598 Hector O. Palma51 $889,139 8 15 Bob Baffert70 2 16% 10% Eswan Flores82 16 14 10 41% $482,030 Richard Baltas122 $1,198,544 Heriberto Figueroa180 9 16% 29 18
OMAHA BEACH TO GO IN BREEDERS’ CUP DIRT MILE 5 $253,983 PUERTO RICAN CONNECTION CONTINUES TO THRIVE 26% 3 3 41% Tiago Pereira32 1st 2nd 21% 39% 4 9 Bob Baffert24 2 28% 20% 4 2 J.C. Diaz, Jr.35 33% 6 Aaron Gryder17 5 Craig Anthony Lewis11 14% 3 $162,157 3 42% Evin Roman30 Money Won 1 $564,116 $235,272 7 59% 4 16% Money Won 54% 11% 7 30% 6 41% $643,993 3 31% 15 20% 1 $273,547 $240,633 5 1 $121,655 OMAHA BEACH TO ENTER BREEDERS’ CUP DIRT MILEThe envelope, please . . .(Dramatic pause for suspense . . .)“And the winner is, the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile!”So said Richard Mandella at 10 a.m. Thursday regarding the $1 million Breeders’ Cuprace in which Omaha Beach will run at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, after days of contemplation, speculation and deliberation by those with more than a passing interest in the three-year-old colt, primary among them Mandella, owner Rick Porter and regular rider Mike Smith.“We put our heads together and that’s the decision,” said Mandella, whose Breeders’ Cup options for the son of War Front also were the $2 million Sprint at six furlongs and the $6 million Classic at a mile and a quarter, both also on Nov. 2.With the likes of Catalina Cruiser, Mitole, Coal Front, Mr. Money and Improbable set for the Dirt Mile, anticipation is bound to increase in large measure for what now looms a major headliner on the championship program, which Santa Anita hosts for a record 10th time.Omaha Beach made a dramatic and successful return to the races on Oct. 5 after an absence of six months, winning the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six furlongs over odds-on favorite Shancelot, powering through on the rail to win by a head.The pre-race choice for the Kentucky Derby on May 4 won the SA Sprint Championship after a myriad of aborted return attempts that kept him absent from the races since April 13, when he won the Grade I Arkansas Derby on a sloppy track.LITTLE HOME FIELD EDGE IN BREEDERS’ CUP, BAFFERT SAYSBob Baffert has four for the money come Breeders’ Cup weekend, Nov. 1 and 2: McKinzie for the Classic, Improbable for the Dirt Mile, Eight Rings for the Juvenile and Bast for the Juvenile Fillies.“I was really happy with McKinzie’s work (six furlongs in 1:12.80 Wednesday),”Baffert said on Thursday morning at Santa Anita. “I got a nice, strong work into him.“Eight Rings worked really well the day before (five furlongs in 1:01 for the Nov. 1 Juvenile) and Bast worked well yesterday (five furlongs in 1:01.20 for the Juvenile Fillies the same day). Improbable (Dirt Mile Nov. 2) is doing really well. I really like the way he’s going.“Looking at all the dirt races, they’re very competitive,” Baffert allowed. “This is going to be one of the best and toughest Breeders’ Cups. There are a lot of nice horses. Usually among the two-year-olds there are one or two standouts; this year, I think the two-year-old colts look really good and the fillies look tough, too.“People are saying the Classic is weak, but there’s no such thing as a weak Classic . . . Give me a break. Come out here and watch them work.”Asked if there is such a thing as a “home field advantage,” Baffert was quick to dismiss any such theories. “Good horses overcome anything,” he said. “The only advantage we have is not having to deal with any (inclement) weather. That’s important.