Tag Archives: sports

Matt Le Tissier makes Guernsey debut but he can"t stop them losing 4-2

Le Tissier makes Guernsey debut as legend returns to playing days… but 44-year-old can't can't stop them losing 4-2

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

22:52 GMT, 24 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 25 April 2013

Matt Le Tissier made a return to his playing days by turning out for Guernsey, but was unable to stop his side losing 4-2 at Colliers Wood.

The Southampton legend, 44, came off the bench in the second half after signing playing forms at the club where he is honorary president, to help with their incredible fixture list which sees the club in the middle of 20 games in 36 days.

Matt Le Tissier

Fit for purpose: Matt Le Tissier

Fit for purpose: Matt Le Tissier was unable to prevent Guernsey FC losing at Colliers Wood on his debut

Still got it: Le Tissier was back in action at the tender age of 44 years old

Still got it: Le Tissier was back in action at the tender age of 44 years old

Still got it: Le Tissier

Still got it: Le Tissier

Rusty Le Tissier tries a trademark volley after chesting the ball down

It's the first time Le Tissier has played in an official game since 2002, when he retired after playing his entire career for the Saints.

Le Tissier made over 500 appearances in all competitions for the south-coast club, and won eight England caps.

Many fans feel he should have represented his country more times, having watched his incredible skills, passing and long-range screamers in the 1990s.

He is currently juggling turning out for Guernsey with being a pundit and co-commentator for Sky Sports.

Different class: Le Tissier wowed fans with his technique for Southampton throughout his 14 years at the club

Different class: Le Tissier wowed fans with his technique for Southampton throughout his 14 years at the club

Le Tissier

VIDEO Matt Le Tissier's finest Southampton moments

John Terry snubs David Bernstein as Chelsea hand back the Champions League Trophy to UEFA

Champions of Europe, we know what we were: Chelsea boys feeling blue as they hand back trophy… and axed England captain Terry snubs handshake from FA chief Bernstein

amidst racism allegations made against him after a clash with QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in October 2011.

The 32-year-old defender later retired from international football in September 2012 after being charged by the FA for the incident after he had been found not guilty of racist abuse in court.

Snub: The moment Chelsea captain John Terry (second left) sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (second right) by refusing to shake his hand

Snub: The moment Chelsea captain John Terry (second left) sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (second right) by refusing to shake his hand

Walking away: After Bernstein talks with Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech Terry walks away to avoid having to speak with him

Walking away: After Bernstein talks with Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech Terry walks away to avoid having to speak with him

Snub: Chelsea captain John Terry (right), pictured with UEFA President Michel Platini, sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (below, right) by refusing to shake his hand

Snub: Chelsea captain John Terry (right), pictured with UEFA President Michel Platini, sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (below, right) by refusing to shake his hand

Didn't notice: FA Chairman David Bernstein (right) said he wasn't aware he had been snubbed

Didn't notice: FA Chairman David Bernstein (right) claimed he wasn't aware he had been snubbed

Charles Sale predicted trouble

In his Sports Agenda column, Charles Sale revealed that Terry and Bernstein were set to share the stage together. Click here for the story.

bernstein has been speaking to Terry's Chelsea team-mates Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech, but when it was his turn, Terry took a step away to avoid speaking to the FA chairman.

Asked about the incident, Bernstein told Sky Sports News: I didn't notice anything, my relationships with everyone in here are really fantastic so I didn't notice a thing. I

'think we should talk about more positive things than that sort of nonsense'

When asked about his relationship
with Terry, Bernstein – who leaves his post as FA chairman in July –
added: 'A little distant.'

He seemed cool on making any attempt to kiss and make up with the Chelsea captain.

'I'm not really terribly concerned,' he add. 'I have other things to think about. In my last three months, I have other priorities.'

Terry was joined by team-mates Frank
Lampard, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic as Chelsea handed back
the trophy they famously won last May.

We'll have that back: Eleven months to the day after their famous night in Munich, Chelsea have returned the Champions League trophy to UEFA

We'll have that back: Eleven months to the day after their famous night in Munich, Chelsea have returned the Champions League trophy to UEFA

Terry is also unhappy with Bernstein's role in his court case last year where he was cleared of a racism offence though later banned for four matches by the FA.

