Tag Archives: davies

Kevin Davies to be released by Bolton after a decade at the Reebok

'Shocked' Bolton legend Davies to be released after a decade at the Reebok (and the club told him on his birthday!)

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

19:58 GMT, 26 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:13 GMT, 27 March 2013

Kevin Davies has been left shocked and hurt after discovering he is being released by Bolton at the end of the season.

The former England striker, who turned 36 on Tuesday, is out of contract in the summer and he has been told he will not be offered an extension by the Championship side.

Davies, who has made more 400 appearances and scored 84 goals during a 10-year spell at Bolton, admits he has been taken aback by the news as he had hoped to finish his career at the Reebok Stadium.

Finest hour: Kevin Davies scores for Bolton against Bayern Munich to secure an improbable 2-2 draw in the Allianz Arena in 2007

Finest hour: Kevin Davies scores for Bolton against Bayern Munich to secure an improbable 2-2 draw in the Allianz Arena in 2007

Davies celebrates

He told talkSPORT: 'It was a bit of a shock. I was shocked at the time and it's not quite sunk in yet, but these things happen.

'I've had clubs come in for me down the years but always turned them away because I've been so happy here. I always wanted to stay here and finish my career here, and hoped to go into a coaching role. That's maybe why it's shocked me so much.'

The former Blackburn and Southampton centre forward, who will look at the possibility of going out on loan in the next few days, insists he has no intention of hanging up his boots yet, however.

Aerial ultra: Davies scores with his head against Tottenham and (below) Chelsea

Aerial ultra: Davies scores with his head against Tottenham and (below) Chelsea

Kevin Davies scores against Chelsea

'I've had a few clubs come in for me so I'm not going to start panicking about retiring just yet. I want to carry on for at least a couple more years yet. It hurts right now, but hopefully by the end of this season I'll have a new challenge ahead of me,' he said.

Davies also revealed his contract runs out just before he is due a testimonial at Bolton, although the Bolton News report that the striker could still get one if he asks the club.

He said: 'It would have been nice to have one as a thank you for what I've done.

'I was aware when I signed [a new deal] last year it was running short, and the club said they might extend it for a week or two [to get to the testimonial] but I don't think that will happen.

Leading from the front: Davies's all-action style has made the Bolton captain a hero at the Reebok

Leading from the front: Davies's all-action style has made the Bolton captain a hero at the Reebok

Kevin Davies challenge

Yellow peril: Davies, here challenging Tom Cleverley, has been booked 99 times in the Premier League

Yellow peril: Davies, here challenging Tom Cleverley, has been booked 99 times in the Premier League

'Right now it's difficult for me to take but I need to keep my head up. It's going to be hard to try to keep involved, but I just have to try my best.'

Bolton manager Dougie Freedman told the club's official website: 'Kevin Davies is and always will be a Wanderers legend.

'I want to be fair to him as regards his future, as he deserves it. This decision means that he is now free to sort himself out with a new club in plenty of time for next season.'

International man of history: Davies became the second oldest player to make his England debut, against Montenegro in 2010 at the age of 33

International man of history: Davies became the second oldest player to make his England debut, against Montenegro in 2010 at the age of 33

Rigadin De Beauchene lands Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick

Rigadin De Beauchene lands Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick

PUBLISHED:

16:02 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:51 GMT, 12 January 2013

Rigadin De Beauchene (5-1) put the icing on the cake of what has been a bountiful start to the month for trainer Venetia Williams when getting up in the shadow of the post to deny Godsmejudge and the gallant Pete The Feat in the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick.

The eight-year-old put his jumping issues behind him under a determined Robbie Dunne to pull the race out of the fire after he was seemingly booked for third at the second-last fence.

New star: Nigel Twiston-Davies has a leading candidate for Cheltenham

New star: Nigel Twiston-Davies has a leading candidate for Cheltenham

Dunne intentionally steered a wide
course on Rigadin De Beauchene in the straight, a ploy that paid off as
the combination reeled in the battling leaders with 50 yards to travel
to win by half a length.

Williams said: 'Robbie swept wide
into the straight and managed to get the horse to meet the last fence on
a good stride which I think was very important.

'His owner Andrew Wiles hopes he may
emulate his half-brother Miko De Beauchene and win the Welsh National
next season. I think Andrew might have reservations about him going for
the Grand National itself though. He's had issues with his jumping.'

Williams said she was encouraged
about a good run from her gelding after the horse that beat him in the
mud at Lingfield went on to land the Sussex National.

