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Sport in brief: Dragons ‘doting dad’ just can’t say no

RUGBY LEAGUE: Catalans Dragons owner Bernard Guasch has been compared to a doting parent who cannot say ‘no’ to his children at Christmas. Guash (pictured) has kept the club afloat during the coronavirus pandemic and has watched them move to within 80 minutes of a maiden Grand Final. Dragons coach Steve McNamara paid tribute ahead of Friday’s Super League semi-final against St Helens, saying: ‘Because we’re flying on his private jet every week, everyone thinks he’s got loads of money but he can’t afford it. ‘It’s probably like at Christmas when your kids really want a toy and you can’t really afford it but you find a way to make your kids happy. I feel he’s done that with us.’

Semi-finals are given the green light

RUGBY LEAGUE: The top six Super League clubs all returned negative results from the latest round of Covid-19 testing. The Rugby Football League said there were no positives among 323 tests carried out this week, meaning tomorrow’s play-off semi-final between Wigan and Hull and Friday’s tie between St Helens against Catalans Dragons can go ahead as planned.

■ 2 — Players from Super League leaders Wigan are in contention for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award – full-back Bevan French and second-rower Liam Farrell. Huddersfield half-back Aidan Sezer, St Helens full-back Lachlan Coote and Castleford hooker Paul McShane complete the shortlist

Caster continuing fight for her rights

ATHLETICS: Caster Semenya is ready to make a last-ditch legal challenge against rules forcing her to artificially lower her natural testosterone levels to compete. Greg Nott, who represents South Africa’s two-time Olympic 800metres champion, said her case will go to the European Court of Human Rights with the aim of a resolution before next summer’s Tokyo Games.

They said it

‘The IOC will appeal to the athletes and other participants – in particular all those living here in the village – to have a vaccination. But it will be their free decision’ — IOC President Thomas Bach, who is visiting Japan this week, issued a gentle plea to all competitors to get vaccinated before the Tokyo Olympics, if a vaccine is available

Vermeulen is the Chief worry for Rob

RUGBY UNION: Exeter will begin their Premiership title defence without Jacques Vermeulen after the South African flanker had shoulder surgery. Vermeulen will be sidelined ‘for an extended period’ according to Chiefs rugby director Rob Baxter, while England wing Jack Nowell is continuing his recovery from a toe operation. Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie is close to returning following a minor knee procedure. ‘Jacques had a shoulder operation at the end of the season,’ said Baxter. ‘It was a relatively big operation, so he is going to be out for an extended period.’ Exeter launch their 2020-21 season at Harlequins on Friday, just 27 days after being crowned champions for a second time by beating Wasps at Twickenham.

CRICKET: Samit Patel has penned a new two-year deal at Nottinghamshire, which will take his time there to 20 years. The 35-year-old former England all-rounder (above) will focus on white-ball cricket for Notts, for whom he has made 588 appearances since 2002.