• Former Wallaby back from the wilderness


    It’s not quite hell and back, but former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles has endured quite the journey trying to revive his Super Rugby career.


    Hoiles has been to Sweden and back.

    “My father and I flew over. We had about 11 flights in 11 days,” he told AAP.

    “It was like a massive trek to get there and then I was back out of there about five days later.”

    But it’s mission accomplished after the 32-year-old globetrotted on a wing and a prayer hoping last-ditch surgery on his troublesome achilles tendon could get him back on the paddock for the first time since 2010.

    The gamble paid off, with Hoiles making two appearances for Randwick in Sydney club rugby last August to earn a training contract with the NSW Waratahs.

    Painstaking research, doctors and former coaches pointed him to Dr Hakan Alfredson, who Hoiles hailed as “if not the best, then one of the best tendon surgeons in the world”.

    “He just deals with chronic cases or people who are a little bit left of centre.”

    Hoiles was definitely that, if not at his wits’ end after being frustrated by an injury that started as a “stiff foot” from double training loads with the Brumbies and the Wallabies midway through 2010.

    Clean-up surgery at the end of that season was meant to sideline the classy back-rower for 12 weeks.

    But he’s been in the wilderness since.

    Apart from the emotional toll its had on Hoiles, who couldn’t even chase his two young children on the beach without pulling up sore, the former Brumbies captain has also lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost earnings.

    “I had to leave Canberra because of it because I had another year left on my contract and Jake White wasn’t really happy coming into the side with the captain potentially not going to play for the whole year,” he said.

    After two unsuccessful six-month rehab programs at the AIS, Hoiles emailed Dr Alfredson last January and was on a flight two weeks later for surgery.

    “I was either going to go over there and he’d tell me that it’s unrepairable and that I’m done, or he’d be able to fix it,” Hoiles said.

    “So either way, it was going to be closure. If it was no good, I could accept that. I’d have given it every shot.”

    Dr Alfredson asked Hoiles to run up and down on the spot to aggravate the injury before an ultrasound identified a loose bone fragment in his foot.

    “Then he split me down the back of my heel, opened me up and cleaned it up while I was awake,” Hoiles said.

    “It was probably a two-hour operation but, after pretty much two-and-a-half, three years of utter frustration because of it, it’s all sorted now.”

    Hoiles has completed 10 weeks of intense off-season training with the Waratahs without needing achilles treatment even once.

    His only focus now is on the Waratahs’ February 1 trial against the Melbourne Rebels in Albury.

    “There’s been no guarantees, no promises,” he said.

    “I don’t know where it’s going to lead me footy-wise. I’ve got to work pretty hard to try and get an opportunity to play here because there’s a lot of guys in front of me.

    “But I still believe that the years I missed may be a bit of a blessing for me.

    “I still feel like I’ve got a couple of good years in me at least.”

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  • Indonesia warns anew on boat turnbacks


    Indonesia has again warned the federal government against asylum-seeker turnbacks following reports the Australian Navy secretly turned around at least one boat in recent weeks.


    Reports from Indonesia and Australia say an Ashmore Island-bound boat was turned back either in December or on Monday – or possibly on both occasions – and subsequently became stranded on Rote Island, near West Timor.

    The Indonesian reports quoted local police, while Fairfax Media cited unnamed Australian Defence sources and the Indonesian water police.

    Immigration Minister Scott Morrison would not comment on the conflicting reports for “operational security reasons”, despite the coalition having a pre-election policy to turn boats back when safe.

    Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa also refused to comment on the specifics when asked about the reports on Tuesday.

    “But as a policy, I shall repeat this once again: Indonesia rejects and is against the policy of boat turnbacks because it’s not a solution,” he told reporters in Jakarta, speaking in Indonesian.

    Agus Barnas, a spokesman for Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law and Security – which has responsibility for people smuggling – said he was unaware of any turnbacks.

    He said Indonesia was still observing a moratorium on co-operating with Australia on people-smuggling after last year’s spying scandal.

    “So far, there’s no policy that the co-operation would resume,” Mr Barnas said.

    “The talk on forming a code of conduct is still in process.”

    Speculation about possible boat turnbacks follows a stand-off in November when Australia tried to force a vessel back into Indonesian waters.

