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The sports wrap 4th June 2018

LanguedocLiving, Jun 3

Castres shock Montpellier to win Top 14 title.

Faultless kicking by Argentine flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta made the difference as Castres Olympique shocked Montpellier Herault 29-13 to claim the Top 14 title at Stade de France on Saturday. Urdapilleta scored 19 points with five penalties and converted tries by Julien Dumora and Steve Mafi to hand the Tarn side their first title since 2013. Montpellier, who finished the regular season in top spot, replied through penalties by South Africans Ruan Pienaar and Francois Steyn and a try by Australian Jesse Mogg. Castres, who have now won the French Championship five times, became the first club to win the title from sixth place. A star-studded Montpellier side were unable to dictate the flow of play and after Pienaar missed a relatively easy fourth-minute penalty, Urdapilleta made no such mistake a couple of minutes later to open the scoring. Montpellier were eventually on target in the 12th minute but Urdapilleta, capped 10 times by Argentina, restored Castres' lead with his second and third penalties in quick succession in a close first quarter. Montpellier were then made to pay for a further indiscretion as the 32-year-old Urdapilleta booted his fourth penalty. Pienaar pulled one back to make it 12-6, but the defence-minded Castres then delivered a hammer blow just before the break. After a 5m scrum, centre Thomas Combezou fed Dumora, who feigned a pass to go over for a try. Urdapilleta hit the extras. Montpellier took control at the start of the second period and after Castres lock Loic Jacquet was yellow carded, they scored a penalty try. But Castres managed to run down the remainder of the 10 minutes that Jacquet was in the sin bin and it ended with a high tackle on their winger David Smith and Urdapilleta kicking his fifth penalty. As time ran out, Castres' Tongan replacement Mafi crashed over from close range. Urdapilleta had the final word with a successful conversion. In Washington DC, Ryan Elias' late try gave Wales a 22-20 victory against a much-changed South Africa. Coach Warren Gatland's side took an 11-point lead into half-time but South Africa fought back strongly after the break. The Springboks, who named seven debutants, led 22-17 with five minutes to play but an error by replacement Robert du Preez gifted Wales the win. Wales now travel to Argentina for two Tests against the Pumas, on 9 and 16 June.

Serena Wiliams plays Sharapova while Nadal marches on

Returning three-time champion Serena Williams set up a highly-anticipated French Open last-16 match against long-time rival Maria Sharapova on Monday by beating Germany's Julia Gorges. Williams, 36, playing her first Grand Slam since giving birth, won 6-3 6-4 against 11th seed Gorges. Earlier on Saturday, Russian two-time winner Sharapova beat sixth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2 6-1. Williams eased to victory over 29-year-old Gorges, who reached the world's top 10 for the first time this year, in just one hour and 15 minutes.The match between two of the sport's biggest stars - with 28 Grand Slam titles between them, plus personalities and marketability which have helped them transcend tennis - was one of the most eye-catching permutations when the Roland Garros draw was made last week. Spiky exchanges between the pair over the years have fuelled the narrative of a rivalry which, on court, has never been much of one. Williams, a 23-time Slam champion, has won 19 of their 21 previous meetings on tour - both of Sharapova's wins coming back in 2004. Sharapova, 31, is competing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, having been refused a wildcard entry in 2017 after serving a doping ban. In the men’s singles, world No.1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal was on track to win his 11th French Grand Slam after easing his way into the last 16 with a comfortable three-sets win over Bitterois Richard Gasquet who has never beaten the Spaniard in 16 meetings. Next up for Nadal is unseeded German Maximilian Marterer. His only serious threat seems to be No.2 seed Alexander Zverev who has survived three successive five-set marathons on his way to his first Grand Slam quarter-final, He will play Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem while 2016 champion Novak Djokovic, seeded 20th and still on the comeback trail after injury, will play Italy’s unseeded Marco Cecchinato in the last eight. (Look out for an in-depth article in Languedoc Living this Wednesday on the French Open by Katrina Allen, a former Junior Wimbledon and senior tournament player and Real Tennis world champion) .

