Two teams are barred from playing until May 27 by the state of Saxony-Anhalt and can train only in small groups.___World Rugby has postponed July test matches involving southern and northern hemisphere nations because of ongoing restrictions on international travel during the coronavirus pandemic.The sport’s international governing body issued a statement Friday saying the mid-year test window will be rescheduled when cross-border travel and quarantine regulations are relaxed.New Zealand had been scheduled to play Wales and Scotland, Australia was set to play Ireland and Fiji and South Africa had planned to host Scotland and Georgia. World Rugby said the postponement is due “to ongoing government and health agency COVID-19 directives.” May 15, 2020 Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The Russian soccer league will restart on June 21 after a break of more than three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Associated Press The German soccer federation has delayed the restart of the men’s third-division because it doesn’t have political approval.The third division was scheduled to resume on May 26 amid the coronavirus pandemic but the federation says that can’t happen without the go-ahead from authorities around the country. Games in the first and second divisions will resume Saturday.The third division still has 11 rounds of games to play.The pandemic has put several third-division clubs under strain.Leader MSV Duisburg has financial problems and second-place Waldhof Mannheim told local newspapers on Thursday that it stopped training because it doesn’t have coronavirus tests. More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 The Latest: Russian soccer league to resume on June 21 ___Aussie rules football will kick off again on June 11, with the second round of the Australian Football League to be played almost three months after the competition was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.Australian Football League chief executive Gillon McLachlan on Friday announced the matches for the next four rounds of the condensed season would be released within 10 days. The AFL, Australia’s most-watched sports league in terms of attendance and TV audience, was suspended on March 22 after one round.Quarantine requirements and travel restrictions from some states means players and staff from the four AFL clubs from Western Australia and South Australia — the West Coast Eagles, Fremantle Dockers, Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide — will be temporarily be relocated to hubs on the Gold Coast, an hour south of Brisbane. ___ The league intends to pack eight rounds of games into just over one month to finish on July 22. League president Sergei Pryadkin says all games will be held in empty stadiums.The Russian Cup will also continue with the final on July 25. That means some clubs face up to 11 games to finish the season.A planned promotion-relegation playoff has been dropped with only the bottom two clubs in the top division relegated automatically as usual.The league has also adopted a rule change allowing up to five substitutions per match.___
There are times when sports are amazing, like when a team that hasn’t won a championship in 108 years finally breaks the drought and the viral video of an 81-year-old Cubs fan jumping for joy makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Then, there are times when sports are sad and unfortunate and make you realize all of life’s cruelties — just ask Max Browne.The redshirt junior quarterback’s time at USC is winding down, and the clock probably couldn’t move faster for him. In a span of 10 weeks, Browne has gone from USC’s next heralded quarterback to an underperforming backup to a frustrated soldier looking to transfer and salvage his final season of eligibility.He had more than paid his dues to earn the starting job. Coming out of Skyline High School in Washington, Browne was one of the top quarterback recruits in the country. Analysts compared him to Peyton Manning. He had 11 other offers from schools ranging from Oklahoma to Alabama, yet he chose USC knowing that he would be competing with then-redshirt sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek for the starting job.“As a quarterback growing up on the West Coast, at least for me personally, there was always the dream of growing up and being the quarterback for the Trojans,” he said to the Seattle Times after committing to USC in December of 2012.He probably didn’t anticipate having to wait four years for that dream to come true. He lost out to Kessler as a true freshman, and was redshirted. The following year, when Steve Sarkisian took over as head coach, Browne still could not beat Kessler for the starting job.He dutifully backed up Kessler last season in No. 6’s final year at USC. So with Kessler out of the picture, 2016 was finally supposed to be the once prized recruit’s time to shine.But then a monster in Alabama popped up on the schedule as the season opener, and Browne and the Trojans looked lost against the defending national champions. And there was Stanford waiting in Palo Alto in Week 3, where the offense looked stale and lackluster. Oh, and there was redshirt freshman Sam Darnold, a springy, dual-threat, dynamic quarterback who does nearly everything that Browne can’t.So staring down at a 1-2 record, an upcoming road game at Utah and his seat getting hotter by the second, head coach Clay Helton played the one asset in his back pocket: the quarterback card, swapping Browne for an unproven redshirt freshman. Darnold, in turn, has responded with incredible stats and crowd-dazzling plays to provide a much-needed spark to the Trojans’ season — and saving Helton’s job while at it. But Helton’s job security and Darnold’s rising star comes at Browne’s expense, and that hurts. Browne was the consummate professional, the loyal team player waiting for his chance. But at the first sign of trouble, he was flung to the side. It is hardly fair to judge what he would’ve done in a full season based on a three-game sample size, especially considering two of those games were against superior talent in Alabama and — at the time — a confident Pac-12 powerhouse in Stanford. “I look back on a few of those routes [against Stanford] and you’re kicking yourself a little bit, because that’s kind of what I’ve made my money on out here,” Browne said, trying to rationalize why he lost the starting job. Nonetheless, even the most ardent Browne supporters will admit Helton made the right call. Darnold is doing incredible things — single-handedly leading USC back into the Pac-12 South race — and the Trojans don’t have to worry about quarterback competitions for the next three years.What’s frustrating is that nobody did anything wrong here. Helton has been rightfully criticized for a number of decisions, but I’m not faulting him for giving the loyal Browne his long-awaited shot at quarterback, trusting that Browne’s talent as a former star recruit and his familiarity with the offense would outweigh the untapped potential in Darnold — despite the redshirt freshman impressing during both spring and fall camps. If my job was on the line, and I knew I had a wild card and potential lifesaver in Darnold, I would play that card 10 times out of 10. Likewise, no one can fault Darnold for seizing the day and putting any quarterback concerns to rest by starting his career 4-1.So now, Browne is left searching for playing time somewhere else — literally anywhere else.“I made sure my headline said ‘all NCAA schools’ for a reason: I’m willing to go anywhere,” Browne said after practice on Wednesday. “That was the case out of high school, and it’s no different, if not more emphasized, now.”It’s sad because the past four years at USC have done nothing to advance Browne’s football aspirations — if anything, they’ve made them worse. He has to play the recruiting game all over again, and if he wants playing time in his final season of eligibility, he probably won’t end up at a marquee program like USC.To be fair, the blame also falls on him. He had several chances to win the starting job, but Kessler was just better. When he finally did, he nearly lost — and eventually did lose — the position to a redshirt freshman. He could’ve made a much better first impression against Alabama, or could’ve hit the receivers he missed against Stanford. Perhaps he just isn’t as good as his recruiting status hyped him to be, or perhaps three years without regular game reps had a negative effect on him.But it all comes back to circumstance: If USC had started the season against three easy opponents, would Browne still be the quarterback? Instead, when Oregon visits the Coliseum on Saturday for Homecoming, fans will be singing the praises of Darnold, while Browne will be hardly noticeable, relegated to the sideline. Just a reminder that for every Cinderella story, there’s a hard-luck loser — ask the Indians, or ask Max Browne.Eric He is a sophomore majoring in journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Fridays.
