Paceman Umesh takes four as India restrict Australia

By Sudipto Ganguly
| PUNE, India

PUNE, India Paceman Umesh Yadav claimed four wickets on a pitch that offered big turn to help India restrict Australia to 256 for nine after the touring side had made a solid start on the opening day of the four-match series on Thursday.

Paceman Mitchell Starc, who would be expected by Australia to play a role similar to that of Umesh with the ball, smashed an unbeaten 57 to frustrate the hosts and take his team past 250.

Huget drafted in for France as Noves makes three changes

PARIS France manager Guy Noves made three changes to his starting 15 to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, including drafting in Yoann Huget to replace Virimi Vakatawa on the wing.

Huget, who came on in the second half of France's previous Six Nations match, a 22-16 home win against Scotland, was the natural choice after Vakatawa skipped training with a thigh problem.

"Vakatawa is injured, it is logical for Yoann to start," said Noves when he announced the side on Thursday.

Barclay gets armband as Scotland change five for Wales

LONDON Flanker John Barclay will captain Scotland for the first time in seven years in their Six Nations clash with Wales at Murrayfield on Saturday, taking over from injured scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw.

Scotland coach Vern Cotter revealed five changes from the side who lost 22-16 in France on Feb. 12 in the team he announced on Thursday.

Ali Price will make a first international start as replacement at halfback for Laidlaw, who will miss the rest of the tournament with an ankle ligament injury.

Pochettino hire a stroke of genius, says Spurs great Mabbutt

By Martyn Herman
| LONDON

LONDON Mauricio Pochettino is the perfect manager to help Tottenham Hotspur balance paying for a new stadium with challenging for the Premier League title over the next few seasons, according to former club captain Gary Mabbutt.

The north London club, who continue their quest for a second successive top-four finish at home to Stoke City on Sunday, hope to move into their new 61,000-seater home in 2018-19.

Hamilton hails 'awesome' new Mercedes

By Alan Baldwin
| SILVERSTONE, England

SILVERSTONE, England Lewis Hamilton declared his new Mercedes "pretty awesome" on Thursday after lapping a blustery Silverstone circuit in the car he hopes will secure him a fourth Formula One world championship.

"It felt incredible," added the Briton, who finished runner-up last season behind now-retired team mate Nico Rosberg despite winning more of the 21 races.

"Yesterday was the first time seeing the car come together. It’s the most detailed piece of machinery I’ve seen so far in Formula One.

Budapest 2024 snub highlights need for Olympic changes, insiders say

By Karolos Grohmann

Budapest's withdrawal from bidding for the 2024 summer Olympics, a process already marred by a string of exits, highlights the need for changes to the Games model, insiders say.

The Olympic Games were once the most hotly contested sports commodity in the world, but in recent years the IOC have seen the bidding process turn into a carousel of early exits, with cities scared off by costs, size or local opposition.

Leicester's Vardy has no regrets over rejecting Arsenal

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy said he has no regrets over rejecting a move to Arsenal during the close season despite the Premier League champions' recent struggles.

Vardy, who scored 24 league goals during Leicester's title-winning campaign, had the release cause in his contract triggered by Arsenal but he opted to sign a four-year extension with the Foxes in June.

Big Phil expresses sympathy after feasting on 'beef ball'

Eastern Sports Club coach Chan Yuen-ting was comforted by her opposite number Luiz Felipe Scolari after her Asian Champions League debut at Chinese powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande ended in a nightmarish 7-0 defeat.

The 28-year-old Chan, affectionately nicknamed "Aw Yuen", which translates as beef ball, became the first woman to guide a men's team in a top-flight continental competition when she led the Hong Kong champions out at the Tianhe Stadium on Wednesday.

Super start for hat-trick man Ioane as Blues crush Rebels

MELBOURNE Teenage centre Rieko Ioane underlined his enormous potential with a hat-trick of tries to fire the Auckland Blues to a 56-18 demolition of the Melbourne Rebels in the Super Rugby season-opener on Thursday.

The explosive 19-year-old, who made his All Blacks debut on their tour of Europe last November, grabbed an intercept try on the stroke of halftime and touched down twice after the break as the Blues racked up a record score in Australia.

Westwood urges Burnley to forget Cup exit, focus on league

Burnley midfielder Lee Westwood has urged his team mates not to let last weekend's fifth-round FA Cup exit at the hands of non-league Lincoln City derail their promising Premier League campaign.

Burnley's eight-match unbeaten run at Turf Moor came to an unexpected end against the Imps but with four successive away games on the horizon, Westwood saw no reason to dwell on the upset.

"The gaffer (manager) won't let that happen to us. We had a little talk on Monday and it was 'concentrate fully on the Premier League'," he told the club's website.

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