Tag Archives: coach

Castleford Tigers part company with coach Ian Millward

Super League strugglers Castleford part company with coach Millward after seven successive defeats

By
Aidan Mccartney

PUBLISHED:

18:04 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:16 GMT, 9 April 2013

Castleford Tigers have parted company with head coach Ian Millward following a miserable run of form that sees them languishing at the bottom of Super League.

The 52-year-old Australian has paid the price for the Tigers poor run which has personally seen him collect only seven victories in his 38 Super League games in charge.

Millward's assistant Stuart Donlan has also left the club and Tigers legend Danny Orr, who joined the coaching staff in the summer, will now take charge for their match against Widnes on Saturday.

Dreadful run: Millward (pictured)has overseen just one victory in the last 18 games at the West Yorkshire side

Dreadful run: Millward (pictured) has overseen just one victory in the last 18 games at the West Yorkshire outfit

Castleford lost 24-44 to Huddersfield Giants on Saturday to leave the club rock bottom of Super League with just one win and one draw from their 11 matches.

Former Wakefield Wildcats coach John Kear, who is currently in charge of Championship side Batley and ex-Hull KR coach Justin Morgan are among the names who have been linked with the role.

Temporary charge: Danny Orr spent seven of his 16 year playing career with the Tigers

Temporary charge: Danny Orr spent seven of his 16 year playing career with the Tigers

A statement on the club's official site said: 'Following a meeting with Ian Millward, both parties agreed that he should relinquish his position as head coach,'

'After a promising start to the 2013 season, recent results have been unacceptable for all concerned, including sponsors and supporters.'

Millward had been appointed in 2011 to succeed Terry Matterson at Wheldon Road but after narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon last year, the club have decided to act after a poor set of results this term.

Although still early in the season, 2013 has been a turbulent one for the West Yorkshire club after Chief Executive Steve Ferres walked out of his job after only seven months due to differences of opinion with the board of directors.

His shock resignation was soon followed by commercial manager Nick Fozzard to leave the Tigers in disarray.

Head of youth development Steve Gill was appointed as CEO to steady the ship on an interim role in March but was given on the position on a permanent basis earlier this week.

His first task will now be to find a successor for Millward as the Tigers look to save their season.

Heineken Cup: Harlequins 12 Munster 18: Quins European hopes ended by Irish

Harlequins 12 Munster 18: Resurgent O'Connell jumps back into the Lions queue

PUBLISHED:

15:17 GMT, 7 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:09 GMT, 7 April 2013

It may have been basic, but Munster strangled the English champions and were led by Paul O’Connell, who jumped and tackled his way back into Lions contention.

The 2009 Lions captain led a second-half charge which left Chris Robshaw and his Premiership men looking stunned in front of a full house of 15,000.

Munster’s pack won the crucial collisions — paving the way for another rejuvenated Irish master, Ronan O’Gara, to kick six penalties — four in the space of 14 minutes after the interval.

Resurgent: Paul O'Connell (centre) produced a dominant performance that must have put him back in Lions contention

Resurgent: Paul O'Connell (centre) produced a dominant performance that must have put him back in Lions contention

Quins’ previous Heineken Cup quarter-final four years ago, ended in the ‘Bloodgate’ scandal and a 6-5 win for Leinster.

The ramifications will not be as seismic this time, but Quins’ season is now in danger of collapse after three successive Premiership defeats.

They had turned around 9-6 ahead to harbour hopes of reaching a first semi-final at the fourth attempt, but that belief was shattered by Munster’s start to the second half.

O’Gara, shaking off the dis-appointment of being dropped by Ireland during the Six Nations, calmly kicked four penalties to follow his two shots before the interval.

Thin red line: The Munster No 8 steals the ball from Quins No 8 Nick Easter at the lineout

Thin red line: The Munster No 8 steals the ball from Quins No 8 Nick Easter at the lineout

O’Connell led the pack to give watching Lions coach Warren Gatland a firm reminder of his class and strength. On this showing O’Connell, who missed Ireland’s Six Nations campaign due to a back complaint, is a candidate to lead the Lions again following his impressive stint on the 2009 tour to South Africa.

