Tag Archives: internationals

VIDEO: Martin Fitzmaurice, voice of BBC darts, forced to apologise over racist jokes at tournament

Voice of BBC darts faces investigation after shocking audience with vile racist jokes

BBC 'appalled' by vile jokes

Compere Martin Fitzmaurice apologies and claims it was 'banter'

Asian teenage prodigy Jordan Singh was in the crowd in Fife, Scotland

British Darts Organisation launch investigation

PUBLISHED:

06:34 GMT, 10 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:14 GMT, 10 April 2013

The British Darts Organisation (BDO) have vowed to investigate vile racist jokes by the man dubbed the voice of BBC darts.

Compere Martin Fitzmaurice – famous for his catchphrase 'Let's play
darts' – was forced to apologise after he shocked an audience with remarks about Asians and black people.

Scroll down for video

Controversy: Darts Compere Martin Fitzmaurice

Controversy: Darts compere Martin Fitzmaurice

Out of order: Fitzmaurice has apologised for his vile remarks

Out of order: Fitzmaurice has apologised for his vile remarks

The 73-year-old's offensive comments came when he thought cameras were
off during a break at the British International between Scotland and England in Fife, Scotland on Sunday.

Among the audience was 14-year-old British Asian prodigy Jordan Singh.

Fitzmaurice told The Sun: 'It was banter. I apologise if I offended anybody.'

The BDO have launched an investigation

Under investigation: The BDO have launched a probe

Best of British: Martin Adams was part of the England team that beat Scotland 7-5 on Sunday

Best of British: Martin Adams was part of the England team that beat Scotland 7-5 on Sunday

Both the BDO and the Scottish Darts Association (SDA) condemned the 'offensive comments'.

In
a statement, the BDO said: 'The British Darts Organisation apologises
unreservedly for the fact that racially offensive comments were made by
MC Martin Fitzmaurice at the BDO British Internationals in Scotland on
Sunday, April 7th and streamed over the internet.

'The
BDO wishes to make it clear that it does not tolerate racism in any
shape or form, and a full enquiry is already taking place into this
regrettable incident.

'In
accordance with BDO rules on racism, Martin Fitzmaurice has been made
fully aware of the seriousness of his actions and will be required to
face a disciplinary hearing in front of the BDO Board.'

A BBC spokesman said: 'As someone who has appeared in previous
tournaments we have televised we are appalled by the alleged remarks.'

Match up: Fitzmaurice was at the international between England (above) and Scotland (below)

Match up: Fitzmaurice was at the international between England (above) and Scotland (below)

Image taken from the Scottish Darts Association of the Scotland Men's team.

Image taken from the Scottish Darts Association of the Scotland Men's team. Photo: Evert Zomer/www.evertzomer.nl

VIDEO: Fitzmaurice caught on camera making offensive comments

Commentator Martin Fitzmaurice makes remarks about Asians and…

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Ashley Cole deserves appreciation for reaching century of England caps v Brazil

Rival fans can't stand him and he even broke the heart of the nation's sweetheart Cheryl… but is it time we gave Ashley Cole a little love as he joins England's 100 Club

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Standing the test of time: Ashley Cole has turned in consistently excellent performances for England ever since his debut – against Albania in a World Cup qualifier back in March 2001. He is set to win his 100th cap – becoming the seventh player to do so – against Brazil at Wembley on Wednesday night.

THE 100 CAP CLUB

Peter Shilton – 125
David Beckham – 115
Bobby Moore – 108
Bobby Charlton – 106
Billy Wright – 105
Steven Gerrard – 100

They’re being told to just put aside for a few moments all that inherent, seething dislike of a man who’s been regularly vilified at grounds up and down the country for the best part of a decade, and show some appreciation, however forced, for a wonderful achievement.

Yesterday, fellow centurion Steven Gerrard had to appeal to the Wembley crowd to treat Cole with respect. The captain said that ‘nobody in the ground can take away that achievement’ and that the Chelsea player ‘deserves’ to be a hundred cap man.

