Kings 30-34 Scarlets: Defending champions survive scare from winless South Africans

Dan Jones celebrates his try in Port Elizabeth

The Scarlets survived a huge scare against Southern Kings to record a 34-30 Guinness PRO14 victory in Port Elizabeth.

Kings, without a win all season, were 23-10 ahead just after half-time when centre Martin du Toit burst through some weak tackling from the visitors.

But the Scarlets, whose outside-half Dan Jones contributed 19 points, fought back to make it eight wins from nine PRO14 games.

Irish lock forward Tadhg Beirne crossed to put the Scarlets ahead early in the game, but tries through Michael Makase and Yaw Penxe, and the boot of Oliver Zono, gave the Kings a 16-10 lead at the break.

Scarlets' Tom Prydie runs at Berton Klaasen of the Kings
Scarlets’ Tom Prydie runs at Berton Klaasen of the Kings

That advantage was extended by Du Toit’s try within a minute of the restart to make the Welshman sweat at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, but Ioan Nicholas and Werner Kruger then went over in the space of six minutes, and Jones’ boot gave the Scarlets a 27-23 lead.

The Kings secured a bonus point with their fourth try to take a late lead, but Jones spotted a gap in the defence and picked up from the base of a ruck to race over for the match-winning score.

2017 F1: The year in numbers

Race victories

Driver Number of wins
Lewis Hamilton 9
Sebastian Vettel 5
Valtteri Bottas 3
Max Verstappen 2
Daniel Ricciardo 1

Podium finishes

Driver Top-three finishes
Lewis Hamilton 13
Sebastian Vettel 13
Valtteri Bottas 13
Daniel Ricciardo 9
Kimi Raikkonen 7
Max Verstappen 4
Lance Stroll 1

Pole positions

Driver Number of poles
Lewis Hamilton 11
Sebastian Vettel 4
Valtteri Bottas 4
Kimi Raikkonen 1

Front-row starts

Driver Front-row starts
Sebastian Vettel 14
Lewis Hamilton 13
Kimi Raikkonen 5
Valtteri Bottas 5
Max Verstappen 2
Lance Stroll 1

Qualifying head-to-heads

Team Score
Mercedes Hamilton 13-7 Bottas
Ferrari Vettel 15-5 Raikkonen
Red Bull Verstappen 13-7 Ricciardo
Force India Perez 13-7 Ocon
Williams Massa 17-2 Stroll
Stroll 1-0 Di Resta
Toro Rosso Hartley 1-1 Gasly
Sainz 8-6 Kvyat
Sainz 2-0 Gasly
Kvyat 1-0 Hartley
Haas Grosjean 12-8 Magnussen
Renault Hulkenberg 3-1 Sainz
Hulkenberg 15-0 Palmer
McLaren Alonso 16-3 Vandoorne
Button 1-0 Vandoorne
Sauber Wehrlein 11-7 Ericsson
Ericsson 2-0 Giovinazzi

Fastest Laps

Driver Number of Fastest Laps
Lewis Hamilton 7
Sebastian Vettel 5
Kimi Raikkonen 2
Valtteri Bottas 2
Sergio Perez 1
Fernando Alonso 1
Daniel Ricciardo 1
Max Verstappen 1

Race retirements

MOST
Fernando Alonso 10
Max Verstappen 7
Carlos Sainz 7
Nico Hulkenberg 7
Marcus Ericsson 7
FEWEST
Lewis Hamilton 0
Valtteri Bottas 1
Esteban Ocon 1
Sebastian Vettel 2
Sergio Perez 2
Felipe Massa 2

