Sydney,Oct 30 (AP/UNB) — England international Sam Burgess says he had no choice but to retire from the National Rugby League due to a chronic left shoulder injury.
Burgess confirmed on Wednesday he had played his 182nd and final game for South Sydney after the extent of the injury became apparent following a routine operation this year.
"This decision was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in my life, however the decision was out of my hands essentially," the Souths captain said. "I am no longer able to be myself day-in, day-out on the training field and consequently the playing field."
The 30-year-old forward's retirement comes with three years remaining on his multi-million-dollar contract. He was personally recruited by Souths co-owner and actor Russell Crowe ahead of the 2010 season and won the Clive Churchill medal as the most valuable player in their 2014 grand final win.
He was named their player of the year in 2014, 2016 and 2017 after missing the 2015 season in a switch to rugby union. Burgess also played 88 games for Bradford in the English Super League, 24 league tests for England and represented England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Burgess is one of four rugby league-playing brothers — younger brothers Tom and George were his teammates at the Rabbitohs, while older brother Luke retired after playing in England and Australia.
Santiago, Chile, 30 Oct (AP/UNB) — Thousands of Chileans filled a plaza in the capital Tuesday in the 12th day of demonstrations that began with youth protests over a subway fare hike and transformed into a leaderless national movement demanding greater equality and better public services in a country long seen as an economic success story.
A move to meet one of their demands - replacing Chile's dictatorship-era constitution - appeared to gain some momentum in the country's congress.
Marches began in the early afternoon and as the sun set, there was a festive atmosphere in Plaza Italia, a rallying point during the demonstrations. The protesters banged pots and pans, blew plastic whistles and waved the Chilean and Mapuche indigenous flags. Vendors sold snacks, jewelry, hats and t-shirts. The demonstrators, many in their 20s and 30s, pressed their call for changes to a market-dominant socio-economic model that has fully or partially privatized pensions, health and education. They hoisted signs calling for pension reform, an end to the private ownership of water rights or for the resignation of President Sebastián Piñera.
"There's an economic development system that's made us all accustomed to injustice, a profound dissatisfaction among the vast majority of people who feel that they aren't seeing the benefits of economic development," said Jorge Pinto, a 24-year-old student of public administration.
On several side streets the atmosphere was tenser, as groups of masked protesters set fire to garbage and trees in a local park, before they were chased off by police with tear gas and water cannon. Attempts to march to La Moneda, the presidential palace, were frustrated by police barricades.
Some demonstrators are angry about the retirement system, which forces Chileans to hand over 10 percent of their income to private fund managers and then receive pensions that barely cover a third of most people's monthly expenses. Others fume about a public health system that makes many wait months for an appointment with a specialist, or seek expensive private care.
Still others resent university loans that they are still paying into their 40s and 50s, even as 1% of the population earns 33 percent of the nation's wealth, making Chile the most unequal country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development group of wealthy nations.
Virtually none have been satisfied by Piñera's response to the protests, which includes replacing eight ministers, calling for national dialogue, offering small increases in the minimum wage and the lowest pensions, higher taxes on the wealthy and decreases in the prices of medicine and electricity.
Piñera, a billionaire businessman who sees the private sector and economic growth as the keys to national success, may be hoping that his relatively minor concessions will calm the streets as protests approach the two-week mark, said Lucia Dammert, a sociologist and political scientist at the University of Santiago.
It remains uncertain if that will happen, Dammert said.
"It's really unclear what the government's strategy is. They find themselves facing a situation they weren't prepared for," she said. "This is a government with an intense focus on economic growth. ... They may be thinking that the streets will quiet down as time passes and people get exhausted."
Piñera's approval is at 14 percent, according to recent polls, but protests have focused mostly on replacing the constitution, saying its focus on prioritizing private control of virtually every aspect of the economy is the root of the country's problems, regardless of who's in power.
"His proposals are a joke; they're not really the solutions that the people want," said Lindsay Silva, a 24-year-old student working on a degree in physical therapy and health at the University of Santiago. "Inequality affects me every day because my family can't pay its bills and has to make big sacrifices in order for me to have opportunities."
Many protesters want a new constitution to replace the one that was written in 1980 under military dictator Augusto Pinochet and that creates the legal basis of Chile's market-driven system. That idea began to gain momentum Tuesday when the leader of one of the three parties that supports Piñera in congress came out in favor of reforming the constitution.
"The idea of changing the constitution, of eventually creating a new constitution, is getting ever stronger, and that's legitimate and must be discussed," said Congressman Mario Desborde, president of the National Renovation party. "If the constitution must be changed, it must be changed. ... I don't fear democracy in the slightest."
