Your Weekend Sports Review

1 - 2 July

Rugby's Newest Competition

The autumn internationals are traditionally a time in rugby union where teams from the southern hemisphere head north to play the best teams in Europe. Normally very well-attended by fans, it has long been a wish of World Rugby, the sport's international governing body, to breathe new life into the game. Spearheaded by Six Nations, SANZAAR, and the International Rugby Players, a new competition is in the making that is scheduled to begin in 2026. Tier One will include all six teams from the Six Nations, the four teams from The Rugby Championship, and two invitational teams. The elite competition will take place in alternating years, outside of the British & Irish Lions tours and World Cup. World Rugby will also be establishing a Second Tier competition that will include promotion and relegation, to help expand the global growth further.

Australia have won the second Ashes Test by 43 runs to take a firm grip on the series. The visitors now lead England 2-0 as the teams next move to Leeds to begin the third test on Thursday. In professional boxing news, Great Britain's Savannah Marshall has become the undisputed super-middleweight champion after defeating USA's Franchon Crews-Dezurn in Manchester, England. At the same venue, fellow Briton Natasha Jonas stopped Canada's Kandi Wyatt to claim the vacant IBF welterweight title and become a two-weight world champion.

China's Women have ended a 12-year drought to become the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Women's Asia Cup 2023 champions, after defeating Japan 73-71. Spain have captured the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2023 with a thrilling 73-69 overtime victory against France. Italy's Verona hosted the 2023 ICU European Cheerleading Championship. With ten gold medals awarded across three age groups, the full results can be viewed here.

The Italian village of Polignano a Mare hosted the third stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Australia's Rhiannan Iffland and Romania's Constantin Popovici resume their great form. Iffland extends her lead on the overall standings, while for the men Britain's Aidan Heslop narrowly leads Popovici. While the Tour de France started yesterday in Bilbao, the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup completed another round in Val di Sole Trentino, Italy. Follow the link for the full results.

The Longines Global Champions Tour, one of the premier show jumping competitions, reached the ninth stop at Monaco over the weekend. Saturday belonged to France's Julien Epaillard and Donatello d'Auge, moving him to 10th on the standings. The Netherland's Maikel van der Vleuten still tops with 203 points. Often referred to as the Wimbledon of show jumping, Aachen in Germany hosted the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Victory went to local star Marcus Ehning. The Netherlands, Poland, and the Ukraine have all qualified for the inaugural FIH Hockey5s Women's World Cup 2024. With three more matches to play next week, the FIH Pro League for men is going down to the wire. Only five points separate the top four teams on the standings. 

Italy have dominated the European Games 2023 in Kraków racking up a total of 100 medals, including 35 gold. Hosts Germany beat Hungary 30-23 to become the 24th IHF Men's U21 Handball World Champions. Taiwan has shocked the world by claiming the U17 Korfball World Cup played in Eindhoven. In an incredible match at the Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, the United States beat Canada 10-7 to win the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship. It was their 11th win overall, the third on home soil, and the first back-to-back championship since 2002. 

Spain's Alvaro Bautista has won both Race 1 and 2 at the UK Round of the FIM Superbike World Championship. Turkey's Toprak Razgatlioglu claimed the Super Pole race. At the EnduroGP of Slovakia, round 5 of the FIM EnduroGP World Championship, Italy's Andrea Verona landed the top podium position. Two further championship rounds completed in the United States on Saturday. In the Progressive American Flat Track, Jared Mees claimed victory taking him to second on the overall standings. At the Redbud National in Buchana, Michigan, Jett Lawrence and Haiden Deegan won the 450 and 250 Class respectively, the next stage of the Pro Motocross Championship. France's Romain Febvre won back-to-back races in Lombok, Indonesia, at the FIM Motocross World Championship. Spain's Jorge Prado still leads the overall standings.

At Red Bull's home race, Max Verstappen did not disappoint as the FIA Formula One World Championship leader claimed victory in the Austrian Grand Prix. Home hero Johan Kristoffersson completed a clean sweep over the weekend in Höljes, Sweden, at the next round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Spain's Alex Palou won at Mid-Ohio on Sunday to make it his fourth victory in this year's NTT IndyCar Series. The Chicago Street Race belonged to Shane van Gisbergen in an incredible debut for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series in the windy city.

Sweden's Jonas Andersson won the Grand Prix of France, the next round of the UIM F1H2O World Championship, powerboating's premier competition.  Předklášteří in Czechia hosted the FIS Grass Skiing World Cup. Local star Eliska Rejchrtova won both slalom races, with fellow countrymen Martin Bartak and Jan Borak claiming victory for the men. Over to sailing where USA's Drew Freides skippered the Pacific Yankee to victory in the Melges 24 2023 World Championship in Middelfart, Denmark. Spain defeated Italy by 10-4 to become the Men's Water Polo World Cup 2023 champions. In a much closer match, USA beat Hungary 14-13 for the bronze medal.

Finally, Finland's husband and wife duo Ilpo Haalisto and Jenni Piippo are the 2023 sprint champions of the Wife Carrying World Championships held in Sonkajärvi, Finland.

Until next time, have a great week in sport.

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