Barton back in training with 'kids and Taliban'
Joey Barton claimed yesterday that his proposed switch from Queens Park Rangers to French Ligue 1 side Marseille had fallen through. The midfielder, who turns 30 next month, is currently without a squad number at Loftus Road having been hit with a 12-match ban by the FA following his sending off at Manchester City on the final day of last season. Hoops manager Mark Hughes has also stripped Barton of the captaincy, and the player has been strongly linked with a move away from the club throughout the summer. On Sunday, Barton indicated via his Twitter account that he was set to join Marseille, who lead the French league after three games this season, with his ban only applicable in England. However, he returned to Twitter yesterday to say any potential switch to the Stade Velodrome now appeared out of the question. The former Manchester City and Newcastle man's immediate future remains uncertain, although he could find himself in even more trouble with his club after adding: "Been forced to go back training with the kids and fellow Taliban members at 2pm today … Maybe this is time to dumb down and be dishonest. It seems to take you a long way in this game." AFP
Ruptured tendon puts Mitchell out for a year
Injury-prone Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell faces a possible year out of rugby after rupturing an ankle tendon in Australia's 22-0 Bledisloe Cup mauling by New Zealand at the weekend. The Waratahs player, 28, made his first test start in 11 months in Auckland, but faces an uncertain future after reinjuring the tendon that sidelined him for much of last year. "I'm not too sure if I'll be lacing them up in the next 12 months or so," he told Australian media. "The healing that needs to be done is pretty significant." Reuters
NZ's woes deepen as bowling coach resigns
New Zealand faced a fresh upheaval yesterday with bowling coach Damien Wright announcing he will quit after the World Twenty20 cricket tournament in Sri Lanka next month. Wright resigned four months after former head coach John Wright rejected an offer to extend his contract and as New Zealand are having a dismal run at test level. Wright, an Australian, was appointed bowling coach in July last year after South African Allan Donald turned down a contract extension. In a statement from India, where New Zealand this week lost the first test by an innings and 115 runs, Wright said he was stepping down from his role for family reasons. AFP