Tag Archives: gears

England v New Zealand preview with Ben Kay

England must not be conned by All Black rope-a-dope tactics

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UPDATED:

23:35 GMT, 30 November 2012

There are a lot of myths about the way the All Blacks play. People have this perception they’re an all-singing, all-dancing team who always have the ball and are always attacking, always expansive.

The truth is different. /11/30/article-2241211-16492714000005DC-110_634x422.jpg” width=”634″ height=”422″ alt=”Dan stays in the picture: The All Blacks most potent weapon, Dan Carter, checks out the news in Sportsmail, including pictures of his day out in London” class=”blkBorder” />

Dan stays in the picture: The All Blacks most potent weapon, Dan Carter, checks out the news in Sportsmail, including pictures of his day out in London

Steve Hansen’s side conceded the second-highest number of penalties and, when it came to time-in-possession stats, they were third of the four teams. The message is clear; it’s not about how much ball they have, it’s about what they do with it.

But there were several areas where the All Blacks were well ahead of the rest – passes completed, number of off-loads, defenders beaten, clean breaks, metres gained and tackle completion, highlighting their clinical work.

For a long time, New Zealand have been the finest counter-attacking side in the world. When they win a turnover, it’s as if they flick a mental switch. They all go up a gear, they raise their intensity levels. More often than not, they will score.

What the All Blacks do well is control and vary their pace. A lot of other nations play at the same high intensity, but they are one-paced, they lack that variety. New Zealand are able to operate and succeed with less possession. Their tackle-completion rates are really good, then when they get the ball, they immediately go up three gears.

Masters of the art: New Zealand are the best counter-attacking side in the world

Masters of the art: New Zealand are the best counter-attacking side in the world

Last weekend, Manu Tuilagi intercepted the ball and broke upfield against South Africa, but England were unable to take the scoring chance. In the same circumstances, the All Blacks would have flicked that switch and scored a try. The initial reaction is crucial. As soon as they see a turnover, the players all quickly get into position and flood through on the right support lines. In contrast, some of the England players might have seen Chris Ashton receive the ball from Tuilagi and subconsciously thought ‘he’s quick’ so they just watched him run.

New Zealand always ensure that as many players as possible work themselves into attacking positions. They would have had someone up in close support of a player in Ashton’s position, ready to take an off-load when he ran hard at the last defender.

Opta stats reveal that, of all the All Blacks tries since the World Cup, 44 per cent start when they regain possession in their own half. With England, that figure drops to about 20 per cent. New Zealand are always alert to potential try-scoring opportunities, even from deep.

It is like rope-a-dope – their ability to soak up pressure and pounce when chances come along. Their belief that they will always find a way to win borders on arrogance.

rugby.jpg

They will look at the opposition and
think, ‘Whatever you do, we will surpass you’, which is the mindset we
had with England in the run-up to the 2003 World Cup. The All Blacks
believe they are bullet proof.

Another advantage they have over England and other sides is an innate willingness to take risks. They have so many supreme physical specimens who can dominate collisions, but they also have the mind-set to play positively – always looking to offload.

In England, if you throw an offload that ‘wasn’t on’, it can lead to heavy criticism and that can make players go into their shells. Perhaps we have to change our national psyche when it comes to risk-taking.

England captain Chris Robshaw has been slated for his decision to go for goal with a late penalty last weekend, but he made the right call. Stats show that from 40 attacking line-outs within 10 metres of the opposition line since the start of 2010, England have scored just four times.

Under pressure: Robshaw will come in for intense scrutiny on Saturday

Under pressure: Robshaw will come in for intense scrutiny on Saturday

If time is almost up, the defending side can keep infringing, knowing that the attacking team need more than a penalty to win the game. They basically have a licence to cheat.

My hope is that Robshaw can block out all the criticism the next time that he faces a similar scenario, but my fear is that all the stick he’s had will affect him.

On this occasion, there are no areas where England have a clear advantage. Rugby is a strange game, so all hope is not lost, but I think the All Blacks will win, say 29-13.

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Celtic players to blame for poor form – Charlie Mulgrew

No excuses! Blame the players for Celtic's SPL dips, says Mulgrew

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UPDATED:

23:14 GMT, 26 November 2012

Charlie Mulgrew sought to rubbish the theory that Celtic’s sub-standard league form is related to Rangers’ exile from the SPL.

