9 December 2013Backed by a 32 000-strong crowd, the Springbok Sevens team scored an emotional 17-14 victory over New Zealand in the final of the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.In a stadium bearing the name of the recently deceased and much-loved former president Nelson Mandela, the crowd helped lift the Blitzbokke out of an early 0-14 deficit and on to a deserved victory, which they dedicated to the iconic statesman.Ironclad defenceThroughout the event, the South African team’s defence had been ironclad, while the side was also very effective on the attack. In the final, the team’s aggressive defence carried them to the title as New Zealand, after their two early tries, were kept pinned in their half.Branco du Preez brought South Africa to within two points of the Kiwis at the break by using his fast feet to cross for two tries and after the break, captain Kyle Brown crossed for the match-winning five-pointer.His winning score came after the Blitzbokke had forced New Zealand to kick for touch from their own try line. After claiming the throw-in on the 22, Brown, instead of passing back to the scrumhalf, spun towards the sideline, handing off a would-be tackler and ducking beneath a second tackle, to find his way to the try line open.Still, South Africa led by only three points. New Zealand, though, could not escape the pressure of the Springboks’ suffocating defence and the Blitzbokke provided coach Neil Powell with his first win since he took charge of the team at the beginning of the HSBC World Series.‘We needed to be close’“We needed to be close to New Zealand at the break, so when we scored late in the first half, it meant a lot to the guys,” Powell said after the game.“It is an unbelievable feeling. Credit to the guys in the squad. I think they showed a lot of character out there tonight and I’m really proud of each and every one of them, and the management as well.”Powell said “Madiba Magic” helped his team to the title. “It was a very emotional weekend for all South Africans,” he said,” but we realised that we needed to do it for his memory and for ourselves. We could only do it by playing as a team and playing for each other.”‘We had to dig deep’Springbok Sevens captain Kyle Brown praised his team mates for their special effort. “We were all desperate for a good result and knew that we had to do this as a team. We had to dig deep to come back, but I never doubted the character and will to win,” he said.“This is a special win and we cannot thank the crowd enough for their support. It was also important for us to keep improving and following our fourth place at the Gold Coast and second spot in Dubai, a win here justified the hard work the squad has put into training.”ResultsThe Blitzbokke comfortably topped their pool on the first day of the event, defeating Canada 24-7, Spain 38-0 and Kenya 27-7.On day two, they were in scintillating form, thrashing Portugal 45-0 in the quarterfinals and Argentina 31-0 in the semi-finals before edging the Kiwis, whose closest game before the final had been a 19-5 win over Samoa in the semi-finals.New Zealand continue to top the World Series standings with 58 points, but their lead over South Africa is down to only two points. Fiji are in third place with 48 points and England are fourth on the log with 40 points.
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Former Brazil coach Dunga said Milan can’t expect 22-year-old Lucas Paqueta to “solve their problems on his own.” Paqueta came to the Rossoneri in January this year and has since played 22 games in Serie A, scoring once since his €35m transfer from Flamengo. Dunga is afraid the Italian giant have placed far too much importance on his performances since the 22-year-old arrived. “He immediately showed his value in Brazil with Flamengo and was brought to Italy,” Dunga told Sky Sport Italia. “Everyone is expecting him to solve Milan’s problems. “If he finds a team who is ready, he is a completely different player. He still needs to grow and understand how he can express himself in the best way. I think he could be a midfielder in the style of [Nicola] Berti.” Milan are 11th in the League and are already on the back foot in the fight for a place in Europe.