For the moment, the 33-year-old refuses to discuss the prospect. ‘I’ve got a little bit to go in terms of match fitness but this was another injury-free day and I’m delighted to be back,’ he said.
Munster coach Rob Penney believes O’Connell will be ‘humming’ by the time of the Lions’ crucial games in Australia.

Quins director of rugby Conor O’Shea was also full of praise for O’Connell and a Munster pack in which back-rowers Tommy O’Donnell and Peter O’Mahony were outstanding.

Thank Evans: Quins' New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans secures another three points during the home side's rampant start

Thank Evans: Quins' New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans secures another three points during the home side's rampant start

O’Shea said: ‘Paul was absolutely magnificent. They rallied around him and followed him.’

O’Shea now has the task of re-energising his own team. ‘We didn’t play the way we can play because we weren’t allowed,’ was his blunt assessment.

‘Munster bossed the start of the second half and from then on it was a very big mountain to climb.
‘Our job is to qualify for the Premiership play-offs. We will be written off, no doubt, but we will just have to learn.’

Such thoughts seemed unlikely when Quins took charge at the opening scrums.

Pull the other one: Nick Easter drags back Paul O'Connell by his shirt before bringing him down

Pull the other one: Nick Easter drags back Paul O'Connell by his shirt before bringing himdown

The pressure brought a 6-0 lead through two penalties from Nick Evans and it was Munster who looked likely to crack.

But there were no clear try-scoring chances and the match became increasingly nervy as O’Connell and his gang started to win the crucial decisions from French referee Jerome Garces.

A third penalty from Evans helped Quins limp to a 9-6 lead at half-time and Munster turned to play into a stiff wind.

That handicap looked to make them more focused and a brilliant period of pressure rugby was rewarded by O’Gara’s nerveless kicking. He took Munster to a lead of 18-9 after 56 minutes.

Red riding hood: Munster's famous support were out in force at the Stoop

Red riding hood: Munster's famous support were out in force at the Stoop

A fourth penalty from Evans raised Quins’ hopes in the 65th, only for Munster to produce some clinical ‘keep-ball’ rugby and close out the match — much to the delight of their big following.

O’Connell claimed his team had not talked about such tactics, although his smile said something else. ‘The maul worked well and our kicking game was outstanding — you can’t win these tight games without that,’ he said in praise of O’Gara.

O’Shea refused to blame referee Garces for Quins’ demise. ‘Sometimes you have to say that the better team won,’ he conceded.
Smash and grab: England and Quins Mike Brown is wrestled to the ground by Munster's James Coughlan

Smash and grab: England and Quins Mike Brown is wrestled to the ground by Munster's James Coughlan

Sorry, sir: Quins captain Chris Robshaw is lectured by French referee Jerome Garces

Sorry, sir: Quins captain Chris Robshaw is lectured by French referee Jerome Garces

Steve Clarke and West Brom staff play powerchair football

It's West Brom's worst performance of the season… Clarke and Co were 'hopeless' against the Baggies' Powerchair team

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

16:54 GMT, 4 April 2013

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 4 April 2013

West Brom manager Steve Clarke might have exceeded expectations in his first season in charge, but that was before he came up against his toughest opponents yet – the club's Powerchair Team.

Sporting Club Albion, run by the Midlands side's Albion Foundation, will take their place in EPFA Power Championships League, Powerchair's equivalent of the Champions League, in Paris this summer.

Powerchair football is for people with disabilities, who use powered wheelchairs, a regulation-size basketball court with goals, and a 13-inch ball.

We were hopeless: Steve Clarke admitted Powerchair football is harder than it looks, with him and his West Brom backroom staff taking on the club's Powerchair side

We were hopeless: Steve Clarke admitted Powerchair football is harder than it looks, with him and his West Brom backroom staff taking on the club's Powerchair side

Clarke

Powerchair

European adventure: Sporting Club Albion, with captain Chris Gordon shaking Clarke's hand, will compete in the EPFA Power Championships League this summer - the equivalent of the Champions League

European adventure: Sporting Club Albion, with captain Chris Gordon shaking Clarke's hand, will compete in the EPFA Power Championships League this summer – the equivalent of the Champions League

To warm up, they took on Clarke and his backroom staff, who have led Albion to eighth in the Barclays Premier League, in a game of Powerchair football.

