Archive For 02/16/2019

Red Bull fastest but seeking split with Renault

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“If we don’t have a competitive engine, we will leave Formula One,” Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko told Sky Sports television, confirming also that the team’s fractured relationship with Renault was set to end.

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“We always have been a customer, we always paid for our engine, we never got it for free. The performance was just not there and so we decided we will split.”

Marko was commenting after Renault head Carlos Ghosn made clear this week that the French carmaker would either buy a team or leave the sport, rather than remaining as an engine supplier to others.

Having recorded just two podium finishes this season, both in Hungary, the team has had little to celebrate this year.

But things took a turn for the better on Friday with Daniil Kvyat setting the fastest practise time and team mate Daniel Ricciardo posting the third quickest at the floodlit Marina Bay street circuit.

Remarkably, it was the first time this season Red Bull had topped the time sheets in any qualifying session, a far cry from 2010-13 when they won four championships in a row and totally dominated the sport.

“If today’s any tell-tale sign, I think we’re looking pretty good,” Ricciardo said. “I hoped the car would work better around here and that looks like the case.”

ENGINE PROBLEMS

Kvyat’s performance in the second 90-minute session was all the more impressive after he missed most of the first because of engine problems.

The 21-year-old Russian, who finished second in Hungary in July, kept his cool on a steamy night to record a fastest lap time of 1:46.142 on super-soft tyres.

“Hopefully we can carry this into tomorrow, obviously everyone will be working very hard tonight but we’ll try our best to stay in the same position tomorrow,” he said.

Despite their engine woes, Red Bull arrived in Southeast Asia with high expectations after taking engine penalties at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago to ensure they’d have fresh ones for Singapore.

“I got a taste of victory last year and that’s the thing, when you taste it, you expect it and you want it more and more,” said Ricciardo, who won three times in 2014 but has a best finish of third this year.

“Obviously, they had the four titles and now it’s been taken away from them for 18 months and I think next year that’s the target to try and get back on track and get up there, not only me but all the guys are hungry.”

(Reporting by Julian Linden, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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England launch Rugby World Cup as All Blacks seek first away triumph for hat-trick

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The six-week tournament has been billed as the first billion dollar rugby festival, with 2.

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3 million tickets expected to be sold and tourists contributing some £869 million ($1.36 billion) to Britain’s economy.

Almost half a million tourists are expected to visit Britain for the games, whose four dozen matches involving 20 teams will take in traditional rugby venues like Cardiff but also bastions of soccer such as Manchester and Newcastle.

The tournament highlights the sport’s growing global appeal with Japan, the United States and Canada fielding sides, while Romania and Georgia complement the established European sides.

Uruguay will struggle to avoid last place in England’s “Group of Death” but Latin America’s rugby aristocrats Argentina should qualify from Pool C with New Zealand.

Namibia, Africa’s other representative after the powerful Springboks of South Africa, could also struggle but the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, with their brand of fast-flowing, physical rugby are sure to be crowd pleasers.

The All Blacks, the world number one side, have never triumphed outside New Zealand and have some painful memories of previous European campaigns, particularly 1999 and 2007, when they were beaten by mercurial French sides.

New Zealand, seeking to become the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup three times, will be led by 2011-winning captain Richie McCaw, the most-capped player in rugby history.

UPBEAT FINALE

His flyhalf Dan Carter, the game’s highest points scorer, will hope for an upbeat finale to his international career after injury cut short his involvement in the campaign four years ago.

    While Fiji will provide a stern physical test for England in their opening game, Pool A also features double world champions Australia and local rivals Wales, meaning one of the top five sides in the world will fail to make it out of the group stage.

That could give those in World Rugby who decided to make the draw three years ago, when Wales briefly slipped out of the top eight, some sleepless nights.

    England will look to the Twickenham faithful to give them the edge and hope their powerful pack, seemingly off the pace in their warm-ups, can stifle the adventurous backline play of their two main rivals and restore the trophy to the country that invented the game.

    Australia, as ever, appear to be peaking just at the right time and both their World Cup wins have come in Europe. They ended a four-year barren run against New Zealand last month to win the Rugby Championship while their much-maligned pack has suddenly started to look like a unit to be reckoned with.

    Wales, who went agonisingly close to the final four years ago despite playing much of their semi-final against France with 14 men, look to be the pool outsiders, and late injuries to key players have cast a shadow over their preparations.