Can you imagine a teammate having to go on the record to justify to England fans that Moore, or Charlton, or indeed any of the others, is ‘worthy’ of their accomplishment

As might be expected, the praise has been pouring in this week. Stuart Pearce called him the ‘best left-back that’s ever played for England’ and, continuing the theme, said that he would be ‘standing and cheering when his name gets announced.’

Best in the business: Cole has been hailed by a number of former England internationals as the best left-back to ever play for the national team

Best in the business: Cole has been hailed by a number of former England internationals as the best left-back to ever play for the national team

Glen Johnson said Cole was ‘one of the nicest guys you could ever meet’ and former Arsenal teammate Martin Keown said he was a ‘lovely fella.’

It’s extraordinary that Cole is so universally unloved that players past and present need to come out with such comments to justify why he’s deserving of a simple round of applause from a crowd of people.

Whatever Cole’s misdemeanours in the past, whatever his alleged shortcomings and infidelities as a person, husband, Twitter-user and work experience student mentor, nobody can dispute his status as a consistently world-class player.

The highs... Cole celebrates with David Beckham after the latter scored a free-kick against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup

The highs… Cole celebrates with David Beckham after the latter scored a free-kick against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup

And the lows... Cole is consoled by Roy Hodgson after England lose on penalties to Italy at Euro 2012

And the lows… Cole is consoled by Roy Hodgson after England lose on penalties to Italy at Euro 2012

You hear of Cole being run ragged by a winger or making a match-defining error so rarely that you’re led to believe that his performances have been flawless since the beginning of time. In a decade or more at the top of the game, Cole has faced all the best attackers in the world – and he’s never been mastered by any of them.

When these glamorous England friendlies roll round, it’s only natural to play that game where you try and fit English names into the opposition eleven. Who is good enough to play for Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, whoever The truth is, all of those nations would love to have Cole in their team.

Cole’s reading of the game is second to none. His instinct to interpret and be in the right place at the right time is unrivalled. How many times has Cole saved Chelsea or England by winning a foot race to tackle a striker bearing down on goal, or been on the post to head the ball off the line

In Chelsea’s run to European glory last season, he cleared Christian Maggio’s goalbound effort from underneath the crossbar to prevent elimination to Napoli and he denied Barcelona a crucial away goal in the Stamford Bridge leg of the semi-final.

Indeed, his marshalling of Dani Alves in that game was up there with his shackling of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Euro 2004 quarter-final – both in Cole’s “pocket” as it were.

Shackled: Cole keeps a tight rein on Cristiano Ronaldo, then of Manchester United, in the 2007 Community Shield

Shackled: Cole keeps a tight rein on Cristiano Ronaldo, then of Manchester United, in the 2007 Community Shield

And in an age when wing-backs are expected also to fulfil attacking obligations, Cole excels. He tears up and down the flank tirelessly – a tackle here, an interception there, a whipped cross, a neat shimmy or flash of skill.

The breadth of his role on the left-side requires a slavish devotion to working on and developing every facet of his game. Cole’s professionalism in training and self-education in the ways of football have never been questioned.

Nor has his commitment. Unlike some others, he’s always been ready, willing and able to play for the national team. He’s never let the failures of the ‘Golden Generation’ discourage him from providing the kind of full-bloodied, lion-hearted performances England fans demand.

Medallion man: Cole (right) celebrates with Daniel Sturridge after winning the European cup for Chelsea last May

Medallion man: Cole (right) celebrates with Daniel Sturridge after winning the European cup for Chelsea last May

Cole has been rewarded handsomely for his ability, he’s won everything in the club game and it’s perhaps this doesn’t help his image. Cheats and ‘love rats’ seem to prosper, his detractors would say.

But Cole is having the last laugh. He’s long learned to live with the Pantomime booing on opposition ground and even from his own fans at Wembley – it doesn’t affect the consistently excellent performances he puts in. It doesn’t permeate the thick skin.

He can also retort by pointing to three Premier League, seven FA Cup, a League Cup and a Champions League winners medal in his collection with a smugness and a satisfaction.

And as he again soaks up the acclaim on this grand occasion of a century of caps, it’s time to get on our feet, applaud and cheer for one of the best left-backs the game will ever see. And mean it too.

