Tag Archives: light

Tony Bellew v Isaac Chilemba rematch Carl Froch undercard May 25

Bellew to get second shot at Chilemba as rematch is arranged for Froch undercard

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

13:38 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:14 GMT, 8 April 2013

Tony Bellew's rematch with Isaac Chilemba will be held on May 25 at the O2 Arena on the undercard of Carl Froch's world title unification fight with Mikkel Kessler.

The Liverpool light heavyweight was devastated when the original meeting was scored a draw last month.

The winner of the second bout will earn a shot at the winner of WBC champion Chad Dawson's clash with Adonis Stevenson on June 8.

Gutted: Tony Bellew felt he deserved to win his first fight with Isaac Chilemba

Gutted: Tony Bellew felt he deserved to win his first fight with Isaac Chilemba

Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed both men were keen to have the rematch as soon as possible.

'There was no winner, so we need to find one,' he said.

'Many people thought Tony won, some thought Chilemba won. It's a fight both need to get off their back.'

Draw: Bellew took his foot off the gas after the opening rounds

Draw: Bellew took his foot off the gas after the opening rounds

The winner of the rematch will likely challenge for the world title in September.

Meanwhile, George Groves' opponent for the same night, along with further details of the undercard, will be announced this week.

Montrose 0 Rangers 0 – match report: Ally McCoist"s men crowned Irn-Bru Scottish Third Division champions

Montrose 0 Rangers 0: McCoist's men crowned champions despite goalless draw

By
Lisa Gray, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

15:22 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

02:00 GMT, 31 March 2013

Rangers clinched the Irn-Bru Third Division title on Saturday to complete stage one of their journey back to the top of Scottish Football.

The Light Blues were held to a goalless draw at Montrose in a noon kick-off but were confirmed as champions three hours later when a Stuart Leslie penalty secured victory for Elgin over Queen's Park.

The result at Hampden means nearest rivals Queen's cannot catch the Ibrox outfit in the title race, as Ally McCoist secured his first piece of silverware as Rangers manager.

Get the party started: Rangers players pose after winning the Third Division

Get the party started: Rangers players pose after winning the Third Division

Goaless: Rangers' Kane Hemmings tussles for the ball with Cammy MacDonald

Goaless: Rangers' Kane Hemmings tussles for the ball with Cammy MacDonald

His side have looked unconvincing at
times this term but have done enough to force themselves over the
finishing line with several games to spare, following their demotion to
the bottom tier of Scottish football after being consigned to
liquidation in the summer and losing their top-flight status.

Rangers made two changes following last week's drab stalemate against Stirling at Ibrox for the clash at Montrose.

David Templeton and Ian Black returned
from injury and suspension respectively to start, with Barrie McKay and
Fraser Aird dropping to the bench.

Rangers were handed a tough match the last time they visited Links Park in December, leaving with a hard-fought 4-2 win.

Chalked off: Montrose's Martin Boyle has finds the net only to have his goal ruled out

Chalked off: Montrose's Martin Boyle finds the net only to have his goal ruled out

This time around, they started sharply
with efforts from Robbie Crawford and Lee McCulloch blocked in quick
succession, before Kyle Hutton eventually rifled wide.

Templeton tested the goalkeeper when
he collected a Kane Hemmings header before unleashing an impressive half
volley that stung the palms of John Gibson.

The winger was threatening again when
he cut inside from the left before having another crack at goal but
Stephen McNally blocked for a corner.

Templeton then turned provider for Lee
Wallace and his effort was touched onto the bar by the keeper, as
Rangers kept up the pressure.

At the other end, a Paul Watson strike from distance took a massive deflection and spun just past the upright.

Champions elect Ally McCoist side could still become champions if Queens Park slip up against Elgin City

A matter of time: Ally McCoist side could still become champions if Queens Park slip up against Elgin City

Bolstered by the chance, the home side carved out another couple of decent opportunities.

David Gray – who has netted home and
away against Gers this season – forced a save from Neil Alexander,
before Alan Campbell glanced a header inches wide.