    The Abbott government backed down after Indonesia refused to accept the asylum seekers, who were eventually transferred to Christmas Island.

    Mr Morrison says that Australia respects Indonesia’s territorial sovereignty “and will continue to do so”.

    “It is not the policy or practice of the Australian government to violate Indonesian territorial sovereignty,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Dr Natalegawa said Indonesia’s relationship with Australia was still in a “difficult phase” in the wake of the spying revelations.

    But he said he was in daily contact with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in an effort to repair the damage.

    “What’s needed is a gradual process of restoration of confidence or trust, and this is where we are just now,” he said.

    The Greens want Mr Morrison to provide details of any turnback operation, saying the lives of asylum seekers could have been endangered.

    “These people could have drowned,” Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

    “How many other boats has this occurred to that we’ve never heard about?”

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  • Women’s drawcards crash in Sydney


    Refusing to panic, Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki insist they remain Australian Open contenders despite making premature exits from the Sydney International.


    Radwanska slipped up 7-5 6-3 against American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands, marking the first time in the professional era that the women’s champion has bombed out in her opening match of her title defence.

    Wozniacki, the sixth seed, followed her out the exit gates later on Tuesday with a 6-4 7-6 (9-7) second-round loss to Czech Lucie Safarova.

    Radwanska is adamant she remains an Open threat despite having not won a competitive match since October and also seemingly carrying a shoulder injury.

    The world No.5 received treatment on her serving shoulder during last week’s Hopman Cup in Perth and, while loath to blame the injury for her loss to the 48th-ranked Mattek-Sands, admitted it was still bothering her.

    “Maybe a little bit, but I have good painkillers,” Radwanska said.

    The non-sanctioned Hopman Cup aside, Radwanska hasn’t won a set – let alone a match – in more than two months after also losing all three of her round-robin encounters at the season-ending championships in Istanbul.

    The former Wimbledon runner-up’s run of outs is a far cry from last year when the Pole arrived at Melbourne Park for the season’s first grand slam riding a nine-match winning streak after picking up back-to-back titles in Auckland and Sydney.

    But the 24-year-old isn’t concerned, claiming four wins at the Hopman Cup exhibition event is proof enough she’s not playing badly.

    “Every week is different story. You start over and over again,” Radwanska said.

    “You’re not winning every week every match. I think just couple of guys can do it.”

    Wozniacki was the last Sydney champion not to win a match in her title defence – back in 2011 – but insisted her latest defeat was no setback ahead of the Open getting underway in Melbourne on Monday.

    “I played two matches here then I get a few days over there and get to play a few sets as well with some of the girls and with different types players,” the Dane said.

    “Yeah, I should be ready for Melbourne.”

    Mattek-Sands’ surprise second-round win – after she beat higher-ranked Canadian Eugenie Bouchard and Radwanska enjoyed a first-round bye – thrust her into a quarter-final with fellow American Madison Keys, a 6-0 3-6 7-6 (7-4) victor over Croatian wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic.

    Czech second seed Petra Kvitova and German fifth seed Angelique Kerber avoided the carnage to safely progress to the quarter-finals.

    Kvitova thrashed US qualifier Christine McHale 6-1 6-0 in one hour neat to book a last-eight date with Safarova, while Kerber downed big-hitting Estonian Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-4 to set up a quarter-final with Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

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  • Mini skirt creator turns 80


    The creator of the mini-skirt, British designer Mary Quant, turns 80 on Tuesday still brimming with enthusiasm for fashion and women’s rights.


    She admits a certain nostalgia for the “high excitement and innovation” of 1960s “Swinging London”, but said it was “wonderful to be a woman and alive right now”.

    “Women are enjoying their lives more than ever before,” she said in an emailed statement, and gave an approving nod to current trends: “It is all legs and bottoms.”

    Quant scandalised British society with her frank views on sex and her thigh-skimming skirts and shift dresses worn with coloured tights.

    Known for her bob haircut almost as much as for her designs, she revolutionised women’s fashion – and with it, how many of her customers saw themselves.

    In her 2012 autobiography, Quant described with admiration the “superwomen” now who “move like athletes and sit like men with their knees well apart. Their children take their mother’s surname… They are in control”.

