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

Pocock agrees three-year contract with Wallabies

Australia flanker David Pocock agreed a new three-year contract with the Wallabies yesterday which is expected to take him through to the 2015 World Cup.

The talented 24-year-old openside is considered one of the best poachers of the ball in world rugby and retaining his services for next year’s British and Irish Lions series and the World Cup is a big boost to the Wallabies.

“David has made an enormous contribution to rugby as a player and an outstanding individual,” said acting Australia Rugby Union chief executive Matt Carroll. “His leadership combined with his form on the field is a huge asset for Australia.”

Zimbabwe-born Pocock, who has won 45 caps for Australia, has captained the side on numerous occasions and has twice been nominated for the IRB international player of the year award.

He will play for the ACT Brumbies in the next Super Rugby season after leaving the Perth-based Western Force side earlier this year.

In June, Pocock led the Wallabies to a 3-0 home series win over Wales before injuring his knee against the All Blacks in August and missing most of the European Tour which concluded earlier this month.

O'Connor records second win of the week at Olympia

EQUESTRIAN:Olympic bronze-medallist Cian O’Connor recorded his second victory of the week at London’s Olympia when landing yesterday afternoon’s Santa Stakes.

Riding Ahmed Tolba’s chestnut gelding Splendor, the Meath-based rider was one of six riders through to the jump-off following the withdrawal of the Edwina Tops-Alexander-partnered Erenice Horta.

Britain’s Michael Whitaker was first to take on the shortened 1.60m track with Viking but had the vertical down for four faults in 33.05. O’Connor was next to go with Splendor and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding left all the poles intact in 33.31, a round which was to prove unbeatable.

In the evening’s 1.50m speed class, O’Connor finished third on the 10-year-old ISHD Dual Star (50.24).


Old Belvedere not to field senior team

CRICKET:Old Belvedere’s 60-plus years of involvement in Leinster senior cricket ended on Thursday night after the Cabra club announced that they will not field any senior teams in league or cup competitions.

The unanimous decision was made at the egm of the club in Belvedere College and comes after the club informed the Leinster Cricket Union that they did not wish to be entered in next summer’s Leinster senior cup draws.

Founded in 1960, the club won two senior league titles in the 70s and also collected four senior cup titles, including a hat-trick from 1964.

The club said they hope to continue cricket for their youth section from under-15 level.


Women to receive equal prize money

CYCLING:Female riders will earn as much as their male counterparts at the World Championships from next year, cycling’s governing body said yesterday.

The move is part of the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) efforts to improve the sports reputation, badly tarnished by the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

“The UCI Management Committee this week approved a proposal for equal prize money for men and women at all UCI World Championships,” the UCI said in a statement.

“The (decision) is a simple but very important step forward in our effort to guarantee a healthy and fair future for our sport,” UCI president Pat McQuaid was quoted as saying.

Ferrari see a role for Vettel in their future

Triple Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel would be Ferrari’s first choice should they ever need to replace Fernando Alonso, president Luca di Montezemolo has said.

The Red Bull driver has been repeatedly linked to Ferrari this season, with talk of a pre-contract for 2014, although the 25-year-old German and his team have tried to put the speculation to rest.

Speaking at Ferrari’s Maranello factory, Montezemolo left no doubt about the Italian team’s admiration for Vettel.

“If for whatever reason Fernando Alonso were to leave one day, maybe because he wants to retire in Hawaii with his girlfriend, then I want Vettel,” the Gazzetta dello Sport quoted him as saying. “Sebastian is a potential Ferrari driver for the future.”

Shoulder injury rules Zvonareva out of Australian Open

Former world number two Vera Zvonareva of Russia has pulled out of the Australian Open with a shoulder injury, organisers of the season’s opening Grand Slam said yesterday.

“Sorry to report that Vera Zvonareva has withdrawn from the AO due to a continuing right shoulder injury,” organisers of the Jan 14th-27th event said.

The injury-prone 28-year-old 2010 Wimbledon and US Open finalist will also miss the Auckland Classic starting on December 31st.

But Auckland Classic director Karl Budge insisted the tournament still enjoyed a strong field.

“We have six top 30 players gracing our courts in just over a week’s time headlined by world number four Agnieszka Radwanska, who is in world-beating form.

“We also have three former champions competing with 2003 and 2004 winner Elena Daniilidou given a wildcard yesterday,” he added.

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