Rafael Bejarano30411313%60%$543,655 NFL LEGEND PARCELLS BUYS SURFER GIRL FILLYWhen the two-year-old filly with the succinct name of Shy runs in Monday’s $100,000Surfer Girl Stakes at a mile on grass, the owners won’t be trainer Vann Belvoir and his wife, Sauci, as previously listed, but Duane Charles Parcells.Known worldwide as “Bill” Parcells and nicknamed “The Big Tuna,” the 75-year-old Parcells twice coached the New York Giants to Super Bowl triumphs, in 1986 and 1990. He retired as an NFL coach in 2006 after 19 seasons, his final with the Dallas Cowboys, compiling an overall mark of 172-130-1 and an 11-8 playoff record.He was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1986 and 1994 and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.“We sold her yesterday morning,” Belvoir said Saturday at Clockers’ Corner.Shy, a bay daughter of prolific turf sire Kitten’s Joy, was a troubled second in her debut, closing well to be beaten less than a length going a mile on grass at Del Mar Sept. 5.“She was a little ‘shy’ coming between horses, no pun intended,” Belvoir said. “Seriously, they squeezed her down the lane. She’s a legit horse and has a big chance on Monday. My wife came up with her name, but I don’t know how. She likes one syllable names.”The Surfer Girl, race six of nine: Happy Mesa, Florent Geroux; Deer Valley, Drayden Van Dyke; Con Te Partiro, Flavien Prat; Simmy’s Temple, Santiago Gonzalez; La Force, Rafael Bejarano; Doowop Shedoo, Mike Smith; Miss Southern Miss, Kent Desormeaux; Miss Sugars, Tyler Baze; Shy, Gary Stevens; Lady Beware, Martin Garcia; and Auntjenn, Norberto Arroyo Jr. Richard Baltas1724112%41%$153,170 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Jamie Theriot1531220%40%$110,655 Mike Puype420050%50%$50,100 PERFECT PIC GETS OFF RAIL FOR LA WOMAN STAKESJim Cassidy is hoping Perfect Pic gets a better start from the three hole when she runs in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 LA Woman Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track.The Ontario-bred daughter of Candy Ride was second as the 2-5 favorite last out on Sept. 17 when breaking from the No. One post position for the second time in her two starts.“Absolutely it should be better,” said Cassidy, trainer of the three-year-old filly for principal client Deron Pearson, who campaigns as D P Racing. “She had trouble in her last start, but this is a tough race. Luminance is the one to beat; I think it’s a pretty solid race.”The LA Woman field: Wild At Heart, Mike Smith, 9-2; Indriya, Rito Almanza, 15-1; Perfect Pic, Santiago Gonzalez, 3-1; Luminance, Rafael Bejarano, 9-5; Gloryzapper, Stewart Elliott, 3-1; Juno, Victor Espinoza, 10-1; Doodetta, Martin Pedroza, 20-1; and Harlington’s Rose, Joe Talamo, 15-1. (Current Through Friday, Oct. 7) Bob Baffert1124118%64%$391,035 FINISH LINES: Streaking Breeders’ Cup Sprint contender Drefong worked four furlongs in company Saturday under Rafael Bejarano in 46.80. “He looked good,” said Bob Baffert, who employed Lemhill Basr (47.40) as a running mate . . . Also working for the Breeders’ Cup was Juvenile Fillies favorite Union Strike for trainer Shelbe Ruis, going five furlongs in 1:00.80 . . . Trainer Doug O’Neill has nine horses entered at Santa Anita today and one, 6-5 morning line choice Jimmy Bouncer, in the $100,000 Harris Farms Stakes at Fresno. “It’s not a record for us,” said O’Neill assistant Leandro Mora. “I believe we had 12 in on a Cal Cup card a while back.” . . . Mike Smith and Mario Gutierrez have stakes engagements at Belmont Park today, while Kent Desormeaux rides What a View at Keeneland in the Grade I, $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile . . . Congrats to apprentice Austin Solis on registering his first Santa Anita victory yesterday, by three-and-a-half lengths aboard Altaira ($11) for leading trainer Peter Miller in the fourth race. Solis now has 12 career victories, just 5,019 shy of his Hall of Fame father and current CHRB Commissioner, Alex . . . Surf’s up at Fresno: Ocean lovers might consider playing an exacta today in the first race at Fresno, a 350-yard dash for mules. Two of the seven entrants are trained by Joanie BEACH-Orr and two by Bruce TOWELL. Victor Espinoza1241133%50%$602,345 Flavien Prat2854618%54%$470,605 Peter Miller2073235%60%$207,620 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS FOOD GALORE FOR JUST A BUCK ON COLUMBUS DAYIn fourteen hundred