    Quant herself is widowed with one son, Orlando, and three grandchildren. Her husband and business partner, Alexander Plunket Greene, died in 1990 at 57.

    She currently lives in Surrey, southwest of London, and remains a consultant on her make-up company that she sold in 2000, and which still bears her flower logo.

    Quant met APG, as she called her husband, while they were studying at Goldsmiths art college in London, drawn by his eccentric style – he used to wear his mother’s pyjama tops as shirts.

    Together they opened their first boutique, Bazaar, in 1955 in Chelsea, a district to the west of the capital that would soon become the beating heart of Swinging London.

    Bazaar sold clothes and accessories, the restaurant in the basement became a meeting point for young people and artists and soon the whole district was attracting celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

    Quant designed short dresses and skirts with simple lines and vibrant colours, which she enjoyed showcasing in extravagant and provocative window displays overlooking the King’s Road.

    “City gents in bowler hats beat on our shop window with their umbrellas shouting ‘Immoral!’ and ‘Disgusting!’ at the sight of our mini-skirts over the tights, but customers poured in to buy,” she recalled in her book.

    The King’s Road became a constant catwalk show for girls in mini-skirts, drawing American photographers keen for a view of Swinging London with a party atmosphere rivalled only by Carnaby Street.

    Business was good, and during the 1960s Quant opened a second shop in London, collaborated with the US department store JC Penney and launched a more mass-market line of clothes, The Ginger Group.

    She used geometric designs, polka dots and contrasting colours and played around with new fabrics, including PVC and stretch fabrics, for a modern and playful look.

    “The clothes I made happened to fit in exactly with the teenage trend, with pop records and espresso bars and jazz clubs,” Quant recalled in her first book, Quant by Quant.

    “She was in the right place at the right time and that was part of her success,” confirms Jenny Lister, a fashion curator at the V&A Museum in London which has many Quant items in its permanent collection.

    Quant’s personality and style – including her iconic fringe cut by Vidal Sassoon – made her “probably the most famous fashion designer that has come out of this country”, Lister said.

    “She had an audacious approach and she went out to get headlines and would make very provocative statements about sexuality and her private life as well, which perhaps went along with her clothes, which were seen as quite outrageous at the time,” she added.

    Quant was honoured by the British establishment with an OBE in 1966, and her legacy can still be seen on the high-street today, including fashion stores like Topshop.

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  • Lennon takes players to task


    The Hoops have been almost unstoppable this season with ‘keeper Fraser Forster setting a new club record of 13 clean sheets in a row as Neil Lennon’s side won 14 consecutive games going into the match.


    But the holders’ hopes of completing a second successive league and cup double ended as Aberdeen inflicted their first domestic defeat since September.

    Anthony Stokes fired Celtic into a ninth minute lead as he showed good control and skill to fire past Jamie Langfield.

    However, the Dons arrived in Glasgow as the last side to score against the Hoops back in November and buoyed by their League Cup semi-final win over St Johnstone last weekend.

    Adam Rooney diverted an Andrew Considine header on to the bar before Russell Anderson ended Forster’s run of 19 hours and 23 minutes without conceding a goal as he volleyed Aberdeen level in the 38th minute.

    Celtic then found themselves trailing in a game for the first time since November 2 when Peter Pawlett sent a superb angled shot past Forster in the 49th minute.

    The Dons held on to book a place in the last eight as they joined Morton, who knocked Celtic out of the League Cup at the same venue in September, as the only teams to have defeated the Hoops domestically this season.

    Celtic manager Lennon couldn’t hide his disappointment at his side’s poor performance.

    “We wanted to defend the cup – it’s in our DNA as a club – and to go out so early in both competitions is hugely disappointing,” the Hoops boss said.

    “I can factor in the League Cup as at the time we were in the Champions League and I made some changes for that game, but there are no excuses for today as that was a poor performance.

    “We all have to accept the responsibility and the criticism that will come our way.

    “You have to give Aberdeen credit as they played well on the day. Going a goal down they showed a lot of character to get back into the game.

    “But I’ve got to look at my own team and that’s as poor as we’ve played here for a long, long time.

