MANCHESTER - Rain ensured the second Twenty20 international between England and South Africa at Old Trafford yesterday ended in a no result washout. England, chasing a target of 78 in a match already reduced by rain to nine overs per side, were 2-29 off 4.1 overs when a fresh downpour forced the players from the field for the final time. A minimum of five overs had to be completed in England's innings for either side to win this match, with the hosts needing to have scored 13 more runs off the five balls remaining in the fifth over to have won the rain-affected matches.
SYDNEY - Manly's Steve Matai will miss Friday's NRL semi-final against North Queensland after the star centre accepted the early guilty plea for his grade two careless high tackle. The Sea Eagles accepted Matai's fate yesterday, declining the take the charge to the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night — where he would have risked a two-match ban. Matai was given a grade two careless high tackle charge by the match review committee for his 19th minute hit on Canterbury's Sam Perrett, which carries a base penalty of 125 points.
JOHANNESBURG - Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth has been banned for two weeks for head-butting Australian counterpart Nathan Sharpe, ruling him out of South Africa's Rugby Championship game in New Zealand this weekend. Etzebeth was found guilty in a SANZAR hearing yesterday after he thrust his head into the face of the Wallabies veteran in the 25th minute of Australia's come-from-behind win in Perth on Saturday. Etzebeth will be clear to play again after September 24 and available for home games against Australia and New Zealand.
LONDON - Australia's Leigh Howard claimed victory on the second stage of the Tour of Britain yesterday, upstaging local sprint hero Mark Cavendish. The Orica-GreenEdge rider just held off the formidable challenge of Team Sky's Cavendish, who was led out by Bradley Wiggins and stage one winner Luke Rowe but did not have enough in the tank after the 180km ride from Nottingham to Knowsley Safari Park. Holland's Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) took third place and with it the lead in the general classification.