Depleted England face ultimate All Blacks test

first_imgBy Josh ReichAS a depleted England prepare for the first of three Tests against New Zealand on Saturday many are questioning the wisdom of taking on the world champions in their own back yard 15 months before hosting the World Cup.Coach Stuart Lancaster has made steady upward progress since taking over from Martin Johnson following the 2011 World Cup and has repeatedly stated that he wants England to be number one or two in the world when they host the next tournament.He has refused to shy away from taking on the best of the southern hemisphere nations and knows that his relatively inexperienced squad need to test themselves against them and the the lessons learned may prove invaluable down the line.The alternative view is that much of the good work could be undone if the ruthless All Blacks expose England’s frailties and that Lancaster would then have little time to rebuild their confidence, and reputation.England’s cause is hardly helped by the fact that they will play the first Test with a virtual shadow team – giving Lancaster something of a ready-made excuse should things go wrong.A group of players departed for New Zealand last week and a further 16 from Premiership finalists Northampton and Saracens, as well as Bath and Harlequins, left on Monday but are unavailable for the first Test in Auckland on Saturday.England’s first three-Test series in New Zealand had the potential to be a mouth-watering clash between the All Blacks, unbeaten in 2013, and an England side who have beaten the men in black only twice in New Zealand, but were victorious at Twickenham in 2012 and went close to a repeat last year.Instead, the vagaries of the international calendar mean the visitors are shorn of many of their leading lights for the first Test, including flanker Tom Wood, fly-half Owen Farrell and centre Brad Barritt, making an already difficult assignment even tougher.The timing of the tour, a week after Northampton’s dramatic extra-time victory over Saracens in the Premiership final, has come in for much criticism.The first Saturday in June had been set aside as an international rest day by the International Rugby Board, meaning the first Test should have been played on June 14.However, it was argued that instead of the first Saturday, it should be interpreted as meaning the first weekend, which meant Sunday June 1 was designated as the international rest day, despite coming less than 24 hours after the Premiership and French Top 14 finals.That allowed the Eden Park Test to be crammed in six days later, putting Lancaster in an impossible situation of having to consider up to 60 players for the tour, which also includes a midweek clash with the Canterbury Crusaders.“It’s not ideal when you come to play the world champions in their own backyard and don’t have your best side available,” Lancaster said.“But it’s a situation I inherited. The scheduling is done way in advance. We’re not going to sit and moan about it.”Lancaster has worked hard to strip away the arrogance that once surrounded the England side, with their last two trips to New Zealand in 2008 and 2011 notorious for off-field drama.They were just pipped by Ireland to this year’s Six Nations championship, and the 44-year-old Lancaster has gone about creating a new culture within the side.It is undeniable that a good effort in New Zealand can propel England to the World Cup in a positive frame of mind.In 2003, a strong England side beat the All Blacks 15-13 in Wellington, despite having Neil Back and Lawrence Dallaglio yellow-carded, and with self-belief at an all-time high no England fan needs reminding what happened in Sydney five months later.France have shown more than once what having a psychological hold on the All Blacks can do in a big-match situation, the 2007 World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff being a prime example, and England forwards coach Graham Rowntree acknowledged the impact victory over the All Blacks could have.“That was a significant win for that group of players, who went on to win the World Cup,” he said, referring to the 2003 win.“It was a stepping stone and that’s what this is for this group of young players.“Pitching yourself against the best at Eden Park – it doesn’t get any better or harder than that.”Unfortunately, the first Test in particular may end up an exercise in damage limitation, with the home side unbeaten at the ground in almost 20 years, and it could set the tone for a series that may potentially do more harm than good to England’s long-term prospects.Lancaster is building a solid core of experienced internationals, but multiple thrashings 15 months out from the World Cup could set back their progress.“It is less than ideal for England to start with an incomplete group of players to whom will be added almost another team and to whom the players from first Test will have to give way,” former England hooker and Daily Telegraph columnist Brian Moore wrote.“Lancaster will have to revise both his strategy and formations almost in their entirety. Meanwhile, the All Blacks will have an effective Test-paced warm-up with their full team and by the time the real battle commences will already be one up in the series.“The one comfort for Lancaster is that when the absentees and others are aggregated he has a decent set of players. However, that has been apparent for some time and it is finalising the starting squad and XV that has always been his major task.”last_img read more