Dunne said: 'We were going a good
gallop when he made a mistake down the back and he also got in tight to a
couple. But overall he jumped much better today, having had a
confidence-booster at Lingfield.'

Noel Fehily was proud of the gallant Pete The Feat whose unbeaten run of five this season was finally broken back in third.

He said: 'It was another very good run. He's jumped from fence to fence and galloped to the line.'

Nigel Twiston-Davies can be forgiven if he starts getting excited about The New One (1-2 favourite) who routed the opposition in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

So far the only defeat he has
suffered in his career came in the Festival Bumper where he was sixth
but nothing in this Grade Two could live with him.

His jockey Sam Twiston-Davies said: 'The sky is the limit.'

Nigel Twiston-Davies said: 'He seems
to have so much speed and staying power and it's a shame we haven't
really learned anything, as some of the others didn't go in the ground
and he wasn't tested.

'He won but we still don't know
enough about him and that encourages me to look at the programme book
and find another two-and-a-half-miler for him in order to give him some
more experience.'

Sarah Such, joint-owner of the winner,
was out of breath after cheering The New One home and exclaimed:
'Amazing. I can't breath he is absolutely wonderful, a really special
horse.'

Team Twiston-Davies also took the concluding bumper with Pure Science (5-1), a nine-length winner.

Rocky Creek boosted his claims for the RSA Chase and was cut to 12-1 from 20s for that Cheltenham Festival contest after flooring Highland Lodge in the Betfred Mobile Lotto Novices' Chase.

Paddy Power were impressed with the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old after he readily brushed aside Highland Lodge in the home straight of the three-mile contest to leave that rival exhausted on the run-in.

The pair had taken each other on at the last three of the fences down the back stretch with Rocky Creek nudging into the lead under a confident Daryl Jacob before the second last.

At this point the 7-4 chance jumped to the front where Tour Des Champs fell and brought down the weakening Forgotten Gold. Rocky Creek then forged steadily clear of Highland Lodge, who stopped to a walk on the flat and was caught by 16-1 shot Fill The Power for second.

Jacob believes the winner could be a factor in the RSA given the right underfoot conditions.

He said: 'I had the favourite covered and just wanted him to give me a lead into the straight before pressing on.

'He's a horse for the future and will be a truly super chaser in time. He's a possible Cheltenham horse for sure providing the ground there isn't too quick.'

Ely Brown booked his ticket to the Cheltenham Festival when avenging his 2012 defeat in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier.

Second to Thehillofuisneach here 12 months ago, Charlie Longsdon's charge travelled well and readily outstayed Holywell and Hada Men by a length and a quarter and four under Noel Fehily.

According to his trainer, Ely Brown needed to win today in order to guarantee a run in the Final at Cheltenham in March.

Longsdon said: 'I said to Noel he had to win again if he was going to get to Cheltenham and after this he certainly deserves to take his chance.

'If he goes up 5lb it will be his ticket booked. He was second here last year and when I looked down today's field I thought it was quite a lot tougher.

'He had a hard race at Aintree. We gave him plenty of time to recover from that and he was pinging after his last outing at Haydock.'

Rody (11-2) earned glowing praise from his pilot Paddy Brennan who described the Tom George-trained gelding as 'as good a jumper as you could possibly wish to see' following his resounding success in the Betfred 'The Bonus King' Handicap Chase.

Giving weight to all seven of his rivals in the two-mile contest, Rody made it three wins from his last four starts as he continually made ground on Eastlake at his fences.

Brennan sent him on rounding the home bend and the combination pulled eight lengths clear, with Kapga De Cerisy a neck back in third. The winner is owned by Tony Dalton and Jennifer Laing who both work for Saatchi and Saatchi.

Laing said: 'He's a happy horse who really likes being at the racecourse. He wasn't as good over hurdles because he used to brush through them, but he gives the fences more respect.'

Brennan added: 'It's his jumping that wins him his races, I've been very impressed with him.'

Flaming Charmer caused a minor shock in the opener, posting a 14-1 triumph for owners Chasing Gold, trainer Colin Tizzard and jockey Brendan Powell.

The five-year-old proved too strong for Thunder Sheikh to deny Timmy Murphy a winner on his first ride back from injury in the Betfred Goals Galore Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

On ground described as soft by the winning jockey, Flaming Charmer outstayed his foes and Powell said: 'He's a nice horse for the future and I think he'll stay further.'