Six opposition parties control the House and Senate and favor changing the constitution but don't have enough votes between them to do that, making support from governing parties essential.
The opposition parties were holding meetings Tuesday to begin moving forward on constitutional reform.
From afar, Chile has been a regional success story: Under democratically elected presidents on the left and right, a free-market consensus has driven growth up, poverty down and won Chile the region's highest score on the United Nations Human Development Index, a blend of life expectancy, education and national income per capita.
In 2010, Chile became the second Latin nation in the OECD, after Mexico. Next month, Piñera will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, followed by the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference in December.
Piñera's proposals to calm the protests so far "are window dressing, because none of the things we've been fighting for has really been achieved," said Catalina Alfaro, 55, who hasn't been able to join the protests because she has been busy running a bakery she owns in western Santiago.
"Things in Chile could calm down if he says to our faces that we're going to change the constitution."
Social Development Minister said Sebastián Sichel said the government was asking municipalities to begin calling citizen forums as part of a national dialogue to develop concrete proposals for change out of the national protests.
He said that if citizens wanted a constitutional assembly, specially called to produce a new national charter, the government could support it.
"This can go where the citizens want it to," he said. "There are no barriers."
Sydney, Oct 29 (AP/UNB) — Usman Khawaja has the chance to win back his place in Australia's test lineup after being named Tuesday in an Australia A team to play Pakistan in a three-day tour match next month.
Khawaja, who was dropped after the third Ashes test in England in August, has been named beside test hopefuls Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson for the day-night match at Perth Stadium from Nov. 11.
The match offers players a last chance to impress selectors before the first test against Pakistan which starts at Brisbane's Gabba ground on Nov. 21.
Khawaja made 122 runs at an average of 20.3 in the first three tests of the Ashes series before being dropped for the fourth.
He recovered some form in the domestic Marsh Cup one-day series this season with back-to-back centuries for Queensland against Victoria.
Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann has been among those backing Khawaja's recall, citing his excellent test record in Australia.
"If you look at his record in Australia on its own its outstanding," Lehmann told Fairfax Media. "He had to come back and make runs and he has done that in his first two games in the Marsh Cup, has made very good hundreds for Queensland.
"Again, it will get down to (Sheffield) Shield performances I suppose but if you look at horses for courses in Australia, he has been very good."
Harris is the incumbent test opener and likely to retain his place but two places appear to remain open in the Australia batting lineup; another opener and No. 6. Mitch Marsh left the No. 6 spot vacant when he injured his hand punching a wall after his dismissal in a Shield match earlier this month.
Pucovski has a chance to seal the spot after narrowly missing out on a test debut against Sri Lanka last summer.
Head, who was vice-captain during the Ashes series, has also batted at No. 6 but has yet to find form in the domestic first class competition. He was overlooked for the captaincy of the Australia A team in favor of wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
Maddinson is seen as an outsider for test selection.
"Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson have started the season strongly for Victoria and we're looking forward to giving them an opportunity to perform against a quality international team," national selector Trevor Hohns said. "Both are exciting batsmen whom we've had our eye on for some time.
"We will closely monitor performances in this match as well as the coming rounds of the Sheffield Shield before deciding upon our squad for the two-test series against Pakistan."
Australia XI: Alex Carey (captain), Marcus Harris, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Will Pucovski, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Sean Abbott, Riley Meredith.
Los Angeles, Oct 29 (AP/UNB) — Kawhi Leonard is only four games into his tenure back home in Los Angeles, and Paul George is still several games away from his Clippers debut. Everybody is still getting to know each other on this reconfigured roster.
The Clippers have enough talent to keep stacking victories during this introductory process — particularly against teams like the Charlotte Hornets, who have even more work to do.
Leonard had 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Lou Williams scored 23 points one day after his 33rd birthday in Los Angeles' 111-96 victory over Charlotte on Monday night.
Montrezl Harrell scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, and Landry Shamet added 16 in the Clippers' third win in four games to start a season with championship aspirations.
After following up their impressive season-opening victories over the Lakers and the Warriors with a shocking 130-122 loss to the Phoenix Suns two days ago, the Clippers managed to play enough defense in the second half to secure a comfortable win over the young Hornets. Their last two performances have been nowhere near complete, but the Clippers are working through it.
"There's so many things that we can get better in," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "And you just see them, like screening, timing, knowing where each other is at. There's so many new parts on the floor, and I just feel like we're nowhere near what we're going to be. Not even close, and that's a good thing. But during that time, you've still got to win games. You're in the West. You've just still got to tick off wins."
