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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
England coach Stuart
Lancaster said he was
excited by the prospect of
Sam Burgess switching
codes to rugby union but
warned he had a lot to learn
if he is to make the 2015
World Cup squad.
Burgess has signed for
English Premiership side
Bath and will move from
Australian NRL team
South Sydney Rabbitohs in
October in a bid to make
England s World Cup squad
But with the 2015
tournament in England
starting in September,
Lancaster said there was not
much time for him to learn
"It s great news for rugby
union," Lancaster told Sky
"He s a world-class rugby
league player and credit to
Bath for having the courage
to sign him. He s got a
massive learning curve ahead
of him --- time is short for
the World Cup but he s a
special player so we ll see
how he goes."
Lancaster expects the
25-year-old league forward
to challenge for a place in
England s midfield if he can
get up to speed with the
nuances of union.
"It s going to be tough ---
to arrive in November and
learn the game, play the
game and also earn the right
to play on merit ahead of
the players we ve got," said
"It s a competitive position
and while he s a good player,
there s a lot of intricacies to
"In my experience it
is easier to make that
transition as a back. ere
are less of the complexities
of the for ward play to learn
--- scrums and line-outs and
everything that goes with it."
Burgess has represented
his country in rugby league
13 times, scoring seven tries,
and Lancaster hopes he
can follow the blueprint of
Sonny Bill Williams, who
began his career in league
before switching to union to
help New Zealand win the
2011 World Cup.
"I think he s got the ball
skills and pace to play in
the back line --- and the
physicality --- and if you
put him alongside some of
the other players we ve got,
he d be exciting. You have
to give him every chance,"
"Sonny Bill Williams is
probably the best example
of making the transition. He
was a forward in league and
a back in union and he made
the transition gradually.
"It s going to be fast-track
for Sam but if there s one
player who you d think has
a good chance of doing it, it
would probably be him."
Burgess faces race again
McCullum hits triple century,
Neesham brings up maiden century
Faced with the specter of street
protests disrupting this year s World
Cup, soccer s governing body FIFA
expects host country Brazil to deploy
police if necessary to contain violent
demonstrators and guarantee access to
FIFA Secretary General Jerome
Valcke, who is touring some World Cup
host cities this week, said Brazilians are
democratically entitled to stage peaceful
protests during the global sporting event.
"But unpeaceful demonstrations
by people who are just trying to
create problems and fight against the
authorities, there is only way to bring
them down, and that is to use the police
to make sure these people are under
control,"Valcke said at a news conference
in Brasilia, the capital.
Brazilian authorities are bracing for a
new wave of protests during the World
Cup and plan to deploy tens of thousands
of police and have military troops on
standby to secure the 12 stadiums across
Brazil where the games will be played
between June 12 and July 13.
In an unexpected outburst of
discontent, more than a million people
took to the streets during a warm-up
for the World Cup last year to protest
against poor public services, corruption
and the high cost of the stadiums built
for the FIFA event.
e protests have continued this year,
though they have become smaller and
more violent with anarchist groups
vandalising storefronts and banks and
clashing with police.
e violent nature of the protests was
brought home to Brazilians last week
with the death of a tv cameraman who
was struck by a homemade bottle rocket
days earlier during a protest against a
hike in bus fares in Rio de Janeiro.
e potential for violence marring
the World Cup was highlighted by a
member of one of the anarchist groups
known as "Black Blocs" who threatened
to attack foreign delegations in an
interview published by the Estado de S
Any disruption of the soccer
tournament, which was meant to mark
Brazil s coming of age on the global
stage, would embarrass President Dilma
Rousseff s government and undermine
her popularity as she prepares to seek re-
election in October.
e ruling Workers Party, many of
whose leaders suffered repression under
military dictatorship in the 1970s, has
opposed attempts in Congress to pass
a bill that would equate violent protests
Instead, Rousseff s government is
proposing legislation to crack down on
vandalism by introducing harsher prison
sentences and banning demonstrators
from wearing masks that hide their
Brazilian authorities expect protests
during the World Cup to be smaller and
more violent than those seen last June.
Brazil under pressure to address street violence
Serena Williams has vowed to
make amends after missing the
Dubai Tennis Championships a
year ago due to a last-second injury
e top seed at the Gulf event
may even have a hint of a guilty
conscience after citing back pains
which came shortly before she was
to have taken to the court in her
is time Williams, 32, who
continues to insist that retirement
plays no part in her current mindset,
believes things can be different at
the Aviation Club.
"I really wanted to play here after
pulling out in 2013," said Williams,
who reached two semi-finals at the
"My goal is to lift the trophy, but
we will see how my back feels."
Her first match after a bye will
come against the winner from
Russians Alisa Kleybanova and
Williams only made a late entry
into the field as a wild card after
deciding that the back problem
suffered at the Australian Open
during a fourth-round loss to Ana
Ivanovic had healed enough for her
to test it in competition.
"I get bored training, I d much
rather play a match," the 17-time
grand slam champion said after
confirming that she will partner
sister Venus in the doubles to get
more matches after playing only
eight times so far in 2014.
"My back feels better than it did
in Australia, I still have to take it a
day at a time.