Can we feel a bit sorry for unfaithful Cole Never, argues Liv Lee

Can you ever really appreciate a sportsperson purely for what they do on the field No.

No-one self-sabotages like a Premier League footballer.

They achieve it with impressive frequency. Admittedly, they have the eyes of the world on them, and when every mistake turns up the next day in national headlines, well, that can’t be easy.

So can we feel just a little bit sorry for Ashley Cole Absolutely not.

Split: Cole's reputation will always be tarnished by allegations he cheated on wife Cheryl

Split: Cole's reputation will always be tarnished by allegations he cheated on wife Cheryl

Everybody makes mistakes. Sleeping with someone who wasn’t his wife (allegedly) was probably a mistake, and he’s not the first person to betray a spouse. Sleeping with multiple people (allegedly), less so – unless you go down the Tiger Woods line of claiming an addiction to sex, multiple indiscretions can’t be ‘mistakes.’

But sleeping with people who he met in less than discreet circumstances and who went on to sell their stories in graphic detail (allegedly) – Phenomenally, unforgivably stupid.

He’s not the first. Wayne Rooney’s indiscretions have been made equally public, but when it comes to women paid for sex, you’d assume you were also paying for them to keep their mouth shut. Cole had no reason to expect that any one of his lovers would keep quiet.

And if only there was just the one reason to despise him.

Never forgiven: Cole helped Arsenal win silverware, but he's never been forgiven for the manner in which he left for Chelsea

Never forgiven: Cole helped Arsenal win silverware, but he's never been forgiven for the manner in which he left for Chelsea

‘I couldn't believe it when they [Arsenal] weren't prepared to pay me 60,000 a week.’ Need I say more

And he shot a work experience student. As I said, the capability to footballers to self-sabotage is just outstanding.

His achievements on the field will make sure he is remembered as one of the greatest players England ever bred. And his actions off the pitch don’t diminish those achievements in any way.

But the incidents surrounding Cole are inextricable from the man you see on the pitch. People love sport not only because of the basic viewing of a game, but also for the personalities involved, and the dynamic in teams and between oppositions that these personalities create.

It really would be great to love and respect that man for what he’s achieved, but he just makes it too damn hard.

Wayne Rooney to stop taking penalties for Manchester United

Spot of bother: Rooney hands over penalty duties to Van Persie after series of misses

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:22 GMT, 2 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 2 February 2013

Wayne Rooney has announced will stop taking penalties for Manchester United and hand the responsibility over to strike partner Robin van Persie.

The England striker admitted his form from 12 yards has not been good enough and feels it is time to allow Van Persie to become the designated penalty taker.

Rooney’s record from the spot during his Old Trafford career is poor with 17 goals from 28 attempts and his most recent miss against West Ham in the FA Cup proved to be his last.

Over it goes: Wayne Rooney misses from the spot against West Ham

Over it goes: Wayne Rooney misses from the spot against West Ham

Ryan Giggs stepped up to take the spot kick against Fulham in the FA Cup last week – and scored – despite Rooney being on the pitch.

And Rooney said: 'To be honest, it was my choice. At a club like this, to miss two penalties the way I have and not hit the target was not good enough.

'I went in to speak with the manager and said, 'I spoke with Robin van Persie and said he can take them'.’

Rooney has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks with former United captain Roy Keane saying the miss against West Ham would be the 'last penalty' Rooney would take.

Over it goes: Rooney sees his effort go over the bar

Over it goes: Rooney sees his effort go over the bar

Meanwhile, Sir Bobby Charlton has hailed Rooney and backed the Manchester United striker to join the growing list of players to reach a century of England caps.

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole is set to become the seventh player to make 100 England appearances when Brazil visit Wembley on Wednesday, and Charlton fully expects Rooney – who has 78 caps at the age of 27 – to follow suit.

That's it: Rooney decided to stop taking penalties after this miss

That's it: Rooney decided to stop taking penalties after this miss

Charlton, England's record goalscorer with 49 goals in 106 internationals, said in the new book England Centurions: 'Wayne Rooney has the potential to reach 100 caps and much more. He is a great talent, an automatic choice when we have a shortage of top international talent.'