and ninety-two, the old ditty goes, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.More than 500 years later, this Monday at Santa Anita, fans can sail to the concession stands and buy beer, soda and hot dogs for just a buck apiece on Dollar Day in celebration of Columbus Day.First post time will be 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 11, 12 and 13. Santa Anita will be open Thursday for simulcast wagering.There will be two stakes races Monday, each offering $100,000 in purse money, the Zuma Beach for two-year-olds at a mile on turf, and the Surfer Girl for two-year-old fillies at a mile on turf. Tyler Baze2432313%33%$106,515 BILL PARCELLS COMES UP ‘SHY’ IN SURFER GIRLPOST 3 BETTER FOR PERFECT PIC ON SUNDAYSANTA ANITA OFFERS DOLLAR DAY ON MONDAYDREFONG WORKS FOR BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT TrainerMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Mike Smith1131127%45%$160,180 Kent Desormeaux2163129%48%$209,985 Doug O’Neill2935410%41%$156,080 Norberto Arroyo, Jr.2462425%50%$261,905 Mark Glatt1234325%83%$133,968 Peter Eurton820025%25%$177,064
FRISCO, Texas – McNeese’s Blake Elliott is the Southland Conference February Golfer of the Month, the league announced Wednesday. All Southland Athletes of the Month are presented by MidSouth Bank.Elliott helped his Cowboys squad averaging a score of 70 throughout the month of February. Over eight rounds of play, the Liberty Hill, Texas, product recorded a round-low 66 at the Sea Best Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla. (Feb. 4-5), where he finished tied for fourth. Elliott followed that performance with another fourth-place finish at The All-American Intercollegiate in Houston (Feb. 17-19). He then concluded his month by winning the Louisiana Classics in Lafayette, La. (Feb. 25-26).February Golfer of the Month: Blake Elliott – Sr. – Liberty Hill, Texas Elliott boosted his national ranking to No. 30 after capturing the individual title at the Louisiana Classics and helping the Cowboys to the tournament’s team title. Throughout the month of February, the senior tallied a 1st place in addition to a pair of 4th place finishes. Over the course of his three tournament appearances, Elliott shot par or better in six of eight rounds and recorded rounds within the 60s on five occasions.Honorable Mention: John Hill, Incarnate Word; Jake Hendrix, Stephen F. Austin.Southland monthly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on 25 percent of ballots.
FRISCO, Texas – Stephen F. Austin’s 4×400-meter relay team of Drake Murphy, Antonio Ruiz, Isaiah Pittman and AJ Bennett and fellow Lumberjack Branson Ellis are the Southland Conference Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Athletes of the Week, the league announced Wednesday. Southland Athletes of the Week are presented by MidSouthBank.com.The Lumberjack 4x400m relay squad sealed a fourth-place finish at the Texas A&M Alumni Muster in College Station, Texas, over the weekend. The team combined for a 3:08.62 performance, logging the Southland’s third-fastest time of the season. The SFA squad is the first relay team to capture the weekly honor this season.Ellis cleared a mark of 18-4.75 feet in the pole vault also at the Texas A&M Alumni Muster. His performance placed him second overall in the event and stands as the Southland’s top mark in the pole vault this season.Southland teams will now set their focus on the 2019 Southland Outdoor Championships, beginning Friday in Natchitoches, La., hosted by Northwestern State. Events will be held at Walter P. Ledet Track Complex.Men’s Outdoor Track Athletes of the Week – 4x400m Relay (Drake Murphy, Antonio Ruiz, Isaiah Pittman and AJ Bennett), Stephen F. AustinThe mile relay team of Murphy, Ruiz, Pittman and Bennett closed out the Lumberjacks’ regular season with a new personal-best time of 3:08.62 in the 4×400. The performance beat out their previous time of 3:09.98 and placed the team in fourth overall in the event. Their outing stands as the 29th fastest time in the NCAA this season.Men’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week – Branson Ellis, Stephen F. Austin – Fr. – Tyler, TexasEllis leapt to a new career-best mark of 5.61m (18-4.75) at the Alumni Muster Meet, retaking the Southland’s top mark in the event and placing fifth in the NCAA this season.Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on at least 25 percent of ballots.