Held at the club's Barclays Spaces 4 Sport Community Sports Hall, Clarke, his assistants Kevin Keen and Keith Downing, as well as goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely, took on the Powerchair side – with Keen seeing red for a professional foul.

Baggies boss Clarke admitted the sport was far tougher than it looked, saying his side were hopeless.

Inspire: Sporting Club Albion gave Clarke and Co a difficult time in their Powerchair football match

Inspire: Sporting Club Albion gave Clarke and Co a difficult time in their Powerchair football match

Red card: Clarke joked he was looking at disciplining assistant Kevin Keen after he was sent off in the match

Red card: Clarke joked he was looking at disciplining assistant Kevin Keen after he was sent off in the match

Tough battle: David Lewis of Sporting Club Albion holds off WBA goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely

Tough battle: David Lewis of Sporting Club Albion holds off WBA goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely

He said: 'I went to watch them training three weeks ago and was really impressed.

'I did think: “I can do that,” so I challenged them to a game against our backroom team.

'But if you have a go, it's really difficult.

'We were hopeless, and Kevin Keen was sent off which presents me with another internal disciplinary problem.

'The boys and girls make it look really easy. Believe me, it's not.'

Nottingham Forest super-fan forced to miss a match for first time since 1973… 1,786 games ago!

Forest super-fan forced to miss a match for first time since 1973… 1,786 games ago!

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

00:53 GMT, 2 April 2013

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UPDATED:

00:53 GMT, 2 April 2013

Britain's most dedicated football fan who has seen 1,786 consecutive Nottingham Forest games was left gutted on Monday after he was forced to miss his first match in 40 YEARS.

Loyal Stuart Astill, 67, has spent thousands of pounds clocking up a staggering 2,534 matches since he first went to watch Forest play in 1956.

The obsessed OAP reckons he must have travelled over 100,000 miles by coach, car and plane to watch his beloved side play across Britain and Europe.

No 1 fan: Stuart Astill with his vast collection of Nottingham Forest memorabilia

No 1 fan: Stuart Astill with his vast collection of Nottingham Forest memorabilia

He last missed a game in 1973 when he was an usher at a wedding – but has been to every home and away games ever since.

Last week Stuart was admitted to hospital after his foot became infected but still made it to his beloved team's 2-2 draw at home against Brighton on Saturday (30/1).

But doctors banned the footie-mad pensioner from travelling to Burnley on Monday following an operation on his foot.

It meant devastated Stuart was forced to listen to a Forest game on the radio for the first time in his life.

Retired British Rail engineer Stuart, who lives in Sandiacre, Derbyshire, said: 'This is my first missed game for 40 years.

Last-gasp: Forest's Lewis McGugan scored a late penalty to salvage a draw at Burnley on Monday

Last-gasp: Forest's Lewis McGugan scored a late penalty to salvage a draw at Burnley on Monday

Last-gasp: Forest's Lewis McGugan scored a late penalty to salvage a draw at Burnley on Monday

'The last time was in 1973 – it was at home to Preston and I was an usher at a wedding.

'I'll miss the atmosphere. I knew my run would end at some point but I didn't expect it to be now.

'It's going to be really unusual listening to the game on the radio after how many games I have been to.'

Point gained: Forest boss Billy Davies celebrates his side's battling draw at Turf Moor

Point gained: Forest boss Billy Davies celebrates his side's battling draw at Turf Moor

Stuart started going to football matches with his dad – a Derby County supporter – and his first Nottingham Forest game was a 4-0 win over Middlesbrough in November, 1956.

Remarkably, he has only missed two games since the 1960s and even goes to watch the youth team play.

He was there when captain John McGovern lifted the European Cup after a 1-0 win over Malmo in Munich in 1979 and saw every game of the famous Brian Clough managerial era.

And Stuart said he would 'move heaven and earth' to see Forest play in the Premier League again.