Montrose should have taken the lead
through Martin Boyle but his back post header was off target when he
should have had the net bulging.

The home side picked up where they
left off in the second half when Gray pounced on a poor clearance from
Emilson Cribari and lashed narrowly over the crossbar a minute after the
restart.

Crunch: Ian Black takes a tough challenge from Montrose's Terry Masson

Crunch: Ian Black takes a tough challenge from Montrose's Terry Masson

Rangers had a good chance of their own when Wallace's cut-back found Hemmings and his shot forced a decent save from Gibson.

Montrose thought they had taken the lead when they had the ball in the net after 65 minutes.

Alexander fumbled an awkward cross
that fell for Terry Masson. His shot was saved but the keeper could not
hold that ball, which was turned into the empty net by Boyle.

But the goal was disallowed by referee Kevin Clancy for a foul on Alexander.

It looked to be a controversial
decision and a let off for Rangers, whose celebrations came later in the
day as they made the trip back to Ibrox and took a major step in their
road to recovery.

Tony Bellew draws with Isaac Chilemba, putting Chad Dawson title fight in jeopardy

Bellew left frustrated in bid to line up Dawson title fight after draw with Chilemba

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

01:10 GMT, 31 March 2013

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UPDATED:

01:12 GMT, 31 March 2013

Tony Bellew was left frustrated in Liverpool after a lackadaisical performance saw him draw with fellow world title contender Isaac Chilemba in Liverpool.

The 30-year-old Scouser knew victory in this WBC light-heavyweight title final eliminator would put him in position to take on American champion Chad Dawson, who first defends his title against Adonis Stevenson in June.

Bellew was unable to force that title challenge, though, with a laboured night's work in front of 7,000 partisan fans at the Echo Arena in his home city.

Bellew – with a record of 19-1 with 12 early wins heading in – is ranked at number one with the WBC having steadily rebuilt since his only career defeat, which came against British rival Nathan Cleverly for the Welshman's WBO title in 2011.

Head-to-head: Tony Bellew (right) drew with Isaac Chilemba

Head-to-head: Tony Bellew (right) drew with Isaac Chilemba

Malawi native Chilemba, with a record of 20-1-1 (9KO wins) heading into the encounter, represented another step up for the Englishman and boasted a number three ranking with the WBC.

Everton fanatic Bellew, watched by Toffees manager David Moyes in the crowd and entering the ring the club's Z Cars theme tune, started positively in an untidy first round, landing a solid early right hand to mark Chilemba's card before the two had to be pulled apart after the bell.

Bellew employed the jab in the second with some success but Chilemba was ready to counter when the chance arose.

Both men landed stiff right hands in an otherwise-tepid third round with Bellew struggling to pin down the visitor. Both men traded close-in in the fourth with Bellew just about coming off better thanks to a stern body shot and right hand.

Another burst of action saw the Scouser repeat the attack with a left hook to the stomach and glancing right but Chilemba was certainly making a fight of it.

Chilemba bullied the home favourite across the ring with one attack without doing any real damage but looked to have done enough to win the round.

Bellew was labouring but did land a long right hand in the sixth, though the African was landing more prolifically. Chilemba was progressing from prey to predator, taking ring centre in the middle rounds. A Bellew right made him think twice for a moment.

Chilemba was more accurate and, as his confidence grew, more aggressive. The consensus at ringside was that the fight was level after eight rounds but Chilemba had the momentum heading into the ninth. Chilemba landed two body shots before Bellew responded with a booming right and following it up with two more decent shots.

The Englishman had sparked into life at last, doubling up the jab before a left to the body and short right gave him a strong finish before the bell.

Chilemba began the 10th well, landing hard shots from range and edging the round. The underdog's combination punching was superior too as he arguably did enough to take the 11th, picking his punches and landing eye-catching shots with the right.

It was all to play for heading into the final round and Chilemba landed a right followed by a counter left hook to Bellew's temple.

