Monday, 27 April 2009
Thursday, 23 April 2009
In the last few hours it was announced that former Sunderland Manager, and former Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and Celtic midfielder, Roy Keane, is to be the new manager at Championship side Ipswich Town.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Today the squad for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, which starts next month, was announced, and it wasnt much of a surprise that the Irish and Welsh were most represented in the squad of 37, picked by Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan.
With memories of 1997 and Jeremy Guscott's vital drop goal in South Africa still fresh for most, especially the captain on that occasion, England Coach Martin Johnson, it may surprise you somewhat that that was the last Lions tour victory, a staggering 12 years ago.
As mentioned it was no surprise that the grand slam champions, from this year’s Six Nations and last year's, provided the majority of the squad, with Irish second rower Paul O'Connell being given the honour of captaining the side out in South Africa.
Naturally, when facing the current World Champions, there are many questions that can be asked of the Lions squad, but the one that keeps cropping up the most is the question of whether the team are strong enough to out muscle the spring boks, who's main threats come from the likes of Bakkies Botha and Schalk Burger.
Lions coach, Graham Rowntree, certainly believes that the squad is a physical one, saying that "it's important we took some physical animals, because that’s what South Africa are."
Another question is whether this group of players can gel and play together as a unit in time to not only compete with the world champions, but try and beat them in their own back yard.
The players have seven weeks before the start of the tour, and will be playing a host of warm up matches before going into the three match series with South Africa, but can O’Connell, McGeechan and his men come together to produce a performance ala 97?
Being called up as a Lion is one of the biggest honours that could be bestowed on a rugby player, and with all these players playing alongside each other in league and international action, gelling and knowing how one another plays shouldn’t be an issue, but as we have seen in football, knowing each other inside and out isn’t always what’s required when playing alongside each other, just look at Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard for England.
Tour manager Gerald Davies was confident in his summation of the situation when he said that "they might hail from four different countries but on tour they will play for the one jersey, one philosophy, one style and have one ambition: to return home as winners."
There is no doubting that the 37 face a gargantuan task taking on the spring boks in South Africa, but the group of players selected are the best of British and hope to once again come back victorious, for the first time in over a decade.
The tour starts on Saturday 30th May with a match against Highveld XV at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, North West Province, finishing off on Saturday 4th July with the third and final test match against South Africa at Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg.
Sunday, 19 April 2009
As a Manchester United fan and a fan of a good old stat, it was quite easy to figure out that Manchester United aren't very good at putting the ball in the back of the net at the new Wembley.
Saturday, 18 April 2009
This weekend see's the FA Cup come to the Semi Final stage with Arsenal taking on Chelsea and Manchester United taking on Everton, but these matches will be being played at Wembley, which many view as taking away some of the glamour of reaching the Final itself.