   

IRELAND’S BEST OPPORTUNITY

Winning Pool A appears essential to winning the title as the runners-up are likely to have to defeat both South Africa — the second best team on the planet — and New Zealand just to make the final.

No team has ever lost a World Cup pool game and gone on to win the tournament.

    The Springboks, twice holders of the cup, come into the tournament after an unimpressive Rugby Championship when, hard-hit by injuries, they lost to Argentina for the first time.

    But they remain fiercely competitive at the breakdown and their backline, including inexperienced trio flyhalf Handre Pollard and centres Damien de Allende and Jesse Kriel, looks exciting.

South Africa’s Pool B opponents Scotland have yet to turn their improved performances under Kiwi coach Vern Cotter into results. The Scots hope to secure the runners-up spot but must overcome Samoa, no easy task.

Ireland, along with Italy the only teams in the “big 10” never to have reached the semi-finals, have arguably their best opportunity of doing something special.

    Back-to-back Six Nations champions and riding high at second in the rankings after beating Australia and South Africa last November, they have local opposition in the form of France and Italy in their pool and should they top it, a winnable last-eight meeting with Argentina is on the cards.

    While it is hard to see any of the other sides making more than a one-off impact, outsiders will have a better chance than before, as the organisers have given the smaller teams similar rest periods to the big guns.

($1 = 0.6397 pounds)

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Springboks look up to Japan coach Jones

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The former Australia coach, whose team lost narrowly at home in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, has a close South African connection, having acted as a consultant in 2007 when the Boks won the World Cup in France.

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He was brought in by then coach Jake White to work primarily with the backline and earned widespread recognition and praise for his role.

“He took the edge off a sometimes strained team dynamic at a time when there were frosty relations between some players and White,” revealed a South African team official this week.

With nine players left over from the victorious 2007 squad, it’s clear Jones is venerated by many of the South Africans, some of whom see him as a mentor.

Veteran scrumhalf Fourie du Preez followed Jones to Japan to play club rugby and also learned more about the game as he eyes a future in coaching.

“You can bet Eddie will have prepared his team very well,” he said.

Winger Bryan Habana gave his distinctive green, emblazoned with gold thread, Springbok blazer to Jones after the 2007 win and spoke this week with much enthusiasm on the subject of the 55-year-old Australian.

“Where he has taken Japan to over the last four years has been really exciting to watch. He has taken them from a team regarded as minnows just a few years ago to now growing in strength as they get ready to host the 2019 World Cup.

“I have massive respect for Eddie as a coach and for what he has done for the Japan and the level of professionalism in their rugby that has increased dramatically over the last years.”

New Bok coach Heyneke Meyer added his own compliment on the eve of the Pool B encounter. “He’s turned them into the team that keeps the ball the most. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”

(Editing by Justin Palmer; [email protected]杭州桑拿会所,; +447979846152; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters杭州桑拿会所,@reuters杭州桑拿按摩,)

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Vintage Canadian throwback Cudmore plots Ireland upset

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The Clermont lock, playing in his fourth World Cup at the age of 37, will captain his country in a Pool D clash at the Millennium Stadium that few give Canada any chance of winning.

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Canada coach Kieran Crowley, however, said his side had their eyes only on a win on Saturday and Cudmore agreed they had the quality to hold their own against the Irish.

“Over the last summer, we have played some great rugby against some great competition,” Cudmore told a news conference.

“And as I said to the boys, we can compete with the best in the world. We’ve just got to hang onto the ball and play some good rugby. We have some really good young talent out there.”

Canada will also play France, Italy and Romania in Pool D.

It was Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, a former assistant at Clermont, who said the Cudmore embodied the values, as well as some of the bad habits, of rugby’s pre-professional era.

It was a description Cudmore was happy to embrace.

“I think in rugby, those amateur values are the basis of rugby in itself,” he said. “Having a hard fought game and shaking hands and having the respect of the opposition.

“Maybe having a beer after the game, maybe, maybe not, but that’s extremely important. If we lose those values moving forward in a more professional era, it’s a sad day for rugby.”

Cudmore’s “bad habits” have led to a string of suspensions for violent play over the years but Schmidt said it was wrong to view him merely as a one-dimensional enforcer.

Again, unsurprisingly, the Canadian agreed.

