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Smal commits to Ireland cause


FORWARDS coach Gert Smal yesterday reiterated his commitment to Ireland after Heyneke Meyer was named South Africa head coach.

Meyer, whose first match in charge of the Springboks will be against England in Durban on June 9, coached the Blue Bulls to Super 14 glory in 2007, having won the Currie Cup in '02, '03, '04 and a share of the crown in '06.

He left to take over as Leicester Tigers coach in '08, but was in England only a short time, taking compassionate leave six months into his reign to attend to family matters back home, before handing in his resignation and returning to the Bulls in an executive role.

Meanwhile, Wales have called Stephen Jones into their Six Nations training camp in Poland, although injured trio Rhys Priestland, Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate remain in contention to face Ireland in their Six Nations opener in Dublin tomorrow week.

The 104-times capped Scarlets out-half arrived in Gdansk after Perpignan pivot James Hook left to make himself available for the French club this weekend.

Elsewhere, Dubliner Robert Brophy has been appointed acting chief executive of the IRB and will also become acting managing director of Rugby World Cup Ltd, succeeding fellow Irishman Mike Miller.

Miller is stepping down having overseen three massively successful World Cups and the return of rugby to the Olympic Games.

Brophy has served as the IRB's chief financial officer since 1996.

He represented Trinity College and Leinster during his playing days.


England spinner Monty Panesar ripped through Pakistan's top order to reduce the hosts to 125-4 in their second innings of the second test in Abu Dhabi.

That left Pakistan 55 runs ahead at the close of the third day.

Left-arm spinner Panesar, playing his first Test since 2009, dispatched opener Mohammad Hafeez (22), captain Misbah-ul-Haq (12) and Younus Khan (1).

Panesar's exploits left Pakistan struggling on 54-4 and England looking well-placed to avenge their 10-wicket defeat in the series opener last week.

However, Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali dug in, roared on by the team's passionate support as they put on an unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 71.


DAVID DURKAN scored an incredible 40 points as Belfast's St Mary's CBS beat St Conleth's 82-67 to win the U-19 'B' All-Ireland title yesterday.

Dylan Lenihan was the hero as CBC Cork took the U-16 'B' boys' title by overcoming St Clement's Limerick 52-39.

Cross and Passion College Kilcullen took the U-16 'C' girls crown with a hard-fought 41-36 victory over Loreto College Mullingar, with MVP Emma Wheeler and Daire Smyth to the fore.

Irish Independent