Cole will follow in the footsteps of Peter Shilton (125), David Beckham (115), Bobby Moore (108), Charlton, Billy Wright (105) and Steven Gerrard (100) in reaching the milestone if he takes the field against Brazil.

Charlton said of the 32-year-old: 'Ashley Cole is a good player, and no-one could not be considered top quality to reach 100 caps, and also in top condition because it does demand stamina to play on for so long.

'So I would wish all those reaching 100 caps 'good luck'.'

Chris Robshaw has been named England skipper for the Six Nations as Stuart Lancaster keeps his faith in the flanker

Robshaw named England skipper for Six Nations as Lancaster keeps faith in flanker

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:53 GMT, 21 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:03 GMT, 21 January 2013

England have confirmed Chris Robshaw as their captain for the forthcoming RBS Six Nations in an appointment that will have caused no surprises.

Robshaw has been retained after leading England to a record 38-21 victory over New Zealand at Twickenham on December 1 and will fill the post for a second successive championship.

Northampton forwards Dylan Hartley and Tom Wood are viewed as potential captains, but coach Stuart Lancaster views 26-year-old Harlequins openside Robshaw as the outstanding candidate.

Chris Robshaw will lead England into the Six Nations as one of the favourites

Responsibility: Chris Robshaw will lead England into the Six Nations as one of the favourites

Lancaster, who announced Robshaw's reappointment at tonight's squad meeting, believes the Lions captaincy candidate has developed into superb leader.

'Chris stepped into the role 12 months ago when we were building a new team and he has grown as a captain on and off the field,' Lancaster said.

'He showed those leadership qualities during the QBE Internationals and especially against the All Blacks when the whole squad got behind him.

'We have a number of leaders and I know they will all take this team forwards with Chris as we look to kick on from that result.'

Robshaw will be hoping to continue the success which led to victory over New Zealand

Ice Cold: Robshaw will be hoping to continue the success which led to victory over New Zealand

Robshaw made his Test debut against
Argentina in 2009 and despite his lack of experience, was installed as
skipper upon his next cap against Scotland at the start of last year's
Six Nations.

He has continued in the post since,
missing only the final Test against South Africa last June due to
injury, and has been a key part of Lancaster's rebuilding program
following the disastrous 2011 World Cup.

'Stuart told me this afternoon and I am really pleased to be asked again,' Robshaw said.

'There are other leaders in the squad that Stuart could have turned to so I am really honoured.

'The lads have been great over the
last year and now we our focus is on building on the New Zealand
performance and getting a result against Scotland.'

Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns will
undergo a scan over the coming days to assess the extent of the damage
of the knee injury he sustained during Saturday's 36-16 victory over
Mont de Marsan.

Robshaw celebrates with Ben Youngs and James Haskell

Good times: Robshaw celebrates with Ben Youngs and James Haskell

Robshaw and Stuart Lancaster have formed a formidable partnership leading England

Together: Robshaw and Stuart Lancaster have formed a formidable partnership leading England

England lose to Delhi in India warm-up match

Bell century in vain as England slump to second consecutive ODI warm-up defeat

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

15:03 GMT, 8 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:58 GMT, 8 January 2013

An Ian Bell century was not enough as England slumped to a second warm-up defeat in three days ahead of Friday’s opening one-day international against India.

The tourists will head to Rajkot on Wednesday with plenty to think about, notably their failure to defend a formidable total of 294-4 against a Delhi team weaker than the India A side who overcame them at the weekend.

On another chill day, this time at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium where internationals are played, they could not stop the local select eleven overhauling them for the loss of four wickets with nine balls to spare.

Century boy: Bell scored a ton, but it wasn't enough to save England

Century boy: Bell scored a ton, but it wasn't enough to save England

While the batsmen did their job in the
watery afternoon sun, particularly Bell, who made light of the absence
of the rested Kevin Pietersen with a polished 108, the bowlers were
powerless to prevent their youthful opposition picking off the runs.

With Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad at home, new one-day coach Ashley Giles does not have too many options to turn things round before the end of the week, although Tim Bresnan sat this one out.

Certainly the attack looks short of leadership, with James Tredwell probably the pick and Steven Finn among those not having the happiest day.

Alastair Cook won the toss and chose to bat against a team featuring three players with full international experience on a day when temperatures mercifully crept over double figures.

Having sufficiently recovered from the heavy cold that kept him out of Sunday’s defeat, Cook looked fluent in making 44 before he was bowled when Sumit Narwal went round the wicket.

Bell looked slightly awkward at first but then accelerated gracefully, hitting a series of extravagant drives through the covers after advancing down the wicket. He should have been stumped on 60, but otherwise he added to Sunday’s 91 almost faultlessly, making his 108 in 125 balls with two sixes and 10 fours.

Rough start: New limited-overs head coach Giles is yet to savour victory

Rough start: New limited-overs head coach Giles is yet to savour victory

Eoin Morgan looked comfortable in making a near run-a-ball 52 and Craig Kieswetter added the late surge with 41 off 27 balls that finished with two consecutive sixes swiped over mid wicket.

Having overdone the bouncers under the new two-per-over rule at the weekend there was less of them yesterday and Finn was guilty over-pitching as India made a strong start that was only undone with the introduction of Tredwell.

Unmukt Chand, India’s Under 19 skipper and regarded as high quality prospect, had been going well for his 37 but then lamely chipped the Kent spinner to Cook at mid-on.

With captain Shikhar Darwan, owner of five one-day caps, heading towards a century, the home team went smoothly to 188 for two but two quick wickets halted their progress and suggested that England would get their first win of this tour.

When part-time spinner Joe Root trapped Darwan for an excellent 110 – Tredwell was convinced he had him caught behind just before he brought up a century with a six – Cook looked to have pulled off a masterstroke.

But the inexperienced Milind Kumar, 21, rebuilt the momentum of the innings to the point where 75 were needed off the last 10 overs, and he ended unbeaten on 78.

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the ODI Series in India due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

India v England ODI series: Eoin Morgan praises preparations

Morgan praises England's preparations for India as one-day series looms large

. There are a lot of foundations already set so it's a matter of building on that,' he said.

'The majority of our preparation has already been done pre-Christmas. Many of us have been here (with the Test squad) since the 24th or 25th of October and some of the guys who weren't spent three weeks here before Christmas too.

'Over the next few days we'll just be doing top-ups in different areas of our games. We are prepared.'

'We've seen in past series how important that is – like the (2010/11) Ashes where we were there three or four weeks prior to the first game. It has done us good in the Test and Twenty20 matches and hopefully it will in the one-dayers too.'

While England are looking to get 2013 off to a winning start at the Palam Services Ground, all eyes in Delhi will instead be on the host nation's ODI match against Pakistan.

India have already lost that series after back to back defeats to their fierce rivals, but there is plenty still to play for in the final fixture.

Media pundits, former internationals and fans alike have called for a change when the squad for England is announced and established stars like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh are all in need of runs.

Run drought: Gautam Gambhir is in a rut

Run drought: Gautam Gambhir is in a rut

Spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin has been another target for criticism, having performed also modestly against England in the Tests, but Morgan is not ready to take the reigning world champions lightly.

'I don't think it is a good time to play India. I don't think it is ever a good time to play India,' said the Dubliner.

'We know how successful they have been in the past and they are the World Cup champions at the moment.

'They might be going through a bad patch but they are very, very dangerous cricketers and they have guys who can turn the game on its head in a matter of minutes.'

Tomorrow's match is due to begin at 9am local time (3.30am GMT) in conditions likely to be colder than an April outing at Chester-le-Street.

England's new limited-overs coach Ashley Giles is in charge of his country for the first time and has a couple of selection issues to ponder.

Somerset's Jos Buttler and Yorkshire's Joe Root appear to be battling for one place in the top six, while the variations of Jade Dernbach and the pace of Stuart Meaker offer different options for the final pace bowling spot.