Tom Chadney, spokeman for Chasing Gold, said: 'The reason I bought him was because his dam is Kates Charm who won the Cleeve Hurdle and was a very good mare for Robert Alner.

'We have nine horses spread around the country with seven trainers. It enables our members to watch the horses run wherever they are based.'

Leeds United v Bolton – match report

Leeds United 1 Bolton 0: Happy return for Becchio as he fires Leeds to victory

By
Wayne Gardiner, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

18:21 GMT, 1 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:38 GMT, 2 January 2013

Luciano Becchio returned to the Leeds
side and immediately got back in the scoring groove as the Whites
prevailed in a dire contest with Bolton.

The Argentinian striker was rested for
Saturday's 2-0 loss at Hull in which Leeds failed to register a shot on
target, but he showed his team-mates how it was done today as he scored
his 18th goal of the season from the spot after 65 minutes.

Bolton could stake a claim for an
undeserved defeat – they had the best of a torrid first half during
which they hit the post – but in the end Leeds just about edged it owing
to their second-half improvements.

Enlarge

Luciano Becchio

Match winner: Becchio tucked away his second half penalty to give Leeds all three points

Becchio's goal after Tyrone Mears'
clumsy foul not only earned Neil Warnock's men a fifth straight home win
for the first time since 2009, it also booked him a spot in Leeds'
all-time top-10 leading goalscorers on 76.

MATCH FACTS

Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Pearce, Tate, Peltier, Norris, Austin, Green, Diouf (Gray 90), Becchio, McCormack.

Subs: Ashdown, Drury, Lees, Brown, Somma, Hall.

Booked: Byram.

Goals: Becchio 66 pen.

Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Ream, Alonso, Andrews, Spearing (Butterfield 79),Lee (Afobe 68), Pratley (Ngog 68), Eagles, Kevin Davies.

Subs: Lonergan, Petrov, Ricketts, Sordell.

Booked: Afobe,Andrews.

Att: 22,386

Referee: Phil Gibbs (West Midlands).

Click here for all the latest Championship table, fixtures and results

It means United remain in touching
distance of the play-offs, but Warnock will surely still need new owners
GFH Capital to give him the backing he has asked for if they are to
mount a genuine push, as winning without playing well can only last for
so long.

With Rodolph Austin's deflected
12th-minute free-kick skipping wide Leeds had already improved on their
dismal display at Hull on Saturday where they did not register a shot,
and even though the Jamaica midfielder was also off target with the next
effort, they were at least showing some attacking intent.

In spite of their chances, Leeds were
well off the pace in the middle of the park and should have been behind
in the 20th minute.

Darren Pratley robbed Alan Tate of
possession in the centre circle and he and Kevin Davies worked the ball
to a clean-through Chris Eagles, but his shot clipped the post and went
behind.

 Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman

Defeated: Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman was left looking dejected after today's loss

The long strides of Pratley were
giving Bolton the edge and after more good work from him Eagles should
have done better from the edge of the box, before the tricky winger
brought about the best moment of an awful half when he forced Paddy
Kenny to tip his 35-yard shot around the post.

The quality of play scarcely improved
after the break, Eagles dribbling one wide and Marcus Alonso thumping
over from distance, and even when a goal did arrive it was an ugly one.

Leeds built an attack with Austin
going down the right and, after his cross was not cleared, David Norris'
mishit pass rolled into McCormack who was ungainly bundled over by
Mears, allowing Becchio to send Adam Bogdan the wrong way for the second
time this season.

All of a sudden there was some energy
inside Elland Road and El-Hadji Diouf sent McCormack clear but he rushed
his shot and found the stand, before Becchio headed a Diouf corner
over.

Bolton had to raise their own game and
David N'gog shouted in vain for a penalty when he was tackled by Tate,
but they had no way of getting a clear sight of Kenny's goal and were
left to rue Eagles' first-half near miss.

Peterborough 5 Bolton 4 – match report

Peterborough 5 Bolton 4: Posh hold on despite late Trotters surge

PUBLISHED:

17:37 GMT, 22 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:37 GMT, 22 December 2012

Peterborough's flying start proved decisive as they edged Bolton in a nine-goal thriller at London Road.

Buoyed by their surprise victory over leaders Cardiff last week, Posh raced into a two goal lead inside six minutes thanks to Lee Tomlin and Dwight Gayle.

Wanderers midfielder Keith Andrews reduced the arrears from the penalty spot but George Thorne's drive made it 3-1 shortly after half-time.