He added: 'Winning the European cups was unbelievable. Seeing John McGovern lift the trophy in Munich, a few tears came to my eyes.

'I'd only seen the European Cup on telly – it was fantastic.

'And I did see every competitive match that Brian Clough managed us in.

'They were an unbelievable team. I feel privileged to say I was there.

'I'm not sure whether I could afford to go in the Premier League, but I would move heaven and earth to do it.'

Loyal Stuart was even rewarded for his loyalty at the beginning of the season when Forest's new owners, the Al-Hasawi family, gave him a complimentary place in the exclusive 1865 club for a year.

A spokesman for Nottingham Forest said: 'It is a great shame Stuart will not be here to cheer us on.

'Everyone at the club would like to wish him a speedy recovery.'

Life-changing: Stuart with the programme from his first Forest game, on November 10th 1956

Life-changing: Stuart with the programme from his first Forest game, on November 10th 1956

Lionel Messi breaks another record by completing stunning scoring circle against every La Liga team

Messi breaks another record by completing stunning scoring circle against every La Liga team

By
Pete Jenson

PUBLISHED:

19:16 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 30 March 2013

Lionel Messi extended his five-month
scoring run to 19 games to became the first player ever to score in
consecutive matches against every other team in the division.

The Argentine scored in Barcelona's
2-2 draw with Celta Vigo to take his La Liga tally to 43 for this season
with nine games left of the campaign.

Messi has now scored 30 goals in the last 19 matches.

Scroll down for his full scoring record

Record breaker: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Celta Vigo

Record breaker: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Celta Vigo

Hot shot: Messi extended his scoring run to 19 league games

Hot shot: Messi extended his scoring run to 19 league games

In the equivalent of an entire half-season, he has delivered match after match, scoring against all opponents.

It was on November 3 last year that
he last failed to score – at home to Celta Vigo – a game played less
than 24 hours after his partner, Antonella Ruccuzzo, had given birth to
their son, Thiago.

Messi played 90 minutes in the 3-1
victory that night, but there was to be no special goal dedicated to the
new born. He has made up for it since.

On eight occasions he has scored
twice and in a 5-1 win over Osasuna at the end of January he scored
four. With this latest strike, he is now on course to shatter the
half-century of league goals he clocked up last season.

With 10 games left last season he had
scored 33 goals – with nine games left now he is already on 43 and
homing in on last season's record-breaking 91 in all competitions in a
calendar year.

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura
said: 'The fact that no one has ever done this before shows just how
difficult it is. Only with the passing of time will we realise just how
incredible his achievements have been.'

A belter: Barca's Cristian Tello beats Celta Vigo keeper Javi Varas

A belter: Barca's Cristian Tello beats Celta Vigo keeper Javi Varas

In control: Messi takes on Natxo Insa

In control: Messi takes on Natxo Insa

Messi, 25, started as captain, despite being sick on the pitch in Argentina's midweek draw against Bolivia in the high-altitude conditions of La Paz.

But with both Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez rested ahead of Barcelona's trip to Paris in the Champions League on Tuesday, Messi was starved of service.

He went down under a challenge from Vadim Demidov but referee Mateu Lahoz waved away penalty appeals.

Barcelona struggled in defence, with on-loan Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young causing problems for young centre-back Marc Bartra and only a fine double save from Jose Pinto kept out the home side after a mistake by Gerard Pique.

messi scoring circle updated

On 39 minutes, Barcelona fell behind when Fabian Orellana crossed for Natxo Insa to score. Messi saw a free-kick saved by Javi Varas, but two minutes before the break he turned provider for Cristian Tello to net.

It was Messi's 10th assist of the season – only Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil has managed more – but it was a goal he needed for the record and it came on 73 minutes.

In front of the penalty area, he fizzed the ball out wide to Tello and when the youngster played it back to him first time, Messi finished past Varas.

A late equaliser from Borja Oubina two minutes from time prevented Barcelona from taking all three points but Messi at least had his incredible record.

Boss Tito Vilanova is expected to travel with the squad after his return from New York, where he was having cancer treatment. 'It's a massive boost,' said Roura.