“Back east during the rainy season you have to be careful and train around it.”D’AMATO DUO NOT SHORT ON CLASS IN CALIFORNIA FLAGEven though King Abner and What a View are shortening up considerably for Saturday’s $100,000 California Flag Handicap for three-year-olds and up at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, Phil D’Amato concedes the two battle-tested geldings rate an edge in class over their six rivals.“I would say so,” the meet’s second-leading trainer with eight wins through 11 racing days admitted. “My two, along with Tribalist, are veterans, and both my horses are doing really well. They’re coming into the race fresh.“Abner’s coming off a nice rest (since June 29) and he’s rarin’ to go. What a View is doing the same.” The California Flag, one in the Golden State Series for California-bred or sired horses, goes as race six on an eight-race program with a 12:30 p.m. first post time.The field: What a View, Tyler Baze, 3-1; Tribalist, Flavien Prat, 9-5; King Abner, Martin Garcia, 7-2; Castle, Abel Cedillo, 6-1; My Friend Emma, Silvio Amado, 8-1; Portrando, Ruben Fuentes, 10-1; and Grinning Tiger, Heriberto Figueroa, 8-1.General Interest was scratched.VELEZ AMONG NEWEST PUERTO RICAN SENSATIONSThe Puerto Rican Connection is making its presence felt at Santa Anita.Jorge Velez, 21-year-old apprentice rider, and his agent, Nelson Arroyo, both hail from the Island Nation, as does the other rider Arroyo represents, Heriberto Figueroa.Through 12 days of Santa Anita’s 23-day Autumn Meet, Velez was second behind Abel Cedillo in the race for the riding title with 11 victories from 56 mounts, a lofty 20 percent. Velez has made significant progress since arriving in California, even surprising his agent.“We’re very happy with where we are,” Arroyo said. “I wasn’t expecting Jorge to be this good until next year. It takes a while to be able to reach this point, but he’s making journeyman moves as an apprentice, and he’s not even halfway through his ‘bug’ (five-pound weight allowance), which he loses on April 1 of next year.”Velez graduated from Escuela Vocacional Hipica in Puerto Rico, the same school that produced the Ortiz brothers, Irad and Jose Jr., who have come to dominate racing in the United States, and currently rank one-two nationally in purse earnings with some $23 million each.Puerto Rico has long been a successful breeding ground for jockeys coming to the mainland and reaching racing’s apex.In addition to Velez and the Ortiz brothers, Norberto Arroyo Jr. (Nelson’s brother), Angel Cordero Jr., Angel Cruz, J.C. Diaz Jr., the aforementioned Figueroa, Manny Franco, Evin Roman, Emanuel Jose Sanchez and John Velazquez come to mind.Their rise to prominence wasn’t happenstance.“Jorge surprised me by studying races from the old days, watching riders like Laffit Pincay (Jr.),” Arroyo said. “He mimics those moves to improve his riding. I haven’t seen that from a young rider in a long, long time.”The jockey and his agent are bent on improving their status quo. Jorge’s wife and three-year-old daughter are in Puerto Rico now, but Velez hopes they join him in a few months.FINISH LINES: After a successful run at the Fair Grounds and Arlington Park, jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. is back home in California where he will resume riding at Santa Anita under the direction of agent Mike Ciani. 