The sports wrap Monday, 19 August

140
George North celebrates the try that helped Wales beat England in Cardiff

Wales go to No.1 ahead of Rugby World Cup

Wales will go to the top of the world rankings for the first time after they ground out a 13-6 victory over England in a World Cup warm-up match in Cardiff on Saturday. George North’s try after inspired play from Dan Biggar helped Wales build a 10-0 lead at the end of a keenly contested but disjointed first-half. England edged into it with two George Ford penalties as defences dominated. But Leigh Halfpenny struck the decisive penalty on his return to the Wales side after an injury-ravaged year. That means on Monday, when the next world rankings are released officially, Warren Gatland’s men will sit at the summit for the first time since World Rugby introduced the ranking system in 2003. It also ends New Zealand’s uninterrupted 10 years at the top, despite the All Blacks’ 36-0 victory over Australia earlier on Saturday. By making only three changes to the team that lost 33-19 to England the previous Sunday, Gatland said he was giving his players the chance to redeem themselves in Cardiff. And while this Wales side is still evidently a work in progress where the World Cup is concerned, this was a marked improvement. Whereas they were 14 points down in as many minutes at Twickenham, Wales wrestled their way into a position of strength at the Principality Stadium. In Biggar they had a fly-half made for these tight encounters.

In Nice, France dented Scotland’s World Cup preparations with a crushing  32-3 victory on Saturday night. Playing the first of four warm-up clashes, Gregor Townsend’s team were hoping to build up some momentum before they depart for Japan next month with a first victory on French soil since 1999. But the Scots simply could not contain the power and intensity of Jacques Brunel’s Les Bleus, who ran in five tries as Maxime Medard’s double was complemented by scores from debutant Alivereti Raka, Gregor Alldritt and Antoine Dupont. Temperatures of 25 degrees and a questionable pitch at the Allianz Riviera did not help the Scots’ cause but Townsend will be concerned by how sluggish his team looked with less than a month to go before they depart for the Far East. The French were refreshed after a disappointing Six Nations campaign but Scotland played into the hosts’ hands with a string of mistakes.

In Auckland, the world champions New Zealand avenged last week’s defeat in Perth with a superb 36-0 win over Australia at Eden Park to underline their claims to win the Rugby World Cup. Critics had suggested the All Blacks’ era of dominance might be coming to an end after their 47-26 thrashing by the Wallabies seven days ago. But a five-try display, featuring scores for new wings George Bridge and Sevu Reece, showed their strength. Australia’s wait to lift the Bledisloe Cup now stretches into a 17th year. “There has been a lot said this week and the guys fronted up tonight,” said All Blacks captain Kieran Read.

Liverpool go top as Man City held by Tottenham

Last season’s runners-up Liverpool went to the top of the English Premier League after beating Southampton 2-1 while champions Manchester City were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur when an injury-time goal was controversially ruled out by the newly-introduced VAR.  Arsenal claimed second place on the ladder after also winning their first two matches beating Burnley 2-1 at home on Saturday. Brighton & Hove Albion, who narrowly missed relegation last season, sit unbeaten in third place after a home draw against West Ham followed their 3-0 thumping of Watford.

At the Etihad Stadium. Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said he would “have to accept it” after a VAR decision overruled what looked to have been a late winner over

Lucas Moura’s header earns Spurs a 2-2 draw against Manchester City

Tottenham. City were celebrating after Gabriel Jesus appeared to have scored in injury time, but the goal was ruled out because the ball had brushed Aymeric Laporte’s arm in the build-up. Raheem Sterling had headed dominant City ahead in the first half, but Erik Lamela immediately equalised against the run of play with a strike from distance. Sergio Aguero flicked home Kevin de Bruyne’s cross before Substitute Lucas Moura nodded in seconds after coming on as a substitute to pull Spurs level again.  It is the first time City have dropped points at home since losing to Crystal Palace on 22 December last year.

At St Mary’s Stadium, Liverpool beat Southampton to secure an 11th successive top-flight victory and equal their best-ever Premier League winning run – despite a late blunder by goalkeeper Adrian. With the European champions leading 2-0, Liverpool’s number two keeper – starting in place of the injured Alisson – cleared the ball against the shin of substitute Danny Ings to gift the Saints striker a goal against his former club. Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead at the end of the first-half with a delicious arrowed finish from the edge of the penalty area after Saints had gone close on three occasions. Mane turned provider to set up Roberto Firmino to double Liverpool’s advantage with a clever finish and that proved to be crucial given Adrian’s mistake in the closing stages.