Topsy-turvy: Peterborough emerged on top after an epic tussle

Topsy-turvy: Peterborough emerged on top after an epic tussle

Match facts

Peterborough: Olejnik, Bostwick, Zakuani, Knight-Percival, Little (Alcock 89), Thorne, Rowe, Boyd, Newell (Ferdinand 81), Gayle, Tomlin.

Subs Not Used: Day, Brisley, Swanson, McCann, Kearns.

Goals: Tomlin 2, Gayle 6, Thorne 47, Little 69, Zakuani 83.

Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Ricketts, Knight, Warnock, Spearing, Andrews (Petrov 81), Lee (Sordell 50), Butterfield (Afobe 50), Eagles, Kevin Davies.

Subs Not Used: Lainton, Alonso, Ream, Pratley.

Booked: Butterfield, Kevin Davies, Ricketts, Andrews.

Goals: Andrews 45 pen, 56 pen, Afobe 85, Petrov 87.

Att: 6,600

Ref: Nigel Miller (Durham).

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Another Andrews spot kick prompted
Bolton's most promising period of the match but United defenders Mark
Little and Gabriel Zakuani got in on the act to apparently make the
points safe.

But there was a final twist as
Wanderers substitutes Benik Afobe and Martin Petrov netted inside the
final six minutes to set up a grandstand finish.

Victory for Barnsley at Millwall and
Bristol City's draw at Ipswich means Darren Ferguson's side remain
bottom of the table, while Dougie Freedman's Bolton head into Christmas
eight points shy of the play-off places in 16th.

A cross-field ball from George Boyd
in the second minute skidded through Bolton centre-back Zat Knight on
the greasy surface, allowing Tomlin to race clear before cutting back
onto his right foot and planting a low shot past Adam Bogdan.

Wanderers goalkeeper Bogdan made a
magnificent reflex save to stop Tomlin doubling his tally moments later
but the Hungary international could do nothing when Sam Ricketts failed
to clear Tommy Rowe's cross and Gayle thrashed home on the half-volley –
his fifth goal in four games.

Confidence was understandably
coursing through Peterborough and Boyd fizzed an ambitious 35-yard
effort narrowly over after Thorne dispossessed Andrews.

In the 15th minute Tomlin went close
again, skipping past two challenges before curling against the post from
the edge of the box.

Boyd passed up the opportunity to add
a third, shooting wide at the end of a mazy run, before Bolton were
handed a lifeline in first half stoppage time.

Zakuani was penalised for holding
down Ricketts when Butterfield delivered a corner from the right and,
despite Chris Eagles volleying the loose ball into the net, referee
Nigel Miller pointed to the spot.

Andrews held his nerve, blasting low
to the left of Posh goalkeeper Robert Olejnik – a virtual spectator for
the opening 45 minutes.

But haphazard defending undid Bolton
at the start of the second half, as it had in the first, and after they
failed to clear in the 47th minute Thorne swept home from the edge of
the area.

Freedman threw on Marvin Sordell and
Afobe shortly afterward to bolster his side's attack and the latter
helped them reduce the advantage again with 56 minutes played.

A bustling run from Arsenal loanee was ended illegally in the area by Joe Newell and once more Andrews did the honours.

Afobe continued to cause problems for
the Peterborough defence but at the other end there remained plenty to
encourage the hosts and their two goal lead was restored for a third
time.

Tomlin dragged wide after being teed
up by strike partner Gayle and, with 21 minutes to go, Little
emphatically drove into the top corner at the back post from Newell's
left wing cross.

Zakuani's far post header to convert Tomlin's right wing corner appeared to have sealed it but Afobe and Petrov had other ideas.

The former converted his team-mates'
84th minute corner from close range and when Petrov emphatically crashed
into the top corner on the angle three minutes later Bolton had got to
within touching distance of a point they scarcely deserved.

Alex Cuthbert signs new contract at Cardiff Blues

Wales wing Cuthbert rejects French overtures to sign new three-year deal at Cardiff Blues

|

UPDATED:

09:26 GMT, 20 December 2012

Wing wizard: Cuthbert has put pen to paper

Wing wizard: Cuthbert has put pen to paper

Wales wing Alex Cuthbert has resisted the temptation of joining several of his international team-mates in France by signing a new three-year contract with Cardiff Blues.

Cuthbert, a star performer in the Test match arena this year, has bucked the trend of top Wales players moving to France, with Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate both set to join the exodus next season.

Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins, James Hook and Luke Charteris already play in the French Top 14, while prop Paul James is in his first season at Aviva Premiership club Bath.