Liverpool forward Mane turns awards snub into positiveby Ansser Sadiq7 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool winger Sadio Mane is refusing to get worked up about a lack of personal accolades.Mane has been one of the most consistent performers for the Reds in the past 12 to 18 months.But he has not received the same type of press that Mohamed Salah got when he was at the peak of his powers.Mane was the joint top scorer in the Premier League last season, while he has continued that form this term.”As I said before, I do not focus on individual distinctions, the collective results are more important to me,” said the Liverpool forward to reporters.”The choices were made [for the Ballon d’Or]. “I wasn’t chosen, the players in the awards had exceptional seasons, they deserved to be there, I congratulate these players.”I think it’s a strong message for me to work harder.”I accept, it’s hard for me to to say that I deserve to be there, I’m modest enough for that, and the thing is, the choices have been made and I respect them. I will tell you that I deserve to be there but…” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
This week’s episode of Hot Takedown mourns the end of March Madness and celebrates the start of the NBA playoffs. With the race for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player still up in the air, Robin Lundberg makes the case for Giannis Antetokounmpo over James Harden. We see if there’s data to move the needle either way.It’s Masters week! With the most anticipated event in golf nearly underway, the team breaks down the prospects for Tiger Woods in a crowded field of contenders. Could this be Tiger’s last chance at the green jacket? His start to the season shows potential, but the game has changed since he last dominated.For our Rabbit Hole of the Week, inspired by her Minnesota Twins, Sara goes back to 1908 to track MLB players hitting for the cycle.Here’s what we’re looking at this week:A spontaneous Google search during this episode on the use of data in MVP determinations landed on this Nate Silver throwback.We’re glued to the FiveThirtyEight NBA predictions.Basketball-Reference.com’s 2018-2019 MVP Tracker is an excellent resource.In anticipation of the masters, Neil examines Tiger Woods’s chance at the jacket.From our Rabbit Hole, Bengie Molina’s ridiculous cycle. FiveThirtyEight More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code
PERCENTILE RANK Weighted OBA9934 HARPERTROUT 25Justin TurnerDodgers188.8.131.52.8 On-Base Pct.10097 2Bryce HarperNationals184.108.40.206.0 4Buster PoseyGiants220.127.116.11.7 PROJECTED WAR/600 PA 2016Batting Avg.9024 2015Batting Avg.9986 8Kris BryantCubs18.104.22.168.0 15Yasiel PuigDodgers22.214.171.124.3 WAR/600 PA9973 20Starling MartePirates4.03.93.93.9 10Carlos CorreaAstros126.96.36.199.6 19Adrian BeltreRangers3.94.14.04.0 18Miguel CabreraTigers188.8.131.52.1 PLAYERTEAMZIPSSTEAMERFG DEPTHAVERAGE 1Mike TroutAngels184.108.40.206.8 24Chris DavisOrioles220.127.116.11.8 13Anthony RizzoCubs4.04.84.44.4 6Giancarlo StantonMarlins18.104.22.168.3 Who’s better, Harper or Trout? A year after posting one of the greatest single seasons in baseball history, Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is off to an even more stupendous start this season. Through Washington’s first 14 games, Harper is hitting .327 with a .417 on-base percentage and an MLB-best .837 slugging percentage; he’s also finished more at-bats with a home run (seven) than a strikeout (six) while producing nightly feats of optimal exit velocity and launch angle, like this blast from Tuesday:Harper’s longtime rival for the mantle of “best young player in baseball” is, of course, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, who has consistently run circles around him. But last season, Harper finally outplayed Trout, and the Millville Meteor has flown in a lower orbit than usual to start the 2016 campaign as well. Here’s each player’s percentile ranking in the major leagues in the most important batting rate statistics, plus wins above replacement per 600 plate appearances: 5Josh DonaldsonBlue Jays5.65.05.85.5 Slugging Pct.10026 9Paul GoldschmidtDiamondbacks22.214.171.124.8 Trout’s still No. 1 … for now 14Kevin KiermaierRays126.96.36.199.3 12Jose BautistaBlue Jays188.8.131.52.4 11Nolan ArenadoRockies184.108.40.206.5 21Jason HeywardCubs3.34.64.03.9 You can probably guess what’s happening now: a variety of articles either wondering whether Harper has surpassed Trout as the game’s best player or flat-out declaring the race over. Never mind that Trout has been the best player in baseball history, for his age, through every one of his full major-league seasons — his spot atop the game is officially in jeopardy.That conclusion is still a bit premature, though. FanGraphs keeps a running set of projected statistics for the season, historically calibrated to find the most accurate balance of short- and long-term samples for making predictions. That means they can give us a pretty good proxy answer to the “who’s the best right now?” question, and all three of the rest-of-season projections at FanGraphs1ZiPS, Steamer and the aggregated projections FanGraphs uses on its depth chart pages. say Trout is still the game’s best bet among position players:2Projections are as of Wednesday afternoon. 