“Nobody wants to be known as a goon, right? My record speaks for itself,” he said. “Sure I’ve done some stupid things on the field but a lot of people have too, so I try and concentrate on my job.”

Cudmore’s Irish counterpart on Saturday is Paul O’Connell, the other player involved in one of the more notorious incidents of a career littered with them.

During a European Cup match between Clermont and Munster, the two hulking locks exchanged punches in a brawl which recalled an era before citings or yellow and red cards.

It being 2008, however, Cudmore was shown a red card and O’Connell a yellow.

That allowed the Canadian to make a tongue-in-cheek gift to O’Connell last year illustrating the range of the “Sin Bin” wines he and his wife produce in the Auvergne region of France.

“We’ve got a red, a white and rose,” he laughed.

“Last year, after the Munster game in Clermont, I gave Paul a bottle of yellow and me a bottle of red.

“My wife has asked me to have a couple of yellow and red cards (at the World Cup) just to do a bit of marketing.”

(Editing by John Geddie)

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Rugby and football enter cosy World Cup relationship

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Premier League and lower division pitches are being used for pool matches, to the dismay of some of rugby union’s traditionalists, but with enthusiasm from competitors.

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Among them are the iconic Wembley Stadium, Elland Road, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, St James’ Park, Villa Park and the homes of Brighton and Hove Albion, Leicester City and Milton Keynes Dons.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer believes football pitches could prove a bonus for running rugby, suggesting that England’s top rugby grounds are heavier and therefore do not offer a better viewing spectacle.

“I think we’ll see a quicker World Cup with more running because of the football fields,” he told reporters this week.

Veteran New Zealand flyhalf Dan Carter, playing at a fourth World Cup, said he and his All Black team mates embrace the idea.

“The team are really excited about that; playing in a couple of new stadiums like Wembley and the Olympic stadium next week.

“It’s what makes this tournament so special and I’ve never been to Wembley before, so I’m looking forward to that experience.”

But it has not gone down well with all. Leicester Tigers were so incensed they did not get any games for their Welford Road ground that they bemoaned the fact on their website (leicestertigers杭州桑拿会所,).

“We are hugely disappointed to learn that Welford Road will not play a part in England’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup in 2015,” said Tigers chairman Peter Tom at the time.

“Welford Road has hosted many, many major occasions over the years, including visits from South Africa, Australia and Argentina national teams in recent seasons. It is home to the best-supported and most successful club in the history of the professional game in this country and, as such, we believe is worthy of Rugby World Cup status.”

To rub salt in the wound, matches in Leicester are being hosted at the King Power Stadium, home of Leicester City, whose capacity of 32,000 is 8,000 more than Welford Road.

The Rugby Football Union suggested the larger capacities and better facilities at modern football stadiums led to the controversial decision.

“The selection procedure for the long list of venues took into account a geographical spread across the country, sporting and facilities criteria, levels of support from candidate host cities and capacity requirements for the successful delivery of a Rugby World Cup,” a statement said.

(Editing by Rex Gowar)

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Former champion Scott to skip 2015 Australian PGA

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The Dec.

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3-6 event will be played for the first time at Albany Golf Club on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas, which is where Scott has his primary residence.

“There’s an influence for me to play at Albany, because that’s where I live,” Scott told Reuters about his decision to play in the World Challenge. “I probably play more rounds there than anyone.”

He won the Australian PGA Championship in his home state of Queensland in 2013, before losing a seven-hole playoff for the title against compatriot Greg Chalmers in December last year.

After becoming the first Australian to earn a coveted green jacket when he clinched the Masters in 2013, Scott was the centre of attention when he returned home to play four tournaments at the end of that year.

He played three events in his homeland last season, but this year will play just one — the Nov. 26-29 Australian Open in Sydney, where he could well find himself playing second fiddle to defending champion Jordan Spieth.

Fellow Australian Jason Day, who won his first major title at last month’s PGA Championship, has also announced he will not play in his homeland this year because of the impending birth of his second child.

The World Challenge invites its defending champion (Spieth), the reigning major champions (Spieth, Zach Johnson and Day) and two sponsor exemptions before completing its elite field with the top available players from the world rankings.

Woods has already received one of the two sponsor exemptions for his own event. Scott is 13th in this week’s world rankings.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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All Blacks name most experienced ever XV to take on Pumas

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Steve Hansen’s side will feature 1,013 test caps in the starting line-up and a further 316 caps on the bench, when they square off against the toughest opposition in their group.