Giles must also decide whether to leave Ian Bell at opener or restore Kevin Pietersen, back in the 50-over set-up after reversing his retirement, alongside Alastair Cook at the head of the innings.

Northampton 9 Harlequins 18: Mike Brown wants to be full back

Northampton 9 Harlequins 18: Brown throws down the gauntlet as he drives Quins on

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UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 22 December 2012

Mike Brown has made it known to Stuart Lancaster that he is not content to play on the wing for England and wants to be selected as full back. If Saturday is anything to go by, the feisty Harlequin may yet get his way.

In front of the watching England head coach, Brown produced a stellar performance as the last line of defence in difficult conditions to take the man-of-the-match award.

Harlequins grabbed a vital win over title contenders Northampton to maintain their position at the top of the Aviva Premiership.

Not content: Mike Brown says he wants to play at full-back

Not content: Mike Brown says he wants to play at full-back

Even better for the 27-year-old was
the fact that Ben Foden was playing opposite him. Foden was back from
the ankle injury that kept him out of the autumn internationals in which
Brown started the last two Tests on the wing to great effect, while
Alex Goode played at full back.

Foden will be expected to press for a
start when England reconvene for the Calcutta Cup match against Scotland
at Twickenham in February in the opening RBS Six Nations match.

But he may struggle to make the
starting line-up, while Goode has been thrown down a direct challenge by
Brown — happy to play on the wing for his country, but preferring to
start at the back.

Getting his kicks: Nick Evans had an extremely productive day

Getting his kicks: Nick Evans had an extremely productive day

Quins director of rugby Conor O’Shea
revealed last night that a four-man discussion took place at training
the day before Harlequins thrashed Zebre in the Heineken Cup last
weekend between Brown, O’Shea himself, Lancaster and England backs coach
Andy Farrell.

Brown made it clear he wanted to play
as full back. ‘Mike wants to play for England and, in my opinion, you
always play your best team,’ said former Ireland full back O’Shea, who
picked him in his favoured position on Saturday.

‘Stuart and Andy came down to watch
training the other week and the four of us had a chat about it. Browny
will play anywhere for England and he had a great autumn series, but
given a choice it’s at full back where he really wants to play.’

On the run: Ben Foden breaks through the tackles of Ugo Monye and Mike Brown

On the run: Ben Foden breaks through the tackles of Ugo Monye and Mike Brown

The watching Lancaster would have
noticed Brown’s commanding display and the way natural playmakers such
as scrum half Danny Care sensibly curbed their enthusiasm to play cute
in such wet, slippery and muddy conditions. There was also another
physical performance from No 8 Nick Easter, who remains out of England
reckoning.

But Lancaster would also have felt
some sympathy for Foden, who managed to burst his way across the Quins
line in the 22nd minute and score, only to find out that the pass from
George Pisi was judged forward.

Replays revealed that this was a
highly dubious decision and even O’Shea conceded it was probably a try.
‘The pass looked pretty flat to me,’ he added. ‘In these games, the
margins are always very tight.’

At that stage the score was 3-3, with
Nick Evans and Stephen Myler scoring penalties. Myler twice kicked for
the corner rather than attempting the three points after Foden’s
disallowed try. A further penalty from Evans gave the visitors a narrow
interval lead.

Battle: A tight match was won by Harlequins

Battle: A tight match was won by Harlequins

Myler equalised in the 58th minute but
three further penalties from Evans earned Quins a nine point lead. Ryan
Lamb reduced the arrears to six points seven minutes from time but
Evans, with the last kick of the game, confirmed a vital win for the
Londoners — 14 out of 17 this season in all competitions — and robbed
the Saints of even a losing bonus point.

Jim Mallinder, surveying the wreckage
of a fourth home defeat in five, was understandably frustrated
afterwards, especially regarding the Foden ‘try’ that was not given.

‘It’s ridiculous that with all the
technology on hand we don’t use it for situations like that,’ he said,
accepting that referee Wayne Barnes had already blown on the advice of
his touch judge, thus removing any role for the TV official.

As for Quins, with Brown in such imperious form, life looks bright.