    “We missed too many decent chances when we didn’t work the goalkeeper and there was a flatness about our play today. I don’t where that has come from.

    “We can analyse it to death but we gave the players all the preparation needed for today and cup ties are like that. We didn’t play anywhere near the level that we can.”

    Aberdeen, who face Inverness Caledonian Thistle in next month’s League Cup final, now have the chance to win both domestic cups.

    And Lennon believes it is a realistic prospect.

    “Absolutely,” the Celtic manager said. “They could win both trophies now and I think coming here and winning will give them a huge shot in the arm.”

    The Dons will be joined in Sunday’s draw for the quarter-finals by Rangers, who thrashed fellow League One side Dunfermline 4-0 on Friday night, St Johnstone, Albion Rovers and Dumbarton while Stranraer and Inverness will need a replay following a 2-2 draw.

    Hibernian’s 112-year Scottish Cup hoodoo continues as Championship side Raith Rovers defeated Terry Butcher’s side 3-2 at Easter Road.

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  • Watson a massive loss: SAfrica spinner


    South Africa’s Robin Peterson called Shane Watson’s calf injury an immense blow to Australia’s hopes of starting the three-Test series on a high note.


    Shaun Marsh arrived in Johannesburg early on Sunday, when the squad enjoyed a rest day and selectors pondered the best way to replace Watson in the XI.

    Peterson, speaking after the Proteas’ training session on Sunday at Centurion, gave an honest appraisal of Watson’s value to the Australian team.

    “Shane is a quality cricketer, a guy who can take the game away from you with bat or ball,” Peterson said.

    “He’s had reasonable success in South Africa with the ball and with the bat, so he’ll be a massive loss for them.

    “But whoever they replace him with (should be capable).”

    Australia will train on Monday and Tuesday before the first Test starts at Centurion on Wednesday.

    Alex Doolan is expected to bat at first drop in a reshuffled order, with Marsh, Phillip Hughes and Moises Henriques battling for the other berth.

    Peterson was adamant Watson’s replacement would be a clear-cut decision for coach Darren Lehmann and chief selector John Inverarity.

    “They’ll probably go for the allrounder (Henriques). It’s the only option,” Peterson said.

    “You don’t want to leave yourself short in South Africa, only having three seam bowling options. If one breaks down you’re stuck with two.”

    Peterson played down the destabilising effect of having two new faces in an XI that went unchanged throughout a 5-0 Ashes sweep of England.

    “It’s happened to South Africa plenty before, and we’ve come out on top. So I wouldn’t see it any different for Australia,” he said.

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  • Vietnam’s luxury chocolate industry


    Deep in the Mekong Delta, two Frenchmen have their heads buried in a sack of cacao beans.


    The pair – co-founders of Vietnam’s first artisan chocolate maker – resurface, murmuring appreciatively.

    The sweet-toothed entrepreneurs – who quit their day jobs to set up award-winning chocolate company Marou – buy three out of four of 64-year-old farmer Vo Thanh Phuoc’s sacks of dried, fermented cacao, paying a premium on the market price for the better-than-average beans.

    “When we started, the farmers thought we were crazy,” Marou’s co-founder Vincent Mourou said as he nibbled on a cacao nib. Every sack of beans is individually checked as the smell, colour, texture and taste give a good indication of the chocolate to come.

    “Now, they try the beans too.”

    Cacao was likely first introduced in Vietnam by French colonialists in the late 19th century, but never took off as a cash crop.

    As demand for high-quality chocolate rises globally – particularly in emerging markets – while supply from traditional producers like Ivory Coast falls due to ageing tree stock and other problems, the industry is eyeing communist Vietnam as a new supplier.

    Cacao prices hit two-and-a-half-year highs in late January amid concerns over inventory, and some industry figures are warning of a possible deficit of one million tonnes by 2020.

    The chocolate industry is “desperate to diversify” its supply of beans, which would lessen the risk of supply crunches owing to disease or political unrest, said Chris Jackson, lead economist with the World Bank in Hanoi.

    Current production in the communist country is just 5,000 tonnes per year, compared to the roughly 1.4 million tonnes exported by Ivory Coast, according to the International Cocoa Organisation.

