Koen and De Villiers to help Boks

Two former Test players, Louis Koen and Pieter de Villiers, have been added to the Springbok management team as consultants for the forthcoming international rugby season. The appointments were approved by the Executive Council of the SA Rugby Union at a meeting in Cape Town yesterday. Former Test flyhalf Koen, who represented the Springboks in 15 Tests between 2000 and 2003, has been appointed as kicking consultant. De Villiers, who was born in South Africa and played 70 Tests for France from 1999 to 2007, is the Springboks’ scrum consultant. Newly-appointed Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he was delighted to welcome the former internationals to the management team. “They bring a wealth of knowledge in their specialist areas of kicking and scrumming, but they also know and understand the rigours of Test rugby, having played at the highest level,” said Meyer.

Italian rising star stuns world champ

Up-and-coming Italian Andrea Guardini inflicted a surprise defeat on world champion Mark Cavendish in a bunch sprint at the end of Stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia yesterday. Spain’s Joaquim Rodríguez retained the overall lead with three days remaining. Cavendish hammered his handlebars in frustration after the 22-year-old Farnese Vini rider outpowered the Briton by more than a bike length on the flat stage from San Vito di Cadore to Vedelago. Italy’s Roberto Ferrari was third.

Challenge leader Pieters: practice pays

Brandon Pieters carded a first round seven-under-par 65 to lead the Sun City Challenge, played on the Lost City golf course at Sun City yesterday. Pieters leads Johan du Buisson, Daniel Hammond, Andrew Georgiou, Bryce Easton, Trevor Fisher jr and Allan Versveld by one stroke. Pieters had to knuckle down and work to turn around a poor 2012. “Today showed what a bit of practice in the last week or two can do,” said Pieters. “Practice is hard work, really. If you want to get somewhere in this game, you’ve got to work really hard and I’ve just had a lot of things on my plate this year.”

ICC probe Kenyan for match-fixing

A Kenyan player is under investigation for allegedly fixing two 2011 World Cup matches including Kenya’s huge loss against Pakistan, the International Cricket Council and Kenyan officials said yesterday. Cricket Kenya (CK) chief executive Tom Sears said the ICC wanted to know the involvement of the player, who is yet to be named, in the irregularities during the match at Hambantota, Sri Lanka which Pakistan won by a massive 205 runs after bowling out Kenya for 112. During the Pakistan innings, Kenya’s bowlers conceded a world record-equalling 37 wides. “Cricket Kenya was informed about the investigation on the player by the ICC late last year and we were told to leave him out of the list of contracted players,” said Sears. Kenya suffered a disappointing performance at the World Cup on the Indian sub-continent, where they lost all six of their matches.

Hawk-Eye makes international debut

England’s home friendly against Belgium at Wembley next month in preparation for Euro 2012 will be used to test the Hawk-Eye goalline technology system, world governing body Fifa said yesterday. Independent testers from EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) and representatives from Fifa will monitor the system although it will not be available for use by the match officials on June 2. The Hawk-Eye system was also tested in an English minor league cup final between Eastleigh and AFC Totton in April. An alternative system, GoalRef, has undergone trials at two Danish league matches this month.

Banyana’s Louw makes it three in a row

Banyana Banyana midfielder Kylie-Ann Louw has been honoured as the Southland Conference League Women Athlete of the Year in the United States for a third consecutive season. Louw now holds the record for being the first player in history to win the award for a third successive year. To add to her achievements, Louw scooped up two further awards – Soccer’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Athlete Scholar of the Year for excelling on the field as well as in the classroom. Louw recently graduated from her institution, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the Stephan Austin State University in the US where the highly skilled Banyana Banyana midfielder is based. – Sapa-AFP/AP/ Reuters