Jose Mourinho’s top priority has to be sorting out Tottenham’s defence

first_imgKane, Alli and Dier will lead Mourinho’s Special Ones at Spurs, but Jose is bad news for Lloris, Aurier and Moura GETTING Tottenham’s defence in order will be the biggest priority for Jose Mourinho on the pitch.Off it, it will be sorting out the contract situations of centre-backs Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, plus midfielder Christian Eriksen.3 Tottenham’s defence has been leaking goals this seasonIf they don’t want to stay, he has to move them on in January to avoid losing them for nothing in the summer.In terms of importance, it’s the equivalent of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino to Liverpool.Belgians Alderweireld and Vertonghen have been a fantastic pairing, providing a solid base for years under Mauricio Pochettino. In the previous four seasons Spurs have always been in the top-four in terms of fewest goals conceded.But this season they are joint-15th having already let in 17 in 12 games.Having a reliable centre-back pairing and defensive midfielder have been hallmarks of all of Mourinho’s successful teams.At Chelsea it was John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Claude Makelele in his first spell, with Gary Cahill and Nemanja Matic alongside Terry in his second.We all know the problems at Manchester United, where he didn’t have a defensive pairing he trusted implicitly.Mourinho has been pigeon-holed as playing a certain way and there has already been a lot of talk about his defensive style.People forget in five of his seven seasons in the Premier League his teams have been in the top-three for goals scored, while his Real Madrid side still hold the LaLiga record from 2012 with 121.Mourinho is inheriting a better team than he did at United, and in many ways there isn’t that much to do.3LATEST TOTTENHAM NEWSHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’KAN’T HAVE THATVictor Osimhen keen on Spurs move but only if they sell Kane this summerYOU KAN DO ITKlinsmann quit Spurs to win trophies but says Kane’s better off stayingTURBULENT PAIRINGDrogba and Mido had mid-flight brawl after stewardess prank went wrongGossipSPURRED ONTottenham table contract offer for Bayern Munich’s teenage starlet Taylor BoothExclusivePASS THE TESTEngland’s NRL-based stars urge bosses to make room for a Test this yearFor the man himself, this feels like last chance saloon for him in England.If it doesn’t work out, where does he go?In a way it’s his biggest job in the Premier League, and getting those contracts and the defence sorted are top of his priority list.3last_img read more

Fiji beats Tonga on home ground to qualify for 2019 RWC

first_imgIn a tight contest at the Teufaiva Sport Stadium in Nuku’alofa, Ben Volavola kicked three penalties while Leone Nakarawa got an important try to seal the win for Fiji.Both sides were locked at 3-all at half-time, according to Fiji Village.Tonga took the lead early in the second half after Siegfried Fisiihoi crossed over Fiji’s tryline.It took Fiji only two minutes to respond and Nakarawa scored Fiji’s only try in the 48th minute.Fiji will be pooled with Australia, Wales and Georgia in the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Photo by Fiji Rugby Unionlast_img

