Tag Archives: australia

Chris Ashton backed by Saracens coach Paul Gustard

Ashton backed by Saracens coach Gustard after poor Six Nations

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

21:49 GMT, 2 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:14 GMT, 3 April 2013

Chris Ashton, the under-fire England wing, has received the backing of Saracens defence coach Paul Gustard.

The club head into Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster at Twickenham believing Ashton is in excellent form despite his poor Six Nations campaign that led to an inquest into his tackling.

Ashton scored his first try in almost two months last Saturday, against Wasps, and Gustard expects more in the Heineken Cup.

Out of sorts: Ashton scored just one try in the Six Nations

Out of sorts: Ashton scored just one try in the Six Nations

Jumping for joy: Chris Ashton celebrates after scoring against Wasps

Jumping for joy: Ashton celebrates after scoring against Wasps last weekend

‘Even if Chris had not scored a try, it does not mean he’s not played well,’ Gustard said. ‘He’s done really, really well for us in the last two weeks and is in a good place after a good show at Wasps.

The problem of being a wing in rugby is that it’s a bit like being a goalkeeper in football. You are the last line in defence; a mistake can cost you.

‘Chris is not a bad defender. Sometimes, he misses a tackle but so what Everyone misses a tackle,’ Gustard added.

On the run: Ashton charges upfield playing for Saracens

On the run: Ashton charges upfield playing for Saracens

He could also be Ashton’s coach on England’s summer tour of Argentina if he does not make the Lions trip to Australia.

Gustard is taking over temporarily because Andy Farrell will help coach the Lions with Warren Gatland.

‘I’m not going to change the way England defend,’ he said. ‘The system has worked well over the last season. It’s a matter of learning and developing as a coach.’

Alex Cuthbert of Wales is out for six weeks after tearing hamstring against England

Wales winger Cuthbert out for six weeks after tearing hamstring against England

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

18:24 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:25 GMT, 20 March 2013

Wales winger Alex Cuthbert has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a hamstring tear sustained in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations title-clinching victory over England.

Cuthbert, who scored two tries in the 30-3 rout at the Millennium Stadium, will miss at least four of the Cardiff Blues' remaining five RaboDirect PRO 12 matches.

If the injury takes six weeks to heal, he will also be sidelined for their final game against Ulster on
May 3.

Sidelined: Wales' Alex Cuthbert is to be out for six weeks

Sidelined: Wales' Alex Cuthbert is to be out for six weeks

'Alex suffered a grade two hamstring strain in the first 30 minutes of the match against England. He is expected to be out for between four to six weeks,' read a statement released by the Blues.

Cuthbert is expected to tour with the British & Irish Lions this summer and while the injury will not affect his chances of travelling to Australia, it will leave him short of match fitness ahead of the first game against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1.

'Grade two strain': It is Cuthbert's hamstring that is proving the problem

'Grade two strain': It is Cuthbert's hamstring that is proving the problem

Australian government investigation unearths widespread use of banned drugs in professional sport

Australia rocked as investigation unearths widespread use of banned drugs, links to match fixing and organised crime in professional sport

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

02:24 GMT, 7 February 2013

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UPDATED:

02:26 GMT, 7 February 2013

Professional sport in Australia is set to be rocked to its core after an Australian Crime Commission (ACC) investigation uncovered widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in Australian sport as well as links to match fixing and organised crime.

A federal government press conference revealed that the ACC has conducted a 12-month investigation into the link between drugs and professional sport entitled 'Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport'.

'There are clear parallels between what has been discovered in Australia and the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong, which underlines the transnational threat posed by doping to professional sport, both from a “fair play” perspective and as a broader integrity issue,' said the report.

Painful viewing: NRL CEO David Smith speaks to media after a 12 month investigation into Australian sport uncovered the possibility of match fixing, drugs in sport and links to organised crime

Painful viewing: NRL CEO David Smith speaks to media after a 12 month investigation into Australian sport uncovered the possibility of match fixing, drugs in sport and links to organised crime

'The ACC has demonstrated through this project that the threat posed by the PIEDs (performance and image enhancing drugs) market and related criminal activities to the integrity of sport in Australia, and organised crime attempts to infiltrate the professional sports sector in this country, exhibits many of the characteristics identified in the USADA investigation of Armstrong's activities in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s.