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Richie McCaw will lead the All Blacks for the 143rd time while Tony Woodcock, who along with flyhalf Dan Carter is a also a test centurion, will equal Englishman Jason Leonard’s world record of 104 test starts at prop.

Eight of Hansen’s XV started the World Cup final four years ago when the All Blacks beat France 8-7.

“We’ve selected what we believe is a very strong team.  We have the utmost respect for Argentina who we know a lot more about now because of their involvement in The Rugby Championship. But it also means they know a lot more about us,” Hansen said on Friday.

New Zealand are hoping to become the first team to successfully defend the World Cup after triumphing on home soil in 2011.

“No one’s done it before so it must be difficult. But it doesn’t mean to say it can’t happen,” Hansen told reporters.

Hansen said the All Blacks had learned from previous experiences to only take one game at a time, referring to the 2007 tournament when France knocked them out in the quarter-final stage for their worst ever finish.

“We learned in 2007 that if you look too far ahead, then you get back on a plane and go home. So we are only looking at Argentina at the moment.”

Since their triumph in 2011, New Zealand have lost just three of 47 tests, winning 42 and drawing two.

They have never lost to the Pumas in 21 meetings.

New Zealand: 1-Tony Woodcock, 2-Dane Coles, 3-Owen Franks, 4-Brodie Retallick, 5-Sam Whitelock, 6-Jerome Kaino, 7-Richie McCaw (captain), 8-Kieran Read, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Dan Carter, 11-Julian Savea, 12-Ma’a Nonu, 13-Conrad Smith, 14-Nehe Milner-Skudder, 15-Ben Smith

Replacements: 16-Keven Mealamu, 17-Wyatt Crockett, 18-Charlie Faumuina, 19-Victor Vito, 20-Sam Cane, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Beauden Barrett, 23-Sonny Bill Williams

(Reporting by Justin Palmer and John Geddie; editing by Ed Osmond)

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England and Fiji ready for World Cup opener

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Both teams reported a clean bill of health over their final few days of preparations, with no changes to the matchday squads.

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Thousands of fans were mingling outside the ground four hours before kickoff, though many more had a hair-raising matchday experience after a broken down train caused lengthy delays in journeys from central London.

In normal circumstances, a home game against Fiji would be a pretty straightforward operation for England but with the weight of expectation on the host nation and the islanders coming into the match after a rare lengthy period of preparation together, there was tension in the air.

Anything but an England win would be a huge shock, probably the biggest in the tournament’s history, but Stuart Lancaster’s side will also have an eye on the available bonus point for a four-try victory.

With Wales and Australia also in Pool A, the finishing order could be decided by bonus points gained against Fiji, with all three “big guns” expected to collect one against pool minnows Uruguay.

Despite that, England, who will wear red after losing the toss with their white-shirted rivals, will not come out tossing the ball around as they did in the try-fest of their final Six Nations game against France.

Fiji are at their most dangerous in broken play, with their powerful runners cutting loose from deep, and Lancaster will no doubt have instructed his side to keep things tight, at least for the first half.

“England cannot get caught up in the spirit of fun that Fiji can bring to the occasion,” 2003 World Cup winner Will Greenwood wrote on Friday.

“Their night is all about being, dour, miserable and hard-nosed.”

Fans who have paid up to 300 pounds for a ticket might not feel the same but if the hosts go on to lift the trophy back at Twickenham on Oct. 31 then few will complain about, or even remember, the match that kicked it all off.

Teams:

England: 15-Mike Brown, 14-Anthony Watson, 13-Jonathan Joseph, 12-Brad Barritt, 11-Jonny May, 10-George Ford, 9-Ben Youngs; 8-Ben Morgan, 7-Chris Robshaw (captain), 6-Tom Wood, 5-Geoff Parling, 4-Courtney Lawes, 3-Dan Cole, 2-Tom Youngs, 1-Joe Marler.

Replacements: 16-Rob Webber, 17-Mako Vunipola, 18-Kieran

Brookes, 19-Joe Launchbury, 20-Billy Vunipola, 21-Richard

Wigglesworth, 22-Owen Farrell, 23-Sam Burgess.