Rangers extend Scott Gallacher"s contract as Ally McCoist hopes to strengthen his keeper options

Rangers extend Gallacher contract as McCoist hopes to strengthen keeper options

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

20:58 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

20:58 GMT, 18 February 2013

Rangers have signed second-choice goalkeeper Scott Gallacher on a two-year contract extension.

The 23-year-old has not made a first-team appearance but has played for Cowdenbeath and Forfar on loan.

Gallacher told the club's official website: 'It's really good to sign another contract. This is a great club to be at and I grew up supporting Rangers so I'm delighted to be staying on once again.

Bidding: Rangers' manager Ally McCoist is hoping to sign several keeper soon

Bidding: Rangers' manager Ally McCoist is hoping to sign several keeper soon

'I've been here for seven years now and I'm still waiting for my chance but hopefully it can come soon.

'”We're not far from winning the league so hopefully we can do that and then I can get to play in one of the remaining games after that.

'It's down to the gaffer and (goalkeeping coach) Jim Stewart to decide whether that happens or not but I would love an opportunity to show what I can do.'

Rangers manager Ally McCoist is hoping to sign Kilmarnock goalkeeper Cammy Bell on a pre-contract agreement and also trying to extend Neil Alexander's contract, stating he would send Gallacher on loan if both deals come off.

Gallacher added: 'I'm glad the management have the trust in me to offer me an extended stay and I'm looking to repay them for that.

'There has been a bit of speculation about goalkeepers lately and Rangers are a massive club so you're always going to have that.

'That's something you get used to and accept. You take it as it comes but all I can do is do my best and hope things work in my favour.'

FA Cup 2013: Giant-killings could end because of new FA Cup ball

FA Cup underdogs have been having a ball – but that could be about to change…

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

15:16 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

17:32 GMT, 18 February 2013

It is not just the balls that come out of the bag that those teams intent on FA Cup giant-killing will be concerned about.

Championship sides Blackburn, Millwall, Barnsley and Middlesbrough, along with League One Oldham, are all still dreaming of a trip to Wembley and a semi-final encounter with one of the Barclays Premier League big boys.

But with goalkeepers already having had to contend with an unpredictable Umbro FA Cup ball, those stoppers from further down the league now face the disadvantage of having to get used to the flight of the Nike Premier League ball from the final four of the competition onwards.

Cup Magic: But Colin Kazim-Richards' Blackburn Rovers, who knocked out Premier League Arsenal on Saturday, may have trouble with the Premier League ball, used in the FA Cup semi-finals onwards

Cup Magic: But Colin Kazim-Richards' Blackburn Rovers, who knocked out Premier League Arsenal on Saturday, may have trouble with the Premier League ball, used in the FA Cup semi-finals onwards

Unpredictable: Goalkeepers have had to get used to the ball for the earlier rounds, the Umbro Neo 2

Unpredictable: Goalkeepers have had to get used to the ball for the earlier rounds, the Umbro Neo 2

As part of the FA’s megabucks deal with Nike, from the semi-final of the Cup the ball used will be a de-branded version of the Maxim, which Premier League strikers have been lashing into the net all season and which top-flight keepers have been tipping around the post.

Having spent hours on the training ground trying to get to grips with the Umbro Neo 2 used so far in the competition, Football League keepers must now familiarise themselves with the Nike ball whose flight is second nature to the Premier League counterparts.

MK Dons goalkeeping coach, Paul Heald, who watched his keeper David Martin ship in three in Saturday’s defeat by Barnsley, explained: ‘We work all year with a certain match ball but for cup games we use Umbro balls which are totally different, move differently and have a different texture to them. Some people don’t realise that it is a big difference.

Knock-out: MK Dons keeper David Martin, left, conceded three goals in Saturday's cup loss to Barnsley

Knock-out: MK Dons keeper David Martin, left, conceded three goals in Saturday's cup loss to Barnsley

‘All the balls are made slightly
differently. The Premier League balls are different to the Football League
balls but the FA Cup balls just seem to travel quicker.

'They have got a
little bit more bounce and they shoot off the surface, especially on
wet surfaces, and move a lot sharper.