Terry, also speaking to Sky Sports News, said: 'No, listen it's a difficult one for me. Obviously, he was the one who spoke about me in the court case and said things I don't want to talk on air. It's probably a subject that we should maybe just avoid.'

Asked if he shook Bernstein's hand during before the ceremony, Terry replied: 'No.'

Say goodbye: Chelsea players Petr Cech, John Terry, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic (left to right) with UEFA President Michel Platini (centre)

Say goodbye: Chelsea players Petr Cech, John Terry, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic (left to right) with UEFA President Michel Platini (centre)

Perfect Moment: Didier Drogba hits the penalty that won Chelsea the Champions League last season

Perfect Moment: Didier Drogba hits the penalty that won Chelsea the Champions League last season

It was the moment that all Chelsea fans have been dreading, but 11 months to the day after Didier Drogba's penalty completed the most famous night in their history, Chelsea finally relinquished their hold on the Champions League trophy.

In an official ceremony in London, members of the Blues' heroic squad, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, gave the trophy back to UEFA President Michel Platini ahead of the 2013 final that will be played at Wembley on May 25.

Since that night Chelsea have undergone a tumultuous transformation.

Jubilant: Chelsea players celebrate their victory in Munich

Jubilant: Chelsea players celebrate their victory in Munich

Drogba, the talismanic striker who scored the equalising goal in the dying minutes of normal time before scoring the winning penalty, left the club along with Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa, who played prominent roles in the final, and Raul Meireles, who was excellent in the semi-final win over Barcelona in the Nou Camp, as Chelsea looked add youth to an ageing squad.

Of course, Chelsea also got rid of their Champions League winning manager, Roberto Di Matteo, just six months after lifting the trophy in Germany.

What should have been a glorious campaign as Champions League holders became a disaster for the club as they crashed out of the group stages, becoming the first holders to ever exit the competition that early.

Gone but not forgotten: Roberto Di Matteo (centre) was sacked from the Chelsea jobs just six months after lifting the trophy

Gone but not forgotten: Roberto Di Matteo (centre) was sacked from the Chelsea jobs just six months after lifting the trophy

Mr Chelsea: John Terry was banned from the final but that didn't stop his exuberant celebrations

Mr Chelsea: John Terry was banned from the final but that didn't stop his exuberant celebrations

The board's decision to replace Di Matteo with former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was met with loud opposition from Chelsea fans.

Benitez had appealed to fans to get off his back and support the team, and this seems to have happened in recent weeks, leading to an upturn in league form – Chelsea now sit third in the table with a game in hand over fourth placed Arsenal.

Chelsea travel to Anfield this weekend in what will be an emotional return for the current manager – he spent six years at Liverpool, winning the Champions League trophy in 2005 after one of the best comebacks ever seen against AC Milan in Istanbul.

Preparation: Rafa Benitez (second left) prepares to take a team to former club Liverpool for the first time on Sunday

Preparation: Rafa Benitez (second left) prepares to take a team to former club Liverpool for the first time on Sunday

No bearing: Benitez has said that his ties with Anfield will have no bearing on the match - he will be going for three points

No bearing: Benitez has said that his ties with Anfield will have no bearing on the match – he will be going for three points

But Benitez has insisted that his emotional ties with Liverpool will have no bearing on him going for the three points.

I will try to do the best for my team and that is Chelsea,’ said Benitez. ‘I am a professional and that is what I have to do. I cannot forget the time I spent there and the feeling, the atmosphere, the success, the link with the fans and the city — it is my home — but I will try to win. That is what I have to do.

‘This will be quite emotional but I have to concentrate. It will not be easy when you see so many friends around but I will try to concentrate on the game. The players have to believe I can manage the situation and give them help if they need it. Normally, I am not too emotional but now I’m getting older it happens sometimes.’

PS.

