England coach Eddie Jones has shuffled his back three again for Sunday’s Six Nations game against Ireland at Twickenham, with Elliot Daly restored as fullback and Jonathan Joseph winning his 50th cap in an unfamiliar outing on the left wing.Ben Youngs will start at scrumhalf and Manu Tuilagi returns at outside centre as Jones made four personnel changes from the team that edged past Scotland two weeks ago.George Furbank played his first two tests against France and Scotland at fullback but was ruled out through a flare up of a long-standing hip injury.Usually a centre, Joseph will be making his first test start on the wing and first in the position in any match since an outing for London Irish seven years ago. Jones did keep uncapped Gloucester wing Ollie Thorley in his trimmed down squad this week but opted against involving him.A few months ago Jones was spoilt for choice with his back three options but a succession of injuries – to Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell, Joe Cokanasiga and now Furbank – means Daly moves back to the position he occupied for the previous two years, having initially established himself out wide.Jonny May, England’s most impressive receiver of the high kicks Ireland are expected to rain down on Sunday, continues on the right wing.Joseph did go on for the last 11 minutes of last year’s World Cup final as a wing replacement for May and Jones said he had no concerns about starting him there on Sunday.“He could play 12, 13 or on the wings,” he told reporters. He’s a versatile player, a great defender in space and he’s got good jumping skills.“It’s not a disruption. Elliot has played a lot of test football at 15, so he welcomes the opportunity, and JJ has played on the wing for us before.”Youngs started on the bench at Murrayfield but swaps places with Willi Heinz. Tuilagi suffered a groin injury early in the defeat to France but has been passed fit and will start outside captain Owen Farrell, with George Ford retaining the flyhalf shirt.Henry Slade, who has not played since December because of an ankle injury, is on the bench.“Obviously having someone like Manu back is brilliant,” said Ford. “He’s a powerful weapon for us and he’s looking pretty fit and fresh in training. Our responsibility is to make sure we get the most out of him on Sunday.”Courtney Lawes is named at blindside flanker with Sam Underhill at openside and Tom Curry continuing at number eight. With Mako Vunipola absent for family reasons, Joe Marler starts at loosehead prop. Jones has again opted for six forwards on the bench.Ireland, who have won their opening two Six Nations matches, lost their last two games against England – having won the previous two.“Ireland are a very good team, extremely well-coached. They are a team we respect a lot,” Jones said. “They will bring their usual physicality and under Andy Farrell they’ve opened up their game a little bit.“They are a tactically smart team. Murray and Sexton, who have played 170 tests between them, at nine and 10 will manage the game well. We’ve got to make sure we match their physicality and their emotion on the weekend.”
0Shares0000Newly elected France rugby chief Bernard Laporte (R) said non-French players would no longer be selected for the national team © AFP/File / FRANCK FIFEParis, France, Dec 20 – France will no longer select non-French players for its national team, French federation president Bernard Laporte said on Tuesday.The news came following a meeting between the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and World Rugby president Bill Beaumont in Paris. “I told Bill that we’ve taken the political decision to stop playing foreign players in the national team,” said Laporte, who was only elected FFR president on December 3.The issue of foreign-qualified players is contentious particularly for the Pacific Islands — Fiji, Samoa and Tonga — who often lose talented players that opt to represent some of the bigger, richer nations.Current France players including New Zealand-born prop Uini Atonio, South African-born full-back Scott Spedding and Fijian wings Noa Nakaitaci and Virimi Vakatawa will remain eligible to represent France but other foreign-born players will not be allowed to follow suit.“Obviously it’s not retroactive. Those playing can continue playing but it’s a strong signal for French acadamies and our youngsters that we’ll play a maximum number of Frenchmen.”According to current World Rugby rules, a player can represent another country if he has lived there for three consecutive years and has not yet played for anyone else.World Rugby is looking at extending that criteria to five years.During the meeting Laporte reiterated France’s commitment to bidding against Ireland and South Africa to host the 2023 World Cup. Japan will organise the 2019 event.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour 1 Newcastle have reportedly made a £12m bid for Aymen Abdennour – despite the defender preferring a move to Italy.The Monaco man is expected to be on the move this summer with clubs all around Europe eyeing up his signature.Liverpool and Tottenham have been linked with a move, even though the Tunisian is said to favour a move to Italy with AC Milan and Juventus interested.And despite Abdennour’s preference for a switch to Serie A, according to Foot Mercato, Newcastle have submitted a £12m bid.New boss Steve McClaren is eager to bolster his squad this summer and is a fan of the centre-back.The Magpies’ offer comes some way short of Monaco’s valuation of the 25-year-old, with the French club slapping a £21m price tag on his head.