FIFA’s Blatter blames Platini, England and US for ‘attacks’

first_imgBy Simon EvansSuspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he was a “ball in a big political power game” involving the United States and Russia in an interview in which he also criticised UEFA’s Michel Platini for playing a part in attacks on him.In the interview with Russia’s TASS news agency, the 79-year-old Swiss also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and said Russia would never lose the 2018 World Cup despite calls from some quarters in Britain.Blatter is serving a 90-day suspension imposed by FIFA’s Ethics Committee which is looking into a two million Swiss franc payment he made to Platini in 2011 – a case which is also part of a Swiss criminal investigation.Blatter, who has been president of FIFA since 1998, said politics was behind “attacks” on him which followed the indictment of 14 football officials and sports marketing executives by US prosecutors in May.“At the beginning it was only a personal attack. It was Platini against me. He started it, but then it became politics,” he said in the interview published on Wednesday.“And when it is in politics, it is not any longer Platini against me. It is then those who have lost the World Cup. England against Russia. They lost the World Cup. And the USA lost the World Cup against Qatar.“But you cannot destroy FIFA. FIFA is not the Swiss bank. FIFA is not a commercial company. So, what they have done together with the Swiss, they have created this attack towards FIFAand the president of FIFA,” he said.“And you are from TASS and you know what are the problems between your country and the US The FIFA World Cup or the FIFA president is a ball in the big political power game,” he said.Denouncing England as “bad losers” for missing out on the 2108 World Cup to Russia, he said: “In Great Britain they have made this beautiful game, they have introduced fair play. But there was only one vote going for England. They were eliminated in the first round. Nobody wanted to have England”.Blatter said Russia’s preparations for the tournament were going well and he had warm words for Putin whom he described as a “good friend of Joseph Josephovich”, referring to himself in Russian style.“You know what I like in Russia also is that in difficult situations I still have the full support of President Putin. This is good. And I support him in all discussions, in all situations,” he said.“ENVY AND JEALOUSY”Blatter, who said he regretted not standing down as he initially planned in 2014, argued there was “envy and jealousy” of FIFA’s commercial success but rejected the suggestion that the current crisis at FIFA was a de facto ‘American takeover’ of the body.“Personally I don’t think so. Because even speaking about the American takeover of FIFA – football, the real football, where is the real money, where are the good players, the good competition – it’s Europe. They cannot take it. It’s not the way Americans would have business. I don’t think it is in their business thinking.Blatter said FIFA’s Ethics Committee, whose decision he is appealing, had bowed to pressure to remove him.“I think it was the pressure of the media. It was the pressure to get rid of the FIFA president. Unfortunately, Platini was in the same boat. And they wanted to say – We, Ethics Committee, we are not at the service of the president, we are totally independent. This is wrong.“They can be independent but they don’t need to be against me,” he said.Blatter suggested Swiss media coverage of him was tainted by “primitive” prejudices about his origins from the small canton of Valais.But after 17 years in football’s top job, Blatter said he hoped he would be cleared in time to leadFIFA’s congress on February 26, which will elect a new leader.“If God is with me, I do hope that I’ll be back as president of FIFA. Then I could at least conduct this congress. This is my dream,” he said.last_img read more

Lindsay digs deep for ISKA World Champs gold

first_imgJamaica combined martial arts team super heavyweight, Akino Lindsay, yesterday mined gold at the 2018 International Sport Kick Boxing Association (ISKA) Amateur Members Association World Championships in Athens, Greece. Lindsay, a gold medallist at Portugal 2015, had to battle past fighters from France, Germany and finally the Ukraine to take gold at the May 31-June 3 event. Named among four gold medal hopefuls by the Jamaican contingent, Lindsay said he had to “dig deep” against his European rivals. “Coming to my second ISKA World Champs, having won before in Portugal, this one was very, very difficult, three tough fights against France, Germany and Ukraine. I had to dig deep and get the job done. “The judging was very tough. The first fight was most difficult, I was trying to get in the frame of mind for the tournament while seeing how to maneuver around the judge, who was very tough on me,” he added. Jamaica has a star-studded squad at the event including Sheckema Cunningham and Subrina Richards, who is back defending her title won in Germany last year. International Taekwondo Federation Pan-Am gold medallist Ackeem Lawrence completes the quartet, which coaches Jason McKay and Claude Chin are confident will return home with four gold medals. Jamaica are hoping to set the stage for a successful staging of the 2018 championships, set for Montego Bay, with at least four defending champions. “It is considered really crucial that, being hosts, countries should have persons defending their world titles,” he said. Richards and Cunningham were due to take the mat in yesterday’s evening session. Star-studded squadlast_img read more