The fourth inning provided the game’s only run as the Cowgirls placed runners on first and second before entering Alayis Seneca to pinch run for Aubree Turbeville. McCrary then launched a single into center field, allowing Seneca to cross home plate.Southeastern Louisiana challenged in the final two innings with a pair of hits, but its hopes of a comeback were dashed after a groundout play to conclude the game and eliminate the Lady Lions from postseason contention.The win pushes the Cowgirls into a Game 10 matchup against the winner of No. 4 Stephen F. Austin and No. 6 Northwestern State, currently set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.Game Eight | No. 4 Stephen F. Austin – vs. No. 6 Northwestern State The Ladyjacks and the Lady Demons were able to get 2.5 innings in the books before play was suspended due to impending weather. After attempting to wait out the conditions, tournament administrators decided to postpone the game until 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, where the two teams will resume where they left off.SB: Rain coming down HARD now.Watch #TarpCam at https://t.co/FDWfnDejSt and Southland Conference apps. pic.twitter.com/acDSBwMSNy— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) May 8, 2019 Kutac provided a RBI-single to left field in order to bring Brooke Malia home and extend SHSU’s lead to 6-0. The final run of the day came in the sixth inning as Regan Dunn scored on a groundout to second base from Bailey White.Ali McCoy led the Lady Lions with two hits in the game, followed by Jaquelyn Ramon and Mima Doucet who each added one. Ramon provided SLU’s lone stolen base in the sixth inning after bunting to get on first base.Bearkats’ ace and 2019 Southland Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year Taylor McLeod retired 11 Lady Lion batters to improve to a 19-8 record with her 10th shutout of the season. McLeod has now delivered 18 complete-game performances on the year. Nicholls added two more runs on back-to-back plays in the third inning, doubling the score at 4-0 before Northwestern State recorded its third out. Landry took the circle in the fourth inning and retired the Lady Demons in order. Mracich stepped up to the plate with a leadoff single down the left field line in the bottom of the fourth for the Colonels. Amanda Gianelloni provided a bunt on the next play and advanced to second on Northwestern State error. Kasey Frederick singled up the middle on the following play before Mracich and Gianelloni scored on a Lady Demon error for two more runs. Garcia provided the stamp for Nicholls with a three-run homer to left center that same inning, placing the Colonels ahead 9-0.The Lady Demons finished the game with four hits, including a pair of singles in the fifth inning but were unable to turn any into runs. Elise Vincent led the way for Northwestern State with three hits on as many plate appearances.The win marks Nicholls’ 13th shutout and third five-inning victory of the season. Landry dealt five strikeouts sealing her 25th complete game performance this year.Game Seven | No. 3 McNeese – 1 vs. No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana – 0 (Box Score)With elimination implications at stake, No. 3 McNeese sealed a 1-0 win over No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday afternoon. The Cowgirls were led by sophomore Caroline Settle who dealt two strikeouts in her second shutout victory of the season. The Lady Lions were led by Jaquelyn Ramon and Rebecca Skains who combined for SLU’s only hits of the contest.Each team was held scoreless through the first three innings despite back-to-back singles from McNeese’s Demi Boudreaux and Cori McCrary in the bottom of the second inning.SB: Seneca comes around to score the game’s first run. @McNeeseSoftball 1-0 over @slulionsoftball, bottom 4th.?? https://t.co/FDWfnDejSt ???? Southland Conference apps ?? https://t.co/QDp9qzk08t #GeauxPokes #LionUp #SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/a6CUf11DT7— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) May 8, 2019 NATCHITOCHES, La. – Although Mother Nature finally had her way, three of four games were finalized in day two of the Southland