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Irish-based stars back on Bok radar


Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

NEW Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer is prepared to bring former South Africa greats such as Victor Matfield out of retirement to ensure a winning start to his reign in the three-Test series against England in June.

Meyer confirmed he is talking to every player and "every ex-player" about the summer series, and 34-year-old Matfield -- who has been working as a TV analyst while still training with the Bulls -- would be a potential short-term candidate as captain as well as his certain involvement as line-out consultant.

"I'm speaking to every single player out there and I am worried about the crisis at lock," said Meyer of their injury concerns. Meyer may also look to their overseas contingent which could involve approaches to Johann Muller and Ruan Pienaar at Ulster and Munster's BJ Botha.

CANTERBURY would not stand in the way of Rob Penney's departure if he is wanted by Munster in a coaching capacity.

Penney is contracted with them until the end of the year but chief executive Hamish Riach said they would be prepared to release him early if Munster came in for him.

"We wouldn't stand in his way," said Riach. "He let me know midway through last week he has got this opportunity and has been upfront about it."


Ronnie O'Sullivan will tackle his Crucible nemesis Peter Ebdon in the first round of the World Championship.

Ebdon was the player all the seeds wanted to avoid, after he won the China Open at the start of April and followed that with a 10-0 demolition of Alfie Burden in the final qualifying round last night.

Crowd favourite O'Sullivan in particular will be unimpressed at drawing the 2002 world champion, given their history in Sheffield.

Ebdon defeated a 20-year-old O'Sullivan in the 1996 semi-finals, before that was avenged at the quarter-final stage in 2001.

Their 2005 quarter-final meeting ranks as one of the most memorable matches in recent World Championship history, as O'Sullivan saw a 10-6 lead slip to a 13-11 defeat.

Australian Neil Robertson starts against Ireland's 1997 world champion Ken Doherty, another qualifier, this year. Two-time winner Mark Williams was handed a clash with Chinese player Liu Chuang


Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed R Alzayani has admitted to taking "a calculated decision" with regard to the staging of this year's grand prix.

The eyes of the world are on Bahrain this week as the countdown continues in earnest to its return on the Formula One calendar this weekend.

Alzayani has long preached confidence that the race will pass without a hitch, but there are several demonstrations and protests planned this week ahead of the event.

Irish Independent