Myles will influence DCE, hopes Toovey

Manly coach Geoff Toovey believes new recruit Nate Myles is already trying to convince Daly Cherry-Evans to stay at the Sea Eagles.

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Manly’s three-year deal with Gold Coast captain Myles from 2016 reignited debate over Cherry-Evans’ future.

The Queensland Origin X-factor, who has the same manager as Myles, has insisted that he will honour a four-year Gold Coast deal from 2016.

However, Manly have until round 13 to convince Cherry-Evans to stay – an argument that will gain considerable weight with Queensland teammate and friend Myles on board.

Toovey stoked the fire when he claimed Myles would have got in Cherry-Evans’ ear soon after signing the Sea Eagles deal reportedly worth $1.5 million.

“I have no doubt it is already going on, it would be happening, yeah,” he told Fox Sports’ NRL 360 show.

“It may or it may not (influence Cherry-Evans to stay).

“That’s up to him and I wouldn’t put any pressure on him either way but we are hopeful.”

Broncos assistant Kevin Walters agreed with Toovey’s claim after witnessing the pair bond at Queensland Origin camp.

“He has a good relationship with Daly,” he said of Myles.

“That’s just common sense, that (Myles influencing Cherry-Evans) is going to happen.”

Myles reportedly chose Manly over North Queensland despite strong interest from Penrith.

The Queensland Origin forward had told media that he was resigned to leaving the Titans after they did not activate a one-year option worth around $550,000 six weeks ago.

Gold Coast coach Neil Henry had been keen to retain the veteran of 26 Origins but the stalled contract talks prompted Myles to look elsewhere.

The Sea Eagles bolster their forward depth after the loss of Glenn Stewart, Anthony Watmough and Brent Kite to rival clubs and veteran Jason King’s retirement in recent years.

“It’s great news. We’ve lost a lot of experience in our side over the last few years and he will add to that,” Toovey said.

Don’t give up Origin hopefuls: Cowboys

As Queensland selectors again look set to play the loyalty card, Cowboys coach Paul Green has urged his Maroons hopefuls not to drop their heads if they miss out on the State of Origin opener.

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Green believes there may still be opportunities for fringe Maroons like North Queensland’s Michael Morgan and Gavin Cooper this series even if they are overlooked, as expected, for May 27’s Origin I.

Morgan had been touted as the man to leapfrog Manly playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans for Queensland’s utility bench spot after a dazzling NRL season start as Cowboys pivot.

And Cooper has again been strong for North Queensland after having his Origin hopes dashed last year by a hip injury.

Green did not have to be told Queensland would not make huge changes to their team named next week but hoped his players did not give up on their Origin dream.

“If they miss out this week a lot can happen in footy – Origin is over three games,” he said.

“Traditionally the Maroons have stuck solid with guys who have done the job in the past.

“But if some of our guys on the fringe miss out it is important that they don’t get too disappointed because a lot can happen, particularly over an Origin series.”

Morgan and Cooper get their last chance to impress Queensland selectors before Origin I in Friday night’s derby clash with the Broncos in Townsville.

Green is still resigned to losing captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott to Queensland and Test prop James Tamou to NSW.

But Green said ex-Test forward Ben Hannant had already shown what would be expected from his fringe Cowboys during the representative period.

With veteran forward Scott Bolton (hand) and Kiwi Test back-rower Jason Taumalolo (knee) sidelined, Hannant found another gear to notch 131m and 23 tackles off the bench in their last round 23-16 win over the Bulldogs.

“Losing Scott Bolton and Jason Taumalolo we needed guys like Benny to step up,” Green said.

“He will need to do it again playing against his old club (Brisbane).

“I am sure he will be looking to impress.”

U.S. relay team stripped of 2012 silver medals

“As expected, following USADA’s decision in the Tyson Gay case, the IOC today confirmed that the U.

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S. team has been disqualified from the 4×100-metres race that was part of the athletics competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement.

“We will begin efforts to have the medals returned, and support all measures to protect clean athletes.”

Twelve months ago, Gay received a one-year suspension by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid in 2013.

All his results from July 2012 onwards were annulled and he returned his relay silver medal to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Athletics competitors must follow rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations in the Olympics but the International Olympics Committee has the final say on matters including medals.

The IOC has varied in the past on stripping medals from relay squads.

All members of the U.S. men’s 4×400 meters relay at the 2000 Olympics lost their medals after doping cases involving Antonio Pettigrew and Jerome Young.

But the Olympic committee allowed U.S. runners in the 2004 Olympic women’s 4×400 meters relay final to keep their gold medals even though squad member Crystal Cox, who competed only in the preliminary round, was stripped of hers after admitting in 2010 she had used anabolic steroids.