France and England win World Cup build-up matches

France continued their impressive build up to the World Cup in Russia later this month with a comfortable 3-1 victory in a friendly over Italy in Nice on Friday night while England beat Nigeria 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday. Champions Germany, however. surprisingly went down 2-1 away to Austria. France followed their 2-0 victory over Republic of Ireland last Monday with an early goal from Samuel Umtiti after Kylian Mbappe's effort was parried by the Italian goalkeeper, Salvatore Sirigu. The French doubled their lead when Antoine Griezmann converted a penalty after Lucas Hernandez had been fouled. Leonardo Bonucci reduced the arrears for Italy but Ousmane Dembele's chip rounded off a fine French display. France have now won five and drawn one of the six games played between the two nations since Italy - who have failed to qualify for Russia - defeated them on penalties to win the World Cup final in 2006. England manager Gareth Southgate was delighted with his side’s performance in the win over Nigeria but Germany’s Joachim Loew was angry after the world champions suffered a historic loss to Austria. Four other World Cup finalists failed to score between them as European champions Portugal drew 0-0 in Belgium and the Scandinavian derby between Sweden and Denmark also ended goalless. Germany’s 2-1 defeat in Klagenfurt, which saw Manuel Neuer play his first game for club or country after a nine-month injury layoff, was their first against their smaller neighbours — who have not qualified for Russia — for 32 years. Chelsea defender Gary Cahill celebrated his return to England's squad and stepped up his claims for a starting place against Tunisia in Volgograd on 18 June by opening the scoring with a powerful header after only seven minutes. England's total first-half domination was emphasised when captain Harry Kane scored his eighth goal in his last seven appearances six minutes before the interval when Nigeria keeper Francis Uzoho allowed his 18-yard shot to slip in.

England thrash Pakistan by an innings to tie series

England bowled out Pakistan for 134 in their second innings to win the second test by an innings and 55 runs at Headingley on Sunday and square the two-test series 1-1. Joe Root’s side completed an emphatic victory halfway through the third day when Mohammed Abbas was caught in the slip off Stuart Broad, his third wicket of the innings. Earlier England took their first innings to 363 all out, a lead of 189 runs. Jos Buttler was not out on 80. It was England's first victory in eight Test matches, and their first Test win since September 2017. Jos Buttler displayed his full range of stroke play in a sparkling innings give the home side a 189-run lead. After Pakistan were reduced to 42 for 3, it never seemed likely that the game would reach day four at Headingley. Off-spinner Dom Bess claimed his maiden Test wicket in returning 3-33, while Stuart Broad took 3-38 as Pakistan were 134 all out in their second innings. It was a limp capitulation by the tourists, who failed to get anywhere near the performance of their nine-wicket win at Lord's. England’s challenge is to replicate this when they meet India over a five-Test series that begins in August. Before then, they enter a period of limited-overs cricket against India and Australia after playing a one-day international against Scotland in Edinburgh on 10 June.

Catalans beat Huddersfield for place in cup semi-finals

Catalans Dragons battled past Huddersfield Giants 20-6 on Saturday to reach the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup where they will face Super League leaders St Helens who beat holders Hull FC 25-22 in a tight, feisty match which saw three Hull players sin-binned. The Catalans won their quarter-final with second-half tries from David Mead and Greg Bird and 12 points from the boot of Josh Drinkwater.Trailing 4-0 at half-time, Huddersfield briefly took the lead when Leroy Cudjoe crossed shortly after the break. But that was as good as it got for the Giants as Mead capitalised on a handling error and Bird bundled over. The Catalans are now 80 minutes away from a first final since 2007, when they were defeated by 12-time champions St Helens, who will be playing their first semi-final since their 2015 loss to eventual winners Leeds Rhinos. Catalans’ coach Steve McNamara's in-form side were good value for their victory at the John Smith's Stadium, putting in a fine defensive display. Huddersfield were often woeful in attack and Darnell McIntosh's drop on the try-line to let Mead in summed up their night. In the other quarter-finals. Leeds Rhinos thumped Championship side Leigh Centurions 52-22 despite losing Peter Mata’utia for a dangerous tackle in the ninth minute and will face Warrington Wolves in the last four who beat last season’s finalists Wigan Warriors 23-0.

DeChambeau wins Memorial, Rose fails in bid to become No.1

American Bryson DeChambeau sealed his second PGA title with a birdie at the second play-off hole to win the Memorial tournament in Ohio on Sunday. The 24-year-old world No.38, one ahead overnight, had finished 15 under with compatriot Kyle Stanley and South Korea’s Byeong Hun An. Englishman Justin Rose needed a win to become world No.1 but a two-under 70 left him three back in joint sixth. Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy had five birdies in a 69 to finish joint eighth at 11 under, but Tiger Woods shot a 72 and was six shots adrift. Players had been sent out in groups of threes earlier than usual on the final day, from both the first and 10th tees, because of expected storms at Muirfield Village. In the Italian Open in Brescia, Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen won his fifth European Tour title with a one-shot victory The 28-year-old world No.129 began the final day one shot off the lead but carded seven birdies in a bogey-free 64 to finish on 22 under. Italian Francesco Molinari, winner last week of the PGA at Wentworth, started the round level with Olesen and birdied the last for a 65 to finish second. Overnight leader Lee Slattery was third after a closing 67.