‘The
balls are different every year and the manufactures try and keep it
interesting. Even the way the leather is cut, the design is to make the
ball unpredictable.

'I take my hats off to young keepers. It is great for
the strikers and supporters but it is an absolute nightmare for
goalkeepers.’

All change: Any lower league side facing Robin van Persie in the semi-final will have to deal with the same ball, pictured above, that he has scored with 19 times in the Premier League this season

All change: Any lower league side facing Robin van Persie in the semi-final will have to deal with the same ball, pictured above, that he has scored with 19 times in the Premier League this season

There were
presumably plenty of sleepless nights for goalkeepers over the weekend
as 25 goals were scored in seven matches, suggesting the preparation on
the training pitch had not gone according to plan despite there being no
limit on how much you can practice with the ball.

Umbro’s technical specifications of their Neo 2 claim it features ‘just 14 panels to offer larger strike zones and a smoother, more accurate flight.’ Nike, by comparison, claim their Maxim’s Geo II Balanced technology ‘distributes pressure evenly for consistency and accuracy’ while it also features a ‘carbon-latex bladder for acceleration and superior air retention.’

But despite such space age technology, Heald certainly feels the advantage lies with the strikers in the modern game.

He said: ‘We have a laugh and a joke amongst keepers and say that outfield players, all they do is close their eyes, keep their head down, hit and hope and the ball does the rest.

'We say that all they do is swing the leg and hit the ball and the art is really in the goalkeeping.’

SIX NATIONS 2013: Ben Morgan will play after ankle injury, says Stuart Lancaster

Morgan on mend after ankle injury and he could be back to face Italy, says Lancaster

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

16:00 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:00 GMT, 18 February 2013

England coach Stuart Lancaster is confident Ben Morgan will play some part in the RBS Six Nations as the Gloucester No 8 continues his recovery from an ankle problem.

Morgan was injured in the opening-day victory over Scotland and has been pencilled in to return against Italy on March 10.

The 23-year-old has joined fly-half Freddie Burns on the sidelines, with his Gloucester team-mate receiving treatment for a knee problem.

Hopeful: Stuart Lancaster (left) believes Ben Morgan can return for England against Italy

Hopeful: Stuart Lancaster (left) believes Ben Morgan can return for England against Italy

'Morgan and Burns are making slow progress,' Lancaster said.

'Freddie is further down the line but they won’t play this weekend so it will be another week or so.

'Ben will be fine. It’s an ankle injury similar to the one Manu Tuilagi had. Manu was out for four or five weeks and Ben will be about the same.

'He wants to get himself right so he can push for selection against Italy.'

Centre Jonathan Joseph has been ruled out for two weeks with a toe injury, but full back Ben Foden has made good progress in his battle with ankle damage and will play for Northampton against Bath on Saturday.

In the mix: England centre Manu Tuilagi during today's training session

In the mix: England centre Manu Tuilagi during today's training session

Putting the boot in: Owen Farrell is getting his eye in while training

Putting the boot in: Owen Farrell is getting his eye in while training

Fly-half Toby Flood and flanker James Haskell missed training today because of a tight calf and flu respectively.

England resume their Six Nations against France on Saturday as the only team still capable of winning the Grand Slam.

Les Bleus limp into Twickenham on the back of successive defeats by Italy and Wales and with coach Philippe Saint-Andre under attack over selection but Lancaster insists they remain formidable opposition.

'If you look at their performances in the autumn, the three wins over Samoa, Argentina and Australia show they are not a bad side,' he said.

'They beat Australia 33-6 and Australia then beat us. While we’ll take something out of their first two Six Nations games, we’ll also take something out of those autumn internationals and make sure we’re ready for them.'

Quick feet: Mike Brown surges through the centre at Pennyhill Park this afternoon

Quick feet: Mike Brown surges through the centre at Pennyhill Park this afternoon

Captain fantastic: Chris Robshaw takes a breather during today's session

Captain fantastic: Chris Robshaw takes a breather during today's session

Comeback: Morgan pictured in his last game, against Scotland on February 2

Comeback: Morgan pictured in his last game, against Scotland on February 2

Andy Robinson set to be named as Bristol"s Director of Rugby after quitting Scotland

Former Scotland boss Robinson tasked with securing promotion for Bristol

By
Chris Foy

PUBLISHED:

14:20 GMT, 15 February 2013

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UPDATED:

19:48 GMT, 15 February 2013

Former England and Scotland coach Andy Robinson will be unveiled as Bristol's new director of rugby on Monday.

