Tag Archives: experimental

Super League coaches Brian McDermott and Richard Agar give controversial proposed rule changes thumbs up

Super League coaches give thumbs up to controversial proposed rule changes



16:40 GMT, 27 December 2012

Super League coaches Brian McDermott and Richard Agar have given their 'thumbs up' to the experimental rule changes trialled on Boxing Day, although the Rugby Football League have been criticised over their introduction.

The changes were formulated by the RFL's laws committee and put into practice during the Leeds-Wakefield festive challenge at Headingley, as well as the Batley-Dewsbury derby.

The option for teams to reduce the numbers in a scrum was largely ignored at Headingley, where one man was sent off and four others were sin-binned, and there was no instance of the ball being kicked dead from before halfway, which would have resulted in a 40-metre restart.

Controversial: The proposed changes were trialled during Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Wildcats on Boxing Day

Controversial: The proposed changes were trialled during Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Wildcats on Boxing Day

Teams with scrum feed can leave the loose forward out of the pack to create an extra man.
Tackle count does not reset with a charge-down. If the ball is kicked dead from a team's own half the opposition receive a 40-metre tap.

However, there was a clear example at Leeds of the proposal to continue the tackle count in the event of a charge-down and Wakefield scored one of their tries after being given the advantage to play on following a handling error by their opponents.

Wildcats boss Agar was full of praise for Danny Cowling's speculative kick, following a loss of possession by Leeds on halfway, which set up a score for full-back Richard Mathers.

'It's a free shot and a terrific example of how it's going to work,' Agar said.

'It's a rule I feel should be a positive one.

'It could get messy sometimes with play coming back 50 or 60 metres and slowing the game up but in terms of trying things and producing more attacking rugby we should give it a go.

'Rugby league has always been a sport that is not afraid to put its neck on the line and be a bit innovative and I'm all for that.'

Leeds boss McDermott said: 'I like the new rules. The punishment for a charge-down if it doesn't come off has always been heavily weighted towards the team with the ball.

'The added man from the scrum will take some getting used to. I don't think there is a play out there just yet that will get the defence.'

Friendly There was clearly no festive cheer during this exhibition match

Friendly There was clearly no festive cheer during this exhibition match

Agar claimed his club was not told of the experimental rules until just before their final training session and, therefore, did not have enough time to prepare for them.

'We didn't know about them until Friday,' he said. 'We would have tried some things around them had we had more time.

'Certainly I applaud the RFL for trying them and this was the right game in which to do it but the way it was communicated was wrong.

'We should know, then the players could have a say and the fans should know a bit earlier than they did so they could go away and debate it.

'There's a lot of senior, highly-paid management at the RFL who forgot to tell us which I find a bit disappointing.'

The RFL say details of the experimental changes were presented to the autumn meeting of the RL Council and their impact will be assessed in the new year before any decision is taken on their future implementation.

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood, who chairs the laws committee, said: 'Christmas friendlies are the perfect opportunity to trial changes such as these and I would like to thank all four clubs for their willingness to participate in the experiment.'

Fernando Torres dropped for Chelsea game against Juventus

Axed! 50m Torres left on bench for Juve clash… and he doesn't look happy about it


20:19 GMT, 20 November 2012



21:45 GMT, 20 November 2012

Fernando Torres was dropped for Chelsea's biggest game since the Champions League final on Tuesday night as Roberto Di Matteo gambled his side's Group E fate on an experimental team at Juventus.

Di Matteo finally lost patience with 50million flop Torres, electing to play without a recognised striker in a match the European champions could ill afford to lose.

Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres

Warming the bench: Fernando Torres cut a distraught figure as he took his seat among the substitutes

Fernando Torres

Leading the line: Hazard played up top for Chelsea against Juventus

Leading the line: Hazard played up top for Chelsea against Juventus

Torres cut a disconsolate figure as he took his place among the Chelsea substitutes as Eden Hazard was entrusted to lead the line.