Conference Tournament on Lady Demon Diamond in Natchitoches, La. Top-seeded Sam Houston State began the day with a 7-0 win over previously unbeaten No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana. The Lady Lions attempted to rebound from the loss but were later eliminated after a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of No. 3 McNeese in Game Seven of the tournament. No. 2 Nicholls also put forth an impressive tournament-opening performance with a 9-0 five-inning win over No. 6 Northwestern State. The Lady Demons’ loss dropped them into an elimination matchup against No. 4 Stephen F. Austin where play was suspended in the middle of the third inning due to harsh weather conditions.Game Five | No. 1 Sam Houston State – 7 vs. No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana – 0 (Box Score)After opening day one of tournament play with a pair of wins, No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana pushed No. 1 Sam Houston State to three scoreless innings in Game Five of the Southland Tournament. The Bearkats went down in order through each of the first three innings before finding life with five runs in the bottom of the fourth.In the fourth inning, with runners on first and second, Southeastern Louisiana’s Alley McDonald walked Kyndal Kutac to load the bases for Sam Houston State. Ashley Goetz proceeded to knock a single up the middle, bringing in Megan McDonald home for the first run of the game. The run brought energy to the SHSU offense as the Taylar Fuselier then hit a two-RBI single to left field that placed the Bearkats ahead 3-0. With two outs on the board, catcher Bailey White cranked a double to right center, bringing Fuselier and Goetz home to put Sam Houston State ahead 5-0. Southeastern Louisiana made a pitching change, bringing in Tanner Wright to help the Lady Lions escape the inning.SB: @bearkatssb White doubles to RCF gap, plating Goetz and Fuselier.5-0 SHSU over @slulionsoftball, bottom 4th.?? https://t.co/FDWfnDejSt ???? Southland Conference apps ?? https://t.co/QDp9qzk08t #SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/RWIz8SxzUT— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) May 8, 2019 Prior to the weather delay, Northwestern State held a 1-0 lead over Stephen F. Austin in the bottom of the third inning. Game Six | No. 2 Nicholls – 9 vs. No. 6 Northwestern State – 0 (Box Score)Nicholls left nothing to question opening up their 2019 Southland Conference Tournament with a dominant 9-0 win over Northwestern State Wednesday morning. The game was decided in five innings as the Colonels capitalized with a five-run fourth-inning performance. Megan Landry was credited with the win, improving to a 26-10 record on the season. Landry’s performance also boosted her to 79 career wins, breaking a 34-year old Nicholls program record.The Colonels got on the board early with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Kali Clement got things started for Nicholls’ offense with a leadoff double in the second. After advancing to third base on an NSU error, Clement was brought home on a sacrifice fly from Caitlin Garcia for the Colonels first run of the day. On the next play and with a runner on first, Emma Holland faced nine pitches before being walked. The Colonels then loaded the bases before Samantha Mracich swatted a RBI single to put Nicholls up 2-0.SB: @Nicholls_SB Garcia hits her 6th HR of the season, increasing the Colonels’ lead to 9-0 over @NSUDemonsSB. Heading to the top of the 5th.Watch LIVE ?? ?? https://t.co/FDWfnDejSt ???? Southland Conference apps ?? https://t.co/QDp9qzk08t #SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/6SERzaecER— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) May 8, 2019