Drivers’ Championship

Driver Team Points
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 363
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 317
3. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 305
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 205
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 200
6. Max Verstappen Red Bull 168
7. Sergio Perez Force India 100
8. Esteban Ocon Force India 87
9. Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 54
10. Nico Hulkenberg Renault 43
11. Felipe Massa Williams 43
12. Lance Stroll Williams 40
13. Romain Grosjean Haas 28
14. Kevin Magnussen Haas 19
15. Fernando Alonso McLaren 17
16. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 13
17. Jolyon Palmer Renault 8
18. Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 5
19. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 5
20. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 0
21. Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 0
22. Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber 0
23. Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 0
24. Paul Di Resta Williams 0
25. Jenson Button McLaren 0

Constructors’ Championship

Team Points
1. Mercedes 668
2. Ferrari 522
3. Red Bull 368
4. Force India 187
5. Williams 83
6. Renault 57
7. Toro Rosso 53
8. Haas 47
9. McLaren 30
10. Sauber 5

Willie Mullins’ Total Recall on track for Newbury

Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins is looking forward to running ante-post favourite Total Recall in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury next weekend.

The eight-year-old was last seen landing a monster gamble in the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National at Limerick.

Having his first start for Mullins on the retirement of Sandra Hughes, he was sent off the 2-1 favourite in the 16-runner field and there was never any real question who was going to win.

Ruby Walsh briefly shook him up after the last and he sprinted clear to win in fine style, scoring by seven lengths.

Mullins said: “He’s good (since the Munster National). We are looking forward to Newbury. He wants winter ground. Hopefully he’ll make up into a Grand National horse.”

Zebre 19-36 Munster: Johann van Graan off to winning start at Munster helm

Munster scored five tries in Parma on Sunday

Munster clinched a second straight Guinness PRO14 bonus-point win with a 36-19 triumph over Zebre on Sunday afternoon to give Johann van Graan a winning start in his first game in charge of the Irish province.

Tries from Rory Scannell and James Hart – the latter scoring his first for the province – were both converted by JJ Hanrahan, who had opened the scoring with a 10th-minute penalty, as the visitors stormed out to a 17-0 lead with less than half an hour on the clock.

Munster were reduced to 13 men following yellow cards for Robin Copeland and Sam Arnold, and Zebre took advantage to get back within touching distance before half-time.

Giulio Bisegni and captain Jacopo Sarto touched down, and Guglielmo Palazzani added the extras to pull the Italian side back to 17-14.

Alex Wootton scored two tries after the break, Hanrahan converting the second, to get Munster clear once more and, although Giovanbattista Venditti’s try 11 minutes from time again gave Zebre a glimmer of hope, that was quashed when Calvin Nash got in on the act.

The 20-year-old Nash – set up by fellow academy player Jack Stafford – crossed for his first Munster try and Hanrahan made no mistake from the tee to seal a comfortable away victory.

IAAF to continue ban on Russian athletes competing at international competitions

IAAF president Lord Coe has spoken of his desire to create a 'landscape where there is trust' in athletics

Russia has still not done enough to combat doping and its athletes will continue to be banned from international competition, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has decided.

The IAAF’s council unanimously approved the continuation of the suspension, following a recommendation by its Russia doping taskforce, with no timetable given for reinstatement.

The decision means Russian athletes will not be allowed to compete under their country’s flag at March’s world indoor championships in Birmingham.

Athletes whose drug-testing history has been reviewed will be allowed to participate as neutral athletes, however, as they did at August’s world championships in London.

Russian leaders’ refusal to admit that a state-sponsored doping programme existed has been key to the IAAF’s decision not to lift the ban, which was instigated in November 2015 after the McLaren report discovered widespread doping in Russia.

Russia’s anti-doping agency must become a fully independent body that is compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code and an effective testing plan must be developed for the country to be reinstated, taskforce chairman Rune Andersen told a news conference.

“The broader question is whether they will be able to operate in a system which we can trust,” he said.

IAAF taskforce chairperson Rune Andersen
IAAF taskforce chairperson Rune Andersen

“It is our responsibility to create that landscape where there is trust,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said.