Sam Tomkins and Kevin Sinfield shortlisted for Golden Boot award

Tomkins and Sinfield hoping to end British drought in Golden Boot award

|

UPDATED:

23:45 GMT, 10 December 2012

England internationals Sam Tomkins and Kevin Sinfield have been nominated for the 2012 Golden Boot.

Wigan full-back Tomkins won the 2012 Man of Steel award and became England's record tryscorer while Sinfield captained Leeds to a sixth Grand Final triumph and led England to victory in the autumn international series.

The last British winner of the most prestigious individual award in rugby league was former Wigan and England captain Andrew Farrell in 2004.

Sam Tomkins

Kevin Sinfield

Years to remember: Sam Tomkins (left) and Kevin Sinfield (right)

Others shortlisted for the award, which will be announced on January 4, are Australia captain Cameron Smith, his Melbourne Storm team-mate Cooper Cronk, Canterbury full-back Ben Barba and Gold Coast forward Nate Myles.

England stars Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe fail to reach double figures in keepy uppy challenge

Can you keepy uppy England stars fail to get into double figures as they take on tennis ball challenge

|

UPDATED:

16:08 GMT, 7 December 2012

They are England internationals supposedly at the top of their game, but when it come to juggling a tennis ball, the efforts of Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe left a lot to be desired.

Challenged by Match of the Day and Radio Five Live presenter Colin Murray to beat his total of 12, they failed miserably – recording scores of six and four respectively.

Cole's Chelsea teammate Ryan Bertrand could only manage a pathetic two keepy uppies.

There was plenty of 'Fighting Talk' from Cole, Defoe and Bertrand as they grabbed the fluffy little ball – but they just couldn't beat the DJ.

Duck for cover: Jermain Defoe came close to decapitating his teammate Ashley Cole as he posted a dreadful score of four

Duck for cover: Jermain Defoe came close to decapitating his teammate Ashley Cole as he posted a dreadful score of four

Poor show: Ashley Cole had the advantage of an Astroturf pitch but still only managed six keepy uppies

Poor show: Ashley Cole had the advantage of an Astroturf pitch but still only managed six keepy uppies

Cole needed three attempts to just get the thing under control and then made just six touches on the Astroturf.

Step forward Murray, who wasn't expecting to have a go, to set a benchmark of 12 with some cushioned touches – albeit mainly on his knee.

Murray then lays down the challenge to the others backstage, daring them to better his score.

Defoe is first up and in the confines of the small room, he comes very close to booting Cole in the face as he records a measly total of four.

Bertrand can only manage half that number and pleads for another go, before Gary Cahill restores a bit of professional pride for the England team at the end by scoring 15 keepy uppies.

Even worse! Ryan Bertrand tries to make excuses after just two touches with the tennis ball

Even worse! Ryan Bertrand tries to make excuses after just two touches with the tennis ball

Finally! At least Gary Cahill managed to get into double figures in the challenge

Finally! At least Gary Cahill managed to get into double figures in the challenge

Their attempts were nothing, however, on the epic contest between Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson.

Egging each other on and vowing to keep going right through the night if necessary, the Liverpool man eventually prevails by 148 to 136.

Perhaps they could give their teammates a lesson.

The current leader on the Keepy Uppy challenge, though, is another TV personality – Tubes from Soccer AM – who managed a remarkable 195.

Leicester 17 Bath 12: Mass brawl mars Tigers" win as THREE are sent off in five minutes

Leicester 17 Bath 12: Mass brawl mars Tigers' win as THREE are sent off in five minutes of mayhem

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UPDATED:

15:40 GMT, 1 December 2012

Three players were sent off in five minutes of mayhem as Leicester bounced back from last week's defeat at Wasps to beat Bath in the Aviva Premiership at Welford Road.

Bath duo Francois Louw and Matt Banahan and Leicester's Brett Deacon were all shown red cards for foul play between the 60th and 65th minutes.

The dismissals proved a turning point in the game because Bath, who had just lost Simon Taylor to the sin-bin, saw their 12-6 lead – gained through tries from Stephen Donald and Tom Biggs – eroded as the hosts scored 11 points in five minutes.