The 48-year-old resigned from his Scotland post late last year after they slumped to defeat against Tonga at the end of an autumn campaign which also featured losses to New Zealand and South Africa.

The long-time Bath stalwart as player and coach has retained strong West Country links and will be placed in charge of Bristol’s quest to gain promotion from the Championship back into the Aviva Premiership.

Andy Robinson

Andy Robinson being inducted into the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame during at the Hurlingham Club on February 7, 2013

Andy Robinson has had mixed results as an international rugby boss but was inducted into the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame earlier this month (right)

Robinson was forwards coach under Sir
Clive Woodward when England won the World Cup and he subsequently took
on the head coach role from 2004-2006, before resigning following a
dismal series of results.

He resurfaced at Edinburgh and made a sufficiently positive impression to be given the Scotland job in 2009. He led them at the World Cup two years later, but they suffered a pool stage exit for the first time.

Robinson also won eight England caps as a player.

Life after Andy: Scotland have lost one and won one in this year's Six Nations

Life after Andy: Scotland have lost one and won one in this year's Six Nations

Bristol are battling to secure a place
in the Championship play-offs, although Newcastle remain firm favourites
to secure the one available promotion spot.

Head coach Liam Middleton is set to remain in his role after Robinson's arrival.

Tom Ince says he can make it at international level

Ince believes his double against Sweden proves he can cut it at the top

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

22:30 GMT, 6 February 2013

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UPDATED:

01:54 GMT, 7 February 2013

Tom Ince believes he has shown his doubters he can be a force at international level after a watershed night in his England Under 21 career.

The Blackpool winger scored twice in the 4-0 thumping of Sweden on Tuesday to finally break his duck for England, six months and five games after making his debut in Azerbaijan.

Though his performances had been promising, the lack of goals had been a concern for head coach Stuart Pearce and he made a point of telling Ince so before the friendly at Walsall.

At the double: Tom Ince struck twice against Sweden

At the double: Tom Ince struck twice against Sweden

Watch how his dad reacts

Paul was watching as Tom hit a double, but did he celebrate enthusiastically enough Paul's wife didn't seem to think so…

But Ince’s response was impressive and now he is determined to spearhead England’s quest to win Euro 2013, which begins in Israel in June.

‘It is hard when you are scoring at club level and it is not happening for you at international level,’ said Ince, who has found the net 16 times so far for Blackpool this year. I had been trying to break the duck and I had been a bit unfortunate. That’s why it was so nice to get off the mark.

‘Things hadn’t been falling for me but I
feel that breaking my duck can now really help me push on. It has taken
the doubts out of my mind. It was a proud moment to score wearing that
shirt and hopefully there will be more to come.’

Proud: Ince was delighted to get firing on the international stage

Proud: Ince was delighted to get firing on the international stage

There is little doubt Ince, who has set himself the target of finishing the Championship campaign with 25 goals, will make the cut for England’s 23-man squad and it is likely Pearce will be given the green light to take several big names with him to Israel.

While Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere are set to travel to Brazil with the senior team, Pearce is hoping there will be enough co-operation from Premier League clubs to enable significant players such as Raheem Sterling, Wilfred Zaha, Jonjo Shelvey and Phil Jones to travel.

‘The trouble with being a professional footballer is you never know when your form's going to come and go,’ said Pearce.

Step up: Players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been called up to the senior squad

Step up: Players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been called up to the senior squad

‘I see a lot of players being rested but on my behalf, as an international and a patriot of this country, where would the priority be on the burnout

‘Should the clubs rest for the national team I've always said the same thing – unless you take your strongest squad you can't be competitive. Roy (Hodgson) had firmly echoed that and hopefully we will take a strong squad to the championships.'