SPORTS NEWS IN BRIEF
SAINT-NOM-LA-BRETECHE, France - Continental Europe's golf team made a solid start in the Seve Trophy by opening up a two-point lead against Britain and Ireland on the opening-day fourballs yesterday. The Europeans, who lost the last six meetings and are trying to win the trophy for the first time since the inaugural contest in 2000.
LONDON - Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge were yesterday recalled by England manager Roy Hodgson for the decisive World Cup qualifiers at home to Montenegro and Poland later this month. Rooney has been recalled despite sitting out Manchester United's 1-1 draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League yesterday with a shin injury.
HOSSEGOR, France - Taj Burrow's world surfing title ambitions took a hit yesterday when eliminated from the Quiksilver Pro France by current ratings leader Mick Fanning. The twice world champion won with a paltry 10.17 points to Burrow's 5.94 in inconsistent one-metre waves at the primary venue of La Graviere.
First world title
STRASBOURG, France - French driver Sebastien Ogier clinched his first world rally title yesterday, succeeding compatriot Sebastien Loeb who won the previous nine championships. He was assured of the title when Belgium's Thierry Neuville, the only man who could delay the celebrations, managed just second place on the stage.
ROSARIO, Argentina - Argentina have suffered a blow, losing heavy-hitting prop Juan Figallo for their crunch Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies tomorrow morning. The tight-head was one of the Pumas' standouts against New Zealand last weekend, instrumental as the home side repeatedly troubled the world champions at scrum time.
LONDON - Former Test prop Brett White heads the five Australian-based players picked in Ireland's 24-man squad for the Rugby League World Cup. White, who also played eight times for New South Wales in State of Origin, was named in Ireland's squad for the last World Cup in 2008 but pulled out in order to have foot surgery.
Stars move on
BEIJING - Novak Djokovic remained on course to reclaim his China Open title as he progressed to the quarter-finals on Thursday, while women's top seed Serena Williams also edged into the last eight. The top seeded Serb needed three sets to defeat Fernando Verdasco 7-5 2-6 6-2, while Williams claimed a 7-5 7-5 victory over Maria Kirilenko in two unconvincing sets.
KARACHI - Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has apologised for remarks about national coach Dav Whatmore that triggered controversy and threatened their relationship. In an interview with Geo Super television on Wednesday Ajmal spoke of the language barrier between Australian-born Whatmore and the players and said former coach Waqar Younis had handled the side better.