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Coulthard in front row for Bathurst pole
Bathurst (New South Wales)
Fabian Coulthard has raced
thousands of laps during his V8
Supercars career, but none more
important than the next.
The Holden driver will have one
shot at turning his provisional pole
position into the real thing for the
Bathurst 1000 in today ’s Top 10
“ I think it will be the biggest lap of
my life,” the 251-race veteran, who
topped the time sheets yesterday for a
new qualifying record of two minutes,
5.6080 seconds, said.
“I’m the last car out of the 10 to start
my lap, so I’ll know what everyone’s
done by then.
“ I’ll be able to focus, put my head
down and do the best I can. ”
Mount Panorama has rarely been
kind to Coulthard in his previous 10
He was involved in an epic crash
on the opening lap of the 2010 Great
Race, rolling his car half-a -dozen
times after clocking nearly 290kph
down The Chase and into at what is
considered the fastest corner in the
world for touring cars.
He has crashed twice since. His best
result is 10th — in 2008.
“I feel like I am dragging a monkey
on my back and I’m pretty keen to
shake it,” he said.
of luck in the past.
“ We have always been quick enough
but we’ve had mechanical dramas or
we’ve made mistakes or the strategy
hasn’t gone our way.
“Hopefully this year is the year.”
Coulthard’s will be one of six
Holdens vying for the pole position
but championship leader Jamie
Whincup is not one of them.
The four-time Bathurst winner
crashed during qualifying and will
start from 24th on the grid.
He will be joined at the back by two
of Ford Performance Racing’s fastest
men — David Reynolds in 25th and
Chaz Mostert in 26th.
Reynolds was forced out of
yesterday ’s session early after a heavy
shunt into a concrete barrier, while
Mostert was excluded for passing a
car under red flags.
Defending race champion Mark
Winterbottom and Jack Perkins
are the only Fords in the top 10,
with Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin and
Nissan’s James Moffat the other
Only three pole-sitters have won
the 1000km classic in the past 15
All drivers will have a 50-minute
practice session, before the shootout
from 5.10pm (AEDT). — AAP
Breakers bounce back
The New Zealand Breakers are
As statements of intent
go, handling the defending
champion Perth on its home
court is a rather impressive start
to the new season.
After all, the Wildcats won
13 of 14 games at Perth Arena
last season. The Breakers, on the
other hand, won just 11 of 28
games in total.
But those respective records
were cast aside on an encouraging
night in Western Australia. The
Breakers looked like their old
selves in dominating their hosts
at the start before hanging on
at the end to announce their
renewed intentions for the
Australian NBL crown.
The team that won three
straight championships looked
like winners once again in
a flawless first half, taking a
23-point lead against last season’s
juggernaut. Even with an absent
Tom Abercrombie and a limited
Alex Pledger — two-fifths of
the starting five missing from
the opening tip — the Breakers
showed their squad is much
better placed for a title tilt.
Although the Wildcats
mounted an anticipated fight
back in the final quarter, getting
the margin to as few as five
points, the Breakers closed out
the win to start the season on the
highest of notes.
Two issues that had plagued the
Breakers last season — defence
and closing out close games —
were seriously tested in week
one and both areas sur vived a
stern examination. Perth was
simply prevented from getting
anything going early, and where
the Breakers from the previous
campaign might have wilted
when faced with an insistent
opposition, this new breed stood
tall in the face of unrelenting
The difference between this
year’s Breakers and the previous
incarnation could be attributed
to the new recruits.
Ekene Ibekwe notched the
first points of the new season,
later illustrating his imposing
wingspan by throwing down a
vicious dunk directly from an
in-bound pass. The Nigerian
international finished with
10 points and six rebounds
before fouling out in the fourth
Rhys Carter, perhaps the lowest
profile of all the additions, made
a massive mark in the opening
half. The journeyman guard had
an early impact with a nice move
off the dribble, before thriving in
transition to make a trio of triples
and end the game with 14 points
and seven assists.
