Sports News in Brief
Folau at fullback
SYDNEY - Israel Folau has revealed he's spent most of his NSW pre-season training at fullback as the Waratahs weigh up throwing their star recruit straight into the key position. Folau says he doesn't yet have a preference on where he lines-up during Super Rugby, but believes playing in the No.15 shirt during Waratahs trial matches is the best way for him to get a handle on rugby. The cross-code convert seems certain to at least get a run at fullback during the Waratahs' opening trial against Melbourne in Hobart on Saturday night. Coach Michael Cheika hasn't decided on the make-up of his back three for the season proper.
League star dies
SYDNEY - Australia rugby league representative and acclaimed broadcaster Ferris Ashton died on Tuesday aged 86 after a brief battle with illness. Ashton played 27 matches for the Kangaroos, including eight Tests, and was a member of the 1952-53 Kangaroos tour. He played 84 games for the Eastern Suburbs (now Sydney Roosters) from 1950-56, and five matches for NSW. After serving on board the destroyer HMAS Quickmatch in World War II, Ashton turned to rugby league where he made his name as a ball-playing forward with the tricolours, where he was captain-coach in 1954.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - Baltimore Ravens players flew into New Orleans for the Super Bowl, settling into a riverfront hotel three blocks from the San Francisco 49ers, their rivals in Sunday's (Monday AEDT) title game. Thousands of fans from across the United States are expected to flock into the "Big Easy" as well this week ahead of the NFL championship showdown at the Louisiana Superdome. Eight years after the Superdome became a scene of horror as refugees fled to the damaged stadium from the flooding and devastation of Hurricane Katrina only to find no relief, the first Super Bowl there since the deadly storm will try to signal that the city famous for its Mardi Gras party is having fun again. Parades and parties began last week.
KOLKATA, India - A proposed Indian professional football league that was to feature the likes of former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo and Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, has been scrapped owing to logistic problems. The five-team tournament planned on the lines of the successful franchise-based Indian Premier League cricket tournament was announced with much fanfare by the Indian Football Association but things failed to move after a players' auction in January last year. The IFA secretary-general Utpal Ganguly said the main reasons for not pursuing the project further are "logistics like the unavailability of stadia and the backing out of some of the franchises for commercial reasons".
LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Swimming's governing body says former world record-holder Li Zhesi of China is serving a two-year doping ban after testing positive for EPO. FINA says Li and her coach, who was not identified, have been banned for doping violations by the China Swimming Federation. Dates of the suspension were not published. Li's positive test for the banned blood-booster in a March 2012 out-of-competition test was revealed weeks before the London Olympics.