by Aubrey BruceFor New Pittsburgh Courier The “green weenie,” “there’s a bug loose on the rug,” “a bloop and a blast,” “we had ’em all the way.” Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end. But wait, the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates are over .500 and you know what? If Pittsburgh gets decent starts (12 wins) from three starters and 10 wins from two marginal ones, well as far as I am concerned, they may do a little damage. Last weekend, they retrieved the broom from a cobweb- filled utility closet and swept the Cincinnati “Redlegs.” Now I am fully aware that there may not be chills of fear running up and down the spine of the Pirates’ opponents but with the speedy lineup that the Bucs are putting on the field, there may be a few goosebumps of negative energy felt by opposing pitchers and catchers when they are faced with attempting to hold the speed merchants of the Pirates close to first base or throwing them out as they head for second. At this moment the Buccos are in the mix. They are young and exciting and by the looks of things have an extremely bright future.However, one of the elements that will lessen the chances of the Pirates having a more than respectable 2010 season will be the pitching. There are not many teams that can play above “cellar” baseball with pitchers sporting E.R.A. numbers in excess of 24.00.Boys and girls, please feast your eyes on this Aubrey Bruce proverb. There was a poor old man. He had reached the ripe old age of 100. One day he went to the refrigerator and it was bare. Ditto for the cupboard and even in the attic where he had always stored food. When he informed his 30-something-year-old neighbor of his dilemma and the possibility of perishing from starvation, his neighbor replied in a matter of fact tone of voice, “heck Martin, you have lived a good righteous life for over a century, if you die now, in all probability you will go straight to heaven.” The old man replied, “That all sounds good but as of right now, heaven can wait because unless you are deaf and can’t hear the rumbling, my stomach cannot.” Are you guys getting it? The Pirates have loads and loads of prospects and projects but time is not at the bus stop waiting to catch a bus home.There is no wiggle room to wait for the development of any one player on the 2010 squad because for the Pirates to achieve respectability their baseball machine must be become synchronized and remain that way. All the pieces of the puzzle must be in place simultaneously in order for the “curse” of Barry Bonds to be broken. I have often wondered if ex-Pirate GM/VP Dave Littlefield is directly descended from the long lost “Indian” tribe affectionately known as the “giveaway” tribe, you know the tribe that possibly came from the Canarsies, one of the tribes that “sold” Manhattan to the Dutch for a few beads and trinkets. Now there was another Native American tribe, the Weckquaesgeeks, living on Manhattan island at the time of the alleged sale. They controlled a considerable part of the island. They loved Manhattan. They would not consider selling it. So the Dutch waited. A succession of inter-Indian wars, some instigated by the Dutch, and epidemics weakened the Weckquaesgeeks. Then they moved in for the kill armed with the most infamous set of beads in history.The rest of MLB waited until the Pirates became fiscally weakened with an even bleaker image and then initiated their “beads for Buc’s” sale. Get ’em, cheap and win big. The Pirates fattened the lambs not to slaughter for their own consumption but they provided big healthy stock for jaws of the “runaway wolves” franchises of baseball. But wait, we must give credit where it is due. Even if by chance the Pirates end up without a wild card spot or a tad below the 81-81 mark, I guarantee all those who mosey on over to PNC Park for the remainder of the 2010 season will see a squad that’s reckless, exciting, fearless and always, always ready to battle.Off to the RacesThere are fewer things held closer to our hearts than children who are saddled with life-altering and life-threatening diseases and disabilities. Take the case of 13-year-old James Keith Stefano. “Jimmy” Stefano has OL (Brittle Bone) disease. He is wheelchair-bound but refuses to allow that dampen his spirits. This weekend a fundraiser will be held to make his home wheelchair accessible by installing an elevator lift. He needs the help and support of all Pittsburghers. The event is “Night at the Races,” held April 24 at 7 p.m., at St. Mary of the Mount Church, 115 Bigham St., Sullivan Hall (off Grandview Avenue) Mt. Washington (doors open at 6 p.m.). Donations are $15 per person, $30 per couple. Purchase a $20 horse for free admission. Call Nancy at Saint Justin’s Parish at 412-381-9879 or 412-381-9878(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected] or 412-.583-6741.)