Despite being on course for the last 16 of the Champions League, Celtic have spilled 17 points in the league this season and, ahead of Wednesday’s visit to face Hearts at Tynecastle, have won just half of their 14 matches.

Saturday’s home defeat to Inverness Caley Thistle meant only one point has been taken from a possible nine at home — and moved Neil Lennon to declare he would ‘do the honourable thing’ and quit his job if dissent from the stands became widespread.

Next up: Charlie Mulgrew gears up for his side's SPL encounter against Hearts

Next up: Charlie Mulgrew gears up for his side's SPL encounter against Hearts

With their team playing league football without Rangers for the first time in the club’s 125-year history, some Celtic fans have cited a lack of edge deriving from the absence of the Ibrox side as the reason behind their side’s domestic slumber.

But Mulgrew rejected that notion by insisting the fortunes of Rangers do not enter the minds of the Celtic players before or after league games. ‘I don’t think that’s the case,’ he said when asked if it was a factor. ‘You still have to play the same teams whether Rangers are there or not. We must focus on what we’re doing — and we need to win games.

‘On Saturday (against Inverness), we never took our chances. If we had, it might have been a comfortable day for us, but we know we have to improve. It just wasn’t good enough.

Under pressure: Celtic manager Neil Lennon (left) has a word with a fan

Under pressure: Celtic manager Neil Lennon (left) has a word with a fan

‘Every team wants to win against us — it’s like their cup final. Aberdeen and Hibs are going well, so the last thing we will do is get sucked into thinking it will be easy. It might be that beating Barcelona has given teams a bigger incentive to beat us.’

Mulgrew conceded that the relentless fixture schedule may be impacting upon Celtic when they turn their focus to domestic games.

Scott Brown is already facing surgery on a troublesome hip, Joe Ledley missed the Inverness game due to a similar problem, while Mulgrew has already has made 25 appearances for club and country.

‘It might be a factor but I’m not using it as an excuse,’ he added. ‘There have been a lot of games but you want to be involved in as many as you can and at the highest level.

Shock: Inverness celebrate after beating Celtic at the weekend

Shock: Inverness celebrate after beating Celtic at the weekend

‘When you’re in the Champions League, there’s no complaining that there are too many games. We’ve got a big enough squad to cope.’

Mulgrew also made light of his manager’s altercation with a handful of disgruntled fans on Saturday.

‘Fans are entitled to their opinion and the manager is entitled to his,’ said the defender.

Asked if he believed Lennon was serious about quitting Celtic, Mulgrew replied: ‘I’m sure he won’t be thinking along those lines.’

Frankel has been my inspiration, says Sir Henry Cecil

Frankel has been my inspiration, says Cecil as grand Ascot finale approaches

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UPDATED:

22:26 GMT, 18 October 2012

Sir Henry Cecil says that Frankel had inspired him in his battle against cancer as he backed his unbeaten colt to cope with conditions in Saturday's Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

The world's best colt has five rivals headed by 2011 winner Cirrus Des Aigles and John Gosden's Nathaniel but of more concern is the ground described as 'very soft' on Thursday after five millimetres of rain overnight.

Grounds for concern: Cecils main worry for Frankel is the testing going

Grounds for concern: Cecils main worry for Frankel is the testing going

Legend: Frankel getting ready for his final race at Newmarket last month

Legend: Frankel getting ready for his final race at Newmarket last month

With up to eight millimetres further rain possible on Thursday night, Frankel will race on the most testing ground he has ever encountered in his 14th and final run.

Cecil said: 'He has been an inspiration and challenge which I needed so badly. Through my illness, I feel that the help from my wife Jane and the determination
to be there for Frankel has helped me so much to get through the season.

'I was very pleased with Frankel's final piece of work. He gives the impression that he is better than ever and still improving.

Golden memories: Sir Henry Cecil, Tom Queally and Frankel after victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket last year

Golden memories: Sir Henry Cecil, Tom Queally and Frankel after victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket last year

'I am pretty confident he will be fine in soft ground but if it's heavy we are in no-man's land. He has never encountered it and, with his action and turn of foot, I cannot be sure he would appreciate it.'

Frankel's jockey Tom Queally is taking heart from Frankel's debut back in August 2010 on ground officially termed soft. He said: 'I was quite taken with his debut when he handled conditions and I was able to bring him up through the gears. It is not an easy thing to do in slow conditions.'