OUR SILVER OAK, LIEUTENANT DAN & IRISH HEATWAVE MEET AGAIN AS THEY HEAD A FIELD OF NINE SOPHOMORES IN SATURDAY’S $200,000 SNOW CHIEF STAKES AT 1 1/8 MILES ON TURF RACE IS PART OF LUCRATIVE GOLDEN STATE SERIES FOR CALIFORNIA-BRED OR SIRED HORSES ARCADIA, Calif. (June 19, 2019)–Separated by just a head when last them met, Our Silver Oak, Lieutenant Dan and Irish Heatwave head a field of nine sophomores going a mile and one eighth on turf in Saturday’s $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Santa Anita.Named for the Melvin Stute-conditioned winner of the 1986 Santa Anita Derby and Preakness Stakes, Snow Chief, a California-bred son of Reflected Glory who would be named Eclipse Champion 3-year-old for 1986, Snow Chief also defeated 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand the following winter in the Grade I Strub Stakes at a mile and one quarter.The Snow Chief Stakes is part of the lucrative Golden State Series, which is sponsored by the CTBA and is restricted to California-bred or sired horses.With Our Silver Oak, Lieutenant Dan and Irish Heatwave all exiting the Silky Sullivan Stakes, for state-breds at one mile on turf April 28 at Golden Gate Fields, they will no doubt be head and head in the Snow Chief wagering on Saturday.OUR SILVER OAKOwner: Robert Jones, Michael Nentwig & Ray PaganoTrainer: Jonathan WongAttentive to the pace in the Silky Sullivan, this Unusual Heat gelding may’ve been unlucky to lose, as he got shuffled back around the far turn and had five lengths to make up turning for home. In a desperate finish, he was flying on the outside and finished second by a nose to Irish Heatwave, with Lieutenant Dan another nose back in third. With the addition of Mike Smith and another furlong, Our Silver Oak should be extremely tough on Saturday. Based at Golden Gate, Our Silver Oak was bred in California by current CHRB Commissioner Madeline Auerbach and is out of the Alphabet Soup mare Strawberry Flash.LIEUTENANT DANOwner: Nick AlexanderTrainer: Steve MiyadiHead and head with Irish Heatwave the length of the Silky Sullivan stretch, this homebred gelding by Grazen just missed, finishing third by the official margin of a head. In what will be his second try at two turns on grass, he retains the services of Geovanni Franco and will be bidding for his second state-bred stakes win. Out of Alexander’s Indian Charlie mare Excusabull, Lieutenant Dan was an impressive 2 ¼ length winner on dirt of the 6 ½ furlong Echo Eddie Stakes two starts back here on April 6.IRISH HEATWAVEOwner: Calumet FarmTrainer: Keith DesormeauxUltra-game in winning the Silky Sullivan by a nose after pressing and making the pace throughout, Irish Heatwave, a bay colt by Unusual Heat, out of the Broken Vow mare Irish Winnie, will undoubtedly vie for favoritism as he makes his third consecutive start going a route of ground on turf. Ridden by Irving Orozco and off at 5-2 in the Silky Sullivan, he’ll be handled by Keith Desormeaux’s Hall of Fame brother Kent on Saturday.THE $200,000 SNOW CHIEF STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER Race 6 of 10 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PTOur Silver Oak–Mike Smith–120Oliver–Martin Garcia–120Prodigal Son–Mario Gutierrez–120Irish Heatwave–Kent Desormeaux–124Carnivorous–Abel Cedillo–120Appreciated–Aaron Gryder–120Desmond Doss–Joe Talamo–120Mobou–Victor Espinoza–120Lieutenant Dan–Geovanni Franco–120First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 11 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO’S week went from bad to worse as Spurs were humbled at Brighton – while Hugo Lloris suffered a sickening injury.Poch was already feeling roughed-up after being hammered 7-2 in Tottenham’s back yard by Bayern Munich on Tuesday.7 Aaron Connolly hit a brace on his first Prem startCredit: Getty Images – Getty7 Harry Kane and Co have endured a nightmare weekCredit: Getty Images – Getty7 Serious questions of Pochettino are only growingCredit: Getty Images – GettyAnd his side made the worse possibly start as Neal Maupay netted after three minutes, profiting from Lloris’ drop before the Spurs skipper suffered a suspected broken arm.Teenager Aaron Connolly doubled the lead on 32 minutes before grabbing a delightful second midway through the second half to end Poch’s hopes.Spurs were rocked when inside three minutes Lloris dropped a routine long ball from Pascal Gross, allowing Maupay to nod home from a few yards.It was a horror gaffe but attention quickly shifted to the horror injury Lloris sustained as he fell back into his goal.The Frenchman cried out in pain as his left arm bent the wrong way as he smashed it on the turf.Physios gave the Spurs