1 The Football Association is standing by its decision to back Michel Platini for the FIFA presidency for the time being at least but says there are issues which need to be “fully examined”.Platini is under investigation by Swiss legal authorities and FIFA’s ethics over a £1.35million payment he received from FIFA in 2011 for work carried out for the organisation more than nine years previously.The UEFA president insists the delay was because of FIFA’s financial position at the time but has not explained why there was a wait of nine years. The issue was discussed at an FA board meeting on Wednesday.An FA statement said: “In July, The FA board decided unanimously to support Michel Platini if he intended to stand for the presidency of FIFA. We did so because we thought he was an excellent president of UEFA and could bring those same leadership qualities to FIFA. We are still of that view.“However, events of recent days have raised a number of issues which do need to be fully examined.” Michel Platini
10 The Premier League season has finished and the verdicts are in on all the new signings who joined clubs over the course of the 2015/16 campaign.While players such as Toby Alderweireld, N’Golo Kante and Anthony Martial have all shone, there are a number of players who have not lived up to their billing.EVERY PREMIER LEAGUE CLUB’S REPORT CARDSome have found themselves dropped to the bench while others have been shipped out on loan and are almost certain to be plying their trade somewhere else next season.So who are the biggest flops of the season? talkSPORT have compiled a list of 10 of the worst signings.POWER RANKING THE BEST SIGNINGS OF THE SEASONClick the arrow above, right, to see who has failed to live up to their reputations this season! 10 10 9. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern to Manchester United) – Signed for what looked like a bargain at the time (£14.4m) but having spent all season plagued by injury, as he was during his final few seasons in Germany, and appearing off the pace when fit, Schweinsteiger definitely goes down as a flop. 1. Memphis Depay (PSV to Manchester United) – Memphis came with a huge reputation, a massive price-tag and an even bigger ego. He took the famous no.7 jersey but has looked one of the worst players to ever wear it, only managing two league goals and 16 starts. 7. Pedro (Barcelona to Chelsea) – After the tug of war between Manchester United and Chelsea for the former Barcelona winger last summer, you would have expected him to set the league alight. However, he like the rest of the Chelsea team have been utterly useless. 8. Papy Djilobodji (Nantes to Chelsea) – A strange signing at the time but even stranger considering the 27-year-old only played one minute of football before being shipped out to the Bundesliga where his goal saved Werder Bremen from relegation. 10 10 6. Florian Thauvin (Marseille to Newcastle) – Arrived from Marseille for £12m, scored no league goals, started only three games, and went back to Marseille in January. A classic Newcastle signing. 5. Radamel Falcao (Monaco to Chelsea on loan) – You would have thought Falcao had done enough while on loan at Manchester United to persuade all other team of his lack of ability, yet Chelsea still signed him as back up to Diego Costa. He was so bad he has been dropped from the Colombian national team. 10. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool to Manchester City) – click the arrow, right, to see the worst signings of the season – Perhaps a little harsh to put Sterling on this list, but any player who is kept out of the Manchester City side by Jesus Navas has to be considered a bad signing. 10 10 4. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa to Liverpool) – Signed for £32.5m, but bar a stunning overhead kick against Manchester United (which Liverpool still lost) Benteke has been overwhelmingly disappointing and could find himself out of the door during the summer. 3. Alexandre Pato (Corinthians to Chelsea on loan) – Granted, it’s not Pato’s fault he was injured when he arrived on a six-month loan, though Chelsea must have known about his problems. The forward arrived in January, but didn’t make his debut until April and banked eye watering wages along the way. He did get a debut goal against Aston Villa, though… 10 10 2. Joleon Lescott (West Brom to Aston Villa) – An experienced head, a Premier League winner and a life-long Villa fan what could go wrong? Lescott has been a disaster from arguing with fans to his pocket tweeting pictures of sports cars. 10
