MELBOURNE - Coaching supremo Craig Bellamy has chosen love over money by signing a new three-year deal with NRL premiers Melbourne that will keep him at the club until the end of 2016. Bellamy, who was already contracted until the end of 2013, said he couldn't leave the players and club he had grown so attached to in his 10 years at the helm. He said he knocked back "very attractive" offers to stay with the Storm, with the Dragons one club that heavily courted the premiership winner.
BRISBANE - Former Wallabies flyer Clyde Rathbone will make his return to Super Rugby on Saturday night when he earns his 50th cap for the Brumbies almost four years after his last one. Brumbies coach Jake White yesterday declared Rathbone, who has overcome a battle with depression to return to rugby after retiring in 2009, would definitely start on the wing against the Queensland Reds in the first-round home match. The 31-year-old has impressed in the pre-season, scoring three tries in two trial wins.
Forced to retire
JOHANNESBURG - Springboks flanker and 2007 World Cup winner Juan Smith has been forced to retire after a recurrence of an achilles injury. Smith told the Volksblad newspaper in South Africa yesterday that he had been forced to end his career after a recurrence of the injury that had sidelined him for two years. Smith made his return for the Cheetahs in a warm-up game just over a week ago but hurt himself again in Sunday's game against the Bulls.
JOHANNESBURG - South African boxer Frans Botha, still angry on his return from Australia, is having another drug test to clear his name and says his chaotic fight with rugby player Sonny Bill Williams was "a disgusting state of affairs" and "amounts to match-fixing." He also said yesterday the doping test he apparently failed before losing a decision for the vacant WBA international heavyweight title was administered by "a confidant" of Williams' manager, Khoder Nasser. A urine sample submitted by the 44-year-old in Brisbane showed traces of the banned stimulant Phentermine.
Stars face axe
LONDON - Roberto Mancini is ready to drop several of his Manchester City flops after accusing the champions of lacking the stomach for a fight. Mancini was livid with City's lacklustre performance in Sunday's surprise 3-1 defeat at Southampton and he is prepared to make a host of changes for the club's FA Cup fifth round tie against Leeds at Eastlands this weekend. The Italian is determined to lay down the law to his squad, even if it means axing some high-profile stars.
SYDNEY - Captain Michael Clarke says he's yet to figure out his revamped Australian Test batting lineup for the first Test against India and what position Shane Watson will occupy. Clarke spoke before flying out from Australia yesterday to link up with the Test squad preparing for the first match of the four-Test series against India which starts in 10 days. It will be the first Test since longtime middle-order mainstay Mike Hussey retired and will also bring the return from injury of vice-captain Watson.