Thomas recovers after crashing in Criterium du Dauphine

Britain's Geraint Thomas recovered from a crash on the opening time trial of the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday to finish 21 seconds adrift of Team Sky team-mate and winner Michal Kwiatkowski. Thomas, 32, crashed on a right-hand bend on the 6.6km prologue in Valence. Poland's Kwiatkowski crossed the finish line in seven minutes and 25 seconds, one second faster than Team LottoNL-Jumbo's Dutch rider Jos van Emden. "I know that [Geraint] can fight for the win," said Kwiatkowski. "Both of us, Geraint and myself, have come here to see how the shape is growing before the Tour de France and it's of course my advantage to win the prologue but the harder stages are at the end of the race. Team Sky's Gianni Moscon finished third, three seconds behind Kwiatkowski. The week-long race is regarded as a good indicator of form ahead of July's Tour de France. Britain's Chris Froome has won the race on three occasions, each time going on to win the Tour. However, he is not racing this year, having instead opted to compete in May's Giro d'Italia, which he won. The Criterium continues on Monday with a 179km race from Valence to Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert.

Golden State Warriors go 2-0 up in NBA finals

The Golden State Warriors took a 2-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the best-of-seven NBA finals on Sunday for the third straight season. Stephen Curry finished with an NBA finals’ record nine 3-pointers as he scored 33 points to lead the Warriors to a 122-103 victory. Kevin Durrant added 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. The Cavaliers’ LeBron James had another strong game after his 51 points in the first match, finishing with 29 points, nine rebounds and 13 assists. But it just wasn't enough. The first quarter was closely contested, as the Warriors held just a four-point advantage after the first 12 minutes. But they shot over 60 per cent, which was a sign of bad things to come, as Cleveland never got their defence right. Curry got loose from behind the arc in the second quarter to help the Warriors extend their advantage to 13 points at the break.The Cavaliers got back into the game in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to just five points on multiple occasions. Unfortunately for them all their hard work was essentially erased as a late burst that pushed the Warriors advantage back up to 10 points entering the fourth quarter. The third game is on Wednesday evening (Thursday morning local time).

Defending U20 champions New Zealand beat Wales 42-10

Defending World Rugby U20 champions New Zealand beat Wales 42-10 in Beziers on Sunday to win their second successive pool match and qualify for a place in the knock-out stages. Despite the Kiwis’ three yellow cards, they took command of Pool A, running in five tries with fly-half Harry Plummer adding to their tally with 17 points from the boot. Wales No.8 Taine Basham scored Wales' only try after a great finish in the corner. New Zealand made eight changes to the side that beat Japan 67-0 earlier in the week, while Wales' only change from 26-21 victory over Australia was enforced through injury. France kept up their momentum in Pool C with a 24-12 victory over Georgia in Beziers following their tight 26-24 victory over Ireland last Wednesday. They are now second behind South Africa after the young Boks overcame Ireland 30-17 for their second win. In Pool B, losing 2017 runners-up England are top after thrashing Italy 43-5 in Perpignan, a second victory in the tournament after beating Argentina 39-18. The final pool matches will be played in Narbonne, Beziers and Perpignan on Thursday, 7 June. The semifinals are on Tuesday, 12 June

Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo wins Italian MotoGP Grand Prix

Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo led a Ducati one-two in the Italian team’s home grand prix at the Mugello circuit in Tuscany on Sunday while MotoGP leader and last season’s champion Marc Marquez crashed and failed to score. The win ended a long drought for the three-times MotoGP champion, who has struggled since joining the factory team at the start of 2017 and whose last victory was for Yamaha in Valencia at the end of 2016. Italian team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was second, with his legendary compatriot Valentino Rossi third for Yamaha, making the 39-year-old great the first rider to score more than 5,000 points in the top category. Rossi, who started on pole position, moved up to second place overall and is now 23 points adrift of Marquez.