Women’s Rugby World Cup: Ireland 19-17 Australia

first_imgHosts Ireland won a nail-biting Women’s Rugby World Cup Pool C opener against battling Australia in Dublin.Larissa Muldoon’s converted first-half try, against a Mahalia Murphy score, had Ireland 7-5 ahead at the interval.Shannon Parry’s touchdown edged the Wallaroos in front but replacements Ciara Griffin and Sophie Spence crossed to put Ireland on the road to victory.The 2014 semi-finalists survived a late scare after prop Hilisha Samoa’s try was converted by Ashleigh Hewson.Ireland face Japan in their second group match on Sunday at the same venue, the UCD Bowl in Dublin, while Australia must try to re-group against France.Defending champions England opened up this year’s tournament by running in 10 tries in a 56-5 victory over Spain, while the USA beat Italy 24-12 in the other Pool B match.New Zealand and Canada are the favourites to progress from Pool A and both started with victories, the Black Ferns beating Wales 44-12 and Canada winning 98-0 against newcomers Hong Kong, while France thrashed 14-man Japan 72-14 in the other match in Pool C.Ireland aiming for semi-final repeatBereft of regular captain Niamh Briggs because of an Achilles injury, Ireland were led into the tournament by Claire Molloy as they set out to at least match their achievement of three years ago, when they lost to England in the last four.Ireland, the 2013 and 2015 Women’s Six Nations champions, went in as strong favourites, even though opponents Australia are just one place below them in the world rankings, in sixth.Their opponents had lost all five matches they had played since the 2014 competition, albeit against highly ranked sides in England, Canada and New Zealand.Australia have been concentrating on the Sevens version of the game, winning gold at the first Olympic tournament in Rio in 2016.Yet they dominated territory and possession in the opening 10 minutes, before Ireland started to pile on the pressure.Scrum-half Muldoon found a gap in the Australian defence midway through the half as he picked up and darted over for the match’s first try, Nora Stapleton converting.Australia were matching the Irish for physicality and responded eight minutes later when Murphy went over at full pelt in the corner after full-back Samantha Treherne sent an accurate looping ball over to the winger following a quick throw from a lineout.Treherne was unable to add the extra two points after the ball fell off the tee just as she was about to kick the conversion.Australia captain Parry barged over from close range 15 minutes after the resumption to nudge her side three points ahead, Treherne fluffing the conversion well wide of the posts.A powerful drive by Ireland’s forwards helped Griffin barge over for a converted try and Ireland looked to be well in control when Spence was adjudged by the television match official to have grounded the ball in the corner with 10 minutes left.Soon after, Samoa managed to twist and turn and dot the ball down at the other end despite the attention of four Irish defenders who were unable to halt the progress of the Australia prop.”That was a tough match. We knew Australia would be a physical side and they really put it up to us,” Ireland captain Molloy told ITV after the game.”I am proud of the grit, resilience and resolve shown by the girls. We knew we would create scoring opportunities if we stuck at it.”Ireland: H Tyrell; E Considine, J Murphy, S Naoupu, A Miller; N Stapleton, L Muldoon; L Peat, C Moloney, A Egan, P Fitzpatrick, ML Reilly, A Baxter, C Molloy, H O’Brien.Replacements: L Lyons, R O’Reilly, C O’Connor, S Spence, C Griffin, N Cronin, K Fitzhenry, M Coyne.Australia: S Treherne; N Marsters, K Sauvao, S Williams, M Murphy; T Pomare, K Barker; L Patu, C Campbell, H Samoa; C Butler, M Boyle; M Gray, S Parry (capt), G HamiltonReplacements: E Robinson, V Tupuola, H Ngaha, R Clough, A Hewett, F Hake, S Riordan, A Hewson.last_img read more

Former Leeds rugby league star John Atkinson dies

first_imgAtkinson played more than 500 times for Leeds Rhinos and clocked up dozens of games for Great Britain during the 1960s and 70s.The former winger developed Alzheimer’s five years ago and was being cared for by his wife Carol Butterfield.Paying tribute, Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “He was one of those special players, a match winner.”Atkinson began his playing career with Leeds in 1966 after signing from Roundhay Rugby Union club.He amassed a total of 401 tries during his career, of which 340 were scored for Leeds, making him the second highest try scorer in the club’s history.His international career from 1968 to 1980 saw him in play in four world cups.In a tribute on the club’s website, Leeds Rhinos described him as a “majestic and flamboyant finisher” who “thrilled and entertained crowds in both hemispheres with his dash and bravado down the left flank”.The club said he specialised in the “spectacular, often long-distance tries” and that everyone who had seen him play would have their own “treasured memory of an ‘Atky’ special”.Earlier this year, his wife had spoken about the struggle of coping with her husband’s dementia as a result of having Alzheimer’s.Speaking to the BBC about his condition, she said: “He’s still very sweet and very gentle and there are parts of John that I recognise, but the saddest thing mostly is that John disappeared some time ago.”Leeds Rhinos players will wear black arm bands for their Boxing Day match at Wakefield and will hold a minute’s silence.last_img read more

Jennings braces for family affair against Eels brothers

first_imgEels centre Michael Jennings brings up the 250th game of a storied career that also includes seven Tests each for Tonga and Australia plus 18 Origins for NSW and a 2013 grand final win with the Roosters.However, the 30-year-old’s two younger brothers are much less experienced – 25-year-old George has battled back from a series of major injuries to finally get a chance and grab it with both hands at the Eels this year while 22-year-old Robert has evolved into a genuine first-grader over the past two seasons at Redfern.Limited opportunities for the younger two means Thursday’s game is the first time Robert and George have featured in the same NRL game.”Parra are obviously not where they want to be but they’ll be hungry coming off a solid win against the Cowboys so it’s going to be a really tough one – especially coming up against my brothers!” Robert laughed when asked by how he was preparing for the Eels.”I’m on George and Michael’s side so there’s going to be a bit of talk out there. I came up against Michael last year but never came up against them both so it’s a first.Robert admitted it would be a relief this week that he doesn’t live at the family home in Sydney’s west with the other two, but anticipated the intra-family banter could ramp up as the game drew closer.”I just have to shut all that out and go out there and do my job and just get the two points. When you’re on the field it’s business,” he added.He was, however, incredibly proud of the way George had battled back from a series of injuries to be one of the struggling Eels’ most consistent players this year.In last weekend’s win over the Cowboys, the middle Jennings racked up a match-high 22 runs with a try, 180 metres and seven tackle busts.”Georgie’s doing really well. The team’s not where they want to be but George has really worked hard to get a spot and he’s been trying to get a spot for quite a while now so for me as a brother I’m very proud seeing him up there. But hopefully I get over him this weekend,” Robert added.last_img read more