But it was Cedric Jackson, of
course, who was the difference
between the two sides. The
returning MVP spent the first
quarter doing Cedric Jackson
things — draining his first three-
point attempt, finishing a steal
with a lay-up, and barking at
team-mates who erred in their
But in the second half, when
his side needed him the most, the
American came up with several
big plays to finish with a game-
high 22 points to add to his five
assists and five rebounds.
A couple of players who were
present during last year’s annus
horribillis also chipped in with
tidy contributions — Mika
Vukona took 10 boards to go with
his seven points, while Reuben
Te Rangi added 10 points.
But, just as importantly, the
Breakers were much more adept
as a team on the defensive end.
Looking at the box score, it
would be easy to assume that
Perth players were not making
their shots. After all, they
hit just 34% from the floor,
compared to the Breakers’ mark
But that statistic told only a
part of the story. The Breakers,
especially in the first half,
restricted their opponents in
finding any space when the
Wildcats poked and probed
around the paint.
Everywhere a Perth player
turned, they found a Breaker
in their face, with the on-court
rotation working in unison to
limit the open looks of their
foes. That kind of pressure was
rarely present last season, and
the Breakers’ new emphasis on
speed, length and athleticism
immediately reaped dividends.
Now they will need to back
it up at home at Adelaide next
New Zealand Breakers 80
( Jackson 22, Carter 14, Ibekwe
10) beat Perth Wildcats 70
(Redhage 20, Daniels 19, Beal
12). Half-time: 26-49. — APNZ
Jackson key in
PICTURE: Getty Images
Cedric Jackson’s 22 points helped the Breakers to victory over the Perth Wildcats.
The dominance of Australian shooter
Caitlin Bassett has forced a reshuffle in the
Silver Ferns’ defensive end — a move that
could prove permanent.
New Zealand skipper Casey Kopua has
shifted back to the goal keep position in
both the opening two Constellation Cup
tests to try to contain the Diamonds’ key
scoring threat, with Katrina Grant playing
the roaming role out in front.
They now look to be Waimarama
Taumaunu’s preferred defensive mix against
Australia, and are expected to start tonight’s
third test in Sydney, where the New Zealand
side seeks its first win of the series.
It marks a move away from the long-
standing Kopua-Leana de Bruin partnership,
which has been used in just two quarters over
“At the moment I think (Kopua at goal
keep) is how we combat Bassett effectively.
We have got the option of using Leana de
Bruin in there as well, but I felt that Casey
at the back behind Katrina was a better
option (on Wednesday night),” Taumaunu
While the new defensive pairing could
do little to halt the relentless march of the
Diamonds attack in the opening 17-goal
loss in Invercargill, Kopua and Grant, helped
by more robust defence up the court, were
impressive in game two in Melbourne. The
pair kept Bassett to just 33 goals — well down
on her usual return — and probably came up
with enough turnover ball to win the game,
had the attack execution been sharper.
The positional switch marks a return to
where Kopua and Grant first started out in
Kopua was moved out to goal defence
in 2009 — a move that raised eyebrows at
the time. The decision was made to counter
the shorter, speedier Australian attack, with
Grant ’s strength being countering the flatter
ball coming into the circle, allowing Kopua to
roam out in front.
But the change in the Australian style of
attack since the introduction of Bassett, and
the emergence of several other tall shooters
on the international scene, means Kopua’s
strength in the air is now needed at the back.
Seeing the writing on the wall in the Ferns’
January tour to Britain, Grant, who at 1.85m
is considered short for a goal keep, has
significantly altered her game this season to
ensure she would be a strong option at goal
defence for this series.
She is relishing being let loose outside of
“ I’m really enjoying it, it ’s quite different.
Everyone thinks that the defensive roles are
similar and you just have another third of the
court to run around in, but they ’re not,” she
“ When I made the switch back to goal
defence as more of a permanent role the one
thing I had to really work on was my attack.
You have to do just as much work on attack
as you do on defence.”
Taumaunu said with Grant playing at goal
keep for most of the ANZ Championship
season, much of the Central Pulse captain’s
work on her game has been done in isolation,
hanging around at the end of training to do
extra ballwork and develop other aspects
outside of game situations.