    But this needs to grow to give the cacao industry a chance in Vietnam, said Gricha Safarian, managing director of Puratos Grand-Place, a Belgium joint venture which produces the majority of chocolate used locally in Vietnam – by hotels, bakeries and ice cream companies – and exports high-quality chocolate and cacao beans.

    “Vietnam has a place to take as a medium size producer of quality beans,” said Safarian, who has worked in Vietnam’s nascent cacao industry for two decades.

    “Year by year the market is going to be more rewarding for quality beans because of this coming shortage” as demand for quality chocolate rises, especially in Asia, he said.

    Vietnam’s chocolate has “a different flavour profile – the Vietnamese beans are rather different from the African bean,” which makes it stand out in the market, he said.

    “The cacao sector in Vietnam is really at a crossroads – it could go for quality or quantity,” said Vien Kim Cuong, program manager for Swiss NGO Helvetas, which works with cacao farmers on certification.

    The country is well-known for cheap agricultural exports like coffee – it provides 50 per cent of the world’s low-end Robusta beans – and catfish so cheap it is repeatedly hit by US anti-dumping measures.

    Marou and Puratos Grand-Place want the government to take a different, more upmarket route with the cacao sector – they are trying to add value locally and build a reputation for Vietnamese luxury chocolate.

    “We transform an agricultural product, the cacao bean plus sugar, into a high-quality chocolate that we position as a premium product on the export market,” said Safarian – whose Made in Vietnam chocolate is found in top restaurants from Paris to Tokyo.

    For Marou co-founder Samuel Maruta, setting up an artisan chocolate company in Vietnam – not known for cacao, chocolate or even high-quality export goods – was a risk.

    But the pair have successfully positioned their Vietnamese single-origin chocolate as part of a growing bean-to-bar revolution, a rebellion against homogeneity in an industry dominated by major players like Kraft and Italy’s Ferrero.

    Mass-produced chocolate can be “incredibly soulless,” said Maruta, a world apart from the rich, fruity, spicy notes found in a bar of the company’s 78 per cent dark chocolate.

    From their Ho Chi Minh City-based factory, they’re now exporting close to two tonnes of chocolate a month, to some 15 countries.

    The pair want Vietnam “to push quality cacao, so that Vietnamese cacao is known for quality and not quantity,” Maruta said.

    Officials at state department VinaCacao said they aimed to increase cacao production some five-fold by 2020, but declined to provide further details.

    Major buyers including industry leader MARS are eager for Vietnam to grow more higher-quality “certified” beans – MARS has pledged to use only certified beans by 2020.

    “Vietnam will play a role in providing certified quality beans to Mars,” which is working locally to train farmers and research new cacao strains, MARS Vietnam cocoa development manager Dinh Hai Lam told AFP.

    The only other country to go into cacao production in recent years is Indonesia, which focuses only on producing a high volume of low-end, unfermented beans.

    Cacao can be a good earner for farmers – but only if they can get a premium for their beans, and the premium is based on the quality, Safarian said.

    Ironically, the people who are the most difficult to convince about the quality of Vietnamese chocolate are … Vietnamese.

    “The Vietnamese consumer does not trust the product of his own country yet,” Safarian said, referring to consumers’ preference for imported goods which are perceived as higher quality.

    “This will change,” he said. “You cannot approach the chocolate market in Vietnam as you approach it in France or Belgium,” he said, adding that while there is not likely to be much of a market for praline, the emerging middle class is already developing a taste for chocolate.

    “Being in this business for 30 years, I have still never met anyone who doesn’t like chocolate at first bite.”

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  • Tevez brace not enough as Juventus held


    Juventus, who failed to win for only the fourth time in 23 Serie A games this season, stayed nine points clear of AS Roma, who were held to a goalless draw by neighbours Lazio.


    Gervinho had a goal disallowed for Roma while Stefano Mauri came on at halftime for Lazio, his first match since completing a six-month ban for failing to report match-fixing in 2011.

    Otherwise, there was little excitement in a disappointing derby with a surprising number of empty seats blighting the Stadio Olimpico.

