Player of year
PARIS - Former All Black Chris Masoe has been voted France's Top 14 player of the year by his fellow players. The 33-year-old — capped 20 times from 2005-07 — was outstanding for Castres last season as they reached the Top 14 semi-finals and has maintained his form this term after joining Toulon. Masoe, who played his last game for the All Blacks when they lost in the 2007 World Cup quarter-finals to France, succeeds France fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc as winner of the prestigious award.
Akmal to lead
LAHORE, Pakistan - Pakistan have named wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal to lead the side's defence of the Hong Kong Super Sixes title later this month. Pakistan face arch-rivals India, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands in Pool B of the eight-team tournament, with Australia, England, South Africa and Hong Kong in Pool A. Pakistan beat England in last year's final to secure their fifth title in the tournament, first staged in 1992. The event will be held on October 27 and 28. The teams consist of six players with one player as substitute.
NEWCASTLE, England - Newcastle forward Nile Ranger has been convicted of two counts of assault against two police officers, but will not serve any jail time as long as he stays out of trouble for the next 12 months. Ranger was ordered to pay STG750 ($F2162) in damages to each officer, but was given a 12-month conditional discharge — meaning no further action will be taken unless he commits another crime over the next year. He was cleared of two counts of causing bodily harm on two members of the public.
Nadal to return
MADRID - Tennis star Rafael Nadal says it is "unlikely" he will join Spain's Davis Cup team for its final next month, but says he will be "ready" to play in the Australian Open in January. Nadal says his knee is still "bothering" him, but he is ready to return to where he was before taking his big break from the sport. "Everything is possible, but it is unlikely too," Nadal said in an interview when asked whether he would be ready to play in Spain's November 16-18 Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic in Prague.
BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Ravens' 5-1 start to the NFL season has been tempered by season-ending injuries to veteran linebacker Ray Lewis and defensive back Ladarius Webb. In messages posted on the team's Twitter account, coach John Harbaugh said that Lewis had suffered a torn right triceps and Webb a torn left knee ligament in Sunday's 31-29 home victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Lewis has been a major force for the defense-minded club, the unit having led Baltimore to a Super Bowl crown in 2001.
LONDON - Ian Poulter has been named the European Tour's golfer of the month for September on the strength of his brilliant performance at the Ryder Cup. The Englishman won all his four games in Chicago, with his five closing birdies to claim a late victory in the Saturday fourballs inspiring Europe to their historic comeback over the US. Jose Maria Olazabal's side were six points behind at one stage, but stormed back to retain the trophy by a single point.