This isn't the first time Terry has been involved in handbags over a handshake, although he's usually on the receiving end of the snub…

Wayne Bridge and John Terry

Anton Ferdinand snubs John Terry

Who could forget Wayne Bridge snubs a handshake from Terry after rumours Terry had had an affair with Bridge's former fiance Vanessa Perroncel (left); and Anton Ferdinand snubs Terry after last year's race storm

Football's other hand-shaking controversies

WAYNE BRIDGE & JOHN TERRY: In January 2010 claims Terry had had an alleged relationship with the former partner of one-time team-mate Wayne Bridge emerged, despite Terry being behind a gagging injunction. He was axed as England captain and Manchester City defender Bridge quit international football saying his position in the team – potentially alongside Terry – was 'untenable and potentially divisive'. The teams met just a few weeks later on February 27 but in the traditional pre-match handshake, Bridge refused Terry's outstretched hand.

QPR & CHELSEA: The teams met at Loftus Road on October 23, 2011, after which Terry was accused of racially abusing Ferdinand. The sides were then drawn to face each other in an FA Cup tie in January 2012 with intense focus on whether the pair would or would not shake hands. The then QPR boss Mark Hughes held a meeting with his players and officials over the handshake. Ultimately, the FA decided to scrap the ritual. The Premier League took the same action in April in the first league game between the two since the original incident after Ferdinand's lawyers advised him not to shake Terry's hand. In September 2012, Ferdinand snubbed both Terry and Ashley Cole, who testified for the former at his trial, as did Park Ji-sung, former team-mate of Rio Ferdinand.

PATRICE EVRA & LUIS SUAREZ: Liverpool striker Suarez was given an eight-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Evra in October 2011. The Reds were vocal in their defence of the Uruguayan, a move that did little to endear either them or the player to the general public. Suarez's first start after the suspension happened to be at Old Trafford but it was he who refused the hand of Evra. The Red Devils captain offered his hand to the Uruguay international but he bypassed the Frenchman. Evra did not accept that and attempted to grab Suarez's arm to complete the formalities, but the striker shrugged him off. Rio Ferdinand, further down the line, then refused to shake Suarez's hand.

JOHN TERRY & DAVID BERNSTEIN: Terry's simmering resentment showed itself again today as he confirmed he had rejected the FA chairman's attempt to shake hands. Bernstein was the man who stripped Terry of the England captaincy and despite being cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court of making a racist insult, he was charged by the FA and banned for four matches. Bernstein insisted he was unaware of the Chelsea player's snub while admitting his relationship with Terry was 'a little distant'. He told Sky Sports News: 'I didn't notice a thing and I think we should talk about more positive things than that sort of nonsense. I'm not really terribly concerned.'

Fabrice Muamba cardiac arrest used in British Heart Foundation advert

Muamba's cardiac arrest to be shown in new British Heart Foundation TV advert

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Cardiac arrest: Muamba is treated on the pitch at White Hart Lane in March 2012

Cardiac arrest: Muamba is treated on the pitch at White Hart Lane in March 2012

Cardiac arrest victim Patrice Muamba helps to promote the Great…

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The 39-second ad is to be shown on ITV and Channel 4 from Saturday, and Sky Sports during the Tottenham and Manchester City match on Sunday.

Medics had to give Muamba 15 shocks to get his heart pumping again when he collapsed during an FA Cup clash with Tottenham last March.

The advert shows players – including Spurs' William Gallas and Benoit Assou-Ekotto – looking distressed as Muamba lies motionless on the pitch.

Speaking over the emotional scenes, BHF Research Professor Mark Kearney tells viewers: 'I hate my job. I hate the misery heart disease brings.

Tributes: Football fans around the world joined forces to wish Muamba well

Tributes: Football fans around the world joined forces to wish Muamba well

Tributes: Football fans around the world joined forces to wish Muamba well

'It lurks among the places you least expect – it takes the young and the fit and it does not discriminate. But we are fighting back.'

Bolton's club doctor Dr Jonathan Tobin revealed Muamba was 'effectively dead' for 78 minutes when he suffered the cardiac arrest.

He was taken to the London Chest Hospital, in Bethnal Green, East London, and spent a month in intensive care.

Muamba later announced his retirement from football on medical grounds, and thanked the doctors that saved him, adding: 'I thank God that I am alive.'

Emotional return: Muamba thanks fans at the Reebok Stadium in May 2012

Emotional return: Muamba thanks fans at the Reebok Stadium in May 2012

The match was abandoned at 1-1.

