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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Slade to return

AUCKLAND - A rotten run with injuries has failed to dampen Colin Slade's spirits as he eyes a long-awaited return to rugby. The Highlanders five-eighth hasn't played since breaking his left leg against the Brumbies last March. It was the latest piece of bad luck to hit the 10-Test All Black, who twice broke his jaw in the 2011 Super Rugby season and then had his World Cup ended prematurely later that year when he aggravated a groin injury in the quarter-final against Argentina.

Juve advances

GLASGOW - Juventus virtually sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League yesterday, punishing poor defending with some clinical finishing to beat Celtic 3-0 in their last-16 first leg. Mistakes by Celtic defender Efe Ambrose led to goals by Alessandro Matri in the third minute and Mirko Vucinic in the 83rd. Claudio Marchisio scored the second at the end of a flowing team move by the Italian champions and current Serie A leaders in the 77th minute.

Cowboys angry

BRISBANE - Fuming North Queensland coach Neil Henry has slammed the handling of the NRL club's mention in Australian sport's doping scandal as embarrassing, disgraceful and farcical. One of six NRL clubs named in the Australian Crime Commission's (ACC) report into new-age sports doping and crime links, the Cowboys believe they have done nothing wrong and will emerge with their reputation intact. Henry yesterday condemned the ACC's process and was angered his club's name had effectively been forced out publicly.

Barbosa out

BOSTON, Massachusetts - Boston Celtics guard Leandro Barbosa has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will be out for the rest of the NBA season, his club said yesterday. The 30-year-old suffered the left knee injury during Tuesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats. He underwent a magnetic resonance imaging scan but no surgery date has been set, the club said. He is the third Celtics player lost for the season because of injury. Rajon Rondo also suffered a torn ACL last month and back surgery has put out Jared Sullinger.

Hewitt wins

SAN JOSE, California - Lleyton Hewitt recorded a comeback 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win over Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic in the opening round of the San Jose ATP Open in California. Former world No.1 Hewitt faced a break point while trailing 3-6 1-3 before taking control of the second set. The 31-year-old was again on the ropes soon after, trailing 1-3 and 15-40 down in the deciding set before he clawed back to prevail in two hours and 35 minutes.

Southee back

WELLINGTON - Injured New Zealand pace bowler Tim Southee will return to cricket for Northern Districts in a Plunket Shield match against Wellington this week. Southee, who missed New Zealand's tour of South Africa after injuring his thumb nearly two months ago, has been given clearance to bowl in the four-day match starting in his home town of Whangarei on Thursday. It is Southee's sole chance to prove his fitness before the Test squad to face England is named on February 20.

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