'I had a lot of decisions to make, but I am glad I've got it sorted and this is the place I want to be to take my rugby career forward,' Cuthbert, 22, said.

'I did have some good offers from other clubs, but I wanted to stay with the Blues.

Dragon: Cuthbert has scored five tries in 13 Tests for Wales

Dragon: Cuthbert has scored five tries in 13 Tests for Wales

'I've certainly seen the progress on the pitch, although we may not be getting the results right now. We are just losing by narrow margins, and you can tell it's coming.

'Hopefully, we will get some quality players in next season and those close losses will turn into wins for us.'

Cuthbert scored tries against Scotland, Italy and France during last season's RBS 6 Nations title and Grand Slam-winning campaign, and he transferred that form into the recent autumn Tests, claiming a try against New Zealand.

Room for improvement: Cuthbert is only 22

Room for improvement: Cuthbert is only 22

Blues rugby director Phil Davies said: 'Alex is 22. He has a fantastic future ahead of him, not just at the Blues but in the game in general. He is a vital part of our squad.

'Alex is a great try-scorer, but he is still young and developing all the time.

'His work-rate is phenomenal and his defence and reading of the game is improving considerably. Hopefully, he will get better and better over the next three years.'

Huddersfield 2 Bolton 2: James Vaughan grabs late equaliser

Huddersfield 2 Bolton 2: Vaughan puts Terriers back on track as Wanderers rue missed chances

PUBLISHED:

17:52 GMT, 8 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 8 December 2012

James Vaughan marked his return from injury with a late equaliser as Huddersfield denied Bolton a return to winning ways with a 2-2 draw at the John Smith's Stadium.

The striker, making his first start in eight games following a thigh problem, struck in the 87th minute to help the Terriers avoid a third successive defeat.

After Mark Davies had cancelled out Zat Knight's first-half own goal, Eagles wasted the chance to put his side in front when his 74th-minute penalty was saved by Alex Smithies.

Last-gasp: James Vaughan fires the equaliser for Huddersfield

Last-gasp: James Vaughan fires the equaliser for Huddersfield

Match facts

Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Peter Clarke, Gerrard, Dixon, Clayton, Atkinson (Ward 80), Norwood, Novak (Lee 80), Church (Scannell 75), Vaughan. Subs Not Used: Bennett, Woods, Wallace, Arfield.

Yellow cards: Gerrard, Novak, Vaughan, Dixon, Clayton.

Scorers: Knight 9 og,Vaughan 87.

Bolton: Bogdan, Mills (Ream 85), Knight, Ricketts, Warnock, Spearing, Andrews, Eagles, Mark Davies, Lee, Kevin Davies. Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Ngog, Petrov, Afobe, Pratley, Butterfield.

Yellow cards: Bogdan.

Scorers: Mark Davies 70, Eagles 80.

Att: 16,372

Ref: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

However, the in-form winger looked to have given Bolton, who lost to struggling Ipswich last weekend, the three points six minutes later before Vaughan's late leveller.

Adam Clayton tried his luck from distance early on, but Adam Bogdan was equal to the former Leeds midfielder's 30-yard effort.

The Trotters responded and dangerman Eagles pulled the ball back only for Keith Andrews to scuff a shot into the hands of Smithies, who then had to keep out an Eagles 25-yard drive after Peter Clarke gave away possession.

But it was the hosts who went ahead in the ninth minute when Anthony Gerrard headed Oliver Norwood's corner goalwards and the ball went in off visiting defender Knight.

Bolton almost levelled up three minutes later when Andrews fired narrowly over after Mark Davies saw his effort blocked.

However, Town were unfortunate not to double their advantage when Clayton's shot was parried by Bogdan and Lee Novak hit the rebound against the crossbar.

Huddersfield had to be alert at the back to clear a Sam Ricketts header, while at the other end Chris Atkinson sliced a half-volley over the top from 25 yards.

Town finished the half strongly, with Norwood curling a free-kick from the edge of the area just wide before Bogdan had to backtrack quickly to tip over Jack Hunt's teasing cross.

Bolton came out firing in the second half and Knight almost made up for his earlier error but his header was off target, before Lee Chung-yong shot narrowly wide from an acute angle.

Out in front: Chris Eagles (centre) celebrates his goal for Bolton

Out in front: Chris Eagles (centre) celebrates his goal for Bolton

In the 52nd minute, referee Eddie Ilderton waved away Bolton's appeals for a penalty when Kevin Davies was bundled over in the box.