The IAAF decision comes just before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board meets in Lausanne, Switzerland, on December 5 and 6 to determine whether Russian athletes can compete in February’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

WADA earlier this month declared Russia’s anti-doping agency non-compliant with the WADA Code but it will be the IOC that makes the final decision on whether they can participate.

Meanwhile, the IAAF also awarded its 2020 world indoor championships to Nanjing, China, and announced that Morocco had been removed from its anti-doping watch list.

Belarus, Ethiopia, Kenya and Ukraine remain on the list.

Motherwell 0-2 Celtic: Hoops retain Scottish League Cup

Scott Brown kisses the Scottish League Cup trophy after beating Motherwell

Celtic took the first step towards successive domestic trebles with a 2-0 win over 10-man Motherwell at Hampden Park in the Scottish League Cup final.

Hoops winger James Forrest curled in the opener in the 49th minute before striker Moussa Dembele fired in a contentious penalty on the hour mark, after Well defender Cedric Kipre was sent off for conceding the spot-kick for a foul on Scott Sinclair with the winger appearing to go down rather easily.

There was no way back for the Steelmen after that and Brendan Rodgers’ side cruised to the final whistle and the first trophy of the season.

The champions had spent the previous days recovering from their 7-1 Champions League defeat away to Paris St Germain on Wednesday night but once again they showed they are without peer in Scotland as they extended their unbeaten domestic run to 65 games.

And with the Ladbrokes Premiership title all but certain to be retained, the Parkhead side will be strong favourites to win all three major competitions again.

James Forrest celebrates putting Celtic in front at Hampden
James Forrest celebrates putting Celtic in front at Hampden

There was a round of applause all around the stadium in the 10th minute in tribute to the late midfielder Phil O’Donnell who played for both clubs and who tragically died 10 years ago aged 35 after collapsing on the pitch at Fir Park.

Celtic began to tighten their control of the game with Motherwell working frantically to suffocate the Hoops attacks, although Well defender Richard Tait was handed a half-chance in the 25th minute from a Charles Dunne cross but lashed an angled shot from 14 yards high over the crossbar.

On the half-hour mark, Dembele headed weakly into the arms of Motherwell’s Trevor Carson from a Mikael Lustig cross, before Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon pulled a decent Louis Moult free-kick from distance out of the air just under his crossbar.

Cedric Kipre was sent off for Motherwell
Cedric Kipre was sent off for Motherwell

Motherwell would have been more pleased with the half-time scoreline but just four minutes into the second half that good work was undone.

As Celtic swarmed around the Motherwell penalty area Forrest took a Callum McGregor pass and from 14 yards curled the ball past Carson and into the far corner.

The Lanarkshire side stormed back and an Andy Rose cross from the left was met at the near post by striker Louis Moult and his header drew a brilliant save at point-blank range from Gordon.

Moments later at the other end, Dembele leapt highest in the box to head a McGregor corner past the far post.

Dembele's spot-kick made it 2-0 to Celtic
Dembele’s spot-kick made it 2-0 to Celtic

The France Under-21 striker’s aim was better with his penalty, awarded by referee Craig Thomson after Sinclair had quickly gone to ground inside the box after being tugged by Kipre as he raced on to a Dembele pass.

The French defender looked distraught as he left the pitch, taking with him Motherwell’s chances of a first major trophy since 1991, and the Hoops striker hammered in the spot-kick.

Celtic kept pushing and Carson was forced into several saves, most notably from a Leigh Griffiths free-kick, the Scotland striker having replaced Dembele.

Griffiths smashed a shot against the post with 10 minutes remaining but by then the trophy was on its way back to the east end of Glasgow, albeit Moult struck the post with a free-kick, the last action of the game.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele celebrates after scoring a penalty
Celtic’s Moussa Dembele celebrates after scoring a penalty

Saracens 18-20 Exeter: Chiefs extend lead at the top with win at Allianz Park

Moray Low of Exeter celebrate his side's victory at the final whistle

Replacement prop Moray Low scored the winning try as Exeter extended their lead over Saracens at the top of the Aviva Premiership with an impressive 20-18 win at Allianz Park.