    Troubled Inter Milan produced their first win of the year when they beat lowly Sassuolo 1-0 with a Walter Samuel header at the San Siro, putting them level in fifth place with Verona.

    Brazilian midfielder Hernandes made his Inter debut and midfielder Fredy Guarin his first appearance since his transfer to Juventus fell through in January.


    Juventus, well on course to win a third successive scudetto, have 60 points, nine clear of Roma who are in their first season under French coach Rudi Garcia. Napoli, 3-1 winners over AC Milan on Saturday, are third with 47.

    Tevez, whose performances have failed to impress Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella and who appears set to miss the World Cup, put Juventus in front in the fourth minute when he side-footed home from a rebound after Kwadwo Asamoah’s shot was parried.

    Juventus looked set to stroll home when Tevez calmly turned in Paul Pogba’s incisive pass from a similar position inside the penalty area in the 21st minute, his 13th league goal of the season and one behind Serie A top scorer Giuseppe Rossi.

    But promoted Verona had other ideas as Toni headed one back early in the second half, then saw a close range effort brilliantly stopped by Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

    In between, Juventus brought on Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, on loan from Southampton, for his debut and he made an immediate impact, hitting the post and having a goal disallowed.

    Verona, who had two penalty appeals turned down, finally got a deserved equaliser when Gomez got in front of the Juventus defence to head in after a quickly-taken free kick.

    Genoa and Sampdoria both scored early in 1-0 wins as they moved further away from the relegation zone.

    Tenth-placed Genoa (30 points) moved above AC Milan when Luca Antonelli’s early goal sank next-to-bottom Livorno.

    Daniele Gastaldello’s 11th minute header was enough for former Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic’s Sampdoria to overcome Cagliari, taking them up to twelfth.

    (Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond/Rex Gowar)

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  • Pellegrini blames City stalemate


    Manuel Pellegrini insists Manchester City’s failure to regain first place in the Premier League is hardly surprising after his squad was ravaged by injuries to several key players

    City would have finished the weekend in first place had they beaten Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday, but instead dropped to third after settling for a point from a frustrating 0-0 draw.


    That meant they failed to overtake Arsenal, who had lost 5-1 at Liverpool earlier in the day, and were passed by new leaders Chelsea, who beat Newcastle 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

    Chelsea had won 1-0 at City on Monday and the Norwich stalemate meant that a side that had rattled in 68 goals in the previous 23 Premier League fixtures had now completed two more without adding any more to the tally.

    It was also the first time City had failed to find the net in successive games in just over two years, but Pellegrini is adamant that was mainly the result of injuries to his prolific strikers.

    Sergio Aguero is sidelined with a hamstring injury and Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo are both playing through the pain barrier.

    “Everybody has been talking about how many goals we score, and how we concede them when we defend, but the most difficult thing is scoring goals,” Pellegrini said.

    “In the last two games, with our strikers not being fit, we couldn’t do it and without a goal you can’t win a game.

    “Dzeko has an ankle in a very bad condition, which is why he played just 30 minutes and Negredo has a problem with a shoulder but they had to play in that condition.

    “I was concerned about this match and it was exactly the same when we played Chelsea because we have a lot of players who are not 100 percent fit.

    “Maybe it was a good opportunity but we are still two points behind the leaders.”

    It was a similar situation in midfield, with Javi Garcia and Fernandinho both sidelined through injury, forcing Yaya Toure to adopt a defensive role.

    The Ivory Coast international had a limited impact but Pellegrini explained: “Yaya had to play today a little bit back because we did not have another man who could play in that position.”

    Pellegrini insisted he had not seen an incident involving Toure in which the City midfielder appeared to kick Norwich substitute Ricky van Wolfswinkel off the ball late in the game.

    Chris Hughton, the Norwich manager, said he had not seen the incident either, but was understandably more interested in praising his players for their efforts in the game, especially as they had been beaten 7-0 by City in Manchester in November.

    “It says a lot about what we have got in the squad,” he said. “It’s a smaller squad than Manchester City’s but it’s a tighter squad.

    “It says a fair bit about the competition that we have got. I thought we did most things right.”

    Norwich remain part of the relegation equation and are only two points ahead of the bottom three clubs.

    Yet they were applauded off the pitch by their supporters, who had been critical after previous games.