Kevin Davies was then played in by Lee, although the former England striker's shot whistled past the post.

Bolton's pressure told in the 69th minute when Mark Davies picked up a pass from Eagles and side-footed home from 12 yards.

Eagles missed a glorious opportunity to put his side into the lead five minutes later as his penalty was tipped onto the post by Smithies after Paul Dixon fouled Ricketts in the area.

However, the former Manchester United winger made amends shortly afterwards when he found the net from 12 yards.

But Vaughan secured a point for Simon Grayson's outfit three minutes from time, shooting into the bottom corner.

Rugby World Cup draw: England are the team to fear, says Clive Woodward

Big guns now fear England in World Cup draw, says Woodward

|

UPDATED:

08:07 GMT, 3 December 2012

Sir Clive Woodward believes England’s demolition of New Zealand makes them the team to avoid in Monday’s draw for the 2015 World Cup.

New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France are the top seeds — and hosts England, who are among the second seeds, could find themselves up against the All Blacks when the draw is made at Tate Modern in London.

‘It makes the draw fascinating, given that England have just demolished New Zealand,’ said Woodward.

Scroll down for your guide to how the draw works

History: England celebrate their stunning victory over New Zealand

History: England celebrate their stunning victory over New Zealand

‘The top four sides will not want to be playing against England. That result will make the southern hemisphere teams sit up and say for once, “We want to keep away from England”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek, Woodward, who was England’s World Cup winning coach in 2003, added: ‘It was a great, great victory for the English team. The 38-21 scoreline absolutely reflected the performance and it was a great, great day to be at Twickenham.

‘They have some great players in there — Joe Launchbury, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw — who were world class. This was a real David and Goliath effort.

Flying: Chris Ashton scored a try during England's win at Twickenham

Flying: Chris Ashton scored a try during England's win at Twickenham

‘They came out and threw the kitchen sink and New Zealand got completely rattled. Every phase of the game they won.’

Because Wales have slipped to ninth in the world following seven successive defeats, they will be drawn against two teams higher than them in the rankings, and could face New Zealand and England in a ‘group of death’.

But centre Jonathan Davies recalled
Wales’s performance at the last World Cup when they lost by a point to
France in the semi-finals and said: ‘Because of what we did then, I
think people will be fearing us, not the other way round.

Despair: Wales lost their fourth and final autumn international to Australia

Despair: Wales lost their fourth and final autumn international to Australia

‘It’s not an ideal situation, but we had a tough draw last year, too. I’m sure the boys are pretty confident that whoever we are drawn against we can beat.’

Wales wing Alex Cuthbert was similarly confident. ‘I’d look forward to it, whoever we draw,’ said Cuthbert. ‘Two top teams in the pool You want to beat the best in the world. We’ll be looking forward to it.’

Your guide to the World Cup draw

Where and where…
The World Cup draw takes place at 2.55pm today at Tate Modern in London.

How it works…
The 20 teams for the 2015 World Cup will be allocated into four pools of five teams. The top 12 teams in the world have automatically qualified and are split into bands. No team faces another from the same band.

Mind the gap…
The eight remaining qualifying places (two in each pool) will be allocated into bands four and five and drawn randomly. Those teams are yet to qualify.

The bands…

BAND ONE: New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, France
BAND TWO: England, Ireland, Samoa, Argentina
BAND THREE: Wales, Italy, Tonga, Scotland

*The competition will run from September 18 to October 31, 2015, with Twickenham hosting the final.

ENGLAND'S DREAM DRAW: France and Tonga

ENGLAND'S NIGHTMARE: New Zealand and Wales

WALES'S DREAM DRAW: France and Argentina

WALES'S NIGHTMARE DRAW: New Zealand and England

Bristol City 1 Wolves 4: Doyle double downs Robins as Wolves breeze to victory

Bristol City 1 Wolves 4: Doyle double downs Robins as Wolves breeze to victory

PUBLISHED:

17:30 GMT, 1 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:37 GMT, 1 December 2012

Wolves recorded an emphatic away win in the npower Championship match at Ashton Gate to ease the pressure on manager Stale Solbakken.

His struggling side came into this match without a win in nine games, their worst sequence at this level for 21 years, but they blew away City in a fantastic first half thanks to goals from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Bjorn Sigurdarson and a Kevin Doyle double.

Doyle came very close to his hat-trick after the break and Roger Johnson hit the crossbar before Neil Danns' classy goal in the 85th minute gave the City fans something to cheer about.