'The difference is that the Australian threat is current, crosses sporting codes and is evolving.'

Legal constraints prevent the identification of any particular code, particular teams or particular athletes, but Minister for Justice Jason Clare emphasised that no code was immune.

The heads of the major sporting bodies were at the announcement of the report with Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou, ARU CEO Bill Pulver and NRL CEO David Smith all voicing their shock at the outcomes of the report.

'These are serious matters that require immediate action and the development of a longer term plan,' a statement from COMPPS, which represents all the major sporting bodies, said.

'The integrity of sport as a whole, and our specific codes, is paramount. We have commenced taking action and will work closely with the government on a longer term plan.'

Harsh realities: AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou leaves a press conference at Parliament House

Harsh realities: AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou leaves a press conference at Parliament House

As a result of the magnitude of the inquiry, the federal government has doubled ASADA's (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) resources to tackle this issue.

Sports scientists are set to be at the centre of the ASADA investigations, while the ACC has confirmed that criminal offences have been disclosed by players during the course of their investigation.

'The ACC has identified specific high-performance staff, sports scientists and coaches within some codes who have condoned and/or orchestrated the administration of prohibited substances, and substances not yet approved for human consumption, to players,' said the report.

'In some cases, peptides and other substances were administered to players without them understanding the nature of the substances, and without the knowledge of the team doctor or club medical staff.'

Any athlete found to have breached World Anti-Doping Agency protocols faces a minimum two-year ban from professional sport.

The involvement of organised crime has also raised the spectre of match fixing with the government and all sporting codes moving to beef up integrity measures.

'The ACC has identified an increasing number of associations of concern between professional athletes and organised criminal identities in Australia,' added the report.

'The ACC's 2011 assessment of Threats to the Integrity of Professional Sport in Australia, noted that as the amount of money wagered on sports increases, associations with athletes or other individuals with the ability to influence a sporting contest, or provide inside information, will be increasingly sought after.'

Lance Armstrong: Australian library brands his books works of fiction

From inspirational tale to work of fiction: Australian library re-shelves Armstrong books after doping confession

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

17:46 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:46 GMT, 20 January 2013

Lance Armstrong's fall from grace after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs shows no signs of slowing.

The professional cycling fraternity has shunned him, the sponsors have dropped him and just about everyone else he's ever crossed is about to sue him.

And now, his books – once an inspirational story of how to overcome adversity – have been re-shelved and re-categorised from 'must-read autobiography' to 'fiction.'

Works of fiction: This sign was on display at Manley Library in Sydney, Australia following the Lance Armstrong revelations on the Oprah Winfrey Show at the end of last week (below)

Works of fiction: This sign was on display at Manley Library in Sydney, Australia following the Lance Armstrong revelations on the Oprah Winfrey Show at the end of last week (below)

Confession time: Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey

Confession time: Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey

Manly Library in Sydney, Australia caused a few smirks after they moved three Armstrong titles this weekend.

A sign at reception read: 'All non-fiction Lance Armstrong titles, including 'Lance Armstrong: Images Of A Champion,' 'The Lance Armstrong Performance Program' and 'Lance Armstrong: World's Greatest Champion,' will soon be moved to the fiction section.'

I wonder how many people will be suddenly very keen to find out what 'The Lance Armstrong Performance Program' involves.

It comes as Armstrong, 41, took to the Oprah Winfrey chat show in the United States to come clean about being at the centre of one of the most sophisticated doping programmes in the history of sport and appealed for forgiveness from the public.

Seventh heaven: Armstrong celebrates winning his final Tour de France title in 2005 - he was stripped of all seven titles after confessing to taking performance-enhancing drugs

Seventh heaven: Armstrong celebrates winning his final Tour de France title in 2005 – he was stripped of all seven titles after confessing to taking performance-enhancing drugs

In a sensational interview, broadcast late last week, Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs during the most successful part of his career.

But his confession came with a belief that he should be given a second chance to compete.

Today, disgraced former sprinter Ben Johnson said that Armstrong will be quickly forgiven by the American public following his admission.

Johnson, who was stripped of his 100m gold medal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after testing positive for anabolic steroids, said 'It's going to be fine for him in a few months.'

