LITESPORT London Lite Friday, 28 August 2009 31 v NORTHAMPTON SAINTS 13.30 SAT 12 SEPT ADULTS 10 U16 5 LIVEMUSIC,CAMELRACING, TUGOFWAR&MUCHMORE WINNERSOFBRITAINSGOTTALENT PLUSDIVERSITY 0844 847 2482 www.ticketmaster.co.uk FOR GROUP BOOKINGS CALL 01727 792 800 BOOK NOW Another round of Guinness to drown their sorrows PREMIER Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty launched the new league season yesterday with more than a little optimism that looking ahead would help to eliminate the stench of scandal that has enveloped the game in recent weeks. The Guinness Premiership season opens next Friday when Sale host Leicester, but all eyes will be focused on the second fixture of the traditional double header at Twickenham the following day. Wasps face Harlequins, the club at the centre of the Bloodgate scandal. The suspension of five former Bath players for drugs-related offences, two of whom are still in the appeals process, has also ensured rugby is being talked about for all the wrong reasons. Its fair to say the image of rugby has taken a battering and clearly the image of Harlequins has been damaged, said McCafferty. One of the rule changes announced yesterday should eliminate a repeat of the fake blood scandal -- a doctor from the opposing side will be allowed to examine a player leaving the pitch to confirm a legitimate blood injury. And in a bid to end the annoyance of uncontested scrums the size of match day squads is being increased to 23 to allow an extra front-row replacement. BY GEOFF TEATHER Button will feel better after his weekend Spa VICTORY for Jenson Button in Bel- gium on Sunday will seal the world championship for the Brawn driver, says Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard is convinced beating the Red Bulls of title-rivals Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel at Spa will give Button an unassailable lead, but argues with Buttons assertion he is still attacking on the track. A meagrehaul of just 11 points from the last four races suggests Button (right) has adopted a conservativestrategy.He goes into the 12th of 17 races holding an 18- point lead over Brawn GP team- mate Rubens Barrichello, winner of last Sundays European Grand Prix in Valencia,with Webber and Vettel a further two and a half and seven points adrift. Alonso, twice world championwithRenault, said: Red Bull are still in the fight, but this weekend will offer a clearer picture of the championship. If they are quick on Sunday and finish first and second it willre-openthechampionshipalittle, especially if Button is not third. But if the Brawns are quicker than the Red Bulls, then maybe the championship will be more clear for Jenson. The Spaniard insisted, how- ever, that Button can not yet afford to be cautious in the heatof battle,asheappeared tobeonahecticopeninglap in Valencia where he backed off and conceded track space to Vettel. Alonso admitted he started driving just for points rather than vic- toryonhiswaytotakingthe title in 2005 and 2006. But he added:Thatdidnthappenuntil nearer the end. Button challenges the suggestion, not just from Alonso but around the F1 paddock, that he is cracking under the pressure of going for a maiden title. If you look at the last four races, in the first three of those our car was not as competitive as we would have hoped, he said. So if you get rid of those and you look at the last, it wasnt a good race weekend for me, initially because I didnt qualify well. Then at the start of the race, if Id stayed on the inside of Vettel and on the throttle, I would have broken my front wing and wiped him out as well. Its just that I was in a difficult position, so I backed out and I lost three places because of it. Thats not a conservative approach, its about not being stupid. BY DAVID DIBBLE DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP 1. JENSON BUTTON (GB) BRAWN..........................72pts 2. RUBENS BARRICHELLO (BRZ) BRAWN............54 3. MARK WEBBER (AUS) RED BULL......................51.5 4. SEBASTIAN VETTEL (GER) RED BULL..............47 5. NICO ROSBERG (GER) WILLIAMS......................29.5 6. LEWIS HAMILTON (GB) MCLAREN...................27 7. KIMI RAIKKONEN (FIN) FERRARI.......................24 8. JARNO TRULLI (ITA) TOYOTA..............................22.5 9. FELIPE MASSA (BRZ) FERRARI...........................22 10.TIMO GLOCK (GER) TOYOTA...............................16 CONSTRUCTORS 1. BRAWN..................................................126pts 2. RED BULL..............................................98.5 3. FERRARI................................................46 4. MCLAREN.............................................41 5. TOYOTA.................................................38.5 6. WILLIAMS............................................29.5 7. RENAULT...............................................16 8. BMW.................................................9 9. TORO ROSSO...................................5 10.FORCE INDIA ...................................0 11justofhaulmeagreA fourlastthefrompoints Buttonsuggestsraces aadoptedhas Hestrategy.conservative 17goes into the 12th of 18-anholdingraces overleadpoint Brawn GP team- Rubensmate lastwinner of Vettel a further andtwo and a half seven points adrift. Alonso, twice world Renault,withchampion stillareBullRedsaid: thisbutfight,thein aofferwillweekend theofpictureclearer they are quick onchampionship. If rst and second itnish fiSunday and fi little,achampionshipthere-openwill Button is not third.especially if quickerareBrawnstheifBut than the Red Bulls, then maybe morebewillchampionshipthe clear for Jenson. how-insisted,SpaniardThe ever, that Button can not yet afford to be cautious in the appearedheasbattle,ofheat lapopeninghecticaonbeto hewhereValenciain and concededbacked off track space to Vettel. thetakingtowayhisontory heBut2006.and2005intitle untilhappendidntThatadded: nearer the end. 10.TIMO GLOCK BELGIUM GP Qualifying: Tomorrow,live on BBC1,from 12.10pm. Race:Sunday, liveonBBC1,from 12.10pm index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html