Bellew still seemed flat, only sporadically forcing the action as he urged the crowd to gee him up. A right to the body did land for the Briton but he faced an anxious wait before scores were read out.
One judge scored it 116-112 for Chilemba, another 116-115 for Bellew and the third had it level at 114-114 to leave both men disappointed.

Bellew said afterwards: 'I thought I won nine out of the 12 rounds and even Chilemba's trainer Buddy McGirt, one of the most respected men in boxing, told me he thought I won. I've got a lot of time for Chilemba he's a good fighter and a tough man but I won the fight.'

Tom Daley goes to Mahiki nightclub in week TV programme Splash! is criticised

Daley lets off steam at London nightclub after week in which sofa critics and swimming chiefs slate his new TV show

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

11:12 GMT, 13 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:12 GMT, 13 January 2013

Following a week in which his new TV programme was universally panned and his mum had to step in to defend him from critical British swimming chiefs, Tom Daley might be excused a few drinks.

The Olympic bronze medallist diver, 18, was snapped looking a little worse for wear leaving the Mahiki Club by the back door in central London last night.

He had arrived earlier in the evening looking smart in a light grey blazer, black jeans and t-shirt featuring Big Ben and a London phone box.

Night on the tiles: Tom Daley slips out the back door of the Mahiki club in the small hours

Night on the tiles: Tom Daley slips out the back door of the Mahiki club in the small hours

Tom Daley arrives at Mahiki nightclub

Tom Daley pictured leaving the Mahiki nightclub

Smart: Daley leaves the club in central London after his night out

Daley was clearly letting off some steam after a difficult week in which his new ITV programme Splash!, in which he teaches celebrities how to dive, was slated by TV critics.

And on Monday, British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes expressed concerns that such commercial commitments were taking time away from his training schedule.

Sparkes said: 'Tom is an incredibly talented young man, but he's yet to acheive his full potential and it's only going to get harder to achieve that Olympic gold medal as he gets older.

'You can rest assured the next Chinese diving superstar will not have such distractions from training.

Chief executive of British swimming David Sparkes poses for a photograph after he was awarded an OBE by the Queen during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

Tom Daley celebrates after winning bronze at the Olympics

Criticism: David Sparkes, the Chief Executive of British Swimming (left), said Daley, seen winning Olympic bronze (right) had got his priorities wrong in presenting the ITV Saturday night show, Splash! (below)

Tom Daley presenting the ITV series Splash!

Tom Daley presenting the ITV series Splash!

'He should look at the example of skaters Torvill and Dean who waited until the end of their competitive careers before doing such programmes.

'I'm concerned Tom is putting the cart before the horse and I've expressed those concerns to his agent.'

It led to a stinging rebuke, published in Sportsmail, from Daley's mum, Debbie, who pointed out that her son had probably kept Mr Sparkes in his job following a poor Olympics overall for British swimmers.

She also argued strongly that Daley had sacrificed a great deal in his preparations for the Olympics, including 18th birthday and A-Level celebrations.

Defence: Tom's mum, Debbie, hit back at the criticism by Sparkes, saying her son probably kept him in a job

Defence: Tom's mum, Debbie, hit back at the criticism by Sparkes, saying her son probably kept him in a job

The model Caprice on the diviing block during the ITV show Splash!

Charlotte Jackson on the driving board during the Splash! show

Making a splash: The ITV Saturday night programme has featured celebrities including Caprice (left) and Charlotte Jackson (right)

Joey Essex prepares to dive from the 10m platform board

Joey Essex dives from the 10m platform

Plunge! Joey Essex dives from the 10 metre platform during the Splash! show

Borussia Dortmund use artificial lights to repair pitch during Bundesliga winter break

Does this shed light on Dortmund's success 'Artificial sun' repair lamps pitch them above rivals in Bundesliga

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

13:25 GMT, 8 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:58 GMT, 8 January 2013

Bathed in an eerie yellow glow in keeping with the club's colours, the pitch at Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park receives some tender loving care ahead of the resumption of the Bundesliga season.

The strange light, made all the more pronounced by the darkened stands, is the result of a hi-tech 'artificial sun' lighting system used by the German champions to keep their pitch in pristine condition.

