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Evans handed 12-week ban

RUGBY: Ian Evans will miss Wales' entire Six Nations campaign after receiving a 12-week ban for stamping.

Wales coach Warren Gatland now looks set to choose between Luke Charteris and Andrew Coombs as Alun-Wyn Jones' second-row partner to face their opening Six Nations opponents Italy in Cardiff next week.

Ospreys lock Evans was sent off for stamping on Leinster forward Mike McCarthy during a Heineken Cup pool game in Dublin last Friday.

Evans admitted the offence at a disciplinary hearing in Dublin yesterday, European Rugby Cup announced. He cannot play again until April 21.



RUGBY: Leigh Halfpenny has underlined his desire to continue playing for Wales after agreeing a lucrative contract with reigning European champions Toulon.

The Wales full-back's two-year deal, plus a third season option, will see him join fellow superstars like Jonny Wilkinson and Bryan Habana at Stade Felix-Mayol.

He will leave Cardiff Blues in June, following Wales colleagues like Jamie Roberts, Dan Lydiate and James Hook to France's Top 14, while his fellow internationals Ian Evans and Jonathan Davies are also departing the Welsh domestic game later this year.



ATHLETICS: Kenenisa Bekele says he took up distance running because of the prodigious achievements of the great Haile Gebrselassie. He now wants to prove he is better than his idol.

Bekele, the world record-holder and former Olympic champion over 5,000 and 10,000 metres, believes he has overtaken Ethiopian compatriot Gebrselassie when it comes to track, but there is still one more test: the marathon.

The 31-year-old Bekele is following Gebrselassie's path by stepping up to the marathon and announced he will make his competitive debut over 26 miles (42 kilometres) at the Paris Marathon on April 6.



CYCLING: Andre Greipel won his 15th career Tour Down Under stage as he burst to victory in a bunch sprint over the final 600 metres of stage four.

It was a one-two for Lotto Belisol with the German sprinter crossing the line in three hours, 33 minutes and seven seconds, just ahead of Belgian team-mate Jurgen Roelandts, as they led a 55-man peloton over the finish line at Victor Harbour.