The rain has emboldened punters to take on 1-6 Frankel for the first time this season with Coral reporting support for 4-1 chance Cirrus Des Aigles.

One of the greatest: Frankel on the way to victory in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot in 2010

One of the greatest: Frankel on the way to victory in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot in 2010

However, Nathaniel's jockey William Buick, whose mounts also include Gosden's Great Heavens making a quick reappearance in the Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes after her Arc sixth, remains realistic about his prospects.

Buick said: 'Frankel's unbeatable. On Saturday he'll do what he's always been doing and win and win well. Deep down, I hope he does. Obviously, I am there to try to win but Frankie (Dettori) said to me last night, “Get real.
It's not going to happen”.'

Dettori rides German Derby winner Pastorius with the field completed by Master of Hounds and Frankel's pacemaker Bullet Train.

Wimbledon 2012 live: All the action from day 10

WIMBLEDON 2012 LIVE: All the latest news from day ten at the Championships as it happens

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UPDATED:

12:55 GMT, 5 July 2012

SW19 essentials

All the latest Wimbledon news

Full results from the singles

Today's order of play

Join
Sportsmail for the very best live coverage throughout the 2012
Wimbledon Championships.

We'll bring you all the latest news, scores and
pictures as they arrive from the All England Club, plus we'll have
game-by-game coverage of the key matches.

Our
unrivalled team of reporters at Wimbledon will bring you the latest
news and views from behind the scenes – and don't forget you can send
your comments throughout the day to [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

13.54: BREAK! Kerber's worst game and she pays heavily. Radwanska battles to break point and lets Kerber do the rest as the German can only find the net with a forehand. The Pole is closing in on victory. Kerber 2-3 Radwanska

13.52: But Radwanska isn't having any of it and responds with a hold to love. Kerber 2-2 Radwanska 3-6

13.49: One sloppy forehand aside, Kerber holds with ease to 15 as she lets power dictate the play. Good tactic. Kerber 2-1 Radwanska 3-6

13.46: But Radwanska isn't letting up. Staying rooted to the centre of the court, she has Kerber running from side-to-side before running to the net to volley and see out her serve. Kerber 1-1 Radwanska 3-6

13.44: And Kerber proves that with a fairly simple hold. There is more power in the German's play now – she knows she can't get sucked into the rally game. Kerber 1-0 Radwanska 3-6

13.41: Radwanska brings the sunshine with her as she returns. Kerber will now serve and she can take heart from the fact she isn't playing too badly. She needs this set though.

Into the light: Many were inside Centre Court for the semi-finals

Into the light: Many were inside Centre Court for the semi-finals

13.38: FIRST SET RADWANSKA! Kerber is keeping her calm but the Radwanska gears are oiled now and she is flying through them. The Pole is given one chance to serve out for the set and she takes it by launching her second ace out wide. Radwanska goes straight for a break, Kerber chooses to have some thinking time in her chair. Kerber 3-6 Radwanska

13.34: BREAK! The good, the bad and the ugly from Kerber. Good in her first ace of the match and a superb cross-court backhand winner. Bad with her double fault, and ugly in the way she fires into the net to allow Radwanska to break and now serve for the first set. Kerber 3-5 Radwanska

13.31: The crowd are warming up now. Radwanska's second serve is poor but her first serve, while not powerful, is effective as Kerber fails to return from out wide to allow the Pole to hold. Kerber 3-4 Radwanska

Back in the set: Agnieszka Radwanska broke back shortly after losing her serve in the first set

Back in the set: Agnieszka Radwanska broke back shortly after losing her serve in the first set

13.28: The Radwanksa second serve remains a weakness for her though and it enables Kerber to earn a break point. Radwanska saves it though and it's now our first deuce.