With the stadium capacity a massive 80,645 for league matches – including nearly 25,000 on the famous Sudtribune terrace – the tall stands block out natural sunlight, meaning the pitch can easily become dry and patchy.

Eerie: Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is bathed in a yellow glow as artificial lighting keeps the pitch in pristine condition during the Bundesliga winter break

Eerie: Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is bathed in a yellow glow as artificial lighting keeps the pitch in pristine condition during the Bundesliga winter break

Eerie: Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is bathed in a yellow glow as artificial lighting keeps the pitch in pristine condition during the Bundesliga winter break

So for the past two years, Dortmund have hired Dutch company Stadium Grow Lighting (SGL) to construct a portable grid of powerful lamps above the turf in between matches to ensure the grass gets all the necessary nutrients.

It has created a pristine surface which perfectly suits Dortmund's free-flowing style of play and has helped deliver the last two Bundesliga titles.

With German football pausing for a winter break, and natural sunlight at a premium, the lights have been warming the pitch round the clock in recent weeks.

It's a similar situation at many of the 80-odd football clubs across Europe that use SGL's technology, with pitches today representing a vast improvement on a decade or two ago.

Yellow wall: The tall stands at the 80,000 capacity Signal Iduna Park mean natural sunlight is at a premium

Yellow wall: The tall stands at the 80,000 capacity Signal Iduna Park mean natural sunlight is at a premium

Success: The pristine pitch created by the lights has been a factor in Dortmund's recent success, including two consecutive Bundesliga titles

Success: The pristine pitch created by the lights has been a factor in Dortmund's recent success, including two consecutive Bundesliga titles

Dortmund resume their defence of the title with a trip to Werder Bremen on January 19, with the first game back at the Signal Iduna on January 25 against Nuremberg.

But they have plenty to do if they're to overhaul runaway leaders Bayern Munich, who have a nine point lead over Bayer Leverkusen and 12 over Dortmund.

Pitches have come a long way from the days of Harris, Hunter and Best…

Mudbath: Manchester United's George Best gets a shot away under challenge from Chelsea's Ron 'Chopper' Harris on a less-than-pristine playing surface in 1971

Mudbath: Manchester United's George Best gets a shot away under challenge from Chelsea's Ron 'Chopper' Harris on a less-than-pristine playing surface in 1971

Night of misery: A despondent Norman Hunter of England on a very cut up pitch in Chorzow after losing to Poland in the 1974 World Cup qualifiers

Night of misery: A despondent Norman Hunter of England on a very cut up pitch in Chorzow after losing to Poland in the 1974 World Cup qualifiers

Mansfield to pay tribute to Hillsborough victims against Liverpool

Mansfield pay tribute to Hillsborough victims by placing 96 names on empty seats

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

11:09 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 6 January 2013

Mansfield will pay tribute to the 96 Hillsborough victims this afternoon by placing their names on the empty seats which segregate the home and away fans.

The Blue Square Premier side host Liverpool in the FA Cup in one of the most eagerly-awaited ties of the third round.

'We wanted to do something in light of what has happened this year in terms of Hillsborough and as it's been so long since the two sides met,' explained operations director, Paul Broughton.

Tribute: Mansfield will place the cards on 96 empty seats in the north stand

Tribute: Mansfield will place the cards on 96 empty seats in the north stand

'One of our fans suggested we place a name on each of the empty seats in the segregation section of the stadium. The idea sent shivers down my spine. It was an amazing idea.'

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: 'I felt moved when I heard that Mansfield had planned this tribute.

Remembering: MK Dons fans paid tribute at Hillsborough on Saturday

Remembering: MK Dons fans paid tribute at Hillsborough on Saturday

'To me, it sums up where we are at, in terms of how everyone around the country is starting to realise what we’ve known for a long time about Hillsborough.

'It will be a lovely gesture and I think it's entirely appropriate for us going forward in our fight for justice. It means a great deal and I would like to thank Mansfield on behalf of the HFSG for what will be a beautiful gesture.'