BHF Medical Director Professor Peter Weissberg today said: 'We are grateful to Fabrice for allowing us to share his story in a hard-hitting campaign that highlights the potential devastation of heart disease.

'With the support of researchers and heart patients like Fabrice, the Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign centres on the transformational research that will combat heart disease.'

Leo Fernandes, a painter and decorator who had a heart attack at 46 and also features in the ad, said: 'The truth is heart disease affects everyone.'

Muamba – a dad of one – joined the Arsenal academy in 2002 before moving to Birmingham, then Bolton in 2008.

Keeping busy: Muamba is unveiled as the honourary starter of the BUPA Great Manchester Run this week

Keeping busy: Muamba is unveiled as the honourary starter of the BUPA Great Manchester Run this week

This is not the first time the BHF have used a professional footballer in their adverts in a bid to widen their appeal.

Footballer-turned actor Vinnie Jones famously demonstrated how to do life-saving CPR to the Bee Gees' tune Stayin' Alive.

The BHF today released new research about heart disease to coincide with the launch of the latest advert.

Their figures show people living in poor areas of Britain are 2.87 times more likely to suffer heart disease than those from wealthier areas.

Experts say this is likely to be because people living in these areas are more likely to smoke.

Sergio Aguero plays pool in Manchester pub – pictures

Aguero sinks the reds (again): Right on cue, City's 38m star joins locals for game of pool in Manchester boozer

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:36 GMT, 11 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 11 April 2013

We've all been there – sipping a pint in your local pub waiting for that bloke to finish playing pool so you can get a game.

But what would you do if the guy sending you potty was none other than Sergio Aguero

Manchester City's 38million striker isn't the kind of person you'd expect to bump into as you enjoy a post-work drink down your boozer.

Yet, at just before 6pm yesterday, that's exactly what happened in the Woodley Arms in Stockport.

Pool party: Sergio Aguero lines up a shot at the Woodley Arms in Stockport

Pool party: Sergio Aguero lines up a shot at the Woodley Arms in Stockport

Eye on the balls: Aguero focuses on the game against his opponent

Eye on the balls: Aguero focuses on the game against his opponent

Vision: Aguero takes aim inside the boozer

Vision: Aguero takes aim inside the boozer

Vision: Aguero takes aim inside the boozer as part of an advert being filmed for Puma

Rumours had been circulating that the Argentina ace was going to pop in and around 100 locals got to see him up close.

City boss Roberto Mancini doesn't need to worry about Aguero's post-training habits, however. His visit was part of an advert being filmed by his sponsors Puma.

The player has already spent time being filmed on an all-weather pitch at a nearby sports centre before heading for his game of pool.

VIDEO No chance of a quiet game of pool in this Stockport pub…

Fans descend on Stockport pub to see as Sergio Aguero play pool…

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Famous face: Aguero looked like he enjoyed his visit to the pub

Famous face: Aguero looked like he enjoyed his visit to the pub

Technique: Aguero at the table

Technique: Aguero at the table

Aguero – who scored the winner in Monday's Manchester derby at Old Trafford – was brilliant with the City fans, signing autographs and posing for pictures before driving away in his Aston Martin Vanquish.

Jamie Taylor, manager of the Woodley Arms (and a confesses United fan), was delighted with his pub being used for the event.

He told the Manchester Evening News: 'You couldn’t say No, could you He’s a great player and I was as giddy as anyone when he came through the door.

'A lot of our regulars are City fans
so it’s been a great afternoon for them and something I’m sure we’ll be
having a bit of banter about for a long time.

'He
was pretty handy pool player as well. We’ve got a pool league down here
and if he fancies a regular game he’s welcome any time.'

Local Bob Marston, 70, added: 'Word was spreading like wildfire and I got the call and came straight down.

'I'm
off down to Wembley on Sunday – I was impressed with his pool skills
and hopefully he’ll be in similar form against Chelsea.'

Winner: Aguero fires home against Manchester United - leaving Phil Jones shocked

Winner: Aguero fires home against Manchester United – leaving Phil Jones shocked

Flying high: Aguero celebrates his winner against United at Old Trafford

Flying high: Aguero celebrates his winner against United at Old Trafford

Vincent Kompany "race taunt" to be investigated by Greater Manchester Police

Police to investigate Kompany 'race taunt' after City skipper leads side to derby win

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

08:02 GMT, 10 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:58 GMT, 10 April 2013

Police are investigating post-match footage to determine whether Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany was racially abused after his side's win over rivals United.