Hazard, who usually operates either side of the main striker, has been asked to fill the centre forward role against Juve’s 3-5-2 formation.

The Spaniard eventually made it onto the field after 70 minutes, by which time Chelsea were already 2-0 down. He replaced Mikel, but had, 10 minutes earlier, seen Victor Moses thrown on first.

Di Matteo's decision will bring into question the Spaniard's future at Stamford Bridge. His former club Atletico Madrid are interested in bringing Torres back to Spain.

Giovanni Trapattoni praises Wes Hoolahan and Seamus Coleman

Trapattoni still hopeful after young Ireland team suffer harsh defeat against Greece



00:46 GMT, 15 November 2012

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni may have received the ringing endorsement from his FAI bosses but Irish football fans stayed away in their droves as they lost their latest friendly in front of just 20,070 supporters.

It was a harsh defeat on the Ireland boss and his young, experimental team who enjoyed 61 per cent possession, but went down 1-0 thanks to Jose Holebas’s 30th minute winner.

But it was an encouraging performance from Ireland, on the night Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four against England in Stockholm as part of their preparations for the crucial March World Cup qualifying showdown.

Not tonight: The Republic of Ireland suffered another home defeat against Greece

Not tonight: The Republic of Ireland suffered another home defeat against Greece

Trapattoni, who finally drafted in Norwich playmaker Wes Hoolahan for 45 minutes, and handed starts to Shane Long, James McClean, Ciaran Clark and Robbie Brady, said he was delighted with the impact of the young stars on show.

The Ireland boss said: 'Hoolahan He was very good. He confirmed his quality that we knew. He is a good option if we need one striker.

'We don’t have another player in this position, a particular position, maybe Robbie Keane. He can be an option for the qualifiers.

'Coleman He was fantastic. He was man of the match. We know him. We follow him. We ask him the next future. Our midfield is also two fullbacks and he could make 20 crosses which is fantastic.

'He is fast and recovers the ball and has a good personality. For the future we will continue to play with him.

'And don’t forget Clark was fantastic, and Brady … they can grow.

'The result is a great disappointment but the performance gave me confirmation about these players.

'It was important to make a good performance after Germany and this is a progression from Kazakhstan and the Faroes.

'Players like Coleman, McCarthy, Long and McClean. They confirmed against a great team, like Greece, their quality and their personality.'

Happy: Giovanni Trapattoni was delighted with Seamus Coleman (left)

Happy: Giovanni Trapattoni was delighted with Seamus Coleman (left)

Ireland should have been awarded a first minute penalty and Trapattoni criticised Israeli referee Eitan Shmuelevitz for failing to spot Kostas Stafilidis’s blatant handball, claiming he did not have the courage to give the spot-kick because it was so early in the game.

He also said Kevin Doyle was fouled for a second half penalty.

'It’s not an excuse,' he said. 'We saw it on the television.

'But it’s important that we looked to score, for our confidence and our personality.'

'For the first 20 minutes we played very great football and then we conceded the goal.

'Football is about the result but we had a good reaction and we had more possession in the second-half.'

Meanwhile Greece boss Fernando Santos believe Ireland can bounce back from their 6-1 humiliation to Germany to grab second spot in their World Cup group and claim a play-off spot.

Unlucky: Ireland lost with a young and experimental team

Unlucky: Ireland lost with a young and experimental team

Santos said: 'I believe the Irish team has many chances to qualify for the World Cup.

'Maybe not in the first position because that will be more difficult but the Irish team has great character.

'And with these two aspects they may be able to pass through the play-offs and get to Brazil.'

Ireland will have to overcome Sweden and Ibrahimovic to grab the runners-up spot and the Paris St Germain striker grabbed the headlines again with his four goals against England, including a sensational overhead kick.

Trapattoni said: 'I hope he has run out of gasoline in his tank.

