CARDIFF, Wales - Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny won the 2013 Six Nations Championship player of the year award on Friday. Halfpenny, who scored 74 points in the tournament as Wales retained their title, was well out in front of a public vote, gaining 40 percent of the ballot - well ahead of the runner-up, Italy flanker Alessandro Zanni, with Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg third. More than 80,000 people voted after a 15-player shortlist was compiled through a mix of rugby statistics and fans' opinion on social media sites.
United duo fined
PARIS - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has been fined 10,000 euros ($A12,450) for failing to give a post-match press conference following his team's Champions League tie with Real Madrid, while winger Nani was banned for one game. Nani was sent-off in United's 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford in the second leg of their last-16 tie, as the English club exited the competition 3-2 on aggregate. Ferguson, who was visibly angered at the sending-off decision, then refused to show up at the press conference.
GLASGOW - Rangers on Friday suspended Francisco Sandaza after the Spanish striker admitted during a hoax telephone call that he would be willing to quit the fallen Scottish giants. Sandaza declared details of his salary with the Third Division club and revealed he was open to joining a team at a higher level during a telephone conversation with a Celtic fan, who works as a taxi driver but was pretending to be a Los Angeles-based agent, which was broadcast online. The 28-year-old, tempted by talk of a move to a US club, also told the hoaxer, that he earned 4500 pounds ($A6,600) a week at Rangers.
Wild card entry
PARIS - Gael Monfils of France has been awarded a wild card for the Monte Carlo Masters following a year affected by knee injuries in which his ATP ranking dropped to No.99. Tournament director Zeljko Franulovic announced the decision on Friday for the 2008 French Open semifinalist, who had a career-high ranking of No.7 in 2011. Monfils' last match was a first-round loss last month to Marcel Granollers at the Open 13 in France.
ORLANDO, Florida - England's Justin Rose fired a two-under par 70 on Friday to seize a share of the clubhouse lead late in the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, as Tiger Woods stumbled. Rose and American Bill Haas stood on nine-under 135 after 36 holes at the $US8.5 million ($A8.2 million) event, which for Woods and many others is likely the final tuneup event for next month's Masters, the year's first major championship. Woods finish with three bogeys, a disappointing 70.
LONDON - Qatar organisers are pushing ahead with plans to stage the 2022 soccer World Cup in the summer, though they said Friday they are also willing to host the tournament in the winter. UEFA President Michel Platini has led calls to play the tournament in the cooler winter months. FIFA's ruling body could also move the dates on medical advice. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that Qatar would have to request a shift to winter.