Greater Manchester Police say they have received no complaints from either club but were made aware of the footage by local newspaper Manchester Evening News.

Kompany was being interviewed with team-mate James Milner by Sky Sports' Geoff Shreeves when a man can be heard shouting in the background.

Scroll down for video

Victorious: Police are investigating footage of Vincent Kompany's post-match interview

Victorious: Police are investigating footage of Vincent Kompany's post-match interview

A police statement released on
Tuesday says 'the force will work with both clubs and review any footage
to investigate the incident.'

City had previously closed the gap on
Premier League leaders United to 12 points with victory at Old
Trafford, as goals from Milner and Sergio Aguero sealed their win.

Ugly scenes had marred United's
victory at the Etihad in the corresponding fixture on December 9 when
players of the visiting side, including Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand,
were pelted with coins after Robin van Persie's winning free-kick.

Dominant: Kompany (right) guided his side to another Premier League win at Old Trafford

Dominant: Kompany (right) guided his side to another Premier League win at Old Trafford

Match winner: Sergio Aguero celebrates his brilliant winning goal at Old Trafford

Match winner: Sergio Aguero celebrates his brilliant winning goal at Old Trafford

See moment Vincent Kompany may have been racially abused

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BT complain after SKY refuse to show adverts for new sport channel

Sky are a rottweiler and we are a newborn puppy! BT complain after rivals refuse to air their ads for new sport channel

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

11:48 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:29 GMT, 8 April 2013

With all eyes on the Manchester derby a brand new Premier League rivalry is kicking off behind the scenes between rival networks Sky Sports and BT.

BT bosses have accused BSkyB of being a like a ‘rottweiler running away from a newborn puppy’ after the long-standing network refused to air BT’s new advertising campaign.

The adverts are for BT’s new multi-million-pound network to promote its coverage of the Premier League and other sports beginning in the summer.

Sky Sports

BT Sport

Rivalry: Sky refusing to show BT Sports' advert is like a 'rottweiler running away from a newborn puppy'

Signed up: Gareth Bale will be a pundit for BT once they get underway next season

Signed up: Gareth Bale will be a pundit for BT once they get underway next season

Jeff Stelling

Jake Humphrey

Famous faces: Jake Humphrey (right) will be presenting BT's content, rivaling the likes of Jeff Stelling (left)

BT have now lodged an official complaint with regulators Ofcom claiming that BSkyB have shown ‘undue discrimination’ against them by refusing to run the campaign of adverts.

John Petter, managing director of consumer for BT Retail, told the Guardian: ‘We are happy to take Sky’s advertising but they seem afraid of taking ours. It’s like a rottweiler running away from a newborn puppy.’

Host: BT will be home to some of the biggest games in the Premier League

Host: BT will be home to some of the biggest games in the Premier League

BT spent 738million to take 38 top-flight games next season after the channel launches in July and will also air Premiership Rugby and European Rugby.

But a key part of their strategy of growth is to raise awareness of their new channel by advertising on Sky Sports channels.

The broadcast code states that 'a radio broadcaster must not unduly discriminate between advertisers that seek to have any commercial communication included in its licensed service.'

COMPLAINT FROM BT AGAINST SKY

Ofcom has opened an investigation following a complaint from BT against Sky under Ofcom’s Code on the Prevention of Undue Discrimination between Broadcast Advertisers (“the Code”). Rule 4.1 of the Code states:

'A television broadcaster must not unduly discriminate between advertisers that seek to have advertising included in its licensed service.'

Under section 319 of the Communications Act 2003 ('the Act'), Ofcom has a duty to set standards for the content of programmes to be included in television and radio services, in one or more codes.

Under section 319(2)(k) of the Act, one of the standards objectives Ofcom must secure through such codes is that 'there is no undue discrimination between advertisers who seek to have advertisements included in television and radio services'.

Georgie Thompson makes F1 return just two races after quitting Sky Sports

Presenter Thompson makes Formula One return just months after quitting Sky Sports

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

14:29 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:00 GMT, 8 April 2013

Georgie Thompson has returned to Formula One just two races after turning her back on the sport.