8 2 3 $227,262 2 TrainerSts 53% 4 Tyler Baze18 $336,880 4 Geovanni Franco36 24% 4 7 17% Drayden Van Dyke41 ITM% $808,390 3 57% 8 $340,499 Win% 7 3 $385,730 Richard Baltas34 3 13% $584,738 $304,290 1st Martin Garcia31 4 4 Philip D’Amato32 5 (Current Through Monday, Oct. 14) $613,135 0 LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:FEATURES:Breeders’ Cup Memories: Skywalker and Laffit Pincay Jr. Upset the 1986 ClassicBreeders’ Cup Memories: Goldencents Sizzles His Way to His First of Two Dirt Mile WinsBreeders’ Cup Memories: Arcangues Causes the Biggest Upset in Breeders’ Cup History With His Win in the 1993 ClassicBreeders’ Cup Memories: Lady’s Secret Wins the 1986 Breeders’ Cup DistaffWORK OUTS:Omaha Beach (Mandella) 10-16-19War of Will (Outside) (Breeders’ Cup Classic) (Casse) 10-16-19Roadster (Inside) and Leading Score (Baffert) 10-16-19Midnight Bisou (Outside) and Comedian (Breeders’ Cup Classic) 10-14-19Mirth (Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf) (D’Amato) 10-14-19 3 14% $138,136 5 8 John Sadler32 4 3rd 13% 3 $123,341 4 13% 0 4 6 ITM% $101,323 $622,389 18% Win% Simon Callaghan14 39% Edwin Maldonado23 Rafael Bejarano41 47% Flavien Prat43 John A. Shirreffs10 3rd 31% $360,073 0 BAFFERT: NO SUCH THING AS A ‘WEAK’ BC CLASSIC 5 2 8 Mario Gutierrez22 14 17% 33% 8 2 $107,204 25% 11% $701,502 45% 13% 3 53% 6 9 3 Peter Miller25 0 2nd Richard Mandella21 CLASSY D’AMATO DUO FRESH FOR CALIFORNIA FLAG 52% 23% 11 $181,666 4 4 6 10% Doug O’Neill53 Jorge Velez56 14% 5 Jeff Mullins23 $212,013 Abel Cedillo73 57% 9 3 $175,332 Mike Smith24 9% 44% SANTA ANITA STATISTICS 67% 4 48% Ruben Fuentes42 21% 3 4 29% 27% 7 3 JockeyMts 9 3 53% 3 $199,749 12 43% 60% 9 44% 5 6 4 2 45% 17%
#11 BEEN STUDYING HER (Mike Smith) $200,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies Owner: KMN Racing LLC Trainer: Dan Ward Friday, November 1, 2019 Santa Anita Park Arcadia CA © BENOIT PHOTO JOCKEY QUOTESMIKE SMITH, BEEN STUDYING HER, WINNER: “She absolutely cruised. I don’t think she took a breath. We left the gate well and relaxed and got into her rhythm. I stayed out of her way. I tickled her on the turn and she took off. It got me to thinking maybe we should have run her later in the day.”JOEL ROSARIO, SMILING SHIRLEE, SECOND: “Yeah she did (run well). We couldn’t catch the winner, the winner was too fast in the front, but she put in a nice run in the end.“It was a good trip. She showed a little bit of speed but not too much. It looked like there was a lot of speed in the race but she was happy where she was, and then she came running in the end.”TRAINER QUOTESDAN WARD, BEEN STUDYING HER, WINNER: “She’s out of a great mare (Maddie’s Odyssey by Kitten’s Joy) that’s produced Grecian Fire and Sneaking Out. She got a perfect ride, a Hall of Fame ride. Mike kept her in the clear and she ran great. She’d trained great and she ran great.”KEVIN NISH, BEEN STUDYING HER, WINNER: “I feel very happy, and very gratified. Nope (on if he expected a win), this little one here didn’t look like a whole bunch of a race horse when she was first born. Now we’ve got a multiple stakes winner.” NOTES: The winning owner is KMN Racing, LLC.
STATEMENT FROM THE STRONACH GROUPGovernor Newsom’s office is correct in acknowledging that we have made progress in reducing equine fatalities and we too recognize that there is still more work to be done. At Santa Anita, we continue to search for additional ways to improve safety and transparency and are fully committed to achieving the highest standards of care in Thoroughbred racing. Since March 2019, we have advocated for and implemented safety reforms unseen in our sport for generations. We are one of the country’s largest racetracks and training centers with 3000 dedicated horse people who work diligently to ensure that the 420,000 racing and training sessions that occur every year are conducted under the safest possible conditions.Each and every day, our priority is returning the horses who race and train at our facility to the safety of their barn. We will continue to build on the reforms in place while doing everything within our power to push for further meaningful reforms that put horse and rider safety at the forefront.