"I ll do my best this week, but my
goal is to lift the trophy. I always
set higher goals, I always want to
e world number one said that
she can put no timetable on her
career: "Age is not catching up to
" is generation is playing
longer, I think racquet and fitness
technology have something to do
with it. We know what we have to
do in the gym." --- AAP
Serena vows amends
New Zealand freeskier Byron
Wells has withdrawn from tonight s
men s halfpipe competition at the
Sochi Olympic Games due to
e 21-year-old landed awkwardly
during training in the Extreme Park
halfpipe in Rosa Khutor three days
ago, seriously twisting his lower leg.
Wells only recently returned
to full competition following an
ongoing knee injury. He finished
fourth in the Olympic halfpipe
test event on the same course in
"I m completely devastated,"
Wells said. "I had my sights set on a
podium finish and was determined
to get out there and do it. I have
spoken with my medical team,
my family and other members of
the New Zealand Olympic team,
and have made the decision to
Father and coach Bruce Wells said
he felt for Byron but acknowledged
the injury was something to be
expected in the high-risk freeski
" ey re jumping off huge walls
of ice with cutting edge tricks and
these are high risk. We re all just
hugely disappointed the injury is
significant enough to keep Byron
from doing what he knows he can
Brothers Beau James and Jossi
Wells will compete in the halfpipe
tomorrow along with team-mate
Brendon McCullum today became
the first New Zealand batsmen to
score a test match triple century
during the fifth day of the second test
against India at the Basin Reserve.
e 32-year-old McCullum had
resumed on 281 and brought up
the milestone with a late cut for his
32nd boundary to surpass the 299
that Martin Crowe scored against Sri
Lanka on the same ground in 1991
and move to 302 with New Zealand
on 625 for six.
He was the 24th player to score a
triple century in tests and it was the
28th time someone had achieved the
World record holder Brian Lara,
Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle and
Don Bradman all did it twice.
In 84 years of test cricket, a New
Zealander has finally scored a triple
At 11.46am, Brendon Barrie
McCullum cut for four behind point
to pass the milestone in the second test
against India and leave an indelible
mark on the country s sporting history.
Moments later he was caught behind
off Zaheer Khan for 302 and left to a
standing ovation after lasting 559 balls
and 647 minutes.
McCullum made the rare milestone
on the final day of the second test
against India at Wellington s Basin
Reserve this morning.
He was then promptly dismissed for
McCullum, who started the day on
281, passed Martin Crowe s 299 with a
four off Zaheer Khan.
Jimmy Neesham earlier brought up
a milestone by scoring a hundred on
For many New Zealand fans
this will be the greatest cricketing
accomplishment they have seen in
their lifetimes. Spine-tingling gravitas
engulfed proceedings with the crowd
ooh-ing and aah-ing each seminal
moment. e feat compounded
the inspiration offered by the New
Zealand team this summer for a fan
base who long ago could have been
forgiven for slipping into apathy.
McCullum s achievement is not
so much about the figure, it is the
circumstances of its execution.
Coming to the wicket at 52 for three
in the 18th over, he could hardly have
conceived he d be there 181 overs later
with New Zealand dominating the test
at 625 for seven with a 379-run lead.
If New Zealand win the test
McCullum s feat will rank with
Sir Richard Hadlee s match figures
of 15 wickets for 123 runs to win the
test against Australia at the Gabba in
McCullum takes over the country s
highest test score from Martin Crowe
who made 299 on the Basin Reserve
23 years ago against Sri Lanka.
Before the day s play McCullum
warmed up in a jocular fashion and
stretched extensively using one of the
team s industrial rubber bands. He
received an ovation before going out
to bat. Queues of people waited to get
into the ground to see history.
He had one dicey moment today,
edging off Ishant Sharma in the 197th
over, only for the ball to fall short of
wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Only Sir Donald Bradman (twice
in 1930 and 1934) has scored a
triple century and double century in
It is the second test triple century to
be made in New Zealand. England s
Wally Hammond made 336 not out at
Eden Park in 1933.
--- New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: Getty Images
Brendon McCullum celebrates after reaching 300 runs, New Zealand s first ever triple century and the
highest ever in a test.
Rosa Khutor, Russia
Darya Domracheva s dazzling Sochi Games
continued today when she took gold in the
12.5km mass start to become the first woman
to win three biathlon titles at the same
e Belarusian, who also won the 12.5km
pursuit and 15km individual titles, took the
lead early and never looked back, making
only one mistake on the shooting range and
skiing way too fast for the opposition to catch
Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic
took silver 20.2 seconds behind after she also
made a mistake on the range.
"I am thankful to the people who support
me. Without their support it d be harder,"
Domracheva told a news conference.
"I was hearing Dasha, Dasha from the
"Russian family, Belarusian family. All
these nations, Russians, Belarusians, we
are like brothers and sisters. For me, I feel
this country is really native for me," she
"Maybe it sounds strange but it does not
feel like I did something special. I did it with
Domracheva s dominance meant her rivals
were racing for silver.
"I thought she was going to win today,
she was so strong in the last races I did not
believe somebody could be faster than her,"
said Soukalova, whose mother Gabriela
Svobodova won silver at the Sarajevo Games
in 1984 as a cross-country skier.
"I didn t race against her today, I thought it
would be better to race with just myself."
Norwegian Tiril Eckhoff won the bronze,
27.3 seconds off the pace, after outsprinting
German Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle in the
final straight. --- Reuters
Belarusian wins third biathlon crown
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