The pint-sized presenter, who left Sky Sports' coverage after only one season, is the new face of Lotus sponsor Suremen.

Scroll down for video of Georgie presenting Sky Sports' F1 coverage last season

GEORGIE THOMPSON

Back in the fast lane: Georgie Thompson has returned to Formula One as an ambassador for Sure

GEORGIE THOMPSON

GEORGIE THOMPSON

'It's great to be involved in a
campaign focused on F1 and Suremen is such an exciting brand to be
involved with, especially given the strong early season form of the
Lotus, with Kimi Raikkonen winning the first race,' Thompson said.

'It's a brand that fits really well with the fast-paced and exhilarating F1 lifestyle – I'm really looking forward to being a part of such an exciting project.'

Thompson ended her 11-year stint as the face of Sky Sports News to join the corporation's F1 presenting team for their inaugural foray into the sport.

Georgie Thompson

Glamour race: Georgie was disillusioned with her second-fiddle role in Sky Sports' F1 coverage

Glamour Race: Georgie was disappointed at her second-fiddle role in Sky Sports' F1 coverage

Georgie Thompson

Georgie Thompson

But the 35-year-old host turned her back on F1 after becoming disillusioned with playing second fiddle to main presenter Simon Lazenby.

Thompson informed Sky of her decision in the build-up to this season's first F1 show, which aired on February 15. Her profile has since been airbrushed out of the team shot on the Sky Sports F1 website.

VIDEO Georgie Thompson on Sky Sports' F1 coverage

Heineken Cup quarter-final previews 2013

Your weekend guide to the Heineken Cup: Three English sides in the last eight

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 5 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 5 April 2013

Harlequins, Saracens and Leicester will be flying the flag for the Aviva Premiership in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals this weekend.

Here, Sportsmail tells you everything you need to know ahead of one of the most eagerly anticipated weekend's of the season…

Flying the flag: Manu Tuilagi starts for Leicester against Toulon

Flying the flag: Manu Tuilagi starts for Leicester against Toulon

Clermont Auvergne v Montpellier

(Saturday: Stade Marcel Micheli, 3.40pm, live on Sky Sports 1)

Clermont are favourites to extend a run of 58 successive home wins. Wales’ Lee Byrne and Scotland’s Nathan Hines face Scot Johnnie Beattie.

PREDICTION: Home win.

Harlequins v Munster

(Sunday: The Stoop, 2pm, live on Sky Sports 2)

England captain Chris Robshaw returns for Quins’ bid for a first semi-final. Munster are boosted by return of lock Paul O’Connell and wing Simon Zebo.

PREDICTION: Home win.

Home tie: Owen Farrell is in the Saracens side to face Munster at Twickenham

Home tie: Owen Farrell is in the Saracens side to face Munster at Twickenham

Saracens v Ulster

(Saturday: Twickenham, 6.30pm, live on Sky Sports 1)

Saracens opt for fly-half Owen Farrell over Charlie Hodgson. They also recall Scotland flanker Kelly Brown. Ulster welcome prop John Afoa.

PREDICTION: Home win.

Toulon v Leicester

(Sunday: Stade Felix Mayol, 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports 2)

Leicester name same starters for third week running. Toby Flood faces former Newcastle colleague in Jonny Wilkinson. Prop Andrew Sheridan starts.

PREDICTION: Away win.

Amlin Challenge Cup — quarter-final

Bath v Stade Francais

(Saturday: The Rec, 1pm, live on Sky Sports 1)

Bath move Horacio Agulla to centre for Matt Banahan. Nick Abendanon returns on wing. Italy captain Sergio Parisse is in a Stade team alongside ex-Wallaby flanker David Lyons.

PREDICTION: Away win.

Robin Van Persie hails Manchester United"s team of winners

Van Persie hails United's team of winners as they edge closer to title

PUBLISHED:

15:35 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:23 GMT, 30 March 2013

Manchester United moved another step closer to the Barclays Premier League title as they won 1-0 at Sunderland, and striker Robin van Persie was quick to praise the attitude of his team-mates.

United are 18 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City as a result and it would take a collapse of dramatic proportions for them to throw the title away.