Australia beat Sri Lanka in second Test

Johnson shines as Australia fire Ashes warning with brutal demolition of Sri Lanka inside three days

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UPDATED:

07:37 GMT, 28 December 2012

Fierce bowling from a revitalised Mitchell Johnson powered Australia to victory by an innings and 201 runs against Sri Lanka in a Boxing Day Test that ended inside three days at the MCG.

Johnson – after being left stranded eight short of a second Test century earlier in the day when Australia were dismissed for 460 in reply to Sri Lanka's first-innings 156 – captured two for 16, injured two top-order batsmen and affected a run-out as the tourists were skittled for 103.

Sri Lanka had lost seven wickets midway through day three's second session but, with Prasanna Jayawardene and Chanaka Welagedara unable to bat, and Kumar Sangakkara unable to return having retired hurt on 27, the Australians were home and dry.

The trouncing meant Australia retained the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy, with the third fixture in Sydney to start next week.

Flying high: Mitchell Johnson (left) and Matthew Wade celebrate the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan

Flying high: Mitchell Johnson (left) and Matthew Wade celebrate the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan

Party time: The Aussies celebrate as they grind down Sri Lanka in Melbourne

Party time: The Aussies celebrate as they grind down Sri Lanka in Melbourne

Johnson's brilliant second-innings effort capped a remarkable Test for the rejuvenated 31-year-old.
The left-armer claimed four for 63 – including his 200th victim – in Sri Lanka's first innings before boosting his reputation as a lower-order batsman with an unbeaten 92 in Australia's reply.

Light showers delayed the start of play by 15 minutes this morning before Australia added 20 runs for the loss of Nathan Lyon, caught at short mid-wicket for one, and Jackson Bird, comprehensively bowled by Shaminda Eranga for a duck.

Eranga (three for 109) and Dhammika Prasad (three for 106) were the leading bowlers for Sri Lanka.
The visitors could not have started the rearguard action any worse as Johnson and debutant Bird (two for 29) dismantled their flaky top order.

Unstoppable: Johnson was in stunning form in the Melbourne sunshine

Unstoppable: Johnson was in stunning form in the Melbourne sunshine

They had dramatically slumped to 13 for four midway through the morning session. Johnson started the rot with the run-out of Dimuth Karunaratne (one) in the first over and removed Tillakaratne Dilshan (nought) the next ball when Ed Cowan pouched a catch at square leg.

Bird made matters worse for the besieged tourists when he bowled Mahela Jayawardene for a duck and trapped Thilan Samaraweera lbw for one just before lunch.

Only Sangakkara (27) and Angelo Mathews (35) provided any resistance and, when the former retired hurt after copping a blow to the index finger from a Johnson bouncer, the match was in its death throes.

Sliding in: Johnson runs out Dimuth Karunaratne as Australia dominate Down Under

Sliding in: Johnson runs out Dimuth Karunaratne as Australia dominate Down Under

After Johnson bowled Mathews, Peter Siddle wrapped up Australia's win by removing Eranga for a duck.

Johnson took man-of-the-match honours ahead of Australia captain Michael Clarke who scored 106 on day two.

Shane Watson was another contributor for the winners with a gutsy 83 yesterday, but the all-rounder was unable to bowl in the second innings and is in doubt for the third Test after aggravating a chronic calf injury.

Brian O"Driscoll: I"d rather not be a Lion than lose in Australia

I'd rather not be a Lion than lose in Oz… After three torrid tours, Ireland legend
O'Driscoll says winning really IS everything

|

UPDATED:

00:05 GMT, 19 December 2012

Brian O'Driscoll has no hesitation in turning an old sporting maxim on its head. It’s about winning, not just taking part.

Ireland's convalescing captain has no appetite for merely representing the Lions, he wants the series win which has eluded him.

The 33-year-old king of centres is recovering from ankle surgery and hopes to return to action with Leinster in early-to-mid January. Beyond that, he has his sights on leading his country into the Six Nations. Then and only then, the Lions tour to Australia next summer will loom large on his radar.