    “We have a support here who know the game,” Hughton added. “Going through a game with Man City and not conceding a goal is a big ask.

    “They saw a team trying to win a game in the last 10 minutes and that’s why we got the reception we did.”

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  • Tiger congratulates niece for Aussie win


    Tiger Woods has congratulated his niece for winning the Australian Ladies Masters.


    Cheyenne Woods, stepped out of her superstar uncle’s shadow on Sunday by winning the biggest tournament of her career at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast.

    “Way to go Cheyenne Woods!” 14-time major champion Tiger Woods tweeted. “A great win and accomplishment. I’m so proud of you.”

    Aside from the Twitter shout-out from her uncle, the win earned Cheyenne a two-year exemption into Ladies European Tour events.

    Cheyenne, who is the daughter of Tiger’s half-brother Earl Dennison Woods, held off a strong challenge by Australian amateur Minjee Lee (278) to card a final-round four-under-par 69 and complete a 16-under 276 total for victory.

    The American, whose grandfather Earl Woods – Tiger’s father – was her first coach, was rock-solid throughout her final round, firing five birdies and just one bogey, and she choked back tears during her victory speech.

    “This is a huge accomplishment for me,” said the world No.363, adding that she hopes her breakthrough will move the conversation beyond merely her surname.

    “I’ve been pro for two years and, for the majority of it, people just think of me as Tiger Woods’ niece so now I have a game of my own and I have a title now, a win, which is exciting,” she said.

    “It’s nice now to say to people that I can play and I’m not just a name. Growing up with the last name of Woods, there’s a lot of expectations and pressure and spotlight on you but I always knew that I was able to win.

    “I always knew I’d be able to compete with these ladies so now it’s kind of a weight off my shoulders because now everybody knows not just me.”

    A victory in next week’s US LPGA-sanctioned Australian Open would also earn Cheyenne exemption into that tour.

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  • PSG and Monaco go another 1-1 draw


    A Thiago Silva own goal denied Paris Saint-German victory at their closest Ligue 1 rivals Monaco as the top two clubs in France played out their second 1-1 draw of the season.


    The result left PSG still firm favourites to win a second consecutive title as they remain five points ahead of Monaco with 14 games to be played.

    Monaco salvaged a point after PSG’s captain Silva stretched and inadvertently turned a Fabinho cross into his goal in the 74th minute.

    The result was probably a fair reflection of the match, but PSG will be the most disappointed as they had held the lead since the eighth minute through a headed goal by Javier Pastore.

    Lurking at the back post, Pastore, who was drafted into the PSG side as replacement for injured striker Edinson Cavani, was able to score from close range after a corner had been flicked-on from defender Alex.

    Monaco’s response to going behind was immediate and they should have been level just six minutes later, but Emmanuel Riviere squandered a great chance pushing a rebound from Sirigu wide with the goal at his mercy.

    PSG should have doubled their lead when Ibrahimovic, of all people, squandered a fine opportunity from just five yards out after good play on the left flank between Pastore and Maxwell.

    The second-half was a more scrappy affair with PSG largely in control.

    PSG came closest to scoring when Ibrahimovic fired in a fierce free-kick from the edge of the area which Monaco’s Croatian keeper Danijel Subasic did well to turn wide in the 55th minute.

    Both sides had a chance to secure victory in the final minutes.

    First Fabinho was denied in the 89th minute from giving Monaco – who brought on former Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov for his debut in the 64th minute – victory after his thunderous shot was well-saved by PSG’s Sirigu.

    Then just moments later, Monaco’s Subasic pulled off a similar save to deny Ligue 1’s top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

    Meanwhile, the chasing pack behind the top two teams mostly had a good weekend.

    Lille, Marseille, Lyon and Reims all won with St Etienne the only side in the top seven not to get three points following a disappointing 0-0 at mid-table Toulouse.

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  • INXS tears apart Schapelle


    Aussie rock band INXS has made it to the top of the charts again after it smashed the telemovie Schapelle on the first night of official ratings for the year.


    The first part of the mini-series INXS: Never Tear Us Apart was the number one show on Sunday with 1.947 million viewers.