In the Scottish League Cup, holders Celtic and Glasgow arch rivals Rangers both made it through to the quarter-finals with Celtic scraping through 2-1 against Dunfermline in extra-time. Rangers won 3-0 away from home against East Fife and will play Livingston while Celtic will play Partick Thistle. Hearts play Aberdeen, Kilmarnock play Hibernian in the other two matches.

Rennes beat champions PSG 2-1 to go joint top

Rennes joined Lyon and Nice at the top of French Ligue 1 after they came from behind to beat champions Paris Saint Germain on Sunday night. Edinson Cavani, who had earlier hit the post, gave PSG the lead when he was gifted the ball by Rennes captain Damien da Silva’s misplaced backpass. PSG, again without Neymar, had a chance to make it 2-0 but Kylian Mbappe also hit the woodwork. Mbaye Niang’s curled finish made it 1-1 before Romain del Castillo headed in a cross from Eduardo Camavinga,   PSG only lost five Ligue 1 matches in 2018-19 as they won the title by 16 points, while Rennes, who came 10th last season, denied PSG a league and cup double as they beat them on penalties in the final of the French Cup. Once again, PSG were without Brazil forward Neymar with the world’s most expensive player continuing to be the subject of interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid. Lyon lead the table on goal difference with two wins out of two after a 6-0 thrashing of Angers on Friday  night while Nice also kept their 100 per cent record with a 2-1 win at Nimes. Montpellier are in a lowly 14th place after a 1-1 drraw against Bordeaux.

In the Spanish La Liga, champions Barcelona opened their campaign with a shock 1-0 loss at Athletic Bilbao while arch rivals Real Madrid won 3-1 with unloved Gareth Bale in the starting line-up. A sublime scissor-kick winner in the 89th minute by 38-year-old striker

A disconsolate Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde after the shock loss by Athletic Bilbao

Aritz Aduriz handed Athletic Bilbao victory over a lackluster Barcelona. Luis Suarez and Rafinha both hit the woodwork for Barca. Welsh forward Bale set up Karim Benzema’s opening goal in a 3-1 victory at Celta Vigo. He was a surprise starter after being linked with a move away from the club this summer.  Bale had already tested Celta keeper Ruben Blanco with a rasping shot before delivering a pinpoint cross for Benzema to touch home after 12 minutes. Toni Kroos doubled Real’s lead with a sensational 25-yard strike off the underside of the crossbar and Real scored a third when Lucas Vazquez finished off a flowing move late on.

In the German Bundesliga, title contenders Borussia Dortmund came from behind to begin their campaign with a 5-1 home win against Augsburg while champions Bayern Munich slipped up with a surprise 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin. Augsburg took a shock lead in the first minute against Borussia when Florian Niederlechner poked in from close range. However, Paco Alcacer poked home barely two minutes later to bring Dortmund level before young England winger Jadon Sancho put the hosts ahead. Alcacer then got his second before goals from Marco Reus and Julian Brandt completed the scoring late on.

Second Ashes Test ends in thrilling draw

The rain-affected second Ashes test was drawn on Sunday as Australia, chasing 267 to beat England, ended on 154 for six after an absorbing final day at Lord’s. In a match which will be remembered for the fast ball that knocked out Australia’s prolific run-maker Steve Smith, Ben Stokes made a brilliant century and England declared on 258 for five before Jofra Archer claimed two early wickets to give the hosts the sniff of an unlikely victory. But

Steve Smith is hit by English fast bowler Jofra Archer in the second Test

Marnus Labuschagne, replacing the injured Smith as test cricket’s first substitute, made 59 and Travis Head an unbeaten 42 to lead the Australians to safety and keep them 1-0 up in the series.  Smith was ruled out of the final day suffering from concussion symptoms after being struck on the neck by an Archer bouncer on Saturday and Labuschagne was hit on the helmet by the second ball he faced from the Barbados-born fast bowler. The 25-year-old right-hander was able to continue batting, however, showing courage and composure under intense pressure to reach his second test fifty in his sixth match. Stokes scored 115 not out, hitting three sixes and 11 fours, as the hosts added 162 runs to their overnight score to give themselves a chance of levelling the series.  The third Test starts on Thursday at Headingley in Leeds.