Disgraced: Sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100m gold from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after testing positive for banned steroids

Disgraced: Sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100m gold from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after testing positive for banned steroids

Australian Open 2013: Andy Murray ready to step into the unknown

Relaxed Murray ready to step into the unknown in Australia as grand slam champion

By
Jon Fisher, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

13:00 GMT, 14 January 2013

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 14 January 2013

Andy Murray will step into the unknown when he takes to the court on Tuesday at the Australian Open as a grand slam champion.

Murray ended his long wait for a maiden major at the US Open in September by beating Novak Djokovic in an epic five-setter.

The Scot has been candid about the fact the success has led to a more relaxed build-up to Melbourne but he admits to having no idea how it will affect him when he meets Dutchman Robin Haase in his opener.

Relaxed: Murray practises with coach Ivan Lendl on Sunday

Relaxed: Murray practises with coach Ivan Lendl on Sunday

Relaxed: Murray practises with coach Ivan Lendl on Sunday

'I have no idea how I'm going to play here,' he said.

'I have no idea how I'm going to feel when I go on the court.

'I said I feel more relaxed but I don't know the day when I play my first match, I could be unbelievably nervous.

'I don't know what effect it will have on me until I'm put in that situation.'

No player in the Open era has ever followed up his first grand slam title by winning the next one and Murray conceded it was a tough ask to go back to back.

He added: 'I know how hard these events are to win.

Unknown territory: Murray heads into the major as a grand slam champion

Unknown territory: Murray heads into the major as a grand slam champion

'If I don't win the Australian Open, I don't think it will be down to having won the US Open. It's down to the level of competition and how tough it is to win these events rather than what happened four or five months ago.'

Murray could have hoped for an easier opening assignment.

Haase may be 53 in the world rankings but his big-hitting style makes him a tricky opponent.

Murray experienced that first hand at the 2011 US Open when he had to come from two sets down to win their second-round encounter.

'He's a very good player, very talented,' said Murray. 'I had a tough match with him at the US Open, he likes playing on big courts.

Tough start: Murray faces big-hitting Dutchman Robin Haase in the first round

Tough start: Murray faces big-hitting Dutchman Robin Haase in the first round

'He tends to come out firing and going for big shots, playing extremely aggressive. So I'll need to be prepared for that.

'When I played him in New York it was a very, very tough match and I expect the same thing here.'

Murray won the warm-up event in Brisbane and appears primed to make another serious challenge in Melbourne after reaching the last four here 12 months ago and the final in both 2010 and 2011.

'I feel good just now,' he said.

'I've been practising well, moving well in practice.'

Reading are about to sign Tom Rogic from Australian side Central Coast Mariners

Reading nearing second signing of the transfer window as fee is agreed for Aussie Rogic

PUBLISHED:

10:19 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 2 January 2013

Reading are close to signing Australia international Tom Rogic to help bolster the options in central midfield.

Playmaker Rogic, 20, has shone for the Central Coast Mariners and is due to reach the end of his contract in May.

Reading fans will be hoping Rogic can give their midfield the spark it lacks

Ingenuity: Reading fans will be hoping that Rogic can ignite their midfield

He came close to joining Reading in 2011 when the Berkshire club failed to secure a work permit for him.

Mariners chairman Peter Turnbull said: 'We have been in discussions with Reading and both clubs are fairly satisfied with what's on the table and now it's up to Tom to reach a personal agreement with Reading.

'I am not going to say what the figure is but there is an agreement there. Of course we don't want to see him go,' he said to SBS' The World Game.

'I'd like to have Tommy here for another six years because he's a special player.

'But the reality is that quality Australian players will always want to test themselves overseas where they can command the salaries and exposure they cannot command here.

'You have seen it with the Harry Kewells, Brett Emertons, Lucas Neills, Jason Culinas and so many more over the years.

'We could keep Tom here until May when
his contract expires but then he could leave for nothing, and we as a
club would be out of pocket. It's a situation where our hands are really
tied.

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Rogic has been capped four times by Australia

International Pedigree: Rogic has been capped four times by Australia

'The way things are now I would expect that things will be resolved by the end of the week concerning Tom and it may be that he will decide to stay, though considering his past association with Reading perhaps that would be unlikely.'