Digicel Play partners with NBC for NRL coverage

first_imgDuring the 2016 season, three weekly NRL matches will be aired on NBC as well as Digicel Play. The partnership will also see the ANZAC Test and the very popular State of Origin series aired on both networks.All remaining matches, including the PNG Hunters games and Digicel Cup, will be aired on Digicel Play.Digicel CEO, Mr Maurice McCarthy, said Digicel recognises that Rugby League and the NRL has a passionate following in PNG.”We want to work closely with PNG’s state broadcaster to allow both our viewers and NBC viewers the chance to see the action at home,” he said.”As the true home of Rugby League in PNG, Digicel Play offers an unbeatable service for our viewers. With Digicel Play and NBC we are reaching the whole of PNG.””PNG is going to experience NRL like they have never experienced it before and our partnership with NBC means key games will be free-to-air on NBC, as well as broadcast in high definition on Digicel Play,” Mr McCarthy said.Acting Managing Director of NBC,  Kora Nou, said the availability of the NRL in every home in PNG with a TV set, and meant that the partnership was a win-win arrangement for both the NBC and Digicel Play.”We recognize that Rugby League is the national sport of PNG, and the NRL is the best club competition in the world. Through this partnership, there will be 100 percent NRL coverage across the country. Working together with Digicel means that the people of PNG can enjoy the NRL on whichever platform they choose.”As the State Broadcaster, one of our core functions is to provide real entertainment; when it comes to Rugby League, the NRL is as compelling as it gets,” he said.last_img read more

Zidane: “Valverde made a rude foul but had to do it …”

first_imgSomething has to be. How can he have played nine finals and won all? “I don’t know, this club is like that. We always want to. Be patient, at rest there was a bit of discomfort because we didn’t know how we could score. There was a good team in front. You have to believe until the end and that’s what we have done”.Was the game as expected? Did you contemplate the penalties? “Yes, always. In football you never know what will happen. In the end we get it, we are happy because a title is never easy.”How can this title mark the future of the season? “Keep working. We won today, we have to enjoy, be happy. We have the trip, rest and then now, again to play. We can’t think of relaxing. We are happy, we have to enjoy, but there is a lot of League, Champions, Cup … Very long everything. “ Zinedine Zidane analyzed in the flash interview the victory against Atlético on penalties, which was the first title of the season. The French coach has played as a final nine coach and has won all.The Valverde match: “He has taken the trophy to the MVP and I am happy for him. He has done a great job, like everyone else. He sure wants to share it with all his teammates.”The expulsion of Valverde, key: “In the end it is that, he has done what he had to do. It is a rude fault but it had to be done at that time. He has done well. In the end the important thing is that he has apologized to Morata because they know each other very well.”You have played nine finals and won nine titles. It is said that the finals are not played, they are won: “We are all here, those who do not play, those who are here … It is true that this is said …”.last_img read more

Twinned with Becerril

first_imgHe is the chosen one so that the Real one fulfills his promise, made by the realistic president, Jokin Aperribay, as soon as he finishes the 0-8 of the first Cup qualifier played in Palencia, in the New Ballast, because the Mariano Haro did not meet the security requirements of the Spanish Football Federation. Both clubs promised eternal brotherhood. La Real will take care of all the expenses of the people of the Palentino club, and also of the round trip travel expenses of the inhabitants of the town who want to go.The Becerril has already begun to announce the way to sign up to travel by bus for that Saturday. You have to register in a list that you have placed in two bars in the town of Becerril, and the deadline to do so is this Monday. The buses will leave Becerril at eight o’clock on Saturday morning of the match and return at 9:00 p.m., at the end of the commitment.The people of Becerril will also organize a meal in San Sebastian before the game, and the realistic club will give them a special treatment so they can get to know the Real’s facilities much better and also enjoy the game. Curious are some pictures that this is leaving Cup With the new format. Field Calf it is a palencia town that could write a book about the Spain emptied A corner of the region of Farmland which at the beginning of the century still used four figures to measure its population. But the figure of one thousand inhabitants was falling and now there are 754. Almost everyone knows each other. Against his team, of Third, faced the Real society in the first round And all of them have chosen the date on which the Royal will fulfill the promise he made after the first qualifying round Copa del Rey.It will be Saturday, February 22 in the match against Valencia in the Reale Arena. The promise was that the San Sebastian club would invite a party in Saint Sebastian to all the people of the town of Palencia. These days in Becerril de Campos there was no talk of anything else, making pools fantasizing why party would empty the streets to have its inhabitants in Donostia.“Aperribay He told us to look for a weekend that would fit us well to go to San Sebastian to watch a Real match. They take care of everything, he told me. The players and managers pay us the bus, the entrance and even invite us to eat. And for the rest of the people who want to sign up they invite the round trip and the entrance to the game, ”he explained Juan Antonio Redondo, the president of the Becerril. That match will be the team’s visit on February 22, at 6:30 p.m.last_img read more