Leading light: Brian O'Driscoll is in the frame to be British and Irish Lions captain once again

Leading light: Brian O'Driscoll is in the frame to be British and Irish Lions captain once again

Leading light: Brian O'Driscoll is in the frame to be British and Irish Lions captain once again

But even at this stage of the season, his thoughts about the 2013 crusade under Warren Gatland’s command are clear. His ambitions are set in stone, certainly the one which overrides the rest.

O’Driscoll has already done the full cycle of Lions trips — to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. He has savoured the occasions for their own sake, now he wants the prize. He has no desire to be a loser left with the consolation of more caps and tarnished memories.

‘It’s not a matter of just making a Lions squad,’ he said. ‘If you said, “You can go on the trip, but you are not going to win the series”, I would have no interest in going. The only reason to go on another Lions trip would be to win the series — to do something I haven’t done before.

‘I’ve been to Australia before, I’ve seen the places, it’s great. But I can go on my holidays and do that. It’s all about winning the series. I have one Lions victory in six Tests, which isn’t anything to shout about. I don’t want to go on four Lions tours and win none of them. People don’t remember losing Lions tours, they only remember winning tours.’

O’Driscoll acknowledged that his own mindset is a reflection of his status as a veteran who has been there and done it all as a Lion – almost. ‘Different guys will go at different stages of their careers and some will go with the excitement of the trip, but I’ve had that,’ he added. ‘I just want to win one. We need to win one. They are wonderful trips, but they are unsustainable if the home nation always wins.’

Wizard of Oz: O'Driscoll burst onto the scene with the Lions during the Tour to Australia in 2001

Wizard of Oz: O'Driscoll burst onto the scene with the Lions during the Tour to Australia in 2001

In his view, the challenge is greater now for the hastily-prepared tourists than it ever was but O’Driscoll is adamant that the squad who head Down Under have it in them to beat the Wallabies.

After all, he was part of the team so agonisingly denied by the Springboks in 2009 — suffering narrow defeats in Durban and Pretoria before winning the finale in Johannesburg without the Irishman, who had gone home injured.

Four years earlier, O’Driscoll was captain, but his series against the All Blacks amounted to less than one minute before he was brutally spear-tackled by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu in the first Test in Christchurch. Now, his name is once again being mentioned among the potential skippers.

If asked to take on leadership duties again, as only the second man after Martin Johnson to land the job twice, he would do so, while mindful of the burden that goes with the role.

‘It would be impossible to turn down the opportunity if I was asked to be captain again,’ said O’Driscoll. ‘It’s too great an honour to contemplate turning down, but there is a lot of pressure on the Lions captain. Having been captain on a tour, then toured when I’m not captain, it is very different.

Ill-fated: The Irishman led the Lions in New Zealand in 2005 but was injured after just one minute of the first Test

Ill-fated: The Irishman led the Lions in New Zealand in 2005 but was injured after just one minute of the first Test

Agony: O'Driscoll was carried off after a shocking spear tackle by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu

Agony: O'Driscoll was carried off after a shocking spear tackle by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu

VIDEO: The shocking spear tackle on Lions captain O'Driscoll

‘It was a lot more relaxing just being another player, I was able to enjoy it, there was less scrutiny. It is tough, being captain, but you have to try to enjoy it and just be yourself. Whoever does the job this time, he has to use the leadership group around him. Your captain needs to be starting in the Test team, and it is difficult to say at this stage that there is anyone in Britain and Ireland who is guaranteed to be starting.’

It was on the Lions tour to Australia in 2001 that O’Driscoll burst to wider prominence with his try-scoring contribution to victory in the series opener in Brisbane. But he had already announced his Test emergence with a hat-trick for Ireland in Paris in 2000. His Test debut came at the age of 20, as abundant promise was recognised by the-then national coach — Gatland.

Knowing the Kiwi so well, O’Driscoll is convinced the Wales coach can galvanise the best of British and Irish into a winning combination.