Reading director of football Nick Hammond said in The Sun: 'We've been monitoring Tomas closely for the past year or so and were really disappointed when we couldn't sign him because of those work-permit issues.

'Our opinion of him has only got higher.

'He's a smashing lad. I have no doubt he has the potential to play in the Premier League.'

Rogic made his senior Australia debut against South Korea in November.

Michael Hussey retires from international cricket

Mr Cricket can't be tempted by another Ashes berth as Australian batsman Hussey calls time on international career

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UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 29 December 2012

Australia batsman Michael Hussey will retire from international cricket at the end of January.

The 37-year-old confirmed that the third Test against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground – scheduled for January 3 to January 7 – would be his last, with his international commitments ending after the ensuing one-day series, which ends on January 23.

An official statement from Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said: 'Michael Hussey has been a vital contributor to many Australian team wins over his very successful Test cricket career.

Calling it a day: Michael Hussey will play his last Test for Australia against Sri Lanka in January

Calling it a day: Michael Hussey will play his last Test for Australia against Sri Lanka in January

'Affectionately known as 'Mr Cricket', he has always been thoroughly committed to meticulous preparation and the highest levels of physical fitness which have in turn delivered consistent performances in all forms of the game.

'An incredibly reliable player and leader within the Australian cricket team, Michael will retire from Test cricket with a record that puts him amongst the very best Australian batsmen of all time.

'Beyond his contributions to team success, he will be remembered for the way he has carried himself on and off the field – and in doing so he has won the respect and admiration of players, officials and fans all around the world.

Mr Cricket: Hussey had a remarkable career at the crease with Australia

Mr Cricket: Hussey had a remarkable career at the crease with Australia

Loss: Hussey will miss the Ashes series against England

Loss: Hussey will miss the Ashes series against England

'In congratulating him on a great Test career, we wish him well and hope to see him stay close to the game after his playing days are over.'

He has 6183 runs in 78 Tests to date, with those coming at an average of 51.52 and including 19 centuries.

Hussey has also scored 5442 runs at an average of 48.15 in 185 one-day international matches and was also part of Australia's 2007 World Cup winning side.

Hussey will remain available for selection for the Western Australia Warriors and the Perth Scorchers for the remainder of the 2012-13 season and will make a further announcement about his future on Sunday.

Emile Heskey"s Australian club Newcastle Jets issued winding-up order

Heskey's Australian adventure in jeopardy as Newcastle Jets issued with winding up order

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UPDATED:

14:47 GMT, 14 December 2012


So soon Emile Heskey's time at the Newcastle Jets could be over

So soon Emile Heskey's time at the Newcastle Jets could be over

Emile Heskey faces an uncertain future after his Australian side the Newcastle Jets were issued with a winding-up order this week.

The Australian Taxation Office is chasing unpaid taxes of approximately 1.76million from Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group, which owns the Jets and NRL club the Newcastle Knights.

Heskey moved to the club in the summer which resulted in much fanfare, with many suggesting his move, and that of Alessandro del Piero to Sydney FC, would put the A-League on the map.

The former England international, 34, signed a one-year deal with the A-League club and has scored five goals in 11 appearances.

But federal court documents filed in Sydney on Wednesday revealed Australia's Deputy Commissioner of Taxation had applied for the winding-up order with a hearing date reportedly set for February 20.

In a statement on the Jets website they claimed the ATO would be paid in full before that date and that it remained 'business as usual'.

Despite that Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop has met with senior officials for Tinkler, a Singapore-based mining magnate, over the past two days to ensure the club's viability.

Happy days: Heskey was scoring at a decent rate in Australia but unforeseen circumstances could curtail his time there

Happy days: Heskey was scoring at a decent rate in Australia but unforeseen circumstances could curtail his time there

The Jets' tax bill is reportedly less than half of the total amount owing with Gallop hopeful a repayment schedule can be agreed.

'The FFA has been given assurances by Hunter Sports Group, owner and operator of the Newcastle Jets, that the club's operations will not be affected,' Gallop told The Australian.

It had been alleged some payment to the Knights players had been missed but members from the Jets, who suffered a fourth defeat in five games 3-0 at Perth Glory today, confirmed they have so far been paid in full.

