Courtney Lawes used to dream of winning Grand Slams — but at Wimbledon rather than Twickenham. The England star is in the mix to start against visitors France in round two of the Six Nations on Sunday, with Maro Itoje out for at least two matches with knee-ligament damage suffered in Saturday's win over Ireland. Lawes is the most experienced forward available to head coach Eddie Jones — his next cap will be his 70th, and only three England locks have won more. For a decade he has made brutal hits, yet he started out smashing tennis balls rather than opponents on the rugby pitch. “Growing up, I didn’t have a set plan— other than to play sport,” said Lawes, who turns 30 on February 23 — the day England play Wales in Cardiff. “I loved football and tennis, which I played all the time. Tennis gave me good hand-eye co-ordination and helped me in other ways — you’re on your own. You can’t rely on anyone else to do it for … [Read more...] about Six Nations 2019: England’s Courtney Lawes reveals surprising past as TENNIS player
The climax to the American football season is much more than just a sports event. It is a cultural juggernaut which mixes athleticism, politics, showbiz and obscene amounts of food and drink into an international event that often makes as many headlines for what happens when the players are off the field as when they step between the white lines.Here's everything you need to know about Super Bowl LIII... When is the game?The 53rd annual instalment of the National Football League's championship game will be played on Sunday.The New England Patriots (winners of the AFC) will face off against the Los Angeles Rams (winners of the NFC), with kick-off at 11.30pm UK time.Where will it be played? Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia will host its first Super Bowl, having opened in 2017. It is one of the few NFL stadiums with a retractable roof.The $1.6bn (£1.2bn) arena can hold more than 70,000 fans and is the home of the Atlanta Falcons, who were on the end of a miraculous comeback … [Read more...] about Super Bowl LIII Essential Guide: New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams
What do you need to know about the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, the two teams competing in this year's Super Bowl? Championship weekend was a wild one, as - for the first time in NFL history - both games went to overtime. The Rams came through with a dramatic win in New Orleans and the Patriots edged out the Chiefs in another classic, meaning Super Bowl LIII will feature a match up of two great franchises. Texans, Panthers to make UK debuts London will again host four NFL matches in 2019, with the Houston Texans and the Carolina Panthers making their UK debuts. Here, we break down both of the Super Bowl finalists... New England PatriotsSuper Bowl HistoryThe current era of success for the New England Patriots is arguably the greatest of all time and the level of sustained supremacy may never be matched. Since … [Read more...] about New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams: Who are the Super Bowl finalists?
Eddie Jones has been told by Saracens that he has no reason to fear England’s Six Nations campaign being wrecked by the withdrawal of their players. Two days after accepting a 35-point deduction and a fine of £5.36 million for breaching the salary cap, the Premiership champions held clear the air talks with their entire playing squad. Team boss Mark McCall addressed the group, answering questions and assuring the players that withdrawing them from England duty in order to bolster Saracens’ relegation fight would not happen. Sarries have plunged to the foot of the table, 26 points adrift and five of their remaining 18 league games clash with the Six Nations. But McCall said: “To be clear, I support our players playing for England 100 per cent. I genuinely want them to. It's the absolute pinnacle of the game.” Saracens supplied six of the team that started the World Cup final and Jones reckons the club’s plight could have a “significant … [Read more...] about Eddie Jones assured that Saracens players will put country first in Six Nations
Anthony Watson says he will not watch England’s World Cup final defeat for as long as he is playing rugby. The Bath fullback was one of the star performers in Japan, ending more than a year of injury hell with a series of top class displays. He earned rave reviews in the semi-final against New Zealand, as England turned in one of their best ever displays. Yet Watson will not be watching that again - just as he won’t be tuning in to see how England got it wrong against South Africa in the final. “I won’t go back and relive those games, whilst I’m still playing anyway,” said the 25-year-old, who lines up against Harlequins in the Champions Cup on Saturday “Definitely the full 80 minutes I won’t watch. It’s been and gone. There’s more to do, more to achieve.” The final is understandable, given the hammering inflicted by the Springboks that day in Yokohama. Surely, though, the All Blacks game is one to see again? “No, … [Read more...] about Anthony Watson won’t watch England’s World Cup final loss as he focuses on the future
Nathan Hughes’s hopes of featuring in England’s autumn internationals have suffered a further blow after a comment made on Twitter during his disciplinary hearing on Wednesday landed the Wasps No 8 in more hot water. In another setback for both -England and Wasps, Dan Robson has been ruled out until the new year by injury, while doubts have also arisen over whether Joe Launchbury will be fit for the start of the November series. Hughes will learn his fate next week at a second hearing after the first – for punching Gloucester’s Lewis -Ludlow in the head – was postponed by the disciplinary panel because “an issue arose during the evening”. It is understood the issue in question is a tweet from Hughes, sent during the -hearing, which said: “What a joke” – -seemingly a criticism of the disciplinary proceedings. He swiftly deleted it but after more than four hours’ deliberation the Rugby Football Union confirmed the delay in … [Read more...] about Nathan Hughes’s England hopes worsen thanks to ‘What a joke’ tweet