SPORTS NEWS IN BRIEF
AUCKLAND - Australia will contest the Constellation Cup netball series with New Zealand over four Tests in 2014. Each country will host two matches, with the series starting in Invercargill on October 2 and ending in Auckland on October 15.
RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian police made 28 arrests in a crackdown on football violence following a recent outbreak of hooliganism. The arrests included 20 fans involved in clashes a fortnight ago at a top flight match between Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama which made headlines around the world, police said on Thursday.
BARCELONA - Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi defended himself, his family and fellow players on Friday against press reports linking charity football matches he played in to alleged laundering of Colombian drug money. In his first personal reaction to the allegations that emerged on Monday, the striker insisted the benefit matches were "100 per cent charitable".
LONDON - Cardiff's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan has been warned he faces a backlash from fans if he follows through on his threat to sack manager Malky Mackay. Mackay's position looks increasingly precarious after the Scot was given an ultimatum by Tan to resign or face being sacked.
LONDON - Manchester United will be without Portuguese winger Nani for the next few matches due to a hamstring injury, manager David Moyes said on Friday. Nani has not featured since the home defeat by Newcastle on December 7 and has recently been linked with a move to Juventus.
LONDON - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is keeping private his views on Ashley Cole joining Arsenal players on their Christmas night out this week but he revealed on Friday the full-back would not face the Gunners on Monday. Cole was photographed at the London venue where the Arsenal players were celebrating with a fancy dress party. Eyebrows were raised but Mourinho said on Friday Cole had not broken any club rules.
AUCKLAND - The Blues have been dealt a blow with lock Culum Retallick sidelined for six months after going down injured in Super Rugby pre-season training. Retallick ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a drill this week. After having a scan and consulting a specialist, the 28-year-old is scheduled to undergo surgery next year after the swelling subsides
LONDON - Danny Cipriani won bragging rights over friend James O'Connor after the Sale Sharks cruised to a 15-3 victory over London Irish in the English Premiership on Friday.
Out of favour with England, Cipriani — who played with O'Connor at the Melbourne Rebels — created the opening try and booted a conversion and a penalty in difficult conditions.