Van Persie claimed the only goal today, although replays suggested his shot was not going in until Titus Bramble put it into his own net, but the striker was not too concerned.

Almost there: Robin Van Persie celebrates United's win

Almost there: Robin Van Persie celebrates United's win

Get in there: Robin Van Persie celebrates with team-mates

Get in there: Robin Van Persie celebrates with team-mates

'We got the three points, we knew it would be tough because Sunderland work hard and we had to dig in, but we deserved it,' he told Sky Sports 2.

'It didn't matter who scored today, it was all about the three points.

'This team is full of winners, everyone knows what they have to do and it was never in doubt for me. I was confident we would win.'

A title coronation seems inevitable in
the next couple of weeks and midfielder Michael Carrick is anticipating
winning another medal.

'We played some good football today, even if we didn't get as many goalscoring opportunities as we'd have liked,' he added.

'It was all about coming here and winning. We're getting closer and it's one game less. We have to keep going.'

Keeping an eye on it: Van Persie sees his goal go in off Bramble

Keeping an eye on it: Van Persie sees his goal go in off Bramble

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland captain John O' Shea tackles Manchester United's Van Persie

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland captain John O' Shea tackles Manchester United's Van Persie

United next face Chelsea in the FA Cup replay on Monday and Van Persie has warned fans not to expect a classic.

It is the kind of scheduling that has England's European counterparts scratching their heads in bewilderment.

And Van Persie points out it is difficult for the players to reach a high level of performance twice in such a short period of time.

'It is not ideal,' he told MUTV.

'Normally on the second day your muscles are quite bad but now we have to play at this certain time.

'It is a shame but we can't do anything about it because there are Champions League games in midweek and Chelsea are still in the Europa League.

'We just have to deal with it.

'People have to realise they can't expect a great game of football because it is not possible.

'If it happens I am glad, but don't expect it because these games are just too close to each other.'

Hectic schedule: Jonny Evans admits United are heading into the unknown during their packed Easter period

Hectic schedule: Jonny Evans admits United are heading into the unknown during their packed Easter period

Van Persie was speaking after
United's 1-0 win at Sunderland, which maintains their 15-point advantage
over Manchester City with just eight games remaining.

City will be the opponents for
Monday's victors at Stamford Bridge, with Van Persie eager to get his
hands on a trophy he won with Arsenal but United have not lifted since
2004.

'It has been a while,' he said.

'It has been nine years since we last won it and we want to win the double.

'We made a big step today but we want to go for both. We have a chance to reach the semi-final against City.'

Jonny Evans admitted Manchester
United will head into the unknown as they attempt to book an FA Cup
semi-final place just 48 hours after strengthening their grip on the
Barclays Premier League title.

Evans said: 'I have never really been in that situation before, so it will be new to probably most of us.

'It's
just all about tonight. We will probably go back and get a good
recovery session in and make sure we have done everything we can
physically to make sure we are right for the game on Monday.'

Evans
will make the trip to Stamford Bridge hoping for a start after getting
his chance on Wearside as a first-half substitute when full-back Rafael
da Silva limped off.

Chris
Smalling moved from central defence to right-back to accommodate the
25-year-old as aUnited defence which had been criticised earlier in the
campaign recorded its sixth successive league clean sheet.

Diving in: Alex Buttner slides in on Sunderland's Simon Mignolet

Diving in: Alex Buttner slides in on Sunderland's Simon Mignolet

Asked about the difficulty of
competing with Ferdinand and Vidic for a place in the heart of the back
four, he said: 'You are always competing.

'Even if one of those two isn't fit,
you have got Chris Smalling, who started at centre-back today. I'm sure
he was disappointed to get moved to right-back, it's not his favourite
position, but for the sake of the team, he did that.

'Phil
Jones is another one. The competition is all over the pitch. You look
at the players who didn't start today or have been left behind – it's
some team, really.'

Monday
night's game represents an opportunity to keep hopes of yet another
Double alive with United marching inexorably towards the league title.

Their
recent surge – they have now lost only once in 22 games in all
competitions, and that in controversial circumstances to Real Madrid in
the Champions League – has been based on defensive resilience rather
than attacking flair, and Evans admits it is a pleasant change for the
men at the back to receive the plaudits normally reserved for their
attacking colleagues.