'We know him very well because he has played in Italy and he scored a fantastic goal with heel when I was manager of Italy.

'We know he is a striker who can score but we’re not going there already beaten.'

Oi! At one point players from both sides got into a scuffle

Oi! At one point players from both sides got into a scuffle

Ireland 0 Greece 1: Match report

Ireland 0 Greece 1: Holebas bags decisive goal as Republic lose at home again



02:05 GMT, 15 November 2012

Jose Holebas ensured the Republic of Ireland ended 2012 without the victory they craved as Giovanni Trapattoni's youngsters were undone by Greece.

The Italian's experimental side, which featured Ciaran Clark, James McCarthy, James McClean and Robbie Brady from the start and Wes Hoolahan after the break, competed well for long periods, but were unable to carve out the openings to take something from the game.

In front of a sparse crowd at the Aviva Stadium, where they were battered 6-1 by Germany in a World Cup qualifier last month, Ireland showed plenty of endeavour and at times craft, but they could not find the killer touch in front of goal.

Heated: The players of both teams clashed at the Aviva Stadium in dublin

Heated: The players of both teams clashed at the Aviva Stadium in dublin


Rep of Ireland: Forde, Coleman, O'Shea, Clark, Ward, Brady (Hoolahan 46), McCarthy (Meyler 70), Whelan (Andrews 34), McClean, Cox (Keogh 61), Long (Doyle 46).

Subs Not Used: Randolph, O'Dea, Kelly, Clifford.

Booked: Long, Clark.

Greece: Karnezis, Torosidis (Maniatis 60), Papastathopoulos, Papadopoulos, Holebas (Fortounis 46), Stafylidis (Spyropoulos 82), Tziolis, Tachtsidis, Ninis (Vyntra 60), Mitroglou (Salpingidis 46), Samaras (Athanasiadis 46).

Subs Not Used: Peristeridis, Kone, Christodoulopoulos, Dimoutsos, Siovas.

Booked: Fortounis.

Goals: Holebas 29.

Att: 16,256

Ref: Eitan Shmuelevitz (Israel).

As a result, Holebas' sweet
29th-minute strike was enough to win the game for the visitors and leave
Trapattoni's detractors with enough ammunition to maintain their
opposition to his continued presence at the helm heading into March's
crucial World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria.

The 73-year-old, finally bowing to
mounting pressure, handed youth a chance as his side brought an end to
their 2012 campaign and tried to do so in style against the national
currently ranked 12th by FIFA.

Ireland slipped significantly in
FIFA's ranking table – to 36th place, 24 behind the Greeks – in the wake
of their humiliation at the hands of the Germans, and the Italian's
response was to include Aston Villa defender Clark, Wigan schemer
McCarthy and wingers Brady and McClean in his starting line-up.

He was also forced to make a late
change when goalkeeper Keiren Westwood withdrew with a groin injury and
Millwall's David Forde was handed an unexpected fourth senior cap.

Struggle: Ireland were unable to seal a win over Greece

Struggle: Ireland were unable to seal a win over Greece

Whack: Jose Holebas (right) put the winning goal in for the visitors

Whack: Jose Holebas (right) put the winning goal in for the visitors

It all started relatively promisingly
for the home side with McCarthy finding space in the middle of the
field to feed Brady and McClean on the flanks, and the movement of
strikers Shane Long and Simon Cox troubling the Greek defence.

Ireland had strong claims for a
first-minute penalty waved away by Israeli referee Eitan Shmuelevitz and
defender Konstantinos Stafylidis could consider himself extremely
fortunate not to be penalised for his less-than-effective attempt to
deal with Stephen Ward's deep cross.

Cox went to ground inside the box
under Sokratis Papastathopoulos' challenge three minutes later, but the
appeals on that occasion were more muted and also ignored, and McClean
scuffed a long-range effort wide.