Capitals lead Knights 2-1 in Stanley Cup finals

Evgeny Kuznetsov provided a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night at Capital One Arena in Washington. The Capitals are in good shape, too, as their top players keep producing in the postseason. Alex Ovechkin and Devante Smith-Pelly also scored for Washington. The Capitals lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 is Monday night in Washington. Star winger Ovechkin continues to come through with solid production, and it’s no surprise that he’s maintaining a high level of play during this high-profile time of the season. Saturday night marked the first Stanley Cup Final game in Washington in two decades, with the Capitals winning on home ice for the first time at this stage of the season. They went 0-2 at home in the 1998 finals against the Detroit Red Wings. Washington goalie Braden Holtby made 21 saves. Holtby faced only 13 shots through two periods.

For full reports on all the weekend sporting events go to:,,,,,

Calendar Keynotes: 4 – 10 June 

Monday, 4 June

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 10 June)

Football: International friendlies – Morocco v Slovakia, Serbia v Chile, Italy v Netherlands.

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Criterium du Dauphine, France (till 10 June).

Ice Hockey: Stanley Cup final 4th match – Washington Capitals v Vegas Golden Knights.

Tuesday, 5 June

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 10 June)

Football: International friendly – Russia v Turkey. 

Wednesday, 6 June

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 10 June)

Football: International friendlies – Nigeria v Czech Republic, Norway v Panama, Belgium v Egypt.

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Criterium du Dauphine, France (till 10 June).

Basketball: NBA finals – Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 3. 

Thursday, 7 June

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 10 June)

Football: International friendlies – England v Costa Rica, South Korea v Bolivia, Portugal v Algeria, Iceland v Ghana.

Rugby Union: World Rugby U20 Championship – Perpignan: Wales v Japan, New Zealand v Australia, Narbonne: Ireland v Georgia, South Africa v France, Beziers: Italy v Argentina, England v Scotland.

Rugby League: Super League – Wakefield Trinity v Wigan Warriors.

Cricket: Sussex v Australia, one-day match, Hove.

Golf: USPGA Tour, FedEx St Jude Classic, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee (till 10 June), PGA European Tour, The 2018 Shot Clock Masters, Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria (till 10 June).

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Criterium du Dauphine, France (till 10 June).

Ice Hockey: Stanley Cup final 5th match – Vegas Golden Knights v Washington Capitals.

Friday, 8 June

Football: International friendlies – Uruguay v Uzbekistan, Croatia v Senegal, Iran v Lithuania, Switzerland v Japan, Germany v Saudi Arabia, Poland v Chile.

Formula One: Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal (till 10 June)

Rugby League: Super League – Hull FC v Salford Red Devils, Leeds Rhinos v Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves v Castleford Tigers, St Helens v Hull KR.

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 10 June)

Golf: USPGA Tour, FedEx St Jude Classic, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee (till 10 June), PGA European Tour, The 2018 Shot Clock Masters, Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria (till 10 June).

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Criterium du Dauphine, France (till 10 June).

Basketball: NBA finals – Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 4.

Saturday, 9 June

Football: International friendlies: France v USA, Hungary v Australia, Estonia v Morocco, Serbia v Bolivia, Sweden v Peru, Denmark v Mexico, Israel v Argentina, Tunisia v Spain.

Formula One: Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal (till 10 June)

Rugby Union: New Zealand v France, Japan v Italy, Australia v Ireland, South Africa v England, Argentina v Wales.

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 10 June)

Rugby League: Super League – Catalans Dragons v Widnes Vikings.

Cricket: Middlesex v Australia, one-day match, Lord’s.

Golf: USPGA Tour, FedEx St Jude Classic, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee (till 10 June), PGA European Tour, The 2018 Shot Clock Masters, Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria (till 10 June).

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Criterium du Dauphine, France (till 10 June), UCI World Tour, Tour de Suisse, Switzerland (till 17 June).

Sunday, 10 June

Football: International friendlies – Austria v Brazil.

Formula One: Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal (till 10 June)

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris (till 10 June),

Rugby Union: Canada v Scotland.

Golf: USPGA Tour, FedEx St Jude Classic, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee (final day), PGA European Tour, The 2018 Shot Clock Masters, Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria (final day).

Cycling: UCI World Tour, Criterium du Dauphine, France (final day), UCI World Tour, Tour de Suisse, Switzerland (till 17 June).

Ice Hockey: Stanley Cup final 6th match – Washington Capitals v Vegas Golden Knights.

Athletics: IAAF Diamond League, Stockholm Sweden.

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