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Sports Briefs

Published:Saturday | March 14, 2015 | 3:00 AM
Victor Hyde

Men's rugby team withdrawn

Jamaica Rugby Union has taken the decision to withdraw the senior men's 15-a-side team from the North American Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) qualifiers due to financial reasons, and will focus their efforts on the seven-a-side Olympic qualification this year, coach Victor Hyde told The Gleaner.

Both male and female teams began preparations for NACRA and Olympic qualifiers in February, but the estimated cost for the 15-a-side tournament was too much for the new administration, which led to the withdrawal of that team.

"We have withdrawn from the 15-a-side competition. We are just concentrating on the seven-a-side for the Olympics. It would cost too much to travel for the overseas trips.

The local games wouldn't be so bad but we have 26 players, four coaches, four officials, hotel accommodations and food and sponsorship is weak here."

"So because you have a smaller contingent for the seven-a-side, we decided to focus on the seven-a-side qualifiers. After the qualifiers we can put things in place for the 15-a-side next season," he said.

Harrison outlasts Fish at Indian Wells

California (AP):

Playing competitive tennis for the first time in over 18 months, Mardy Fish battled for 2 hours, 36 minutes Thursday, before losing to fellow American Ryan Harrison, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Fish had two match points at 15-40 in the 10th game of the third set, but Harrison wiggled free. After both held serve to force the tiebreaker, Harrison won three points in a row to go up 5-2. Fish's double fault gave Harrison match point and the 22-year-old closed it out with an ace.

The 33-year-old Fish, once ranked No. 7 in the world, had not played on the ATP Tour since August 20, 2013, because of heart problems and anxiety issues that have plagued him since March 2012.

Footballer gets 8 years for killing ref

DETROIT (AP):

A widow held up a red card, signalling ejection, as a weekend football player was sentenced yesterday to at least eight years in prison for a punch that killed a Detroit-area referee.

The case against Bassel Saad has put a spotlight on out-of-control recreational athletes and inspired Michigan lawmakers to consider new crimes for assaults on sports referees.

Saad, 37, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, admitting he punched referee John Bieniewicz during a game last summer. Bieniewicz, 44, was preparing to call a penalty that would have ejected the auto mechanic from the game.