Out in front: Kevin Doyle celebrates scoring Wolves' third goal

Out in front: Kevin Doyle celebrates scoring Wolves' third goal

Match facts

Bristol City: Heaton, Foster, Bates, Fontaine, Bryan, Adomah, Elliott, Kilkenny (Baldock 46), Danns, Pearson,Taylor (Davies 58). Subs Not Used: Gerken, Mark Wilson, Anderson, Reid, Danny Wilson.

Yellow cards: Danns, Davies.

Scorer: Danns 85.

Wolves: Ikeme, Foley, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Sigurdarson (Nouble 86), Edwards (Davis 60), Henry,Sako, Ebanks-Blake, Doyle (Forde 72). Subs Not Used: De Vries, Stearman, Pennant, Batth.

Scorers: Ebanks-Blake 20,Doyle 25,41,Sigurdarson 44.

Att: 13,892

Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

Derek McInnes made just one change as he looked to lead City to a victory over Wolves for the first time in 19 years with Ryan Taylor replacing Stephen Davies up front.

Solbakken shuffled his pack following the midweek home defeat to Millwall with captain Karl Henry returning to the side after suspension along with Kevin Foley and Ebanks-Blake.

It was Wolves, 19th in the table coming into this match, who started the brighter and they should really have taken the lead in the fourth minute when Ebanks-Blake missed a gilt-edged chance after Bakary Sako's low cross found the striker unmarked in the box but he somehow put his effort wide.

Four minutes later it was City's turn to threaten when Danns' cross found Liam Fontaine but his volley was right at Carl Ikeme.

Ebanks-Blake had another chance for the visitors shortly after but he headed over from 12 yards out.

The Robins are the only team in the Football League yet to keep a clean sheet and so it was no surprise when Ebanks-Blake opened the scoring in the 20th minute with his first goal in nine games.

Fontaine cleared a corner only as far as Stephen Ward, whose fine volley was diverted in by the former Manchester United trainee.

The lead was doubled just four minutes later when a fine move ended with Doyle bundling Sigurdarson's cross from the right flank past Tom Heaton for his first away goal since February.

The Ireland international had only scored three times in 19 appearances this season but netted his second in just 16 first-half minutes with a wonderful solo goal.

The former Reading striker picked the ball up in his own half and ran unchallenged before slotting home.

And just a minute before half-time the visitors made sure of their first three points in 10 games with another fine move, finished off with a left-foot shot across Heaton from Sigurdarson after Ebanks-Blake teed him up.

McInnes introduced Sam Baldock at half-time but Wolves picked up where they left off with Doyle coming close to a hat-trick on two occasions, the first was cleared off the line by Matthew Bates and his second effort was saved by Heaton.

City were then inches away from finding themselves five down when Johnson met a corner with a header that bounced off Heaton's bar.

Baldock then had his side's best chance of the game when Foster found him 10 yards out but he could not test Ikeme.

Danns had a low drive saved by the Wolves keeper before the Leicester loanee netted a consolation in style from 25 yards with five minutes to go.

Wales team to play Australia at Millennium Stadium

Gatland shuffles pack as Wales look to make it lucky No 7 against Wallabies

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UPDATED:

13:20 GMT, 29 November 2012

A wounded Wales team will face Australia with a reshuffled pack for the final clash of their autumn series.

They have made four changes to the side that were beaten convincingly by New Zealand last weekend. But with fourteen first-team players unavailable through either injury or absence, head coach Warren Gatland had his hand tied when it came to make big changes, despite his side falling to their sixth successive defeat against the All Blacks.

George North has failed to shrug off a hip injury picked up in training last week, and Bradley Davies is still suffering from the effects of severe concussion after he was struck off the ball by All Black Andrew Hore in the second minute on Saturday.

Well beaten: Wales have lost six in a row

Well beaten: Wales have lost six in a row

In the front row Blues prop Scott Andrews is handed his second Wales start and he is joined by former Blues colleague and 93-times capped veteran prop Gethin Jenkins, who has been granted permission to play by his French club Toulon.

Elsewhere Ospreys lock Ian Evans completes his return from injury (knee) to replace Bradley Davies and Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler replaces another Osprey, Ryan Jones, in the back row – with Jones retained on the bench.

The same backline which started against New Zealand last time out is selected, with Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar coming in for another player returning to his club, Perpignan’s James Hook, in one change to the backs cover provided by the bench.

