A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Stander looks set for Munster debut against Scarlets

RUGBY:New Munster signing CJ Stander looks set to make his debut against Scarlets this weekend. Stander joined up with Rob Penney’s squad after his Currie Cup campaign with the Blue Bulls ended last month.

And after two weeks settling in to his new surrounding the 22-year-old is likely to be thrown into the starting line-up after flanker Tommy O’Donnell picked up an ankle injury against Leinster in the A inter-provincial clash.

O’Donnell’s injury added to Munster’s woes as fellow backrows Sean Dougall (knee) and Barry O’Mahony (groin) continue to recover, while James Coughlan and Niall Ronan are believed to be nearing a return to full training.

The absence of Irish internationals Peter O’Mahony and Donnacha Ryan is likely to see Stander drafted in for Sunday’s clash at Musgrave Park.

Coach Penney has been quoted as stating Stander is a big addition to his squad.

Ireland to play Australia 'A' in Ashes warm up

CRICKET:Australia will send a strong ‘A’ side to play Ireland here in a four-day first-class game as part of their preparations for next summer’s Ashes series against England.

The game, scheduled for June 14th to 17th, will enable many of the players not involved in Australia’s one-day Champions Trophy squad to get some match practice ahead of the start of the Ashes on July 10th.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting is in line to skipper a side that could also include Test stars such as Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Ed Cowan and Usman Khawaja.

No venue has been announced for the fixture, which will be just the second time that Ireland have played an Australia side in a first-class game after a meeting in Rathmines in 1998.


O'Keeffe gets late call up for qualifying final

GOLF:Cork city man Peter O’Keeffe has been handed a last-minute call up for this weekend’s European Qualifying School final stage in Catalonia.

O’Keeffe, from Douglas and who celebrated his 31st birthday last Friday, got in as ninth alternate yesterday after Sweden’s Niklas Lemke withdrew to concentrate on the PGA Tour Q-School finals in California.

O’Keeffe’s addition to the 156-man field means Ireland will have six hopefuls battling for 25 cards in the gruelling six-round test PGA Catalunya Resort near Girona.

He will join Waterville’s David Higgins, Newcastle’s Simon Thornton, Dubliner Niall Kearney, Lurgan’s Gareth Shaw and Ballymena man Chris Devlin for Saturday’s tee-off.


Oliver banned for 10 months after admitting to placing a bet

RACING:Australian champion jockey Damien Oliver was banned for a total of 10 months yesterday after admitting to placing a Aus$10,000 (€8,100) bet via a third party on a rival horse. At a Racing Victoria hearing in Melbourne, Oliver admitted to placing the bet on favourite Miss Octopussy in a race at Moonee Valley in 2010.

Miss Octopussy won the race while Oliver’s mount Europa Point, the second favourite, finished sixth.

“I apologised for a spur of the moment decision that I will regret for the rest of my of career and beyond,” said the 40-year-old after the hearing. “There were a lot of difficult personal issues going in my life at the time, however there are no excuses for the fact that I breached the trust of many people.”

Oliver has twice won the Melbourne Cup and completed the Grand Slam of Australia racing with wins in the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper.

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