Lions lose Watson for Japan clash

By Sports Desk June 23, 2021

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  • Tokyo Olympics Recap: Murray and Barty bundled out in doubles, Titmus and Ledecky triumph Tokyo Olympics Recap: Murray and Barty bundled out in doubles, Titmus and Ledecky triumph

    Ash Barty has followed up her shock women's singles defeat by crashing out of the women's doubles after an epic clash with Czech pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

    World number one Barty was stunned in the first round of the women's singles on Sunday by Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo but teamed up with Storm Sanders in the doubles, with the Australian pair reaching the quarter-finals.

    However, Krejcikova and Siniakova proved too strong in a three-set thriller, winning 3-6 6-4 10-7.

    "You never quite have their measure,” Barty said. "It's disappointing but there's only a couple of points in that match, here and there and it's a different result.

    "We did everything right today but just weren't able to win those big points when it mattered most."

    Barty's medal hopes are now entirely focused on the mixed doubles, where she has partnered with John Peers.

    Andy Murray's bid to become the first male to win four Olympic tennis medals ended with defeat to Croatia's Marin Cilic and Ivan Dogic in the men's doubles.

    Murray, teaming up with Joe Salisbury, went down in two hours and 18 minutes after also winning the first set. The Croatian pair won 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 10-7.

    The two-time Olympic gold medalist had withdrawn from the men's singles on Sunday due to a right quad injury, preferring to focus on playing doubles. TeamGB have not fielded a mixed doubles team.

     

    TITMUS DOUBLES UP, LEDECKY LIFTS FOR GOLD

    Ariarne Titmus backed up her women's 400m freestyle gold medal from Monday with another triumph, getting the better of rival Katie Ledecky to win the 200m free.

    The 20-year-old Australian won the final ahead of Hong Kong's Siobhan Bernadette Haughey and Canada's Penny Oleksiak, while Ledecky finished back in fifth.

    Ledecky would claim her sixth Olympic gold medal, triumphing in the women's 1500m free, with the US claiming a rare one-two as Erica Sullivan grabbed the silver ahead of Germany's Sarah Kohler.

    After being beaten twice by Titmus earlier in the meet, Ledecky said: "I approach each race with a belief in myself. It's the attitude I've always had that's why I've been so successful. Anything can happen, [the attitude I go in with is] I can beat the world record in this race. 

    Japan's Yui Ohashi won the women's 200m individual medley, Hungarian favourite Kristof Milak powered to victory in the men's 200m butterfly and Great Britain triumphed in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay.

     

    STEERING ERROR COSTS GB IN ROWING

    Australia claimed two gold medals in the rowing at Sea Forest Waterway as Great Britain were left to lament a wayward finish in the men's four final.

    Australian quartet Alexander Purnell, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill won in 5:42:76 ahead of Romania and Italy who claimed silver and bronze respectively.

    Italy's late charge almost saw a collision with Great Britain, who finished in fourth, after veering towards the neighbouring Italian boat, narrowly avoiding a clash of oars.

    GB's Oliver Cook, who steered the men's coxless four, told BBC Sport: "I do (have the steering). I need to diagnose it but I feel I screwed up a bit and as I was closing in at the end and taking big strokes at the end going for the line I forgot the steering and that’s what cost us to be honest, cost us a medal."

    Australia also won the women's four narrowly ahead of the Netherlands by 0:34 seconds, with Ireland claiming the bronze more than five seconds back.

    Romania secured its first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics by winning the women's double sculls final, while France triumphed in the men's equivalent.

    The Netherlands and China triumphed in the men's and women's quadruple sculls finals respectively.

     

    RADRADRA DREAMING OF FIJI SEVENS GOLD

    New Zealand will take on 2016 gold medalists Fiji in the final of the men's rugby sevens on Wednesday evening.

    Fiji went through to the gold medal match with a 26-14 triumph over Argentina, who will take on Great Britain for bronze.

    New Zealand were too strong for the British, winning 29-7 in their semi-final, with two tries each to captain Scott Curry and Regan Ware.

    Former NRL star Semi Radradra, who plays for Fiji after switching codes in 2017 and scored a try against Argentina, said: "Playing in the Olympics is a blessing for me. I never knew I would be here.

    "I think it is everyone's highlight to win a gold medal in the Olympics. That is our aim and we try to give back to our people at home."

    USA RESTORES CONFIDENCE IN BASKETBALL

    Team USA restored some confidence following their first-up loss to France with a comprehensive 120-66 thrashing of Iran in men's basketball.

