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The Guardian Sport - March 31, 2018

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ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORTNZ
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:1 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 23:59
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
•••
Sports newspaper of the year
Light
fantastic
Joshua sheds
the pounds
to shape up
for Parker
showdown
Here’s
Jonny
Bairstow
hits ton but
England
all out in
quick time
Page 12 Wilkins fight
Former England
star is put in an
induced coma
Page 6 Wilshere fearr
ld
Midfielder could
or
leave Arsenal for
free in summerr
The Talk Page 4 Saturday 31 March 2018
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:2 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 16:04
•
2
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Sport
Boxing
Battle of gentleman
heavyweights
Joshua prepares to
unleash his mean streak
Joseph Parker, the
WBO champion, will be a
formidable foe when the
Briton tries to add a third
ollection
world title to collection
Kevin Mitchelll
Cardiff
W
hen Anthony
Joshua said
he wanted to
clean up the
heavyweight
division, he
surely did not intend to be mistaken
for the Dalai Lama. Yet, in the
months, weeks and days leading up
to yesterday’s weigh-in at Cardiff,
prayer meetings have generated
more friction than that between
the world champion and his wellmannered New Zealand guest,
Joseph Parker, who stands between
the Watford man and the ultimate
cleansing of the business, against
the American Deontay Wilder and
then, perhaps, Tyson Fury.
That is some way off. For now,
we have an argument over three
of the four recognised world title
belts between two polite gentleman
pugilists whose respect for each
other borders on friendship, and it
moves smoothly towards resolution
in front of 80,000 fans at the
Principality Stadium tonight.
Although Joshua says: “Boxing
is not just about knocking people
out,” there had been flickering signs
of animal tension before yesterday’s
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
weigh-in, where he scaled 17st 4lb
– 12lb lighter than his last fight – to
Parker’s 16st 12lb. They intruded
most obviously on Sky’s Gloves
Off preview, as the whispering
adversaries tried to stare each other
down across a table in a darkened
studio, and the jovial Johnny
Nelson did his best to crank up the
aggravation.
On screen, Parker tried to
backtrack on earlier observations
that Joshua had a fragile chin,
although he added he would be
counting on exploiting exactly
that as the quickest route to
what would be a genuine upset.
Joshua glowered – and went all
philosophical. “Everything that you
are is everything that I am,” he told
him, sounding more like Jean-Paul
Sartre than Fury, “and everything
that you are is what you’re going to
face on 31 March.”
The Briton – who recovered
from a mid-fight crisis to dethrone
Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley last
year – reminded the rock-chinned
Parker: “I may not be as durable but
I can definitely take a punch.” That
betrayed alarming vulnerability
until he added “and get up and keep
going – and I’ll get the win”.
Sartre – who boxed – would
have loved that; his Parisian salon
sparring partner, Albert Camus,
probably would not. Joshua and
Parker, unwittingly perhaps, are on
Sartre’s side. Enough.
Joshua and Parker are proud
representatives of Nigerian and
Polynesian fighting heritage
respectively, and that will underpin
their commitment. There will be
plenty of thinking going on but as
with every collision in boxing’s
most hazardous workplace, the
matter will be settled in bruises and
split-second regrets.
Anyone who saw the Australian
▼ Anthony Joshua survived a scare to
beat Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017
RICHARD HEATHCOTE/GETTY IMAGES
Lucas Browne fall like an axebattered oak in the sixth round
against Dillian Whyte at the O2 in
London last weekend – failing to
stir until the smelling salts and
oxygen kicked in – was reminded of
heavyweight boxing’s core truth:
stand in front of a heavy puncher
for too long and a night in hospital
beckons.
This fight has all the makings of an
equally uncomfortable evening – and,
when it gets seriously demanding,
Joshua and Parker will draw on the
invisible attributes of determination,
self-belief and honesty. The boxing
ring is no place for liars.
Parker earlier in the week
spoke of the inner strength he has
constructed from the inspiration of
a God-fearing upbringing and the
comfort of a close Samoan family.
His parents will be ringside; his
brother in his corner. Joshua, who
had his well-publicised brushes with
authority on the streets of Watford
but learned from his mistakes,
responded eloquently to questions
about the changes in his teenage
attitude and behaviour.
When his promoter, Eddie Hearn,
described him as “a bad guy trying
to be good”, the champion smiled
and said: “I get his point but I think
what he is saying is that I can be
completely different, I can act
different. I choose not to. I choose to
be respectful. It’s good to look back at
the struggle. It shows where you’ve
come from, the journey you are on.”
Pausing, he asserted: “The
world is built on opposites, isn’t
it? It’s either success or failure,
good or bad. It’s good to show the
comparisons.”
Asked what the Joshua of 2018
would say to the young “bad” Joshua
who was busted for marijuana
possession, he said: “That was 2011,
a year or so before the Olympics.
Watford was everything to me
back then. What would I say to that
kid? ‘What you see is what you can
achieve. If you don’t know there’s
a Range Rover out there, you won’t
aspire to get one.’
“I would tell that kid to have a
broader mindset, not focus on the
estate or the community that you
know. There’s a whole world out
there. There are people with a lot of
knowledge. It’s about broadening
your horizons.