Medvedev beats Goffin in Cincinnati Masters

Russian Daniil Medvedev survived cramps and a  tantrum where he cracked a racquet to clinch his first Masters 1000 title on Sunday with a 7-6(3) 6-4 win over David Goffin in the final of the Cincinnati Masters in Ohio. Medvedev saved two breaks points while serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set before winning the next four, three of them with aces to close out his dogged Belgian opponent. It was the second title of the year for Medvedev, who had lost on the past two Sundays, to Nick Kyrgios in Washington and Rafa Nadal in Montreal. “It would be not a good feeling if I lost three finals in a row so it’s just a relief and I’m so happy,” he said in a courtside interview with ESPN after playing his 16th match in 20 days. Medvedev, who beat world No1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, plans a short rest before the U.S. Open starts in eight days. In the women’s singles,  American Madison Keys defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in

Madison Keys on her way to winning the women;s singles in Ohio

straight sets in the final. Keys, 24, defeated the Russian two-time Grand Slam champion 7-5 7-6 (7-5) to win her second title of the season. Broken in her opening service game, Keys rallied to win four consecutive games and claim the first set. In her first hard court final since finishing as runner-up at the 2017 US Open, the world number 18 again fought back from 5-3 down in the second set. Keys, who won also won the Charleston Open in April, returns to the world top 10 with her latest win.

Thomas wins BMW Championship by three strokes

Super League bottom club London Broncos cranked up the pressure in the relegation battle a notch as they shocked Catalans Dragons 17-4 in Perpignan. Broncos remain bottom, but their ninth win of the season lifted them level on 18 points with three clubs – Hull KR and Wakefield, who meet on Sunday, and Huddersfield, who host Castleford. Alex Walker and Kieran Dixon, who also kicked four goals, got Broncos’ tries. Brock Lamb’s late drop goal clinched it on a day of just one home score. Beaten heavily 48-8 by Leeds at Headingley last week, the Dragons would have gone sixth had they won. But, with just three games left, they are now four points behind second-placed Warrington, third-placed Wigan and fourth-placed Hull, who all stand on 30 points. Brayden Wiliame’s early second-half try proved to be the only points for a Catalans side still bearing the scars of their last home game, the ill-tempered and costly win over last season’s Challenge Cup Final victims Warrington. Dragons were without both their suspended former Wigan duo Sam Tomkins (three games) and Michael McIlorum (two games), who were each sent off at the end of the victory over Warrington. And their lack of a cutting edge showed when they had a man advantage following Olsi Krasniqi’s 16th minute sin-binning for a dangerous tackle on Greg Bird, later yellow carded himself in the dying minutes. Catalans spent 15 minutes camped on the London line but failed to crack the stubborn London defence. Broncos’ hopes remain in their own hands as their final three games are all against relegation rivals – at home to Leeds, who are just two points above the bottom four, followed by away games at Hull KR and Wakefield.

Quotes of the weekend:

“It’s nice for a day but we won’t be shouting from the rooftops about it…We’re not making a big fuss of it. We’ll keep it in our pocket and go from week to week.” – Wales coach Warren Gatland on Wales being ranked the number one rugby nation after beating England in Cardiff.

“I need some days off. I’ve been playing tennis for so long in a row. I just need to stay in the bed for a few days watching the TV 24 hours a day.” – Daniil  Medvedev on the need for rest after winning the Cincinnati Masters.

For reports on all the weekend sporting events go to: 

http://www.bbc.com/sporthttp://www.espn.comhttp://www.lequipe.frhttp://www.reuters.com/news/sportswww.skysports.comwww.eurosport.frmidilibre.fr.

Calendar Keynotes: 19 – 25 August

Monday, 19 August

Football: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United.

Tennis: ATP Winston-Salem Open, North Carolina, US (till 25 August), WTA NYJTL Bronx Open, New York, US (till 24 August).

Tuesday, 20 August

Football: Champions League qualifying play-off – Apoel Nicosia v Ajax, CFR Cluj v Slavia Prague, LASK v Club Brugge.

Tennis: ATP Winston-Salem Open, North Carolina, US (till 25 August), WTA NYJTL Bronx Open, New York, US (till 24 August).

Wednesday, 21 August

Football: Champions League qualifying play-off – Dinamo Zagreb v Rosenberg, Olympiakos v FC Krasnodar, Young Boys v Red Star Belgrade.

Tennis: ATP Winston-Salem Open, North Carolina, US (till 25 August), WTA NYJTL Bronx Open, New York, US (till 24 August).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, PostNord Danmark Rundt – Tour of Denmark (till 25 August).

Thursday, 22 August

Cricket: Ashes series, England v Australia 3rd Test, Headingley, Leeds (till 26 August), Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Colombo (Sri Lanka lead series 1-0), West Indies v India 1st Test, North Sound, Antigua (till 26 August).

Tennis: ATP Winston-Salem Open, North Carolina, US (till 25 August), WTA NYJTL Bronx Open, New York, US (till 24 August).