Fiji: 15-Metuisela Talebula, 14-Waisea Nayacalevu,

13-Vereniki Goneva, 12-Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 11-Nemani Nadolo,

10-Ben Volavola; 9-Nikola Matawalu, 8-Sakiusa Masi Matadigo,

7-Akapusi Qera (captain), 6-Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5-Leone

Nakarawa, 4-Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 3-Manasa Saulo, 2-Sunia

Koto, 1-Campese Ma’afu.

Replacements: 16-Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17-Peni Ravai, 18-

Isei Colati, 19-Tevita Cavubati, 20-Peceli Yato, 21-Nemia

Kenatale, 22-Joshua Matavesi, 23-Aseli Tikoirotuma.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

(Editing by John Geddie)

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Charley and the birdie factory is perfect for Europe

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The 19-year-old Hull won both her matches, alongside fellow Englishwoman Melissa Reid and Gwladys Nocera of France, as Europe moved into a strong position in their bid to land a hat-trick of victories in the women’s version of the Ryder Cup.

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Asked by Reuters to describe the bubbly blonde teenager’s performance at the St Leon-Rot Golf Club, Swede Koch replied: “Awesome. Excellent. Fantastic.

“She’s just a great person to have on the team, there are a lot of laughs around her. She’s a lot of fun but also one of the top players.

“She’s young and fresh. It’s great. It wouldn’t be the same without her on the team.”

Hull, who reeled off five back-nine birdies in a row as she and Nocera beat Alison Lee and Angela Stanford 3 and 2 in the afternoon fourballs, was also the standout performer as a 17-year-old when Europe won the biennial event in Colorado in 2013.

Koch said she gave her 12-strong team a pep talk on Thursday night and they carried out her instructions perfectly.

“I told them to go and enjoy the crowds and the stage they are on this week,” said the Swede.

“I think they all did that. It looked like they were having a lot of fun all day. I couldn’t be more pleased with them.”

A thunderstorm in the afternoon caused a 65-minute interruption that meant two of the fourballs will have to be completed on Saturday.

“We are going to have to do a little rallying in the morning,” said U.S. captain Juli Inkster.

“I’ll tell them tonight what I saw out there, I’ll be honest with them. But I know, because I’ve played in many of these things, that it’s not easy.

“I thought some of our girls played a little tight and I’d like to see them loosen up a little bit,” added Inkster, a veteran of nine Solheim Cups as a player.

“I thought we were a little tentative on putting, the speed of their putts weren’t great. The Europeans made a tonne of birdies and in fourballs you’ve got to make birdies, pars aren’t going to win.”

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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The bunker will be a success: Morris

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They could’ve done with one on Friday night, but Canterbury says the incoming refereeing bunker will significantly reduce mistakes made by the NRL’s officials.

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While the Bulldogs were knocked out of the premiership race with a 38-12 pummelling by the Sydney Roosters, much of the aftermath will centre around a controversial try to prop Kane Evans that turned the semi-final on its head.

Leading 8-4 and with the match in the balance, Evans ran what looked to be a routine carry towards the tryline and appeared to have stopped momentum before falling over the line.

Crucially, lead referee Matt Cecchin ruled a try, which was later upheld by the video referees despite replays showing Evans planting the ball short of the stripe.

Evans said after the match that he thought the video referees would overturn the decision.

“I thought it looked like no try but when he gave it… happy days,” he said.

Diplomatic Bulldogs coach Des Hasler didn’t think it was a try, but played down it’s significance in the context of the match.

“At the end of the day, it probably wasn’t a try and the referee called it a try and the video referee probably didn’t have enough evidence to overrule,” he said.

“Was it a turning point? Maybe. It’s all speculation now.”

While debate will continue to surround the Evans try, Hasler believes the introduction of a refereeing bunker next season would raise the accuracy and speed of the officials in the box.

“From what we’re hearing, it’s all going to change next year anyway, isn’t it? The bunker will take care of all that,” he said.

“The biggest problem with it is they don’t control the vision. The video referee doesn’t control the vision. If they control the vision, they’ll make decisions quicker.”

Fullback Brett Morris said he was given a preview of the bunker in a State of Origin camp earlier this year, and was also confident that it would prove to be a success.

“They showed us the concept of the bunker and they seemed to come up with the right decisions a lot more often, they get better camera angles and it happens a lot quicker, so there’s not much standing around,” he said.

“It’s probably a lot better system than what we have in place now. I can only say that if they bring it in, it’s going to be better for the game.”

The NRL will have further discussions on the bunker at the end of the season.

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