skipper oxygen as they attended to him for five minutes before carrying him slowly away on a stretcher.7 Lloris was hurt in the incident that gifted Brighton the leadCredit: PA:Press Association7 The striker wheeled away having netted his third of the seasonCredit: Reuters7 But Lloris had to receive oxygen as he was stretchered offCredit: AFP or licensorsMost Read In FootballTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’NEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticREF RELEASEDChampions League ref Vincic released by cops after arrest in prostitution raidKEANE DEALEx Man United youth ace David Jones says Roy Keane negotiated a contract for himLosing Lloris shellshocked his team-mates and for the rest of the half their unforgiving hosts threatened to pile on the misery.Just after the half hour they had their second goal as Connolly saw his initial shot from Dan Burn’s cross saved by sub keeper Paulo Gazzaniga, before tucking in the rebound.The strike saw Graham Potter’s men double their tally for home goals this season and the question was then how many more they would score.They hit the bar through Pascal Gross’ free-kick after the break before 19-year-old Connolly cut inside Toby Alderweireld to slot in to the far corner.This was Spurs’ 17th defeat of 2019 in all competitions – now the worst record of any Premier League side. Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in agony as he suffers horror elbow injury at Brighton7Mauricio Pochettino insists he will not run away ‘like a kid’ despite questions over Spurs future
Man of the match Thurston turned the game early in the second half, scoring a key try before laying on an inch-perfect kick for Dane Gagai to seal the result on Friday night in front of 20,241 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium.After Mel Meninga’s World team scored two tries in the shadows of half-time to make a game of it at 16-8, the Indigenous side found another gear.First, Parramatta speedster Bevan French, who looks set to build on his standout rookie year, put in a curling chip off the side of his boot which bounced up for Thurston.Thurston then outshone his younger teammate with an even better kick, putting the ball in between two defenders for Gagai.The Indigenous side had plenty of standouts including Gold Coast half Ash Taylor and Cronulla pair Andrew Fifita – who ran for 175m – and Wade Graham.The game was played in 33-degree heat with the likes of Blake Ferguson and Mitchell Moses coming off in the second half after the stifling conditions took their toll.Canberra are facing a nervous wait after skipper Jarrod Croker was taken from the field in the 50th minute with what appeared to be a left knee injury after having his leg pinned under him in a three-man tackle.He cried out in pain and slapped the turf in frustration before being taken up the tunnel with what is believed to be a medial ligament injury.The Indigenous All Stars shot out of the blocks to a 16-0 lead at the quarter-time break before the World side reeled them back in with a dubious four-pointer to David Mead and a Nene MacDonald try in the shadows of the break.However, the Indigenous side proved too strong in the second half.Greg Inglis provided the highlight of the game when he received a hand off from Fifita and went on a bulldozing run downfield, flattening three defenders including Tepai Moeroa.AAP
Coles has been out of the game since March, but played 30 minutes off the bench against the Brumbies last weekend.Assistant coach John Plumtree says he’s recovered well from that game.”He’s good to go – there’s a good chance you’ll see him start he’s got his spark back and obviously it’s a big game for him and a big game for the club this weekend.”It would be Coles’ 100th Super Rugby game if he takes the field.Meanwhile midfielder Vince Aso is also expected to return to the starting lineup after missing the quarter-final through injury.That would mean Jordy Barrett would return to fullback.”I think Vince and Ngani play great footy together that partnership is ticking along nicely, Jordie did a great job filling in at 13 but we’ll be looking after Vince well this week to make sure he is good to go,” Plumtree said.