The Clippers pulled away with a 16-5 run spanning the final two quarters, stretching their lead to 96-79 with 7 ½ minutes to play. Charlotte made an 11-2 surge, cutting the lead to single digits on Miles Bridges' 3-pointer with 4:16 left, but Harrell and Williams made big shots down the stretch.
"We've got to come in every game with a defensive hat on first, and we did that tonight," Leonard said. "It's still early. We've got a long road ahead of us. We're still building chemistry, getting to know each other on the floor. I wouldn't say we're there yet. We've got to keep going."
Terry Rozier had 17 points to lead six Hornets scoring in double figures in the second game of a four-game trip. Devonte Graham had 14 points and 12 assists, while Cody Zeller added 14 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte, which has lost three straight after a season-opening win over Chicago.
"I like the way we competed against two of the better teams in the league," Charlotte coach James Borrego said. "We played even better tonight. Probably our best performance of the year defensively."
Indeed, Charlotte appeared to have more favorable defensive matchups against these Staples Center co-tenants than they did against the Lakers. But one night after the Hornets managed only 39 points in the second half of a loss to the Lakers, they scored only 42 in the second half against the Clippers.
"I feel like we're growing," Graham said. "Even (against the Lakers), I feel like we took a step. We came out tonight to fight and be aggressive, but they did a good job on us in the second half."
The Clippers have won 10 straight over the Hornets at Staples Center since February 2009. Los Angeles has won 10 of its last 11 overall against Charlotte.
Leonard has added improved playmaking skills to his already formidable offensive arsenal since arriving in LA. Two days after setting a career high with 10 assists in Phoenix — which surpassed his previous career high of nine, set two days before that against Golden State — he had five in the first half against Charlotte, including a sublime bounce pass through traffic to Ivica Zubac shortly before halftime.
Hornets: Zeller sported a bandage on the cut above his left eye from his mutual elbowing with Davis in their loss to the Lakers on Sunday night. ... Malik Monk scored 15 points.
Clippers: Zubac had a career-high five blocked shots. ... Shamet surpassed his season high with four 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the game. ... George is out for at least six more games while he recovers from a shoulder injury, but Rivers said they consult frequently about potential offensive sets that will benefit George.
Hornets: Visit the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
Clippers: Visit the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Tokyo, Oct 29 (AP/UNB) — No bluffing. No strategic leaking of the team. The Springboks can't see the point in being anything but direct ahead of the Rugby World Cup final against England.
Cheslin Kolbe is likely to return from injury to take his place in South Africa's match-day 23 on Saturday, the only expected change to the squad picked for the grinding 19-16 semifinal win over Wales.
They're leaving any of the intrigue to Eddie Jones, the Australian coach of England who specializes in that department.
Four days ahead of time — the deadline for team announcements is 48 hours before kickoff — Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus confirmed he had a fully-fit 31 man squad available but would stick as much as possible to what has been established as the so-called 15 and "bomb squad" — an eight-man reserves bench containing six forwards.
Attacking winger Kolbe missed the Wales game because of an ankle injury and was replaced by S'bu Nkosi, who had limited opportunities in a contest dominated by set pieces, rucks and box kicks.
Kolbe was voted player of the match after scoring two tries in South Africa's group-stage win over Italy, and started in the opening loss to New Zealand and in the quarterfinal win over Japan. Small in stature, he uses his explosive turn of speed to create opportunities and offsets perfectly the big South African forwards.
Erasmus was asked if his openness about team selections was a ruse to match Jones in the pre-final mind games.
"No, not bluffing. It will probably be exactly the same 23, with Cheslin Kolbe being one of the guys who will probably come into the match-day 23," Erasmus said. "I've got 160 minutes to train, and a six-day turnaround, so there's not a lot we can change in those two training sessions.
"There's not a hell of a lot in your tactics that you can change in six days."
Erasmus has gone for six forwards on the eight-man reserves bench, allowing backup for a big starting scrum that serves as a foundation of the Springboks gameplan.
"We believe that's how we can get the most out of it," Erasmus said. "It is a bit of horses for courses, but we believe it's our fit, form, best available, best combination team."
The South Africans are expecting England to meet fire with fire up front, with Erasmus saying the English took physicality to the "next level" in the way they started the 19-7 semifinal win against the two-time defending champion New Zealand All Blacks.
"What I do expect on the field is a very well-coached England team. A fit England team with a great tactical plan, and then obviously the physicality that England brought to New Zealand was just next level last Saturday," he said. "It's been a long time since I saw an England team pitch up with that amount of physicality. They must be brimming with confidence, and I'm sure they are ready to bring that same intensity. We will have to be really up to try and match that."