San Beda, St. Benilde try to keep unbeaten slates

first_imgView comments Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher after US-China deal Steaming fissures on Taal Volcano Island spotted No stopping Ceres; Kaya also scores With the rise of e-commerce, is it also the end for our beloved CD-R King? Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games 2019: Philippines clinches historic gold in women’s basketball PLAY LIST 05:02SEA Games 2019: Philippines clinches historic gold in women’s basketball02:43Philippines make clean sweep in Men’s and Women’s 3×3 Basketball06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu01:26Homes destroyed after Taal Volcano eruption02:48ABS-CBN franchise has ‘natural deadline,’ no need for quo warranto — Gatchalian FILE – San Beda rising star guard Evan Nelle. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netRaw but talented guard Evan Nelle is fast evolving into somebody that San Beda can really turn to.After putting stability at the backcourt in their narrow win against the Letran Knights, San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez has labeled the sly 5-foot-9 playmaker as the future cornerstone of the team.ADVERTISEMENT “I saw the future [of the team] in Evan and I can say that he’s now one of the best point guards in college,” Fernandez said.Nelle will play a key role when the Lions put their unbeaten streak in Season 95 of the NCAA basketball tournament on the line against Perpetual Help at 12 noon at Filoil Flying V Centre.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsAlso going for a sixth consecutive victory is College of St. Benilde, which collides with Lyceum in the 4 p.m. contest.The Blazers are looking to extend their finest start since joining the league in 1998. ‘Game of Thrones’ spin-off on Targaryens may premiere in 2022 Duterte lambasts Catholic Church anew in curse-laden speech before Filipino Baptists TECO donates $100,000 to typhoon-stricken Sorsogon Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? MOST READ OSG petition a ‘clear sign’ of gov’t bid to block ABS-CBN franchise renewal — solonlast_img read more

Amazon Warriors on a high!

first_imgDear Editor,The Guyana Amazon Warriors is on a real high. The team, well blended with youth and experience, won their first three matches convincingly and they are fully motivated and pumped up for the next five games.The Warriors won their first match against St Lucia Zouks by thirteen runs. The top-order batsmen struggled to score runs freely. However, the young “turks” flourished at the end of their batting as the team was able to get a challenging total. Winning by thirteen runs was tight but the team’s spirit was high.The St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, with their strong bowling lineup, lost by eight wickets. It was the masterstroke player, Shimron Hetmyer, with an attractive undefeated brilliant half-century that ensured the Warriors’ victory. During their batting session, the Nevis Patriots struggled to get runs as the Warriors’ bowlers were well supported with some magnificent fielding.Barbados Tridents won the toss and sent the home team to take first strike. The Warriors lost Brandon King early. However, Chandrapaul Hemeraj hit a brilliant half-century, which was punctuated with six fours and three sweetly timed sixes. The home team lost Hetmyer and Skipper Shoaib Malik cheaply. However, the diminutive Nicholas Pooran and Sherfane Rutherford blasted the Tridents’ bowling to all parts of the ground. The two young Warriors took the fight to the visitors and sent the massive Providence crowd to their toes and had them screaming for joy. They hammered 78 runs off a mere 29 balls. Pooran’s magically undefeated half-century contained five massive sixes and four blistering fours. Young Rutherford blasted four Hugh sixes.The Warriors, with three wins, have captured the heart of all Guyanese and it is most heartening to see the franchise holder investing in Imran Tahir as the replacement for Shadab Khan. The effective Afghan leg spinner Quasi Ahmad is also coming to play for the Warriors.Guyanese will be following the Warriors in the away matches. All eyes and all roads will lead to Guyana National Stadium on October 3 and 4 when Guyana Warriors will take on Jamaica Tallawahs and Trinbago Knight Riders.The massive crowd support along with our people’s passion and appreciation for our Amazon Warriors is a manifestation of our people’s unity and interest for a better Guyana.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img read more