    USA played fast throughout, wasting no time in offense, with Damian Lillard top scoring with 21 points, all from beyond the arc.

    Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine had eight assists along with his 13 points while Devin Booker, who played in the NBA Finals last week, scored 16 points and had five rebounds and three steals.

    USA head coach Gregg Popovich rotated his roster on and off the court, sharing minutes, as hos team piled on 38 points in the last quarter to round out a comprehensive victory.

    In Group B, Germany defeated Nigeria 99-92 despite Jordan Nowra's 33-point haul.

  • Wiese gets first start as Springboks make three changes for second Lions Test Wiese gets first start as Springboks make three changes for second Lions Test

    South Africa have handed Jasper Wiese his first Test start and made three changes to their team to face the British and Irish Lions.

    The second Test takes place in Cape Town on Saturday after the Lions came from behind to win the opener 22-17.

    Hosts South Africa have brought in Wiese at number eight, while there are two changes to the front row as prop Steven Kitshoff steps in to win his 50th cap alongside the returning Frans Malherbe.

    Kitshoff comes in for the injured Ox Nche and Trevor Nyakane drops to the bench to make space for Malherbe.

    Leicester Tigers star Wiese was not even on the bench for first Test but he will come straight into the XV to replace Kwagga Smith.

    Wiese has only previously made one substitute appearance at senior international level, which came in a warm-up match against Georgia this month.

    Flanker Siya Kolisi will again captain the Springboks, whose coach Jacques Nienaber knows the stakes could not be higher.

    "This is a massive game for us; it is do or die in order to stay in the race to win the series," Nienaber said as he discussed his team.

    "We selected a team that offers continuity in selection, but also that we thought would be the best suited to achieve the objectives we have set for this match.

    "Ox did well in the scrums last week and has been ruled out due to injury, but fortunately we have a world-class player in Steven who can step into the starting team. 

    "The fact that this will mark his 50th Test will make this occasion even more important for him.

    "We disappointed ourselves last week, and we all know how important it is to bounce back with a strong performance and show our fighting spirit and pride as a team and nation."

    Six of the eight Springboks replacements are forwards, with Herschel Jantjies and Damian Willemse the only backs on the bench.

    Earlier on Tuesday, the Lions also announced three changes to their starting XV.

    Warren Gatland picked Mako Vunipola, with Conor Murray and Chris Harris also coming into the team to face the world champions.

    In the 13 series in British and Irish Lions history when the tourists have won the first Test, they have gone on to win 10, draw one and lose just twice.

    It has happened in five such series against South Africa, leading to four wins and one draw.

    Following their first Test win, the Lions are unbeaten in their last three Tests, their best run since a six-game spell spanning the 1971 and 1974 tours.


    South Africa: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jasper Wiese.

    Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Lood de Jager, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse.

  • Gatland brings in Vunipola as Murray starts for Lions in second Test Gatland brings in Vunipola as Murray starts for Lions in second Test

    Warren Gatland has selected Mako Vunipola to start for the British and Irish Lions in the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

    Head coach Gatland makes three changes to the side that beat the Springboks 22-17 last weekend, with Conor Murray and Chris Harris also coming into the starting XV to face the world champions on Saturday.

    Vunipola replaces Rory Sutherland as he joins Luke Cowan-Dickie and Tadhg Furlong in the front row, while captain Alun Wyn Jones wins his 11th successive Lions Test cap as he partners Maro Itoje in an unchanged back row.

    Murray comes in for Ali Price at scrum-half to partner Dan Biggar, while Harris is preferred to Elliot Daly to play alongside Robbie Henshaw in the centres.

    The back three of Anthony Watson, Duhan van der Merwe and Stuart Hogg is unchanged, while Taulupe Faletau joins Sutherland, Price and Daly on the bench.

    The Lions have only lost two series after winning the first Test, with the most recent occasion coming against Australia in 2001.

    "As always, selection was incredibly tough," Gatland said. "However, we've made the changes we think are the right calls for the weekend's game.

    "We feel we can go up another level from where we were in the first Test and I would expect us to improve.

    "It's the biggest game on the Tour and we have to embrace the expectation that comes with it. As players and coaches, these are the games you want to be involved in. 

    "We’re relishing the opportunity to face the Springboks again on Saturday and potentially seal a series win."


    British and Irish Lions: Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Conor Murray; Mako Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan.

    Replacements: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Taulupe Faletau, Ali Price, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly.

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