7Andrew McCutchenPirates5.05.25.15.1 22Yadier MolinaCardinals220.127.116.11.9 Slugging Pct.10099 16Joey VottoReds18.104.22.168.3 Source: Fangraphs Weighted OBA10098 17Yasmani GrandalDodgers22.214.171.124.2 23Francisco CervelliPirates126.96.36.199.9 WAR/600 PA10099 3Manny MachadoOrioles188.8.131.52.2 All projections of April 20Source: FanGraphs On-Base Pct.9455 That probably won’t come as a surprise to most saber-friendly fans, who may as well drive around with “Small sample size!” stickers on their bumpers this early in the season. Even so, it doesn’t exactly take magical thinking to believe Harper is an exception to the rules of historical projections. At FanGraphs, Dave Cameron wrote a nice, nuanced piece Monday about how the particulars of Harper’s game evolved to get him where he was last year and how their continued development could give his newfound productivity more staying power. The upshot is that over the past year-plus, Harper has turned into a powerful pull hitter with the strength of Chris Davis and the plate discipline of Joey Votto — a terrifying combination that lends credence to the theory that his game has found another gear.I also devoted the Significant Digit segment of Wednesday’s Hot Takedown podcast to looking at how Harper’s numbers have improved this season despite a drastically reduced batting average on balls in play (BABIP), which makes you wonder how zany his numbers could be if he starts experiencing better BABIP luck. (And both of those analyses took place before Harper launched his grand slam Tuesday night.3For those curious, we tape Hot Takedown on Tuesday afternoons.)But in general, it takes a compelling reason to think any player is an exception to the trends of history, which are proven out far more often than they’re upended. Although reasonable people can find reasonable reasons to believe Harper is one of those exceptions, it’s important to remember just how high that threshold is. Otherwise, there’s a preponderance of evidence that Harper still hasn’t chased down Trout — at least not yet.
Saturday’s football scrimmage represents the culmination of what Jim Tressel said has been a positive spring, he told the media during the annual Ohio State football coaches clinic on Friday. “Through 13 practices this has been as an attentive and a positive spring as I’ve ever been around,” Tressel said. Because many starting positions are up for grabs, he said, everyone feels they have a chance to earn playing time. “A lot of guys haven’t been in games and this is opportunity,” Tressel said. Tressel said quarterback Terrelle Pryor and the four other players suspended for the first five games of next season for receiving improper benefits have only helped to facilitate the high level of play and competition this spring. Tressel will join the five suspended players for not properly reporting their infractions. “Some of the guys that don’t get to play early in the year are making sure that those young guys are working so that we have as good a team as we can possibly have,” Tressel said. “I think all the oars are in the water.” But water, or more specifically rain, is exactly what Tressel said he is worried about for Saturday’s scrimmage. “I just hope we don’t have a monsoon here on Saturday,” Tressel said. The team will play in the rain, but Tressel said he won’t take any chances with lightning. “I’m tough,” Tressel said, “but I ain’t as tough as lightning.” In the event of lightning, Tressel said the scrimmage would not be continued indoors and the team would proceed to its scheduled picnic. As for whom to watch on Saturday, Tressel mentioned one sleeper most people might not have expected. “As for a dark horse,” he said, “let me throw Verlon Reed.” The scrimmage will be in a different format this year, and will instead pit the offense against the defense and use a scoring system that can crown one unit victorious against the other. The new format, Tressel said, was the players’ idea. “They wanted to see how good the offense would be against the defense on the last day of spring,” Tressel said. “I thought it was a good idea.” The Jesse Owens Spring Game will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State freshman, Brakan Mead, won a high school state championship at 113 pounds after amassing a 45-4 record in his senior year. Credit: Courtesy of Tony MeadA photo features a small child having his hand raised by referee while wearing a black singlet that reads “Buckeyes” on the chest and “OSU” over the left leg. That child is Ohio State freshman wrestler Brakan Mead. That photo currently adorns the profile of Mead’s Twitter account. “It was a dream my whole life and now it’s a reality,” Mead said. On Oct. 8, All-American redshirt senior Nathan Tomasello sustained a right knee injury which will likely keep him out the first two months of the season. It left a gaping hole at the 125-pound class of the Buckeyes’ lineup, which is currently ranked second in the nation. Enter Mead. Ohio State’s reserves at 125 pounds consisted only of freshmen. On Oct. 19, Mead and Brady Koontz wrestled for the right to represent the loaded Buckeyes at the class. One fact might have given Mead an advantage. The stands at the wrestle-offs were filled with his family, friends and high-school coaches. Mead is a product of Olentangy Liberty High School, born and raised in Columbus. He pinned Koontz in the first match and won by points in the second. The 125-pound class belongs to the hometown kid, at least for now. “It definitely means a lot especially because I’m home,” Mead said. “I know that all the matches, I’m going to have family there and coaching staffs from my past.” Less than eight months ago, Mead was in high school. On March 11, he won a state championship at 113 pounds after amassing a 45-4 record during his senior season. That might be quite the accomplishment, but Mead now wrestles alongside gifted athletes such as senior heavyweight Kyle Snyder, an Olympic gold medalist. “We’re ranked No. 2 in the country right now, and I think it’s a really good feeling,” Mead said. “But that’s part of it here. That’s why I’m here. I think that’s why everybody chose here. I think that’s the culture that we’ve built and that’s the atmosphere that’s been built by the guys that are in the lineup right now.” Head coach Tom Ryan, who had to pull Mead’s redshirt in order for the freshman to compete this season, praised Mead’s character while acknowledging the daunting task that stands before him. “There is nothing easy about what he’s trying to do,” Ryan said. “He has a monster undertaking. As a true freshman that was a lighter weight class coming in, it’ll be a real challenge for him.” Both Ryan and Mead’s high-school head coach Mark Marinelli described the freshman as a “lighter” wrestler in the NCAA 125-pound class. Mead’s personality almost seems to eclipse his size. Confidence is not an issue for Mead, Marinelli said. “He’s 6-foot-8,” he said. “He’s 6-foot-8, 350 pounds and he can move the jive. He’s got lots of confidence and he’s great.” Marinelli spoke of Mead like a family member. He first knew what he had in his gym during Mead’s freshman year, when he saw Mead’s attitude while wrestling larger opponents who were more skilled. He said Mead always believes he’s going to win, regardless of who he is facing. His greatest test is yet to come. “Ohio State is so good in wrestling right now. You have to be a great wrestler just to be on the team,” Marinelli said. “Right now, all the stars are aligning the way he wants them to and he’s taken advantage of it.” One could wonder whether anyone in Mead’s position could truly be ready for what is to come in the next two months before Tomasello’s return from injury. Mead does not wonder. “I never have a doubt about that,” Mead said. “I think that I’m ready to go. I think that the team and the staff believes that I’m ready to go. I know me and my support system believe that I’m ready to go. I’m just going to go and compete.” On top of the support system that includes his family and coaches, there is another person that will be happy to supply Mead with guidance. That person is Tomasello. Tomasello is a former national champion. He’s a three-time All-American and individual Big Ten champion. He’s competed internationally. For now, he can’t be much more than a coach to Mead. “Each practice, if I see something, I’m going to point it out to him,” Tomasello said. “I feel like we have a pretty good relationship now so when we go to tournaments, I’m going to try to go to as many tournaments as I can when I’m not wrestling.” Ryan praised Tomasello’s leadership as a captain. Mead is a possible replacement for Tomasello when the decorated senior graduates. The freshman called Tomasello “unreal” and cited his tendencies to live right and lead by example as reasons why he looks up to the NCAA champion.“Nate has helped me out,” Mead said. “He’s helped me be a better person and he’s helped me be a better wrestler in a really short time since I’ve been here. I owe a lot to him.”With Ohio State and Mead’s first dual meet against Arizona State n Columbus Sunday looming, it leaves one to wonder how the hometown freshman will fare in his time filling in for the All-American. “Anybody could go down at any time,” Ryan said. “You better be ready to knock the door down when it’s your chance.”
