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Irish sweat on injury to Bowe Oz call up Doherty Lance makes mark

RUGBY: Ireland's back-three injury crisis has deepened after Tommy Bowe picked up a knee injury ahead of next month's Six Nations.

The Ospreys winger was forced to pull out of today's Heineken Cup clash with Toulon and, with Rob Kearney and Geordan Murphy on the long-term injury list, Ireland coach Declan Kidney has big concerns about the composition of his back three for the clash with Italy in Rome on February 5.

"We've withdrawn Tommy on medical grounds, pending further investigation and specialist opinion for a knee problem," said Ospreys physiotherapist Chris Towers.

"We notified the Irish medical team, and next week we should be able to establish the most appropriate course of treatment for the problem and to confirm whether it will interfere with Tommy's involvement in the Six Nations with Ireland."

Laird's low scores put title in sights

GOLF: Scotland's Martin Laird carded the joint-lowest round of the day yesterday to move within two shots of the lead in the Bob Hope Classic.

After consecutive rounds of 68, Laird fired a flawless 64 -- which included six birdies and an eagle -- on the Palmer Course at PGA West, one of four courses used for the 90-hole event. The Scot sits two shots behind leaders Jhonattan Vegas and Gary Woodland.

Oz call up Doherty

CRICKET: Australian spinner Xavier Doherty will replace the injured Nathan Hauritz in the squad for the next two one-day games against England, Cricket Australia has confirmed.

The selectors also put Peter Siddle on standby after Mitchell Johnson was ruled out of Sunday's third one-dayer in Sydney, having failed to fully recover from a throat infection.

Lance makes mark

CYCLING: Spaniard Francesco Ventoso won the fifth stage at the Tour Down Under as Lance Armstrong finally made a mark on his last race outside the US by taking his turn at the front before finishing in 75th place.

Australia's Cameron Meyer (Garmin Cervelo) holds an eight-second lead over compatriot Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad) going into tomorrow's 90km final stage through Adelaide.

NBA: New Jersey 89 Detroit 74, Orlando 112 Toronto 72, Washington 91 Phoenix 109, Atlanta 59 New Orleans 100, Boston 110 Utah 86, Cleveland 88 Milwaukee 102, Memphis 115 Houston 110, San Antonio 101 NY Knicks 92, Denver 97 LA Lakers 107, Golden State 119 Sacramento 112 (OT).