He said with a smile: “You have probably noticed we haven't scored as many goals. It's getting that fine balance.

'We will take it the way we are at the minute. Especially as a defender, it's better to keep clean sheets than having the forwards getting all the glory, I suppose, so we are just happy.

'Clean sheets, that's what we want as defenders, so we are delighted with that.'

Sir Alex Ferguson used the depth of his squad at the Stadium of Light with Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney not even making the 18.

Da Silva must be a doubt after being unable to continue against Sunderland, while Vidic was left clutching his back after a rugged challenge with striker Danny Graham, although he made it through to the final whistle.

JT McNamara in "very positive frame of mind" after being paralysed by horror fall

McNamara in 'very positive frame of mind' despite being paralysed by horror fall

By
Marcus Townend

PUBLISHED:

19:16 GMT, 29 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:57 GMT, 29 March 2013

Jockey JT McNamara, seriously injured in
a fall at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month, has expressed his
gratitude for the support he has received as it was publicly confirmed
he has been left paralysed.

A statement issued by Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Irish Turf Club Senior
Medical Officer and Lisa Hancock, CEO, Injured Jockeys Fund on behalf of
the McNamara Family, said: ‘JT McNamara remains in the Frenchay
Hospital, Bristol.

Moving: JT McNamara is improving and will be moved to a hospital in Ireland

Moving: JT McNamara is improving and will be moved to a hospital in Ireland

‘Whilst he suffered a serious neck injury resulting in paralysis, he has made progress in the last week and is in a very positive frame of mind.

‘He is greatly appreciative of the many messages, cards and letters received and also wishes to thank the Frenchay Hospital who are looking after him so well.’

McNamara was injured in a first fence fall from Galaxy Rock in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Hancock said: 'It's a risky sport. Safety is important and it continues to be, but it is a risky sport and every jockey knows that. We are looking at safety measures and continue to do so.]

'But at the end of the day you're riding a horse at speed and jumping fences at speed so the risk is always there.'

JT McNamara

Paul Struthers, chief excutive of the Professional Jockeys Association, tweeted: 'Awful news with confirmation of the extent of JT's injuries. The risks faced/sacrifices made by our brave boys & girls face to entertain us.'

The Jockey Club tweeted: 'We echo the sentiments expressed across our sport & beyond, and send our very best wishes to JT McNamara & those dear to him.'

Grand National-winning rider Mick Fitzgerald has also spoken of his sadness and of the risks involved in racing.

Now a successful pundit on television and radio, Fitzgerald told Sky Sports News: 'It's a mixture of sadness, it's the end of a great career for a jockey who was an amateur and did it because he loved the game.

'When it happened at the time a sombre (mood) descended on Cheltenham, everyone had everything crossed and plenty of people were praying their worse fears wouldn't be realised. This is the end of a glittering career.

'The great thing I can say is that he's in a positive frame of mind and that is number one. He's surrounded by people who love him and I can only extend my best wishes to him and his family.

'It's a high-risk sport and this is one of the things that can happen. As a jump jockey you go out to ride every day knowing it could be your last. You never think it could be you, it always happens to someone else.

'We devote our lives to the sport we love. None of us want to see a jockey injured, the same goes for the horse.

Sombre: Former Grand National winner and racing pundit Mick Fitzgerald spoke out about his sadness

Sombre: Former Grand National winner and racing pundit Mick Fitzgerald spoke out about his sadness

'Getting injured is always in the back of your mind but if you were thinking about it, you wouldn't be able to do your job.

'He's alive and well and in a positive frame of mind. It's important that racing does what it can to help him enjoy the rest of life. I cannot tell you how nice a guy he is.'

The latest statement on McNamara's condition was issued jointly by Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Irish Turf Club Senior Medical Officer and Lisa Hancock, CEO, Injured Jockeys Fund, on behalf of the rider's family and read: 'JT McNamara remains in the Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. Whilst he suffered a serious neck injury resulting in paralysis, he has made progress in the last week and is in a very positive frame of mind.

'He is greatly appreciative of the many messages, cards and letters received and also wishes to thank the Frenchay Hospital who are looking after him so well.'