    Schapelle, which was moved forward from Monday to Sunday and deliberately pitted against INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, was seventh with 1.022 million tuning-in on OzTAM’s overnight ratings.

    The second and final part of INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, will screen next Sunday.

    The Nine Network took a risk in its decision to slot Schapelle, about convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, against INXS.

    While attracting more than a million viewers is deemed a pass mark on any night of the week, Schapelle’s figures are not that satisfactory.

    Nine brought Schapelle forward to cash in on Corby’s anticipated release from an Indonesian jail on Monday and take some steam out of INXS: Never Tear Us Apart.

    However, the much anticipated show about the convicted drug smuggler would likely have rated much better had it remained in its original Monday time slot.

    And the decision to announce the screening change on Friday was made at the last minute, which meant the switch missed most of the weekend’s printed TV guides.

    Seven claimed not only the number one spot for the start of the official ratings period, but it snared second, third and fourth as well.

    Current affair series Sunday Night, which featured an interview with Rachelle Louise, the girlfriend of Simon Gittany who threw his fiancee to her death over a balcony, was second.

    The gripping interview drew 1.793 million viewers, ratings behemoth My Kitchen Rules (1.640 million) was third and Seven News (1.292 million) was fourth.

    While there was a lot of attention being placed on the Nine and Seven ratings war, the launch of Network Ten’s new dance series So You Think You Can Dance got severely crunched.

    The return of the dance series after several years in hiatus was 18th with just 466,000 viewers.

    The live telecast of the Sochi Games Snowboard Slopestyle Final, featuring Aussie Torah Bright, did much better for Ten.

    It was eighth overall with 996,000 viewers.

    Most watched shows on Monday

    1. INXS: Never Tear Us Apart (Seven) – 1.947 million

    2. Sunday Night (Seven) – 1.793 million

    3. My Kitchen Rules (Seven) – 1.640 million

    4. Seven News (Seven) – 1.292 million

    5. The Block: Fans v Faves (Nine) – 1.274 million

    6. Nine News (Nine) – 1.223 million

    7. Schapelle (Nine) – 1.022 million

    8. Sochi Live: Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final (Ten) 996,000

    9. 60 Minutes (Nine) – 866,000

    10. ABC (ABC1) – 790,000


    18. So You Think You Can Dance Launch (Ten) 466,000

    * Source OzTAM

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  • Maguire happy with Keary-Reynolds combo


    Michael Maguire has confirmed Luke Keary and Adam Reynolds will almost certainly be South Sydney’s halves pairing for the season opener against the Sydney Roosters on March 6.


    The duo started against Canterbury in Sunday’s NRL 28-20 trial victory at the Belmore Sports Ground with Keary playing the full 80 minutes of a match that was played in four quarters.

    Keary, 22, made 10 appearances last year, nine of them off the bench, with his one start alongside Reynolds resulting in a 26-8 defeat to Melbourne in round 22.

    However, Maguire believes the two can form a partnership that can prosper in 2014 as the Rabbitohs look to win a first premiership since 1971.

    “I think young Luke and Adam did well together, they had some good combinations and controlled the game well in the first half,” Maguire said.

    “I think the hard work they have put in over pre-season was shown today and hopefully they will become better and better, but I was really pleased with how they went.”

    Maguire believes blooding Keary at the back end of last season will benefit him this year.

    “When Luke played with Reyno last year they did well and I made the decision in pre-season to go with him,” he said.

    “But I will go back and review the game and see where they can improve.”

    Maguire’s decision will force John Sutton to lock, but he denies it is a big risk to make changes given how successful his partnership has been with Reynolds since the halfback made his debut in 2012.

    “Sutto has spent plenty of time in pre-season playing through the middle but we can also move his back to the halves if we need to, with his experience,” he said.

    “But I am looking forward to the different options it gives us.”

    Souths will welcome back the Burgess brothers on Tuesday morning with the siblings returning from the UK on Monday evening following a family bereavement.

    Maguire refused to add to speculation about Sam Burgess making the move to English rugby despite signing a four-year deal with the club last year.

    He also denied the reports have been a distraction to his squad.

    “I don’t have any further to add about it,” he said.

    “All the focus has been about what we do on the field.”

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