Golf: USPGA Tour, TOUR Championship, East Lake GC, Atlanta, Georgia, US (till 25 August), PGA European Tour, Scandinavian Invitation, Hills GC, Gothenburg, Sweden (till 25 August), USLPGA, CP Women’s Open, Magna GC, Aurora, Ontario, Canada (till 25 August).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, PostNord Danmark Rundt – Tour of Denmark (till 25 August).

Friday, 23 August   

Football: English Premier League – Aston Villa v Everton, Spanish La Liga – Granada v Sevilla, Levante v Villareal, German Bundesliga – Koln v Borussia Dortmund.

Cricket:  Ashes series, England v Australia 3rd Test, Headingley, Leeds (till 26 August), Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Colombo (Sri Lanka lead series 1-0), West Indies v India 1st Test, North Sound, Antigua (till 26 August).

Tennis: ATP Winston-Salem Open, North Carolina, US (till 25 August), WTA NYJTL Bronx Open, New York, US (till 24 August).

Golf: USPGA Tour, TOUR Championship, East Lake GC, Atlanta, Georgia, US (till 25 August), PGA European Tour, Scandinavian Invitation, Hills GC, Gothenburg, Sweden (till 25 August), USLPGA, CP Women’s Open, Magna GC, Aurora, Ontario, Canada (till 25 August).

Cycling: UCI Europe Tour, PostNord Danmark Rundt – Tour of Denmark (till 25 August).

Saturday, 24 August  

Football: English Premier League – Norwich v Chelsea, Man Utd v Crystal Palace, Liverpool v Arsenal, Scottish Premiership – Hibernian v St Johnstone, Kilmarnock v Aberdeen, Ross County v Livingston, French Ligue 1 – Dijon v Bordaux, Spanish La Liga – Real Madrid v Real Valladolid, Celta Vigo v Valencia, Italian Serie A – Parma v Juventus, Fiorentina v Napoli, German Bundesliga – Mainz v Borussia Monchengladbach, Hoffenheim v Werder Bremen, Schalke v Bayern Munich.

Cricket: Ashes series, England v Australia 3rd Test, Headingley, Leeds (till 26 August), Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Colombo (Sri Lanka lead series 1-0), West Indies v India 1st Test, North Sound, Antigua (till 26 August).

Rugby Union: Friendly internationals – Scotland v France, England v Ireland, Top 14 – Agen v Toulon, Castres v Montpellier, Lyon v Stade Francais, Racing 92 v Bayonne, Bordeaux Begles v Toulouse.

Rugby League: Challenge Cup final – Warrington Wolves v St Helens, Wembley, London.

Tennis: ATP Winston-Salem Open, North Carolina, US (till 25 August), WTA NYJTL Bronx Open, New York, US (final day).

Golf: USPGA Tour, TOUR Championship, East Lake GC, Atlanta, Georgia, US (till 25 August), PGA European Tour, Scandinavian Invitation, Hills GC, Gothenburg, Sweden (till 25 August), USLPGA, CP Women’s Open, Magna GC, Aurora, Ontario, Canada (till 25 August).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – La Vuelta a Espana, Spain (till 15 September), UCI Europe Tour, PostNord Danmark Rundt – Tour of Denmark (till 25 August).

Sunday, 25 August  

Football: English Premier League – Bournemouth v Man City, Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle, French Ligue 1 – Monaco v Nimes, Paris Saint Germain v Toulouse, Spanish La Liga – Leganes v Atletico Madrid, Bardelona v Real Betis, Italian Serie A – Udinese v AC Milan, Roma v Genoa, Sampdoria v Lazio, SPAL v Atalanta, German Bundesliga –

Rugby Union: Top 14 – La Rochelle v Clermont v Auvergne.

Cricket: Ashes series, England v Australia 3rd Test, Headingley, Leeds (till 26 August), Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Colombo (Sri Lanka lead series 1-0), West Indies v India 1st Test, North Sound, Antigua (till 26 August).

Tennis: ATP Winston-Salem Open, North Carolina, US (final day).

Golf: USPGA Tour, TOUR Championship, East Lake GC, Atlanta, Georgia, US (final day), PGA European Tour, Scandinavian Invitation, Hills GC, Gothenburg, Sweden (final day), USLPGA, CP Women’s Open, Magna GC, Aurora, Ontario, Canada (final day).

Cycling: UCI World Tour – La Vuelta a Espana, Spain (till 15 September), UCI Europe Tour, PostNord Danmark Rundt – Tour of Denmark (final day).

Motorcycling: MotoGP rd12, British Grand Prix, Silverstone. Northamptonshire.