But the Republic looked certain to
take the lead with 10 minutes gone when full-back Seamus Coleman, whose
combination with Brady proved a repeated threat down the right during
the opening 45 minutes, collected the winger's return pass and crossed.

Cox had found a yard of space and
climbed to meet the ball unopposed, but he was unable to hit the target
with just keeper Orestis Karnezis to beat.

Another defeat: Giovanni Trapattoni was deprived of the home win he craved

Another defeat: Giovanni Trapattoni was deprived of the home win he craved

Greece had offered little in
response, but gradually worked their way into the game and called Forde
into action for the first time when Sotiros Ninis took aim from 25 yards
and forced a diving 23rd-minute save.

However, the Republic failed to heed
the warning and fell behind six minutes later when skipper Georgios
Samaras, who had earlier had to leave the pitch for treatment to a head
wound, turned Konstantinos Mitroglou's pass into the path of Holebas,
who span John O'Shea and thumped the ball into the bottom corner.

Long and Clark were both booked for
clumsy challenges as the game unfolded in anything but friendly fashion,
but the home side had rather lost their way.

They might have levelled in injury
time when Brady tested Karnezis with a left-foot strike after being set
up by Long, but the goalkeeper was equal to the task.

Shall not pass: Kevin Doyle could not engineer a goal

Shall not pass: Kevin Doyle could not engineer a goal

There was warm applause from the
sparse crowd when, on their return, Ireland were joined by in-form
Norwich star Hoolahan, winning just his second cap, a fact which had not
gone unnoticed by Trapattoni's critics.

Brady departed along with Long to
accommodate his arrival and that of Kevin Doyle, who was asked to play a
lone striking role ahead of Hoolahan with Cox dropping in on the left
and McClean moving to the right.

Unlucky: James McClean (left) and Co could not bounce back from the 6-1 hammering by Germany last month

Unlucky: James McClean (left) and Co could not bounce back from the 6-1 hammering by Germany last month

Ironically Glenn Whelan, the man who
had pleaded with his manager earlier in the week to field an extra
midfielder, was back in the dressing room having limped off injured
before the break.

However, it was McCarthy who almost
dragged the Republic back into the game two minutes into the second half
when Karnezis failed to hold his long-range shot, although
Papastathopoulos prevented Doyle from converting the rebound and Cox's
follow-up was blocked.

But while perspiration was not in
short supply, inspiration was and the Irish failed to make the most of
the possession they were allowed as the game passed the hour-mark with
Greece's narrow lead intact.

Ward hacked a 69th-minute shot
harmlessly across the face of goal after the Greeks had failed to clear a
McClean free-kick, and Greece coasted to the final whistle and victory
with few alarms.

Republic of Ireland 4 Oman 1: Easy win for Giovanni Trapattoni

Republic of Ireland 4 Oman 1: Easy for Trap as experimental side coast to victory



22:35 GMT, 11 September 2012

James McClean received the biggest cheer of the night at Craven Cottage, but it was debutant Robbie Brady who stole the show as he scored one and set up two more as the Republic of Ireland comfortably beat Oman.

Brady is yet to play a match for his club Manchester United, but he lit up a quiet atmosphere at Tuesday's friendly in London by crossing for Kevin Doyle's opener.

The winger smacked home a volley to make it 2-0 and he set up Shane Long for the Republic's third while Alex Pearce added a fourth after Eid Al-Farsi had scored a consolation goal for Paul Le Guen's side.

Easy: Kevin Doyle heads in Ireland's third goal

Easy: Kevin Doyle heads in Ireland's third goal


Rep of Ireland: Forde (Randolph 46), Kelly, St. Ledger, Meyler, Wilson (Pearce 46), Coleman, Keogh, McCarthy (Cox 65), Brady(McGeady 70), Doyle (McClean 61), Long (O'Brien 73).

Subs Not Used: Ward, Henderson.

Goals: Long 7, Brady 23, Doyle 36, Pearce 85.