13.25: BREAK! Radwanska says sorry but that's the Pole's accuracy for you as her baseline drop shot hits the net cord before dropping over for 15-30. A point each sets up break point for the third seed and she takes it after Kerber forehands into the net. Kerber 3-3 Radwanska

13.22: Some slight nerves from Radwanska. At 40-30 she faults but despite a slow second serve, Kerber fires the return well wide. Kerber 3-2 Radwanska

13.19: This is like the Kerber we saw in the first set against Lisicki. Radwanska takes advantage of the German's weak second serve to earn her first point against the head, but the Pole fires a wide backhand on the next point to allow the eighth seed to hold. Kerber 3-1 Radwanska

13.15: BREAK! Kerber's aggression is a double-edged sword but it comes to her aid on this occasion. She skips to the net to earn break point on the volley before allowing Radwanksa to drop a shot wide of the track line. Kerber 2-1 Radwanska

13.13: More of the power from Kerber but with Radwanska accuracy she also holds to love. No nerves so far considering they are both trying to reach their first grand slam final. Kerber 1-1 Radwanska

13.10: Typical Radwanska. Not too much aggression but plenty of accuracy as she holds to love. Kerber 0-1 Radwanska

Reach out: Angelique Kerber aims to reach her first grand slam final

Reach out: Angelique Kerber aims to reach her first grand slam final

13.07: Away we go then, Radwanska to open serve…

13.02: After a long wait in the corridor the players make their way out to very cloudy conditions. The roof is up for now but showers are expected.

12.59: But head-to-head records suggest there is nothing in it. It's 2-2 between the pair and they have never met on grass.

12.56: What a turnaround this is for Kerber by the way. Last year she lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Britain's Laura Robson – now she's on the brink of the final.

I fancy her childhood rival, Radwanska, to topple her today though. Despite defeating Lisicki, the German was often battling herself as well as her compatriot and the Pole is unlikely to make the same amount of errors that Sabine did.

12.53: Just for a moment though I have been quite startled by some of the messages on Centre Court. Remember to wear sunscreen, a hat and to drink some water

Do people really need to be told this

12.50: Two top games are on the way, with Serena Williams taking on Victoria Azarenka later on, but first up it's Angelique Kerber up against Agnieszka Radwanska.

I'm looking forward to this one in much the same was as I'm not looking forward to typing the Pole's first name again.

12.45: Good afternoon folks. Welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of Wimbledon where on day 10, the women's semi-finals take the spotlight…if not the sunlight, which is currently AWOL in south-west London.

Going strong: Serena Williams is chasing her fifth Wimbledon title

Going strong: Serena Williams is chasing her fifth Wimbledon title

Lewis Hamilton insists his fans still love him

I'm still loved by my fans, insists Hamilton as he gears up for British Grand Prix

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 2 July 2012

Lewis Hamilton is adamant his true fans remain as supportive as ever despite the troubles he endured on and off the track in 2011.

Hamilton certainly divided opinion last year. His numerous collisions brought plenty of criticism from Formula One followers about alleged aggressive driving while others disapproved of his decision to drop his father, Anthony, as his manager.

Still loved: Hamilton is grateful for the support of his fans

Still loved: Hamilton is grateful for the support of his fans

With 120,000 people expected at Sunday’s British Grand Prix, Hamilton was asked if he felt some of his home support had drifted away. ‘That is the way the world is,’ he said. ‘People love to be with you when you are up but some people don’t like to be with you when you are down.

‘To be honest, the fans I have got have been with me through thick and thin and that is so empowering. When I go places, the reception I get seems to get bigger and bigger every year, even after last year.’

Danny Simpson edges towards Newcastle exit

Simpson set for Newcastle exit as Pardew lines up defenders Debuchy and Clyne

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UPDATED:

21:16 GMT, 19 May 2012

Newcastle are set to sign two full-backs as Alan Pardew gears up for the club's first European campaign for six years.

Lille's Mathieu Debuchy will be joined in the North-east by Crystal Palace's Nathaniel Clyne, voted last season as the best right back in the championship.

In demand: Nathaniel Clyne (left) is wanted by Newcastle

In demand: Nathaniel Clyne (left) is wanted by Newcastle

The double swoop almost certainly means the end of Danny Simpson's Newcastle career.

The former Manchester United defender has been unable to agree a new contract.

Kell Brook confident of beatnig Matthew Hatton

Brook promises explosive fight as Britain's next star gears up for Hatton war

PUBLISHED:

11:25 GMT, 17 March 2012

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UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 17 March 2012

Kell Brook has vowed to thrive on the pressure of topping the bill in front of 10,000 fans when he fights Matthew Hatton in his home city of Sheffield tonight.

The unbeaten Yorkshireman takes on Manchester veteran Hatton in an intriguing welterweight battle at the Steel City's Motorpoint Arena.