Barca accused of tax fraud in Neymar signing

first_imgMeanwhile, prosecutors have also asked for the investigation of current Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the club on an extra tax charge in 2014, which could rise to 2.85 million euros.In a judicial file released on Monday, prosecutor Jose Perals Calleja suggests that Rosell and Barca declared an inferior fee to that which they paid for Neymar in 2013.The prosecutors believe that Neymar cost in excess of the 57 million euros ($64.3 million, £42.7 million) declared to the Spanish tax man.They cite the figure at a cost of 82,743,485 euros divided into sperate contracts that secured the signing.According to the calculations of the Spanish tax authorities, Barcelona owe a total of 12,148,696 million euros in tax on the deal, which would see the overall cost of the operation rise to 94.8 million euros.Rosell resigned as president over the affair just over a year ago when a complaint brought by one of the club’s members for misappropriation of funds was taken to court.In his testimony before a judge on the case in July of 2004, Rosell insisted that Neymar cost the club 57 million euros, 17 of which went to his former club Santos and 40 million paid to N&N, a company owned by the player’s father.However, following Rosell’s resignation, Barcelona also confirmed a number of extra agreements including a 10 million euro signing bonus for the player and scouting and collaborative agreements between the two clubs taking the total to 86.2 million euros.In February of last year, the club announced that they had made a voluntary payment of 13.5 million euros to the Spanish tax authorities regarding the transfer.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000MADRID, Barcelona, February 2 – Spanish public prosecutors have asked for Barcelona and their former president Sandro Rosell to be tried for two charges of tax fraud committed in the signing of Brazilian star Neymar.last_img read more

Independent candidate Jeff Richert releases Peace Region Priority Platform

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Independent candidate Jeff Richert has announced his platform and priorities if he is elected in the upcoming Provincial election.‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’ is a slogan that Richert believes needs to be taken more seriously in the Peace Region.Richert has listed the following focus’ for his campaign:Fort St. John Senior Care Facility – ‘I will support fund raising efforts and advocate for the funding and development of a comprehensive care facility for seniors in Fort St John. There are over 300 seniors who require various forms of care with more people in need in future years. We need this issue addressed immediately.’ Taylor Bridge Replacement Plan – ‘I will advocate for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) to inform Peace Region residents of the Taylor Bridge situation and request the initiation of public consultations to determine the best course of action to replace the bridge with costs estimates and time lines. We need a plan to replace the Taylor Bridge and we need transparency as to how and when such a replacement could take place.’ – Advertisement -Richert is running against fellow Independent candidates Bob Fedderly and Rob Fraser. BC NDP candidate Rob Dempsey and BC Liberal candidate Dan Davies are also running. Alaska Highway Upgrades – ‘I will lobby the Federal Department of Public Works to build passing lanes in the section of the Alaska Highway from Wonowon to Pink Mountain. This stretch of highway creates unnecessary risk for travellers and passing lanes will help alleviate the hazards especially during winter months. I will support and lobby the Federal Department of Public Works to provide funding for the construction of a series of rest stops from Pink Mountain to the Yukon border’ Geothermal Pilot Projects – ‘I will advocate for the development of three geothermal pilot projects near Fort St John, Hudson’s Hope and Fort Nelson. I would like to see us take proactive steps in addressing our energy needs by advocating for energy production that oil and gas service companies can easily participate in. We have an opportunity for geothermal development and I want to see that opportunity become a reality to diversify electricity generation and support local jobs.’last_img read more

Press Pass – Sunday, August 24

first_imgPress Pass host Ray Stubbs is joined in the studio by John Cross and Michael Calvin to discuss all the latest sporting action, including their thoughts on the weekend’s Premier League fixtures and the latest transfer news.last_img

