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Sports round-up

Six Nations: France coach Philippe Saint-Andre, whose side have lost their first three Six Nations championship matches, has included lock Sebastien Vahaamahina and utility back Maxime Medard in a 23-man squad for the Ireland game on March 9. Vahaamahina replaces Jocelino Suta, who was on the bench for Saturday’s 23-13 loss to England, and Medard comes in for Benjamin Fall.

Basketball: Retired US player Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea to film a television documentary yesterday with representatives of the Harlem Globetrotters cele-brity team. Rodman, 51, won five NBA championships in his prime, achieving a mix of fame and notoriety for his on- and off-court antics.

Motor Racing: A pair of regular racing gloves worn by the late Ayrton Senna in the 1991 season when he won his third F1 title sold for £22,000 at a charity auction for grand prix mechanics. The framed gloves, donated by former McLaren team co-ordinator Jo Ramirez, were bought by Gerard Lopez – owner of the current Lotus team that traces its lineage back to the Toleman outfit that the Brazilian made his F1 debut with in 1984. Senna also raced for Lotus, related only by name to the present team, from 1985-87.

Snooker: Shaun Murphy came through a gripping first-round clash with Martin Gould in the World Open in Haikou yesterday, eventually prevailing 5-4. Playing against a man he has never lost to, Murphy was never in complete control but managed to get over the line and secure a berth in the next round.

Wrestling: For a brief moment yesterday, the nuclear dispute between Iran and the US took a back seat to sport. Officials from the two countries have expressed dismay at a surprise recommendation by the IOC this month to drop wrestling from the 2020 Games. “During the plenary, we did note Iran’s success in the recent wrestling World Cup and our shared view that wrestling should continue to be an Olympic sport,” a US official said after the start of high-stakes nuclear talks.

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