‘Warren has earned his stripes, with Wales at the World Cup last year and coming off the back of that with a Grand Slam,’ he said. ‘He has won two Slams with them. He has also been successful with Wasps, then went back to New Zealand and won an NPC, so he deserves that Lions role. Gats is a confident guy. He will instill a belief in his team and he’ll get them in the right place to win the series.’

In vain: The centre was brilliant in South Africa four years ago but the series ended in defeat again

In vain: The centre was brilliant in South Africa four years ago but the series ended in defeat again

In time, O’Driscoll will give careful consideration to his plans, to the tricky decision about whether to retire at the end of this season or play on. Even though he relishes the daily fun of being a ‘33-year-old kid’, he knows that the next World Cup in 2015 is beyond him, but the Lions tour certainly isn’t. When he is back in action, he will set about reminding Gatland of his enduring class, but with a view to winning in Australia, not just taking part.

Brian O’Driscoll was speaking on behalf of HSBC. As proud Principal Partner of The British & Irish Lions on their tour to Australia next year, HSBC is offering all customers an exclusive 30% discount on the official replica Lions jersey at https://store.lionsrugby.com/discount

VIDEO: Kevin Quigley's photoshoot with O'Driscoll

David Lloyd – Bumble Test Diary: England will smash the Aussies (twice) but India need to forget IPL razzmatazz and get serious about Test cricket

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: I predict England will smash the Aussies (twice) but India need to forget IPL razzmatazz and get serious about Test cricket

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UPDATED:

17:16 GMT, 17 December 2012

NERVOUS COOK NEEDN'T WORRY, THIS WAS AN EPIC WIN

Alastair Cook said he was nervous going into the final day and feared one bad session could cost England but their two Bears (Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell) played wonderfully well. They helped themselves to a century each and, in the end, it was a very comfortable series win as expected. But this was also an epic win, an outstanding performance.

England coach Andy Flower

Smiler: Coach Andy Flower

SMILES BETTER FOR FLOWER

I've never seen coach Andy Flower with such a wide smile on his face. He understands what England have achieved. To turn India over in their own backyard is as good as any Ashes win, it's the holy grail, you just don't do it. When India bamboozled England in the first Test, they asked for spinning pitches because they wanted a 4-0 win, but it backfired badly and England pounced.

IPL PARTY IS NO EXCUSE FOR FAILING TEST

India now have a massive choice. They either get real about Test match cricket or they concentrate on the IPL, which is a fantastic event but it's just entertainment, a seven-week party. It's light years away from the discipline of Test cricket. How interested the India players are can be judged by the debutant in this Test (Jadeja) who is already a millionaire from IPL! So why should he care about Tests

U.S. singer Katy Perry performs at the Indian Premier League (IPL) opening ceremony in Chennai, India

Cheerleaders attracts the cricket fans at the inaugural match of DLF Indian Premier League cricket at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore

Just not (real) cricket: Katy Perry (left) and cheerleaders have added much glamour and fun to IPL cricket

KP'S CELEBRATIONS SHOW HE'S BACK IN THE FOLD

England have stabilised from the summer when the Kevin Pietersen issue dominated. There was a lot of love around during the celebrations at the end of the Test, particularly surrounding KP. And it was noticeable that Flower said 'we have had a tough time but we're back on track'.

Yorkshire gold: Tim Bresnan (left), Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow (right) celebrate England's series win with a beer and signing each others shirts (PICTURE POSTED BY @timbresnan ON TWITTER)

Yorkshire gold: Tim Bresnan (left), Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow (right) celebrate England's series win with a beer and signing each others shirts (PICTURE POSTED BY @timbresnan ON TWITTER)

NOW FOR THE INTEGRATION OF THE YOUNG TYKES

England go to New Zealand in the New Year who are second from bottom in the rankings. There can be no complacency and England must win in style. We've had the reintegration of KP and now look forward to the integration of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow as England get ready for the Ashes.

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from the
fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for
Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.The BCCI has refused access to Test 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.