Starting role: Jenkins (left) has been given permission by Toulon to play

Starting role: Jenkins (left) has been given permission by Toulon to play

Wales team to play Australia on Saturday:

Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts,
Liam Williams; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew
Rees, Scott Andrews; Ian Evans, Luke Charteris; Aaron Shingler, Sam
Warburton (captain), Toby Faletau.

REPLACEMENTS: Ken Owens, Ryan Bevington, Samson Lee, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Tavis Knoyle, Dan Biggar, Scott Williams.

'We need to pick up again where we left off in the second half last week,' said Gatland. 'We managed to retain 73 per cent possession after the break against the All Blacks and win the territory battle, and we need to put Australia under similar pressure from the outset.

'We have played them regularly over the last couple of years and have come close to winning on a number of occasions, but have not quite been able to get ourselves over the chalk of the finish line.

'Both sides have had injuries to cope with, but there is every reason for optimism. The Millennium Stadium crowd will be in full voice again, they were outstanding last week, and we are aiming to reach the end of a tough series on Saturday and finish off on a high.'

Long putters set to be banned from golf in 2016

Controversial long putters will be outlawed from golf as new ruling is proposed for 2016

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UPDATED:

15:45 GMT, 28 November 2012

Golf's ruling authorities have served notice on the 'divisive and controversial' method of anchoring putters to the body and declared their intention to outlaw the practice.

The proposed change won't come into effect until 2016 but it will be a surprise if affected players like three of the last five major champions – Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els – don't honour the spirit of the decision and look to make instant amendments.Indeed, Simpson has revealed that he has already been practising with a new method.

Scroll down for video explaining the new rules.

Keegan Bradley

Webb Simpson

Putt: Bradley and Simpson are among the last five major winners

Golf blog

Although it won't mean the end of the
wretched long and belly putters that have come to deface the game, it
will certainly lessen their frequency and address the fundamental issue
regarding their fairness.

Tiger Woods summed up the case for
change perfectly when he said: 'Having a fixed anchor point, as I have
been saying all year, is something that is not in the traditions of the
game. We swing all 13 other clubs and I think the putter should be the
same. It should be a swinging motion throughout the entire bag.'

At a teleconference on Wednesday Mike
Davies, representing America's governing body, the United States Golf
Association, and Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient
Golf Club of St Andrews, who are the authority for everywhere else, were
in full agreement with Woods.

'We recognise that for 30 years this
has been a controversial and divisive issue and the action we are
taking today is all about looking to the future, defining what a stroke
should be and brining clarity to the issue,' said Davies.

Great Scott: The Australian uses a broom-handle putter

Great Scott: The Australian uses a broom-handle putter

He added that they had been forced into action by the growing proliferation of anchoring over the last two years.

'Until 18 to 24 months ago, there were no significant increases at all levels of the game when it came to anchoring,' he said.

'Then in 2010 it jumped to 6 per
cent. In 2011 it almost doubled to 11 per cent and in 2012 it has been
running at 15 per cent, with some tournaments having 20 or even 25 per
cent of the field using anchored strokes.'

Perhaps worried by the threat of
litigation if they tried to ban the belly or long putters, Davies
stressed that this was a playing change to the rules of golf, rather
than an equipment change.

'We have no problem with either
putter, just when they are anchored to the body,' he said. 'Players are
welcome to use both putters so long as they make what we consider to be a
proper stroke'

Players like Bradley have indulged in
sabre-rattling and threatened litigation but Dawson is not anticipating
the proposed change being held up by legal wars.

'We are aware of remarks made by
Keegan and others and recognise that they are not going to necessarily
agree with the change,' he said.

'But I notice more recent remarks
seem to accept that we are the governing body and we have the authority
to make changes like this if we think they are in the best interests of
the game. Once we think we're doing that, we're prepared to defend our
actions to the hilt.'

Dawson said there was a three month
consultancy period whereby people could come forward and make
representations before a formal announcement next Spring.

'I feel like we have covered every
issue regarding the matter but it is only right that if people have
anything else to say they should have that opportunity,' he said.

The rules are revised on a four year
cycle and, with the last change only coming in at the start of this
year, that is why it will be January, 2016 before Rule 14-1b is added.
It will prohibit strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club
held directly against the player's body, or with a forearm held against
the body to establish an anchor point.

It also comes with a note 1 and note
2, covering the way belly and long putters are anchored respectively.
The punishment will be two shots for every use of an anchored putter in
strokeplay and loss of hole in matchplay.

The new belly-putter rules explained.