It was warming to see Walter Smith victorious on the final trip to Hampden Park of his career – his eleventh cup win there over 20 years with Rangers. Of course, one does not have to be Nelson Mandela to appear an icon of dignity in contrast to Neil Lennon. But, as it happens, Smith is exactly that and his decision to switch to 4-4-2 was gloriously vindicated. Nikica Jelavic, who was paired with Kyle Lafferty up front, scored the winning goal in extra time, which, given the context, is as good a return on a £4m fee as Smith could have hoped for. Things have changed at Rangers since Smith first took over; he did once have Brian Laudrup in his team, but a win over Celtic at Hampden is a touching finale.
The coltish scrum-half rather embarrassed himself at Lansdowne Road on Saturday. Just as Ireland were about to take a quick line-out, Youngs threw the ball into the packed stands and was yellow-carded. He did, however, admit his mistake, saying he "played like an idiot", thereby displaying a level of self-knowledge that feels out of place coming from a member of an English national team.
West Indies cricket team
Having again decided against the concrete experience of Shivnarine Chanderpaul in their batting order, West Indies collapsed yesterday with a commitment and velocity that recalled the great Headingley and Lords collapses of 2000, dropping from 154 for 2 to 188 all out in 13 mad overs.
Saturday saw the final of this year's NCAA Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia. Anthony Robles, representing Arizona State, won the 125lb weight class. So far, so unremarkable. Except for the fact that Robles was born with one leg. He refuses to wear a prosthetic limb and would turn his nose up at any Oscar Pistorius-type artificial aid. How he manages to triumph in a sport based on balance and movement is astonishing. And this was no Paralympic event that he won, but the main championship between college students in the US, on which much prestige and attention rests. And Robles won it by beating defending champion Matt McDonough 7-1 in the final. Remarkable.
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