CANBERRA - Brumbies coach Jake White has signed South African man-mountain Etienne Oosthuizen as his foreign development player for the next two Super Rugby seasons. With Fijian-born winger Henry Speight's status changing to Australian in August, an international spot opened up on the Brumbies roster and it's no surprise former Springboks coach White looked to his old backyard to boost his forward stocks. Oosthuizen represented South Africa at schoolboys' level and played three Super Rugby matches for the Lions this year.
Hooper hits four
GLASGOW - Gary Hooper destroyed Raith Rovers single-handedly as Celtic cruised into the Scottish League Cup quarter-finals with a 4-1 win at Parkhead yesterday. Hooper opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a trademark poacher's goal before Raith grabbed a shock equaliser when captain Allan Walker's long-range deflected effort found the net in the 27th minute. However, Hooper restored the Scottish champions' lead with a cool finish from James Forrest's cross eight minutes before half-time.
CHICAGO, Illinois - Europe's Ryder Cup players are expecting a birdie blitz from their American opponents this week in a bid to establish an early stranglehold on the event. Key to this they feel is the tradition that the home captain has the final say on the finer points of course layout — such as the length and spread of the rough and the width of the fairways. US skipper Davis Love has opted for less rough and wider fairways at Medinah Country Club especially around the 280- to 290-yard mark to make it easier going for the big hitters.
ROME - Italian champions Juventus extended their unbeaten Serie A run to 44 games yesterday but dropped points for the first time this season as they drew 0-0 away at Fiorentina. 'The Old Lady of Turin' — who went through the whole of last season unbeaten — could be joined on 13 points should closest challengers Napoli beat third-placed Lazio. Fiorentina, who have still not beaten Juve at home since 1998, had their chances to take the points.
Vidic ruled out
LONDON - Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic will miss the next eight weeks after undergoing surgery on a knee injury, the Premier League club has announced. Vidic was rested for the 2-1 weekend win at Liverpool after complaining of tightness in his right knee but further tests revealed the true extent of the problem, and the Serb has since had a meniscus operation. "Nemanja Vidic has had a meniscus operation on his right knee and will be out for around eight weeks," a club statement read yesterday.
WELLINGTON - Australians will be coaching both of New Zealand's top hockey teams after Colin Batch was named as the new coach of the Black Sticks men. Batch will replace Shane McLeod who stepped down after six years in charge following the London Olympics where the team finished ninth. Coach of Belgium for the past two years, Batch spent seven years as an assistant coach of Australia after a playing career that saw him appear 175 times for his country.