Ohio State sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson (34) goes up for a shot in the first half of the game against Iowa on Feb. 26. Ohio State won 90-70. Credit Cori Wade | Lantern PhotographerOhio State sophomore forward and leading scorer Kaleb Wesson will return from his suspension on Thursday when the Buckeyes play in the Big Ten tournament, head coach Chris Holtmann announced Monday. Wesson had been suspended for the past three games for a violation of Ohio State athletic department rules. In his absence, the Buckeyes have struggled, losing its past three games against Purdue, Northwestern and Wisconsin respectively by an average of 19.7 points, including a 35-point loss to the Boilermakers on March 2. Wesson leads the team with 14.6 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game, shooting 51.1 percent from the field. Ohio State will open the Big Ten tournament against Indiana on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
Ohio State senior forward Mason Jobst (26) looks down the ice in the game against Minnesota on Feb. 15. Ohio State lost 4-3. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The LanternAfter 164 points in 149 games, Ohio State senior forward Mason Jobst has found his way into a professional contract.On Tuesday, Jobst signed a two-year, two-way entry level contract with the New York Islanders that begins in the 2019-20 season.The Islanders have clinched a playoff berth this season, and currently sit at No. 2 in the Metropolitan Division with 99 points.Jobst was a two-time captain for the Buckeyes, scoring at least 30 points in each season played, and leading the team with 36 points in his final year, enough to place him as a finalist for the Hobey Baker trophy.The senior forward was Ohio State’s leading goal-scorer in the 2017-18 season, helping lead the Buckeyes to their first Frozen Four since 1998.Jobst is 25 years old, and played in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks before arriving at Ohio State. He leaves the Buckeyes with the 13th-most points in program history.Jobst is one of five players on the Ohio State roster with NHL contracts including senior forward Dakota Joshua, junior forward Tanner Laczynski, redshirt junior forward Miguel Fidler, junior forward Carson Meyer and freshman defenseman Ryan O’Connell.
The Argentinean superstar was not chosen by coach Ernesto Valverde to start today’s El Clasico match against Real Madrid.Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet tonight in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Semifinals.The Camp Nou is already waiting for the two Spanish La Liga teams to appear in what will surely be a spectacle to behold.But after much speculation after Barca’s Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi suffered some discomfort in his thigh during the team’s draw with Valencia on Sunday, the player has appeared on the bench.Messi has been replaced by Malcom in the right wing, as he appeared leading the substitutes list as reported by Sport 360.The Argentinean didn’t train on Monday, as he was still injured, but he took part in Barcelona’s training session on Tuesday.Although he will not start the match, he is expected to play only if Barca needs it, as coach Ernesto Valverde was clear to say that he will only use the players needed for the match and he will not risk anybody.La Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…The Blaugrana are currently in the first position of La Liga table, and they have a difficult month of February ahead.They will host Real Madrid tonight, and then will visit Athletic Bilbao and host Valladolid in La Liga action.The team will then visit French Ligue 1 club Lyon in the UEFA Champions League on February 19th, before returning home to pay a visit to Sevilla in La Liga, and then Real Madrid in Copa del Rey.🔵🔴 Barça XI#ElClásico #CopaBarça pic.twitter.com/rPUXJWdfOL— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 6, 2019