As well as improving her attacking game,
Grant has had to change up her training
plan to ensure she has the conditioning to
last a full game at high intensity. While she
has always been one of the fitter members
of the squad, being able to chase the nippy
Australian goal attacks around the court for
60 minutes requires a whole new level of
“ I’m definitely a lot fitter now than a couple
of years ago when I was playing goal keep,
but that ’s all part of the territory.”
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Kopua back as goal keep to offset Aust shooter
Turbos take top spot
as favourites for promotion from the
ITM Cup Championship after a 38-25
victory over Otago last night.
The win in Dunedin secured top spot
and home advantage for the Turbos
throughout the play-offs, including next
weekend’s semi-final against an as yet
One team that can be ruled out of the
equation is Otago, with the southern
side missing the win they needed
to remain in the hunt. Otago will
instead be consigned to sixth in the
Championship, leaving North Harbour
and Southland to scrap for the final
Whichever side emerges triumphant
from that battle will find a tough task
facing them in the finals. Manawatu has
sustained just two defeats throughout
the 2014 campaign and, based on last
night’s evidence, it will be difficult for
any side to add to that number.
Manawatu excelled in favourable
conditions under the Forsyth Barr
Stadium roof, showing skill with ball
in hand to rack up a superfluous bonus
point early in the second spell.
The Turbos had spent a significant
portion of the first 40 minutes on the
back foot and, with Otago players
fighting for their lives, it was more of
the same after the break. But Manawatu
refused to buckle and showed an ability
to win matches in contrasting styles.
Otago grabbed the game’s first lead
through Joe Latta’s close-range try,
before Manawatu seized the advantage
by displaying a clinical edge from all
over the field. First Callum Gibbins was
the beneficiary of a rapid counter-attack,
then Nathan Tudreu grabbed a double
from a grubber kick to the corner and a
lethal lineout set piece.
Otago continued to enjoy the better
field position after the half-time break
but Manawatu remained resolute.
The Turbos eventually added to their
lead through hooker Rob Foreman,
appearing set to run away with the game
until Fa’asiu Fuatai stepped his way to
the line from the base of a scrum.
Sam Anderson-Heather gave Otago
late hope but Manawatu Hamish
Northcott ’s late try ensures his side
would head to the play-offs on a high.
Otago 25 (Latta, Fuatai, Anderson-
Heather tries; Breen con, 2 pens, Parker
con) Manawatu 38 (Gibbins, Tudreu 2,
Foreman, Northcott tries; Black 4 cons,
pen, Te Rure con). Half-time: 13-21.
Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
Glenn Maxwell blasted 76 off 81 balls
to guide Australia to a series-clinching
win in the second one-day game against
Chasing Pakistan’s target of 216,
Australia reached 217 for five in 43.2
Maxwell smashed nine fours and one
six, adding 85 for the fourth wicket with
skipper George Bailey (28).
The third and final one-day game will
be played in Abu Dhabi on Monday
with Australia leading 2-0 .
Australia opener Aaron Finch followed
his first-ball duck in Tuesday’s game
one with a scratchy knock of 14, caught
behind to paceman Mohammad Irfan.
Steve Smith, a century-maker on
Tuesday in Sharjah, was caught at the
wicket on 12 to spinner Zulfiqar Babar.
Irfan used his 216cm height to
full advantage at long-on to take a
spectacular catch to dismiss David
Warner for 29 at 3-72.
Finch had been adjudged not out on
14 by Pakistan umpire Shozad Raza, but
Pakistan called for a video review.
Bailey was given out by Raza caught
behind for 20 off the bowling of Pakistan
spinner Zulfiqar Babar but the batsman
asked for a video review which also led
to the decision being overturned.
Raza was also the umpire who had
given Pakistan’s Ahmed Shehzad out
lbw on 52, in a decision which was
overturned after the batsman asked for
Maxwell was dropped on two at slip
by Umar Akmal and proceeded to
dominate his partnership with Bailey,
who was run out at 4-157.