Hames comes in for the injured Joe Moody…. it will be his third Test.It’s an inexperienced propping duo starting with Nepo Laulala having played just six Tests.In other changes, lock Sam Whitelock, loosies Liam Squire and Sam Cane, halfback Aaron Smith, wing Rieko Ioane and centre Ryan Crotty return to the starting lineup.All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Our big focus this week has been about continual improvement, growing ourselves as a team, growing our game and how we want to play it, and how we want to play against different opposition.Sunday to Friday gives us the opportunity to look at ourselves individually and collectively and get better as a team. We need the games we are getting at the moment, we’ve had a bit of adversity, and that will only make us better.”Hansen said South Africa would be a dangerous beast this weekend.”They scrummage well, they attack well with the ball and their defence is getting better. So that’s basically the game. We know they’re a tough opponent – they’re always a tough opponent. There’s a long-standing history and rivalry between our two teams. We enjoy playing them, they play hard and it’s always competitive. But afterwards they’re always keen to catch up for a chat and a beer.”The All Blacks 23 (with Test caps in brackets) is:1. Kane Hames (2)2. Dane Coles (51)3. Nepo Laulala (6)4. Brodie Retallick (67)5. Samuel Whitelock (90)6. Liam Squire (11)7. Sam Cane (47)8. Kieran Read (103) – Captain9. Aaron Smith (64)10. Beauden Barrett (56)11. Rieko Ioane (6)12. Sonny Bill Williams (39)13. Ryan Crotty (29)14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (9)15. Damian McKenzie (4)16. Codie Taylor (22)17. Wyatt Crockett (64)18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (7)19. Scott Barrett (10)20. Ardie Savea (19)21. TJ Perenara (36)22. Lima Sopoaga (10)23. Anton Lienert-Brown (16)
Samu signed a two-year deal with the Brumbies this week, making the Melbourne-born forward eligible for the Wallabies, pending a release from New Zealand Rugby, due to his Super Rugby contract obligations.It’s a decision NZR said on Tuesday they were still mulling over and on Wednesday night, when Cheika named his squad, he said he couldn’t pick Samu, but the backrower had a spot in the squad should he be released.There is no deadline for NZR to approve Rugby Australia’s request to release Samu for June, leaving both he and the Wallabies in limbo, though it is expected there will be a decision on Thursday.”I’ve been told I can’t select him but there is a spot for him there,” Cheika said.”At this point, the decision’s in other hands. I’m not really involved in that part of it but I’m hoping that there’ll be some more clarity about that tomorrow.”Should that clearance not come, Lukhan Tui is likely to don the no. 6 in the first Test, with first-choice blindside Ned Hanigan not expected to be back from a knee injury until the second Test.Uncapped Caleb Timu is another option to fill the back row alongside David Pocock and Michael Hooper, but he would most likely slot in at eight.Reds backrower Timu is one of five uncapped players in the squad, with perhaps Brumbies fullback Tom Banks the biggest surprise of the potential debutants in the group named for the June Series.Banks had two of his best games in the side’s recent South Africa tour, scoring the game-turner against the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.Rebels rising star Jack Maddocks is another new face in the backs, confirming his widely-expected inclusion in the squad, after a sensational start to the season in Melbourne.The wing spots were among the most-hotly contested, with Maddocks and Banks beating out seasoned winger Henry Speight as well as Queensland’s Izaia Perese, who was on the verge of a Test debut in 2017, and giant Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro.”I think it was just really tight,” Cheika said.”We went for, we’ve got very,very good attacking wingers and we look at the all-round components to make sure that we’re solid in relation to our ‘D’ and also our kicking game and the kicking game that will be coming from Ireland to us.”So, I suppose we’re trying to balance our back three players in that respect. And then of course you’ve got a guy like Banks, who’s come through with really strong performances in the last minute and I think he really deserves the opportunity.” Reds bolter Brendan Paenga-Amosa has capped a meteoric rise from Shute Shield last year to a potential Wallabies cap, named in hist first Test squad, alongside fellow rookie Folau Faingaa and 2017 breakout star Jordan Uelese.Paenga-Amosa’s progress has been swift, and Cheika backed him to be right in the mix for a spot in the first Test.”Brandon’s gone up against Malcolm Marx and performed right at the level. For me, a guy who comes out of club rugby Southern Districts, NSW and then he played NRC, got his opportunity out there, was spotted by the Reds and has taken that opportunity with both hands,” he said.”Now his challenge will be to get himself in the match 23 and I’m sure he’ll, what I’ve heard about him, and only having a small amount of contact with him, he’s going to do everything he can to be in that position.”Faingaa’s inlcusion was hanging on a possible suspension for headbutting, but having been handed just one match on the sideline, he will be available free for all three Tests.”We had him in camp for a little bit last year, he handled himself really well and he’s playing there in between Scotty (Sio) and Allan (Alaalatoa) down in Canberra and he’s got a good bit of swagger, like his attitude and I think he’ll take an opportunity with both hands,” Cheika said.Brumbies scrumhalf Joe Powell has edged out Jake Gordon and Michael Ruru to be the side’s third-choice halfback, behind established duo Will Genia and Nick Phipps.