Poster boys: Shinji Ono, Heskey, and Alessandro Del Piero

Poster boys: Shinji Ono, Heskey, and Alessandro Del Piero

'We've just got to go out there and do our best, and things will either work out or won't,' stand-in captain Ruben Zadkovich said.

'I don't think the Newcastle Jets are in any danger at the moment.'

Meanwhile Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has given up hope of luring David Beckham to Australia following a chance meeting with the former England captain in London this week.

Sage bumped into Beckham at the premier of the Spice Girls-inspired stage show 'Viva Forever' at London's O2 Arena and revealed he had been rebuffed when asked if a move Down Under was possible.

Viva Forever: David Beckham with his family at the launch of the musical based on the Spice Girls

Viva Forever: David Beckham with his family at the launch of the musical based on the Spice Girls

'I got the chance to chat to David, and of course I asked him about coming to Australia,' Sage, who was a guest of Spice Girl Mel B, told footballaustralia.com.au.

'He looked me in the eye and basically said, “That would be nice, but it's too far away from my businesses”.

'It would have been great to have him at Perth Glory, but it looks like that won't be happening. I just don't think he'll be coming to Australia, full stop.'

Triumphant days: Beckham enjoyed a successful time with LA Galaxy

Triumphant days: Beckham enjoyed a successful time with LA Galaxy

Beckham is looking for a new club after calling time on his five-year stay with the Los Angeles Galaxy last month.

Beckham's announcement came days after the Football Federation of Australia claimed it was in talks with the 37-year-old's representatives about the possibility of him signing a short-term deal to play in the A-League.

Despite those claims being almost immediately rubbished by Beckham and his agent, Sage and a number of Australian clubs had retained an interest in trying to sign the veteran midfielder.

If you thought England"s first innings against India in Nagpur was slow… remember Graham Thorpe in Lahore?

And you thought that was a slow day for batting… remember Thorpe in Lahore

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UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 13 December 2012

When Joe Root and Matt Prior left the field with the scoreboard reading 199 for five, it was England’s lowest first-day total in a Test match since they finished on 195 for four against Pakistan at Lahore in 2000-01.

That, however, was off only 84 overs, compared with the 97 they faced on the opening day at Nagpur.

The Lahore Test, which ended in a bore draw, was most famous for an innings of incredible skill and patience from Graham Thorpe, who is now the ECB’s batting coach.

Nuggety: Graham Thorpe hit 118 runs off 301 balls in Lahore

Nuggety: Graham Thorpe hit 118 runs off 301 balls in Lahore

Thorpe hit only one boundary in reaching three figures, and by the time he was out for 118 from 301 deliveries, he had hit all of two fours.

If you thought that was slow scoring, how about the Test between Pakistan and Australia at Karachi in 1956-57.

On the opening day of a game played on matting wickets, only 95 runs were scored as Pakistan reached 15 for two in reply to Australia’s 80 all out. At least there were plenty of wickets.

The fewest runs scored in a day in a Test in England was the 151 managed on the third day of the Lord’s Test against New Zealand in 1978.

Rafael Nadal ready for Abu Dhabi return to tennis

Nadal ready to put six-month layoff behind him with return to court in Abu Dhabi

PUBLISHED:

22:30 GMT, 11 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 11 December 2012

Rafael Nadal will return to tennis in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi this month after six months out with a knee injury.

'Can't wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi,' Nadal said.

'I won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in 2010 and 2011 – would love to get my hands on the trophy again this year!'

Welcome back: Rafael Nadal is set to return to action in Abu Dhabi

Welcome back: Rafael Nadal is set to return to action in Abu Dhabi

Nadal's latest comments contrast with an interview he gave last week, when he struck a far more cautious tone.

'I will only come back when I am fit. I won't come back worrying about my knee,' he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

'The results will not worry me in the first tournaments back.

'We are in the last stage of the
recovery and I want to recover as soon as possible but I will not rush
back and then have to stop again in six months or a year's time.'

'I have the goal of returning in Abu Dhabi but neither Abu Dhabi nor Australia are the end of the world for me.

He added: 'Miracles do not exist and I am unlikely to return and compete for the Australian Open.

'My recovery is going well. This past month I have taken an important step. I feel happy and the doctors are too.'

Downplayed: Nadal believes he will not be a title contender for the first few months of the season

Downplayed: Nadal believes he will not be a title contender for the first few months of the season