Love: “If Messi is angry? We’ll have to ask him”

first_imgWilliam love, director of Institutional Relations of Barça, spoke on the microphones of Movistar after the win against Betis. He gave no clues about the incorporation of the forward: “We cannot say names about signings. Names like Loren’s have come out but for now we have to wait to see how it looks Ousmane. If there is a good opportunity, you will see if we can do it. If Quique asks for a man, it’s normal and we’ll see“ About Messi and his appearance on Instagram to criticize Abidal, he avoided controversy: “What happens is that we are always used to dial. And unchecked plays very well. He has played a great game, he is involved. If you don’t dial, go. It’s very valuable. He has had occasions and always has them. We would have to ask him if he is angry but we try to solve our things internally. And Messi is good in every way. Messi is culé, sorry. Live the problem and that’s why he gets into the club’s problems, because he wants Barça to be the winner. And every time Messi talks it’s normal. “last_img read more

The Mirandés resists falling

first_imgChangesWillian José (67 ‘, Isak), Ander Guevara (67 ‘, Aritz Elustondo), Marcos de Sousa (69 ‘, Matheus Aias), Álvaro Peña (75 ‘, Antonio Sánchez), Januzaj (76 ‘, Portu), Iñigo Vicente Elorduy (85 ‘, Álvaro Rey) The times of the game, the decisive moments, favored the San Sebastian team, which did not even remove the discomfort of have the Mirandés hanging from the hump in each of its exits from behind. There is an important coach in Iraola, he had already shown it before three other First sets in this Cup, and the Anoeta thing reinforces him even more. If he is able to turn Mirandés into an author team, what will he be able to do with more means and more resources.Real’s short circuit became even more noticeable as the game progressed. What is almost always a fluid circulation of the ball, with Odegaard wielding the flag of the good game, became a harmless caudalous cake for the Mirandés. It is true that Portu could do the 3-1 with a long time still ahead, but Lemons saved well. The bad game of the local team disconnected the stands of Anoeta, who had come to enjoy a semifinal win against a set of Second and ended up asking for the time and taking the result for good.Nor did the changes alter Imanol’s plan. The entries of Guevara and Willian José did not break down the sticky plan like a Mirandés gum. If a scout of Barça has seen the last matches of the Brazilian, it is understood rather that they are still interested in him. Turn around, the decisive Anduva party that will separate this first bland act from the grand finale of Seville. La Real won the initial battle; Mirandés has points advantage. The disadvantage did not baffle the Mirandés, Nevertheless. The red box played with the bravery of always, like a tightrope walker who does not see the abyss while riding on the rope. His high blood pressure, Iraola’s hallmark, caused fear in the Real, who wants to always leave with the ball played and has forgotten other methods. Special mention deserves Malsa, a midfielder with a marathon body, small in appearance but giant of energy. His recovery over Odegaard in the goal of the tie was the confirmation that he was there to cause a major headache to the Norwegian. Matheus, good footballer, resolved later.But the Real de Odegaard, the ups and downs and the flashes, drew a stroke of genius when he needed it most, just after the goal of Mirandés and before the break. The horizon was finally opened to Martintxo and with spaces it is something else his left-handed, a hose of assists and goals. It was he himself who put the cream to his great play to return to overtake a Real that, contrary to other days, scored much more than he played. The meritorious Mirandés, the surprise of the Cup, the team able to stand up to the giants, to get their hands on this tournament, came out alive from Anoeta with a Matheus goal. Not only did he survive, but at times he was better than the Real, which reduced as few rivals this season. The dream of each other to reach the final remains intact, although with very different sensations. The Real won, the Mirandés grew bigger. Anduva will solve.Historical parties must know how to digest them, bind them, put gold trim. It is not easy and it was not for the Real, more pressed. Not even early on the scoreboard got rid of shocks. The vigor of Portu in a ball apparently lost in the area ended in an innocent penalty by Odei that was sensed since the Murcia appeared on the scene. Oyarzabal scored calmly.center_img CardsMonreal (16 ‘, Yellow) Kijera (46 ‘, Yellow) Oyarzabal (47 ‘, Yellow) Zaldua (81 ‘, Yellow Goals1-0, 8 ‘: Oyarzabal, 1-1, 38 ‘: Matheus Aias, 2-1, 41 ‘: Odegaardlast_img read more