It ends a run of 19 successive league victories at Saracens’ north London home, as the hosts suffered a fourth straight defeat in all competitions for the first time since 2010.

Saracens began in impressive fashion with first-half tries from Alex Goode and Schalk Brits giving them a 15-6 advantage at the end of the first 40 minutes. An Ian Whitten try then brought Exeter back into the contest, a repeat of last year’s dramatic league semi-final, after the break before Low made his game-changing contribution after 73 minutes.

The Chiefs’ only previous win at this venue was 24-20, in May 2015. Hosts Saracens were smarting after their surprise defeat to Gloucester last weekend and were quick to stamp their authority on the match, despite Gareth Steenson’s successful early penalty for the visitors.

Ian Whitten touches down for a Chiefs try at Allianz Park
Ian Whitten touches down for a Chiefs try at Allianz Park

Nathan Earle collected a box kick and appeared to have little room, but a superb exchange of off-loads with Goode saw the full-back charge clear eight minutes in for the opening try.

Exeter managed a brief foray forward in reply, with Thomas Waldrom leading the charge, but it was not long before things got worse for Rob Baxter’s reigning champions.

Nic White was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and the Australian was soon to regret his lack of discipline, as Mark McCall’s side got their second try on the board.

A driving maul from the relentless Saracens pack saw Brits crash over, but this was only confirmed after the input of TMO official David Sainsbury.

A second Steenson penalty reduced the deficit to single figures before the visitors almost crossed the whitewash for the first time. An excellent effort from Olly Woodburn was ruled out following a referral to the TMO, who decided that the ball had not been grounded after a great cover tackle by Earle and Goode in the corner.

The visitors needed to get more of an attacking foothold in the game in the second half and they duly delivered, with Whitten slicing through the Saracens defensive line with a superb arcing run.

Another successful kick from Steenson closed the gap to two points but the European champions gave themselves breathing space when Marcelo Bosch sent a penalty over from halfway.

However, the Chiefs ended the game camped in opposition territory and after a strong driving maul, a series of pick and goes led to Low going over the line underneath the posts.

The win stretches Exeter’s lead at the top of the Premiership table to five points over Saracens – who remain second.

Ice-cool David Goffin beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, sends Davis Cup final into deciding match

Davis Cup, Davis Cup final, David Goffin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Belgium, France, sports news, tennis, Indian Express

David Goffin never once lost his cool as he beat a nervy Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(5) 6-3 6-2 to put Belgium level at 2-2 with hosts France, sending the Davis Cup final into a decisive fifth match on Sunday.

The world number seven saved six break points in a thrilling opening set of the first reverse singles, before cantering to victory in a packed Pierre Mauroy stadium.

The final encounter was set to feature local favourite Lucas Pouille against Steve Darcis, who has never lost in five decisive Davis Cup matches.

France, who have not lifted the trophy since 2001, are looking to clinch their 10th title while Belgium are seeking their maiden Davis Cup.

Tsonga had won his first singles against Darcis after Goffin, high on self-confidence since he finished runner-up at the ATP Finals, had put Belgium ahead by beating Pouille on Friday.

Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore on Saturday to give Les Bleus a 2-1 advantage.

Tsonga hoped to become a national hero on Sunday but instead lost his composure in a bitter end to the match after a disputed call in the third set, triggering huge boos from the 27,000 crowd.

The match, though, was already long lost for the world number 15, who was simply beaten by a much better player on the indoor hardcourt.

AGGRESSIVE START
Tsonga started aggressively, setting up a break point on Goffin’s first service game but the Belgian staved it off confidently.

The Frenchman’s whipping forehand proved tough to handle for Goffin, who never threatened on his opponent’s serve.

Tsonga punched and punched, creating another four break points in the eighth game, only for Goffin to react in clinical fashion.