Brook admits he is taking a risk by facing such a dangerous opponent when he is so close to a world title opportunity, having revealed he took a fight with Hatton rather than push on with negotiations for a shot at one of the major belts.

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

However, the 25-year-old insists it is a risk worth taking should he deliver on his promise to 'smash' Hatton and make a statement against a fighter respected across the world.

Brook, who has attracted a crowd of nearly 10,000 to his hometown venue, said: 'There's pressure on me now because of all the tickets I've sold and the profile of the fight.

'But I thrive on that pressure. It's going to be a proper fight that lives up to the hype and the expectation levels.

'They've called it 'War of the Roses' and, believe you me, we're going to get in there and have one hell of a fight.

'When all's said and done you're going to see an explosive fight.

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

'It's a risk because we didn't need to take this fight but I wanted it. It's captured the public's imagination, it's been on the horizon for years and we've finally got it on.'

Brook (26-0, 18KOs) added: 'We've sold around 10,000 tickets for this and you start wondering how much demand there would be to see a world title fight in Sheffield.'

Brook will start as the heavy favourite with bookmakers pricing Hatton as generously as 6-1. Hatton (42-5-2, 16KOs) has concealed any irritation at being regarded as such a glaring underdog.

'All the pressure is on Kell, going into this fight,' he said. 'He's the man fighting at home, he's the favourite to win, and he puts even more pressure on himself by making comments like he's been making, about 'smashing me' et cetera.

On the rise: Brook is seen by many as Britain's next world champion

On the rise: Brook is seen by many as Britain's next world champion

'There's no pressure on me. Talk is cheap, and I'll do my talking on Saturday night. He's been making a lot of big noises and he's got to back it up now.

'I don't dislike Kell Brook. He's just in the way of what I want to achieve in the sport in order to provide myself and my family with a better life.

'He'll just be brushed aside on Saturday night. It's not personal.'

On the undercard in South Yorkshire, exciting super-bantamweight prospect Carl Frampton, from Belfast, defends his Commonwealth crown against Prosper Ankrah, while Surrey-based Pole Grzegorz Proksa defends his European middleweight title against Wales' Kerry Hope.

Steven Gerrard praises Andy Carroll

Gerrard hails team-mate Carroll for 'man of the match' display

Steven Gerrard hailed the performance of striker Andy Carroll after Liverpool strolled into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 6-1 thrashing of Brighton at Anfield.

Brighton scored three own goals but Carroll was among the Liverpool players who also got on the scoresheet, along with strike partner Luis Suarez who missed a penalty but responded by heading in a late goal.

With the Carling Cup final on the horizon next week, Liverpool could have been forgiven for having their attentions elsewhere, but Gerrard believes their performance shows they can get better for the rest of the season with all of their top players available.

Better: Andy Carroll impressed against Brighton

Better: Andy Carroll impressed against Brighton

'It's always nice to first of all get the win and then to win convincingly,' he told ESPN.

'In the end we went through the gears and got better and better as the 90 minutes went on and we deserved our goals.

'The important thing was to focus on this game. The Carling Cup final was in our minds because we have a massive game at Wembley next week but we want to go to Wembley again in the FA Cup so today was just as important.'

There was the rare sight of Gerrard, Suarez and Carroll all starting a game together, and Gerrard hopes the end result is a sign of things to come.

'(Carroll) has been getting better and better in training and he was our man of the match today,' he said.

'We believe that the more we play together, the more we'll click. We're all good players and good players like playing with other good players. We're all on the same wavelength now.'

Pleased: Steven Gerrard was happy for his team-mate

Pleased: Steven Gerrard was happy for his team-mate

Carroll put the visiting defence under pressure all afternoon, contributing to the early own goal, before he got one of his own just before the hour mark.

'Every goal feels good, but it couldn't get any better today with the result as well and now we're through to the next round,' the striker said.

'We haven't played many games all together but we've been playing well in training and we put it into the game today.'

Liverpool will now go on to play Stoke in the next round while Brighton must regroup in their push for the npower Championship play-offs.

Manager Gus Poyet said: 'It's difficult to analyse because I think it was always a matter of holding them and making sure we didn't concede any silly goals.

'For long periods in the first half I think we were in the game, but the second goal changed it.