Brad Friedel believes Tottenham’s victory over Chelsea has opened the Premier League title race to SIX teams.The Blues saw their 13-match winning run ended at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night, with Dele Alli scoring either side of half-time to earn Spurs three points.Chelsea still have a healthy five-point lead at the top of the table but Friedel believes the loss – their first since September – has breathed new life into the championship.And he reckons Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are all in with a real chance of overhauling the leaders.“It was really gutsy performance from Tottenham to win 2-0 and there is now six teams well and truly in it,” said Friedel, speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“It is not going to be easy. Chelsea is a very good team. Just because Chelsea lost one game away from home against a very good Tottenham side doesn’t mean they are going to drop that many points, but it is a difficult season.“There are 18 games to play and it is a hard league. You can go and play bottom of the table and not get a result. That is what makes the Premier League so great.“Liverpool could go on and win it, Tottenham could, Arsenal could, Manchester United could. It is going to go down to the end.”United, sitting ten points behind Chelsea in sixth, have the most ground to make up, but Friedel said: “It is not often Jose Mourinho endures a season like he did last year with Chelsea. He generally gets things right, so I envision them to be there or thereabouts.”
SACRAMENTO – In a frenetic final day of lawmaking, a half dozen new and renegotiated agreements that together would dramatically expand gambling on California’s Indian reservations stalled Thursday in the Assembly and Senate. Legislative leaders and negotiators said the tribal compacts were likely to be doomed by opposition from labor groups, at least until lawmakers reconvene in December. Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata issued a statement declaring the compacts all but dead. He blamed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration for dumping the complex agreements on the Legislature at the last minute. Five were announced just days before the end of the legislative session. “Because of the late date that the Legislature received the gaming compacts … and because of the importance and complexity of these compacts, the Senate cannot act on them until the 2006-2007 session begins in December,” Perata, D-Oakland, said in a statement. Labor groups also have dug in for a fight. In recent days, they have flown in lobbyists from around the country to meet with lawmakers. Lobbyists for the state’s horse racing industry also have been at work in Sacramento to oppose the pacts because some of them include clauses that could complicate the efforts of track owners to expand. Some lawmakers said they also received calls and e-mails from family values groups opposing the expansion.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.In a vote Thursday, the Assembly voted down the most contentious of the compacts 35-23, six votes short of passage. That agreement, announced Aug. 7 by the administration, would have allowed the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs to add 3,000 slot machines and open a third casino. Labor groups opposed it because it would roll back provisions allowing casino workers to unionize. Schwarzenegger spokesman Darrel Ng said the administration would continue working to pass the other agreements. “The governor believes the compacts he signs are good for the state, tribe and local communities,” he said. “We will continue to fight for the compacts until the close of session.” Both sides agreed that pressure to vote on the other compacts would only intensify as the final hours of the Legislature’s session ticked away, with lobbyists for the tribes and labor unions roaming the halls of the Capitol.