Batting with his usual flair, Maxwell
aimed one big hit too many and was
caught at backward square leg at 5-178.
James Faulkner (26 not out) and Brad
Haddin (17 not out) kept Pakistan’s
bowlers at bay in the closing overs.
Earlier, left-arm quick Mitchell
Johnson claimed his second consecutive
three-wicket haul as Pakistan reached
126 without loss at the halfway mark of
their innings then crashed to be all out
Ahmed Shehzad (61) and Sarfraz
Ahmed (65) shared a 126-run opening
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, batting at No
4, was the first of three run-out victims
in Pakistan’s innings as the home side
lost 10 wickets for 89 runs.
Australia added Faulkner to the squad
for the coming two-Test series against
Pakistan as a standby player for pace-
bowling allrounder Mitchell Marsh who
has a hamstring injury. — A AP
Australia clinches series against Pakistan
A spectacular second round last
night lifted Lydia Ko to within
touching distance of the lead at
her comeback tournament on the
After a month on the sidelines,
Ko followed an opening-round
two-under 69 at the Sime
Darby in Malaysia by firing
seven birdies to rocket up the
Ko now sits in a share of second
on nine-under and the world No
3 will head into the third round
two shots behind leader So Yeon
Ryu of South Korea.
No matter what happens over
the weekend, the event already
represents a successful return
to the Tour for Ko, who had
skipped the last two tournaments
to rest her troublesome left wrist.
Ko jumps up leaderboard
Wallabies in turmoil
ahead of NZ clash
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie
denies an intimate relationship with
team business manager Di Patston
and does not believe his position in
charge of the Australian side has been
Australian rugby is in turmoil ahead
of next week’s third Bledisloe Cup
match against the All Blacks, amid two
investigations into alleged misbehaviour
by star player Kurtley Beale towards
Reports suggest the crisis has divided
the Wallabies playing group and that
McKenzie has lost support amongst his
Rumours circulating the internet have
suggested McKenzie is in a relationship
with Patston, who he employed to tour
with the team.
However at an intense press conference
in Sydney last evening, a visibly shaken
McKenzie insisted his relationship with
Patston was purely professional when
asked if he was intimate with her.
“ I’ve got a professional relationship
with her and I refute that,” McKenzie
“ I don’t believe her appointment has
McKenzie was on hand to announce
his 32-man squad to face the All Blacks
in the third Bledisloe next Saturday
in Brisbane, but instead the focus of a
gruelling press conference was on his
integrity as Wallabies coach.
Beale is unlikely to play for Australia
again after being suspended indefinitely
for sending offensive text messages
about Patston to members of the squad
in June, which inadvertently found their
way to her.
There is a separate investigation into
Beale having a midair confrontation
with Patston on the way from South
Africa to Argentina.
McKenzie responded to reports that
he knew about the inappropriate text
messages, which contain lewd pictures,
back in June — claiming he became
aware of the messages only last week in
Since returning prematurely from
the overseas tour, Patston has gone on
indefinite stress leave.
The Wallabies coach does not believe
he has lost team support.
“I don’t think I have a divided camp.
I know there’s been lots of talk in the
newspapers and everyone’s got an
opinion, but I know the playing group,”
“I’ve been open and frank in my time
so if there’s an issue, obviously we’ ll flesh
them out.” — AAP
The New Zealand tennis No 1 Marina
Erakovic has been knocked out of the
singles at the Linz Open in Austria after
being beaten 6-3, 7-5 by Italian Camila
Giorgi in the quarter-finals.
The match took just over an hour and a
quarter to complete, with Erakovic’s heavy
schedule at the tournament taking its toll,
Radio New Zealand reported today.
Erakovic, 26, is still alive in the doubles
after she and her Spanish partner Annabel
Medina Garrigues beat a Polish-Russian
partnership to make the semi-finals.
Erakovic and Medina Garrigues will
play the German, French pair of Annika
Beck and Caroline Garcia tonight for a
place in the final. — NZ N
Erakovic loses singles quarter-final
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