Assist: Carroll set up Luis Suarez as well as scoring himself

Assist: Carroll set up Luis Suarez as well as scoring himself

'If we had gone to half-time at 1-1 the message from the opposition changing room would have been very different, but then in the second half three or four of the goals were comic.

'You know you're going to have to defend, but I think we scored three own goals. I don't remember the last time that happened. I think we were naive, but welcome to the world of the Premiership.

'People think we are ready for the Premiership but we are not. If you want to one day get to the Premiership as a team or as a player you need to learn.

'The quality, the strength, the power the players have got is amazing. This is a top six team, but I don't think anyone likes to go to places in the top six and finish the game 6-1.'

Suarez took the penalty at the urging of manager Kenny Dalglish, who admitted he want the Uruguayan striker to get a goal to boost his confidence.

'That was a bad decision,' he said with a grin. 'There were three of them, Andy (Carroll), Charlie (Adam) and Dirk (Kuyt) wanted to take it as well and maybe if it hadn't been five (5-1) one of them would have done, but I wanted to give him a leg up with his confidence.

'In the end, he didn't need my help.'

Lewis Hamilton stars in GQ magazine

So, what has Lewis been up to Hamilton gears up for new season with garish photoshoot

Lewis Hamilton admitted he was looking forward to seeing the back of 2011 after enduring the worst season of his Formula One career.

But judging by these set of pictures, the McLaren star has made a somewhat precarious start to the New Year.

Laid back: Hamilton models for the February edition of GQ

Laid back: Hamilton models for the February edition of GQ

The long and short of it: The McLaren star is seen parading a number of left-field outfits

The long and short of it: Hamilton is seen parading a number of left-field outfits

READ THE INTERVIEW

Click here to see what Lewis said

Hamilton, who has reportedly been
busy recording an R&B album during the off-season, modelled a number
of garish outfits for the February edition of American GQ.

Front cover: Lewis appears in the February edition of GQ

Front cover: Lewis appears in the American GQ

The 27-year-old fell short in his bid to stop Sebastian Vettel winning back-to-back world titles last season.

And judging by the length of his trousers in this photoshoot that theme is set to continue into 2012.

Apparently Hamilton is sporting the
'layering trend' – a look, we're told, that's set to take the fashion
world by storm this year.

'I love it in the States,' Hamilton is quoted as saying in the American magazine.

'The roads are big, the food is big. If it was possible to be in L.A. and still live my racing life, I would move now.'

After these set of snaps, Lewis you may have left yourself little option…

To see more pictures of Lewis Hamilton in the February edition of GQ click here

Rory McIlroy ends 2011 on a high

What are you doing up there Rory McIlroy ends 2011 on a high as US Open champion dazzles in Dubai

A major winner at 22 and with a tennis pin-up for a girlfriend, Rory McIroy probably knows how it feels to be on top of the world.

But the Northern Irishman is making sure he keeps his head for heights as he gears up for another big year.

What a finish: Rory McIlroy plays his final shots of 2011 overlooking Dubai from the Burj Al Arab helipad

What a finish: Rory McIlroy plays his final shots of 2011 overlooking Dubai from the Burj Al Arab helipad

Bunker bother: McIlroy splashes out of the sand on the Burj Al Arab helipad as hotel staff keep a close eye

Bunker bother: McIlroy splashes out of the sand on the Burj Al Arab helipad as hotel staff keep a close eye

What a setting: McIlroy looks down on Dubai

The world No 3, who goes out with Danish star Caroline Wozniacki, rounded off an excellent 12 months by showing off his skills in Dubai on the famous Jumeirah Burj Al Arab helipad.

The youngster failed to pip Luke Donald in the Race to Dubai at the Earth Course but hotel staff looked well impressed with McIlroy”s bunker play as the US Open champion showed no signs of fatigue following a hectic few weeks.

McIlroy, a global ambassador for Jumeirah, has hardly stopped since September but is back home for Christmas as he looks ahead to 2012. And we reckon he”ll have a good view.

Don

Don”t hit it too hard Rory: McIlroy must get the strength just right or it”s “bye bye ball” and “look out below”

Don

Don”t look down: McIlroy had a great view and he will be looking forward to 2012 after an amazing 2011

RORY”S IN GOOD COMPANY….
Different ball game: Tennis legend Andre Agassi and Roger Federer made a racket on the helipad in 2005

Different ball game: Tennis legend Andre Agassi and Roger Federer made a racket on the helipad in 2005