The firestorm over the county Commission on Human Relations’ decision to honor a local Muslim who has called Israel an “apartheid state” intensified Tuesday when a former recipient returned his award. Steven Windmueller, interim dean of Hebrew Union College and a 1995 honoree, said the commission’s selection of Maher Hathout denigrated the legacy of the award’s namesake, John Allen Buggs. “Buggs understood the art of negotiation, the value of integrity and the need for transparency. These themes should, in my judgment, reflect those who are so honored to receive this recognition. Sadly, I return this piece of art as my statement that in this instance the Commission has not met the standards set for us by John Allen Buggs,” Windmueller wrote in a letter included with the award, which he returned by mail Tuesday afternoon. Hathout, a 70-year-old retired cardiologist, was known as a bridge builder locally. But last month, his sharp criticism of Israel was publicized, outraging many of L.A.’s largest Jewish organizations. Buggs was the first executive director of what is now known as the Commission on Human Relations, the first of its kind nationwide. He later left for Washington, where he led the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Windmueller sent the commission a letter last week stating his intention to return his award if Hathout’s selection was affirmed at a hearing Monday. It’s not clear whether the commissioners saw his letter. “We have just been getting hundreds of letters both for and against,” said Robin S. Toma, the executive director. “That one could have just slipped between the cracks.” email@example.com (818) 713-3634160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possible“Everyone has their issues and their swords they want to fall on. I guess this is the one (Windmueller) wants to fall on,” said the Rev. Zedar Broadous, a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Pacoima and one of the commissioners who voted for Hathout. “I don’t see it as that big of an issue, but if he wants to make this his issue, I won’t hold it against him. I’ll keep him in prayer.” Commission President Adrian Dove said it was unfortunate Windmueller had decided to return his award, which he received for work with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “We were looking to find anybody from the Muslim community that was discouraging terrorism, that was encouraging engagement in the dialogue and that was a potential bridge. While you may not have perfection, it is a starting point you can build upon,” Dove said. “I challenge you to find another party in Los Angeles who is a practicing Muslim leader who would be less controversial.” Hathout and the L.A.-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, which he co-founded, did not respond to a request for comment.
When Sports Breakfast host Alan Brazil mentioned Manchester United, Sherwood quickly shut that suggestion down: “Manchester United can’t win.“I’m talking about the Champions League and at the moment you’d have to say on form and the way they’re playing they’ve got no chance of winning.”But the former Premier League winner is confident Spurs will mount a challenge, saying they can beat any team in Europe with their best XI on the pitch. Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman 2 on target Liverpool set for Champions League boost as Takumi Minamino will be available Tottenham celebrate Lucas Moura’s late goal against Barcelona which sent them into the last 16 ready? 2 Tottenham are one of seven teams in contention to win the Champions League this season, believes former Spurs player and manager Tim Sherwood.Mauricio Pochettino’s men completed a remarkable rescue act on Tuesday night as they booked their place in the last 16 with a 1-1 draw with Barcelona at the Nou Camp.Spurs’ European campaign had looked dead and buried after claiming just one point from their first three games.But seven points from their final three games has seen them through by the skin of their teeth, making it ahead of Inter Milan on a better head-to-head record. With Liverpool also making it through, it means the Premier League have all four sides in the knockout stage, with Manchester City and Manchester United already through.And Sherwood firmly believes Tottenham have a great shot at the trophy.Speaking on Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, he said: “Can one of the Premier League teams win it? I think they can.“I think there are seven teams who can win it out of 16.“You’ve got the three Premier League sides – Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham – PSG will be a threat with their firepower, Juventus obviously, and then you’ve got the two giants from Spain – Barcelona and Real Madrid.” Atletico handed huge boost for Liverpool tie with Diego Costa returning from injury Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Harry Winks celebrate and Spurs qualify for the Champions League last 16 “Tottenham believe now, they believe they can go anywhere and win and I think with their best team they’re capable of doing that,” he added.“They have players who are capable of playing for the biggest clubs in the world. Over the years they have managed to get a group together who are ready to compete at the top end.”Listen back to Tim Sherwood on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above! Ancelotti tells fans he has Champions League dream for Everton BOOST Aiming high Champions League news