Oman: Al Habsi, Al Musalami, Muhaiyri (Al Jabri 77), Ghailani,Saad Al Mukhaini, Al Balushi (Abdul Salam Al Mukhaini 78), Ibrahim (Al Hadhri 69), Al Farsi, Al Mashri, Maqbali (Basheer 69), Al Hosni.

Subs Not Used: Al Rusheid, Al Awaisi, Habi, Al Ajmi, Al Saadi, Al Rujaibi, Nazmuddin.

Goal: Al Farsi 72.

Att: 6,420

Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

McClean was also highly impressive
during his 30 minutes on the pitch. The Sunderland winger vented his
fury at Giovanni Trapattoni after he was left on the bench during
Friday's drab 2-1 win, and he showed the Italian just how devastating he
can be during his cameo from the bench.

The 23-year-old looked lively on the
left flank so often occupied by Fulham and Republic man Damien Duff over
the years, and had it not been for Ali Al-Habsi in the Oman goal, the
winger would have notched his first international goal and could have
even had a second when he fired a sweet volley just over.

Even though Oman are ranked 53rd in the world, Tuesday's result and performance will do the world of good for Trapattoni.

The normally conservative 73-year-old
urged his team forward throughout, and there were lively performances
from Shane Long, Doyle, Seamus Coleman and Brady.

The win will give the former Juventus
manager more confidence that he has the strength in depth to make the
country's World Cup qualifying campaign a successful one.

Like in Astana on Friday, the Republic
started brightly. Doyle peeled down the left and his cross flew towards
goal off the knee of Mohammed Al-Balushi but Al-Habsi showed great
reflexes to prevent an own goal.

A moment of hesitation from David
Forde in the Republic goal almost cost Trapattoni's team, but the
defence cleared their lines and the men in green found themselves in
front after six minutes.

Well done: Doyle is congratulated by his team-mates

Well done: Doyle is congratulated by his team-mates

Cheer: James McClean's introduction pleased the fans

Cheer: James McClean's introduction pleased the fans

Brady pumped a 40-yard free-kick
towards the back post and Sean St Ledger nodded back across goal for the
West Brom man to head home.

Oman looked confident going forwards,
and almost tested Forde twice through Ahmed Al Muhaiyri and Amad Al
Hosni, who both shot just over.

The Republic were 2-0 up after 22
minutes, however, when Seamus Coleman's cross was cleared into the path
of Brady, who lashed home a low volley that beat Al-Habsi as he
scrambled across his line.

Wrap-up: Alex Pearce finished the rout

Wrap-up: Alex Pearce finished the rout

Abdullaziz Al-Muqabli thought he
should have had a penalty just before the half hour after going down
under pressure from St Ledger but Andre Marriner waved play on.

Brady's incredible debut continued 12
minutes before the break when the 20-year-old sent over a peach of a
flat cross which Doyle headed in from six yards.

Trapattoni brought on Reading defender
Pearce and Motherwell goalkeeper Darren Randolph at the break and the
Republic remained in control.

Andy Keogh picked up Doyle's pass on
the right wing and cut inside before firing a wicked curling shot that
Al-Habsi athletically tipped wide.

Familiar face: Ali Al-Habsi made some good saves

Familiar face: Ali Al-Habsi made some good saves

Oman still looked confident going
forward, however, and Randolph had to pull off a terrific diving save to
deny Eid Al Farsi from 25 yards.

The loudest cheer of the night came when McClean came on for Doyle.

The Sunderland winger, his every touch
greeted by a cheer, looked keen to make an immediate impression,
beating Al-Muhaiyri to the byline, but his cross was hooked clear.

McClean almost scored his first
international goal soon after when he fired a wicked free-kick over the
wall that Al-Habsi saved brilliantly to his right.

McClean came within inches of making
it 4-0 in the 69th minute when he smacked a peach of a volley just over
Al-Habsi's goal after a pin-point pass from his Sunderland colleague

Oman pulled one back after 71 minutes
when Al-Farsi lost his marker and found some space in the box before
shooting beyond Randolph.