TOTTENHAM have joined Manchester United in the race to sign Ivan Rakitic, according to reports.The Barcelona midfielder, 32, does not feel valued any longer at the Nou Camp, where contract negotiations have hit a wall.2 Ivan Rakitic is a summer transfer target for a number of clubs, including Jose Mourinho’s TottenhamHe refuses to be treated “like a sack of potatoes” and wants to be somewhere he feels “respected”.Frenkie de Jong’s arrival from Ajax last summer has seen his game time limited and, with just a year left on his deal, it is likely decisions will need to be made this summer.And according to Mundo Deportivo, Spurs are the latest side to show their interest in signing Rakitic this summer.Jose Mourinho is a long-term admirer of the Croatia international and spoke highly of the midfielder last year during his time as a pundit with BeIN Sports.Speaking after his match-winning performance in El Clasico last March, the Special One said: “He is a fantastic player at every level. He does defensive work on the right side to compensate for Messi and he runs miles.“In ball possession he is fantastic and he is simple and effective. He is one of the most underrated players.“Normally we speak about big names but Rakitic, for me needs to improve his Instagram and his social media because in this moment this is very important and he’s not very good on that but he’s very good on the pitch.”Rakitic was taken aback by the praise and admitted even his own father doesn’t gush over his performances in the way Mourinho did.2The Barca man said: “I do not have enough words to thank Mourinho, he is one of the best experts in the world.“I do not know if my dad has ever praised me in a better way. These are very nice praises that I enjoy.”In the same season, Rakitic netted a wonderstrike against Tottenham during the Champions League group stages.Mourinho’s relationship with Tanguy Ndombele is already strained.Add into the mix the fact that Barcelona themselves are eyeing up a move for the Spurs midfielder and the Rakitic deal could happen.Barcelona attempted to use Rakitic as a makeweight in a deal to sign Neymar back from Paris Saint-Germain last summer.Meanwhile, Manchester United have been keen on him for a number of years.Napoli, Juventus and Atletico Madrid are also thought to be interested.But Rakitic’s former side Sevilla could try and make a dash to bring their former star back to Andalusia with his wife Raquel enjoying life in Spain and the player himself open to the idea.Latest transfer newsLive Blogblues newsChelsea news LIVE – Latest updates from Stamford BridgeLive Blogunited newsMan Utd news LIVE – Latest updates from Old TraffordLive BlogGunners newsArsenal news LIVE – Latest updates from the EmiratesGossipGOING DUTCHChelsea ‘to grab Mbuyamba on free deal’ with defender set to leave BarcelonaDEPAY CHARTMan Utd flop Memphis used computer data and analytics to quit Old TraffordLive BlogBLUES NEWSChelsea news LIVE: Latest updates and transfer gossip from Stamford BridgeGossipFIT IN HIS BELEArsenal turn attention to Lyon striker Dembele as Lacazette replacementGossipGUNNER MAKE A MOVEArsenal weighing up transfer move for Barcelona star RafinhaHe made the switch to the Nou Camp in 2014 and is one short of 300 appearances for the Catalan giants.In that time, Rakitic has won four LaLiga titles, four Copa del Reys, the Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup.On the international stage, he has amassed 15 goals in 106 caps, including a strike against Argentina at the 2018 World Cup on their way to the final. View this post on Instagram @optikaanda Izazov prihvaćen! 😎 #andaplank @raquel_mauri 😍💪 A post shared by Ivan Rakitic (@ivanrakitic) on Apr 20, 2020 at 4:58am PDT View this post on Instagram Mi feria este año te echaré de menos pero cuando pueda disfrutarte será día y noche 💃💃💃💃💃💃💃💃 soy de esas personas que no aguanta 30 minutos corriendo pero si aguanto 3 horas bailando y tu? 🤣👍🏻 #esteañolaferialamontoencasa💃🥂🎉🎊 @ivanrakitic A post shared by Raquel Mauri (@raquel_mauri) on Apr 25, 2020 at 5:12am PDT View this post on Instagram ✨❣️✨#happyvalentinesday❤️ @ivanrakitic A post shared by Raquel Mauri (@raquel_mauri) on Feb 14, 2020 at 6:57am PSTIvan Rakitic smashes the ball in the back of the net during Barcelona training
Whitelock was cited for retaliation, after elbowing Cheetahs prop Charles Marais in the face but the judiciary has ruled the offence was worthy of a red card.It means Whitelock won’t be able to play again until after May 13th, leaving the Crusaders short of experience as All Blacks skipper Kieran Read is out with a broken thumb.He’ll miss the Crusaders’ final game in South Africa against the Bulls on Sunday, as well as their home match against the Hurricanes the following week.Meanwhile the Sunwolves fullback Jamie-Jerry Taulagi has been banned for five weeks after being sent off in his side’s loss to the Chiefs at the weekend, when he drove his shoulder into the head of Chief’s back Shaun Stevenson. Photo: Photosport Crusaders and All Black lock Sam Whitelock.