Aggro: Tempers fray as Tigers' Anthony Allen is treated in the foreground

Aggro: Tempers fray as Tigers' Anthony Allen is treated in the foreground

Adam Thompstone crossed for Leicester's try, with the rest of the Tigers' points coming from the boot of George Ford.

It was a much-needed win for Leicester after last week's defeat at Wasps, while Bath, who beat leaders Harlequins last week, will be kicking themselves for their indiscipline.

Both teams were boosted by the return of some of their internationals, Leicester able to recall props Marcos Ayerza and Martin Castrogiovanni, with Horacio Agulla, Paul James and Louw back for Bath.

It was an emotional return to Welford Road for Argentina back Agulla, who joined Bath last summer, and there was added spice to the match for Leicester fly-half George Ford, whose father Mike is the Bath defence coach.

Last season Ford got the better of his father, who was then at Newcastle, in a one-sided game, but Bath were a much tougher proposition and they led 5-0 at half-time thanks to a fine solo try from their New Zealand fly-half Donald.

Off you go: Francis Louw (left) is sent off by ref Tim Wigglesworth

Off you go: Francis Louw (left) is sent off by ref Tim Wigglesworth

They were good value for it, too, for they ran hard and were adventurous when attacking and defended resolutely in their own 22.

Leicester created chances but were far too wasteful and Ford turned down several kickable penalties after missing attempts in the ninth and 15th minutes.

Donald missed a long-range penalty in the third minute and then Bath threw everything but the kitchen sink at Leicester, whose defence was rock solid.

But Bath drew first blood in the 13th minute after a fine break by full-back Nick Abendanon. From the ruck, Donald threw a couple of dummies before running straight over full-back Mathew Tait for a terrific try, which he failed to convert.

Ford missed penalties either side of the Bath try before putting Leicester in a great attacking position with a fine touch kick, but they wasted the chance with the referee penalising them for crossing when surging to the line from the line-out.

They passed up another chance to score from a line-out two minutes later and their lack of precision told again when they had a try chalked off for a forward pass.

It came after a brilliant counter-attack which twice involved Tait and winger Thompstone down the left, and when Leicester switched the attack to the right lock Graham Kitchener put Niall Morris over with a long floated pass only to see the video referee adjudge it to have gone forward.

Up above: Graham Kitchener claims the ball in a lineout at Welford Road

Up above: Graham Kitchener claims the ball in a lineout at Welford Road

After last week's defeat at Wasps, Leicester boss Richard Cockerill slammed his side, saying not one player deserved to wear the shirt. He demanded an improvement and, while there was commitment in spades, Leicester paid the price for poor basic skills, another chance going begging in the 34th minute when Anthony Allen threw a long pass to Thompstone that ended up in touch.

Whatever the Leicester coaches said at the break had an effect because they started the second half at a gallop and, when they won a penalty 40 metres out, Ford made no mistake.

Bath found themselves down to 14 men when number eight Taylor was sin-binned for obstruction on Tait in the 50th minute, and five minutes later Ford put Leicester ahead for the first time at 6-5 with a tremendous penalty from 46 metres.

The lead, however, lasted just two minutes because Bath hit back with their second try, winger Biggs cantering over after great work by Donald and Banahan.

Donald added the conversion to put Bath 12-6 ahead but there was another twist moments later when Bath flanker Louw was sent off for use of the elbow.

Leicester took advantage immediately, Thompstone scoring after Leicester had driven to the line from a line-out. Ford missed the conversion.

Worse followed when Michael Claassens conceded a needless penalty, pushing Allen in the back during a Leicester counter-attack and allowing Ford to kick an easy penalty.

And then Banahan was also sent off for a high tackle on Allen. Allen was left prostrate on the ground for several minutes while the medics attended to him before being carried off on a stretcher. Leicester flanker Deacon was also sent off after the incident for appearing to throw a punch.

The madness continued when Donald was sin-binned for also appearing to throw a punch, before Ford put Leicester 17-12 up with his fourth penalty 12 minutes from time.