He engaged Tsonga in two lung-busting rallies to save the first two, and saved the others with a jaw-dropping crosscourt forehand winner and a backhand winner down the line.

Tsonga had a set point on Goffin’s serve at 6-5 but the Belgian saved it with a forehand winner.

Goffin went 3-1 up in the tiebreak, Tsonga fought back and led 5-4 but lost the three remaining points, losing the set despite a first-serve percentage of 77 when he could not return a perfectly angled first serve.

Tsonga had a brief medical timeout to have his neck massaged.

Goffin saved yet another break point early in the second set and Tsonga cracked in the sixth game, dropping serve on an ugly double fault.

Goffin closed it out comfortably to lead two sets to one.

The third set was a mere formality, with the only notable incident coming from Tsonga who, with captain Yannick Noah, protested to the chair umpire about a line call.

Television footage showed Goffin’s ball was clearly out but Tsonga had continued playing without raising his arm to request a video challenge.

Deportivo La Coruna and Athletic Bilbao play out a 2-2 draw in La Liga

Deportivo La Coruna and Athletic Bilbao played to a 2-2 draw that kept both teams near the bottom of the standings in the Spanish league on Sunday. Athletic, winless in five matches, was ahead twice but couldn’t hold on to the victory at Riazor Stadium in La Coruna.

Markel Susaeta opened the scoring for the visitors and Adrian Lopez equalised before halftime. Inaki Williams put Athletic in front again early in the second half and Fabian Schar evened the match again near the end.

Athletic twice hit the post, including with a close-range shot by Williams when the game was tied 2-2.

Athletic is sitting 15th in the standings with 13 points from 13 matches. It hasn’t won in the league since a 1-0 result against Sevilla last month. The Bilbao club has drawn two in a row in the league.

Deportivo, coming off two straight losses, is in 17th place with 12 points, just outside the relegation zone.

Charlie Austin double helps Southampton to win as Everton’s misery continues

Charlie Austin, Southampton, Everton, Premier League, sports news, football, Indian Express

Charlie Austin’s second-half double, on his return to the Southampton starting line-up, helped to earn his side a 4-1 Premier League win over Everton, whose misery continued on Sunday.

Southampton took the lead at St Mary’s in the 18th minute after Dusan Tadic finished off a fine team move but, just before the break, Everton levelled when Iceland’s Gylfi Sigurdsson got his first league goal for the club.

The goal did little to settle a nervous-looking Everton and they were soon behind again as Austin, making his first league start of the season, headed home in the 52nd minute before getting on the end of a left-wing cross to make it 3-1 six minutes later.

Captain Steven Davis fired home a late fourth as Southampton strolled to just their fifth home win of 2017 to move them up to 10th in the Premier League table, while 16th-placed Everton’s woes continue and
David Unsworth’s chances of getting the manager’s job on a permanent basis were dealt another big blow.

Southampton pressed early and Austin, one of three changes to the side from last weekend’s 3-0 defeat by Liverpool, almost got on the end of a James Ward-Prowse free kick in the fifth minute.

A much-changed Everton side struggled to handle Austin, who was then denied by the foot of the post but, soon enough, Saints took the lead through Tadic, after he raced on to a fine Ryan Bertrand pass before finishing well.

Against the run of play, however, Sigurdsson thundered in a strike from 25 metres, via the underside of the crossbar twice, to level.

Southampton restored their lead just after the break as Austin pounced. The cross from Bertrand was perfect but Austin still had plenty to work to do, glancing his header expertly past Jordan Pickford.

“The best thing for me was that when they equalised we did not rush,” Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino said.

Then, in an almost carbon copy of his first goal, Austin headed home another cross, this time from Tadic. “The second and third goals were really poor,” Unsworth said. “Teams are not having to work hard to score against us.”

Davis’s brilliant strike in the 87th minute provided further proof of the difficult task that awaits Everton’s next permanent manager to replace Ronald Koeman, who was sacked last month.