TWO SPINNERS MAY NOT GO IN FLOWER'S PLAN FOR WORLD DOMINATION

As for Monty Panesar, my experience of New Zealand is that you can play two spinners, and Flower acknowledged he has two world-class spinners. But he also insisted that it was three seamers and one spinner who took England to the top of the world and pointedly remarked that Graeme Swann took the most wickets on tour, so Monty may just play here and there.

Spin twins: England spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann (right) pose on Twitter after the draw in Nagpur. Swann's team-mates have been ribbing him for allegedly looking like Chandler Bing from the US sitcom Friends

Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel

Friends: Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann (left) pose after the draw in Nagpur. Swann's team-mates have been ribbing him for looking like Chandler from the sitcom Friends (right)… Judge for yourselves…

I EXPECT THREE WINS FROM ENGLAND'S NEXT THREE SERIES

I am a betting man and I predict three series wins for England next year, in New Zealand and home and away in the Ashes. England are the better team with, crucially, better players on the bench. When the likes of Monty, Root and Steven Finn can come in and take over, you're laughing.

More from David Lloyd…

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: I've done 'a Trott' and was not proud of it, but I'm less of a fan of Captain Beefheart
16/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Revealed – Anderson swings both ways and Nasser is the ice man
14/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: On your bikes, lads… Get on with the flipping game, India… You're 2-1 down!I was expecting someone to bring you tea and sarnies
13/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: A billion reasons why India must improve… (and leave Samit alone)
09/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: It's a case of 'after you Claude' for captain Cook but England can rely on their attack
07/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: How I nodded off and woke up dreaming of Monty and Bruno (but Beefy's wrong, it had nothing to do with Timothy Taylor)
05/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Rolling Stones fan Bumble says – It's only an England Test victory in India… but I like it, like it, yes I do!
26/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

O"Neill faces "tough fight" to save Sunderland with crucial Reading match up next

O'Neill faces 'tough fight' to save Sunderland with crucial Reading match up next

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UPDATED:

21:19 GMT, 8 December 2012

Sunderland face a make or break
confrontation with fellow strugglers Reading on Tuesday that could
define their season … and Martin O'Neill's future.

But, as his team dropped into the
bottom three for the first time since he took over at Stadium Of Light
12 months ago, almost to the day, the 60-year-old manager insisted:
'We'll fight our way out of it. I think we've got enough talent and more
important I think we've got enough self-belief.

'We've dropped into the bottom three. It's a tough fight on, a really tough fight.'

Nail-biting: Martin O'Neill knows his Sunderland side will have to fight to stay up

Nail-biting: Martin O'Neill knows his Sunderland side will have to fight to stay up

Harking back to last season's struggles, he recalled: 'We got some fantastic results and it seemed by mid- February that we had calmly taken ourselves out relegation problems, but I never saw it like that; I thought every game was a fight.

'It is exactly this now; every game is a fight for us. And when we have a foothold in games, we need to try and make it count. I think that's the major point.'

Sunderland have won only two of their past 23 games.

Against Chelsea they never recovered from conceding goals either side of half-time to trail 3-0; the goal which made it 2-0 a penalty conceded by a needless Seb Larsson challenge on Ramires.

'It's heavy punishment when we make mistakes,' added O'Neill. 'I said to Seb that if you go to ground like that, you run the risk. It was a ball into the corner and the best they were going to get out of that was a corner kick. Suddenly they're going in 2-0 at halftime, so it is frustrating.'

No argument: Sunderland's Seb Larsson concedes a penalty with a challenge on Chelsea's Ramires

No argument: Sunderland's Seb Larsson concedes a penalty with a challenge on Chelsea's Ramires

O'Neill still has the backing of the fans, observing: 'Because we were playing Chelsea and we were the underdogs in the game, the supporters were terrific. The players were talking about it in the dressing room at the end; just talking about the boost they still get from that; that they kept with us.

'There will be anxious moments during the game on Tuesday night and we've got to be really strong. There will be frustrating moments but I think we can cope with that.

'Even though we've been defeated we can certainly feel we've taken something out of the game and something to take with us for Tuesday.'