COUGHLAN COOKING UP A NEW FUTURE SINCE LEAVING POLITICS

first_imgFormer Tanaiste Mary Coughlan has said she is enjoying the real things in life since she left politics – running, cooking and spending time with her family.The Frosses woman, the second most powerful politician in the country before the last election, has kept a very low profile since being ousted last March.But Coughlan, 46, still refuses to give a full interview about her ‘new life.’ She has thrown herself into cooking and is still running while being a mother and wife to husband David Charlton and children Cathal, 14, and Maeve, 12.“We’re spending a lot of time together as a family,” she said simply this week.Money was never going to be an issue for the former minister as she stepped away from public life.She received a lump sum of €353,000 for her 23 years Dail service and she can begin drawing down on her €120,000 a year pension when she turns 50 in four years time. Although she has given no indication that she will return to public life, she still keeps an eye on the current political climate.“We’ll see how these boys (the current Government) get on. We’ll let the hare sit on that,” she says.EndsCOUGHLAN COOKING UP A NEW FUTURE SINCE LEAVING POLITICS was last modified: September 3rd, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:FROSSESmary coughlanlast_img read more

Students ignore warnings, take to the streets again

first_imgLOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands of students ditched classes Tuesday for the second day in a row, ignoring rain and campus lockdowns to protest immigration legislation they see as an attack on Hispanic rights. During the morning, 5,395 students had left schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, even though middle and high schools had barred youngsters from leaving campus, district spokeswoman Monica Carazo said. Several hundred students, some carrying Mexican flags, marched down streets in Wilmington, a working-class area south of downtown Los Angeles, ignoring pleas a day earlier from police and the mayor to stay in school. Authorities who had taken a watch-and-wait attitude on Monday had a harsher stance Tuesday. The 728,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District saw about 26,000 students walk out of 56 schools on Monday, at a cost of more than $500,000 in lost state attendance funds. The district receives state money for every student in class and that money is withheld when a student is absent. Student walkouts continued in other states as well. In Texas, hundreds of students left classes. In Dallas, some gathered to shout and wave signs at City Hall. One student’s hand was severed when a sport utility vehicle she was riding in crashed on the way to a rally. Students at several Las Vegas high schools also walked out. The Senate was set to take up a bill on Tuesday that will determine the legal future of the estimated 11 million immigrants who are living in the United States illegally. On Monday, some 36,000 students from 25 Los Angeles County school districts walked out of class, officials said, with more than 1,000 protesting outside Los Angeles City Hall for much of the day. The youths tied up streets and 300 even made a dangerous foray onto a downtown freeway to loudly protest against legislation approved by the House that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally, impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants, and build fences along part of the U.S.-Mexican border. Most of the protests were peaceful, but rock- and bottle-throwing led to some arrests. The walkouts followed a weekend of enormous rallies, including one that drew as many as 500,000 demonstrators in Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the students’ action but also urged them to return to school. Police Chief William Bratton said Los Angeles police made four arrests for assault and one for disorderly conduct. Other protests were reported across the state and in Washington, Phoenix, Detroit and Yakima, Wash. In some places, arrests and possible injuries were reported as a result of demonstrators throwing bottles and rocks. In Watsonville, some fights and disorderly conduct marred a protest that drew about 800 students. The march began peacefully, said police Capt. Eddie Rodriguez, but “at some point, it’s like the protesters lost focus of what they were doing, and that’s when we got reports of fights, assaults and bottles being thrown at vehicles.” Twenty-one minors and three adults were arrested in Escondido, a north San Diego suburb, for unlawful assembly, truancy and assaulting a police officer, said police Lt. Dave Mankin. Some of the 600 demonstrators threw objects at police but no injuries were reported, he said. As the protests raged, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation late Monday that clears the way for millions of undocumented workers to seek U.S. citizenship without having to first leave the country. The committee also voted down proposed criminal penalties on immigrants found to be in the country illegally. It approved a new temporary program allowing entry for 1.5 million workers seeking jobs in the agriculture industry.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In the city of Carson, authorities with batons and helmets temporarily ringed dozens of youngsters in front of a high school before allowing them to march. In the San Pedro area of Los Angeles, at least 50 students were cited for truancy and taken back to schools. A 14-year-old boy was arrested for investigation of disturbing the peace and taken to the police station before being released to his parents, Sgt. Mark Jauregui said. Some students were halted as they walked onto a freeway, forcing police to briefly close all lanes and divert them before they reached the soaring Vincent Thomas Bridge over Los Angeles harbor, the sergeant said. Most of the 500 students in San Pedro appeared to have come straight to the march rather than leaving the closed campuses, Jauregui said. Students also reportedly walked off in suburban Bellflower.last_img read more