The IOC had also stripped the U.S. women’s 4×100 and 4×400 relays of their medals at the Sydney Games after Marion Jones’s doping admission but the Court of Arbitration for Sport reinstated medals for all but Jones after an appeal.

The IAAF rule in place in 2012, however, stated clearly that all relay members would lose their medals if there was a doping violation.

“Having the second place finish officially removed by the IOC is in accordance with the USADA ruling (on Tyson Gay) and has been expected since USADA issued their decision,” said a USA Track & Field spokeswoman.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann in Berlin; Additional reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes and Gene Cherry; Editing by Ed Osmond and Frank Pingue)

Murray runs rings around Chardy to advance in Rome

Fresh from winning back-to-back titles in Munich and Madrid, Murray was once seen sporting his wedding ring tied around his shoelaces as he beat France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-3.

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“I won’t lose it if it’s tied to my shoelace,” Murray told Sky Sport Italia. “As soon as the match is over I put it back on.

“If I’d keep it in my bag I’d have lost it already.

Murray, who married Kim Sears last month, faced two break points in the sixth game of the opening set as Chardy tried to create another early upset after knocking out Roger Federer in the same round here 12 months ago.

But Murray held on to breeze through the rest of the match by outfoxing Chardy with his touch, powerful serve and backhand dropshots.

“I felt a little tired at the start but my condition got better as the match went on,” added Murray, who had never won a claycourt title until his recent golden run.

“I’m a little surprised with my clay results. I hope to keep it up (my form) until Roland Garros.”

Murray will play Belgian David Goffin in the next round, after he saved three match points against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before coming through 6-2 4-6 7-5.

Second seed Federer did not face a single break point in a comfortable 7-6(3) 6-4 victory over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas and will now play giant South African Kevin Anderson in

the third round.

Seven-time Rome champion Rafa Nadal, who is still searching for his best form this season, swatted aside Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan 6-2 6-0.

That set up a third-round clash against big-serving American John Isner, who progressed following a 7-6(6) 6-4 win against Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer

“It’s going to be very difficult,” Nadal said. “I hope to continue progressing.”

In the women’s event, former world number one Victoria Azarenka had trouble closing out the match against fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki and needed five match points before edging past the Dane for the third time this year 6-2 7-6(2).

Second seed Simona Halep crushed American Alison Riske 6-3 6-0, while seventh seed Ana Ivanovic fell to Russia’s Daria Gavrilova after a three-hour battle.

The former French Open champion saved seven match points but eventually fell 5-7 7-6(2) 7-6(7).

(Reporting Jacopo Lo Monaco, Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Toby Davis)

Federer off to bright start in Rome

Roger Federer repeated his May 3 victory over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas in Istanbul, defeating the South American 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to reach the third round at the Rome Masters.

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Federer, seeded second, on Wednesday spent 80 minutes getting past a tough opponent who gave him a hard time in their Turiksh final.

Seven-time winner Rafael Nadal began his clay-court recovery process after his weekend Madrid finals loss, hammering out a 6-2 6-0 defeat of Turk Marsel Ilhan.

The Spaniard, who is defending his title and trying to get his game back to its brilliant best after failing to win a spring European clay title so far, spent little more than an hour in reaching the third round at the Foro Italico.

Nadal is reeling from his Madrid thrashing by Andy Murray, who advanced in his Rome opening match over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-3.

Nadal, despite his poor season, starts mentally fresh each week as he and his team try to polish his game with Roland Garros starting on May 24.

“I’m happy playing tennis, even if I’ve not been very consistent since the start of season,” he said.

“Playing a Masters 1000 final (Madrid) is not a bad result for me.

“I’m not winning as much as I once did, but my life and career have been fantastic. Last year I won Roland Garros (for a record ninth time) but I’m not thinking about that today.”

Murray, the third seed, has now won 10 straight clay matches thanks to his titles in Munich and Madrid, the first two of his career on clay.

“My legs were a bit tired at the start but they started to feel better after a few games,” said Murray of his win over Chardy.

“I played a good match.

“I hung in, moved well and didn’t give him loads of opportunities. I served well throughout the match. I’m happy with how I adjusted to conditions, I made it difficult for him to win free points.”

Fifth seed Kei Nishikori advanced as he easily dispatched Czech Jiri Vesely 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

Austrian Dominic Thiem won as French 12th seed Gilles Simon quit with a neck injury trailing 7-6 (7-5) 2-0.

American 16th seed John Isner piled on 11 aces in a 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 defeat of Leonardo Mayer.