Ready to go: The Ireland team line up at Craven Cottage

Ready to go: The Ireland team line up at Craven Cottage

Amad Al-Hosni almost scored another for the Gulf state when he beat Stephen Kelly but rippled the side-netting.

David Meyler, like Brady, wanted a
debut goal and he almost got it seven minutes from the end when he
smacked a fierce shot that Al-Habsi parried.

Two minutes later and it was 4-1. Substitute Aiden McGeady swung in a deep cross and Pearce leapt to head home from 10 yards.

In a worrying development for
Nottingham Forest, Simon Cox hobbled off in injury time after suffering
an ankle in injury from a heavy tackle, but otherwise it was smiles all
around as the team left the pitch to chants of 'You'll never beat the

Roy Hodgson risks FA fury by backing John Terry in race row with Anton Ferdinand

Roy risks FA fury by backing Terry in battle against charge of abusing Ferdinand



23:00 GMT, 14 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

England manager Roy Hodgson has risked the wrath of his employers by publicly outlining his support for Chelsea captain John Terry, who is preparing to defend himself against an FA charge of abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry was cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates Court earlier this summer after clashing with Ferdinand at Loftus Road last autumn.

He was then charged by the FA with using insulting and abusive language towards an opponent. His case will be heard at the end of next month.

Public backing: The England boss has come out in Terry's corner

Public backing: The England boss has come out in Terry's corner

Despite admitting he could be in danger of influencing the case’s outcome, Hodgson has spoken out in support of Terry ahead of tonight’s friendly against Italy in Switzerland.

Hodgson said: 'As far as I am concerned he has a case to answer with the FA and I’ll wait and see what happens. I’m hoping, and I make no secret of this, that the case will take its course and that John, hopefully, will be freed as he was freed in a court of law, and will carry on playing for England.

'That's my hope. What will happen, I have no idea. As a member of the FA, it’s a sub judice situation and I’m not prepared to say any more.

'I thought John did well in the Euros and I’d like to keep using him but this is a case which is way out of my hands. John understands that.

'All I can do, like many of his supporters I suppose, is just hope he gets freed and can continue to play.'

Terry is not in Hodgson's experimental side for tonight’s game but began his season with Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday.

Acquittal: Terry was cleared of criminal charges at court, but the FA stepped in after the case involving Ferdinand

Acquittal: Terry was cleared of criminal charges, but the FA stepped in after the case involving Ferdinand

Acquittal: Terry was cleared of criminal charges at court, but the FA stepped in after the case involving Ferdinand

Jeered and abused throughout by Manchester City fans at Villa Park, Terry can perhaps expect more of the same when the Barclays Premier League gets under way this weekend.

Asked if English football should try and learn lessons from the behaviour of athletes in the London Olympics, Hodgson pointed out that supporters have a responsibility, too.

He said: 'A benchmark has been set and we must accept that. Football, cricket, rugby and the other major team sports, we will be under a little bit more of the spotlight.

‘I wouldn't mind the spotlight also being focused on the crowd, though. What made the Olympics was the incredible support the athletes got and the tremendous behaviour of the spectators.

'Maybe we need to start looking at our behaviour on and off the field but also in the stadium itself. Maybe it was a wake-up call for us all, that you don’t need that hatred which football players have to suffer when they are playing.'

Back in action: Terry played for the Blues in the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City

Back in action: Terry played for the Blues in the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City

Terry’s Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard is expected to captain England tonight and also conceded some lessons could be learned from the Olympics.

He said: 'When you hear the athletes speak after winning or losing they’re very humble people, very privileged to be where they are. We can all take that on board.'

Meanwhile, only 14,000 tickets have been sold for Wednesday's game and the 32,000-capacity Stade de Suisse Wankdorf is not expected to be full.