The premiers haven’t always been pretty on a winning run that stretches seven matches but they did enough again at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.In a far cry from their 50-10 win over the Warriors on Anzac Day, Melbourne relied on defensive scrambling, slightly better control and some fortunate referee calls to join South Sydney and St George Illawarra on 13 wins.A superior points differential puts them on top and on target to repeat their minor premiership win in 2017.The Storm welcomed back a swag of Origin players but struggled to bust open a Warriors side who have lost four successive matches at their home ground.First-half tries down the right edge to Will Chambers and Suliasi Vunivalu put them 8-6 up at the break.They set up another narrow triumph, having won three of their previous six games by one point.The Warriors missed the control of injured five-eighth Blake Green while they also lacked direction for much of the second half without hooker Issac Luke, who exited with an injury.Gerard Beale scored the only Warriors try, when winger David Fusitu’a also soared to claim a cross-kick.The hosts went close soon after the break through Kata, who was penalised for a double movement.The Storm closed ranks and pulled clear through penalties to Cameron Smith in the 56th and 78th minutes before repelling a late Warriors attack.It was the Warriors’ sixth-straight loss to the Storm, leaving the Kiwi outfit eighth and under pressure from the in-form Wests Tigers in ninth, four points back.
Australia resumed at 241 for 7 on day three, with news breaking of Michael Clarke’s impending retirement and England holding a 90-run lead.It was only a matter of time at Trent Bridge before the hosts took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-Test series and reclaimed the urn.The tail delayed the inevitable for 39 minutes before Nathan Lyon played on, the uprooted off stump triggering wild celebrations.Adam Voges finished 51 not out, one of few positives in what has been a miserable match for the tourists.Realistically, there was only one result possible in the game after Australia were skittled for 60 in 18.3 overs on day one, Stuart Broad recording unprecedented figures of 8-15.The tourists showed a bit more ticker after their ignominious day-one debacle, the fastest first innings in Test history.However, Australia still needed a handful of reprieves to avoid their first two-day Test loss since 1890.David Warner was dropped twice on Friday, while Chris Rogers and Peter Nevill were recalled after video replays revealed no-balls.Bad light also helped push the game to a third day.The shambolic defeat, which follows a similarly one-sided game at Edgbaston last week, will have major ramifications.Already, Clarke has seemingly fallen on his sword after vowing to fight on three days earlier.Clarke is but one of many batsmen to be exposed in a handful of woeful collapses that shaped the series.Much had been made of the topsy-turvy nature of the much-hyped contest.The reality is Australia’s 405-run win in the second Test at Lord’s, in which Steve Smith scored his maiden double-century, was the anomaly.Brutal bursts of seam and swing bowling from Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Steve Finn exposed the batting order in Cardiff, Birmingham and Nottingham.
While Hekari are a seasoned team at the Champions League, their opponents from New Caledonia are relatively new in the OFC arena.Captain of the Hekari side, David Muta said that if the players fully believe in themselves and play to the best of their ability, Hekari will win all their games and go on to make the finals.The match kicks off at 3:35pm (1:35pm PNG time).Meanwhile, the Lae City Dwellers will play their first match against Amicale FC from Vanuatu on Sunday at 3:35pm (1:35pm).