“Kids can feel like there’s nothing
out there for them. Life is tough.
I won’t tell people it’s easy. And
the way the world is set up makes
it difficult, doesn’t it? I support a
lot of kids, a lot of people, but you
can only take them so far. It’s up to
them to do the rest.” To that end,
Joshua wants to invest some of his
considerable fortune in the north
London gym, Finchley ABC, where
he learned his craft as an amateur,
stretching its remit to benefit young
boxers away from the ring.
“Floyd Mayweather’s gym is
an iconic spot in Vegas and people
travel from around the world to
go there. Finchley has a lot of
history and Sean [Murphy, the
head coach] is the character of the
gym. I just thought, how could
you commercialise this space,
make it bigger? They should have a
foundation where we raise money,
have some kind of legacy there,
education for kids, tutorship and
discipline.
▲ Joseph Parker in action during his win over Hughie Fury last year
“Boxing is not just about knocking
people out. It’s healthy living,
discipline. You mix with different
races, culture, religions. Let’s
say this religion doesn’t like that
religion. In boxing, you shake hands
and respect each other. It teaches
kids all these benefits. But boxing is
also quite backward, old and rugged.
I thought they could advance the
gym a bit if they wanted to,” said
Joshua.
‘I
t’s good to challenge
kid’s minds. Reading and
knowledge used to be
forbidden. A lot of secrets,
knowledge and wisdom
were kept [away from
them]. But now you have access to
all this knowledge. We shouldn’t
take that for granted. It’s all out
there. Even though it’s tough, there
is a way.”
And that is what he has to do
tonight, find a way as he reaches for
his 21st early finish in 21 professional
fights, to keep his WBA and IBF belts
and take Parker’s WBO title as well.
All the talking will be irrelevant
the moment the bell goes. For whom
it tolls at the end is up to the fighters.
This is no existential game. This is as
real as it gets. And it is heartening to
realise the fighters are going to battle
with clean hearts. They already
speak the same language.
Like Sartre and Camus, they
are ready to put their similar but
competing philosophies to the test.
I expect Joshua to win the argument
in a bloody battle full of drama that
ends before the 10th round.
Joshua’s weight loss
‘I feel better’
A leaner and lighter Anthony Joshua
weighed in six pounds heavier than
Joseph Parker, tipping the scales at
17st 4lb 2oz yesterday.
“I’ve been running well, training
well,” he said. “Losing that little
bit of extra weight has made things
that little bit easier. I feel better. If
everything goes to plan, you’ll see
I’ll be a lot sharper and my reactions
and timing will be a lot better.”
Joshua’s camp had made much his
obsession with shedding the pounds
and how that had been paying off in
his ringcraft and training.
Parker took it as a compliment. “It
makes me think he’s taking this fight
really seriously. He’s trained very
hard,” he said. Reuters
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:3 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 16:04
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
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•
3
Fight zone
Joshua v Parker
•••••••••••••••••••••••• Wins
Wins ••••••••••••••••••••
20
Tale of the tape
All by KO/TKO
19 by KO/TKO, 5 on points
15 Oct 1989
Born
9 Jan 1992
Watford
Place
South Auckland , NZ
28
Age
Orthodox
26
Orthodox
Stance
6ft 6in
Height
6ft 4in
17st 4lb
Weight
16st 12lb
82in
Reach
76in
Total rounds
123
65
‘I can be completely
different, I can act
different. I choose
not to. I choose to
be respectful’
24
Expected crowd
Tonight
Principality
Stadium, Cardiff
Ringwalk expected
10.15-10.30pm
80,000
Past 3 fights
ts
Beat
Carlos Takam
28 Oct 2017
Late stand-in
Takam lasted 10
rounds before
the referee
intervened with
Takam bleeding
around
both eyes
Beat
Wladimir
Klitschko
29 Apr 2017
Got up off the
floor in the sixth
to stop Klitschko
in the 11th and
add the WBA
belt to his IBF
title
Beat
Éric Molina
10 Dec 2016
Referee called a
halt in the third
with Molina
reeling
Years since Anthony
Joshua was preparing
for his breakthrough
– winning gold at the
London 2012 Olympics
Beat
hie Fury
Hughie
23 Sep 2017
ker found
Parker
y elusive,
Fury
was outboxed
ly on but
early
e through
came
it decision
by split
Beat
Razvan
an Cojanu
6 May 2017
Laboured
ured to his
first defence
of the
he WBO
title. Won on
a unanimous
animous
decision
ecision
Beat
Andy
y Ruiz Jr
10 Dec 2016
Parker
er grabbed
the
e vacant
WBO
O title by
a majority
decision
sion with
115-113
3 from two
judgess and a 114114
4 draw
61
Joseph Parker is the
only New Zealand-born
heavyweight world
champion, a feat he
achieved last March
The undercard
Alexander Povetkin
v David Price
() WBA/WBO heavyweight
Pove
P
weight inter-continental and international
v Yonfrez Parejo WBA bantamweight
Ryan Burnett
B
Anthony
Crolla v Edson Ramirez
Ant
rez lightweight
v Hakim Ben Ali vacant
Joe Cordina
Cord
nt WBA lightweight
Carlos Molina vacant WBA international
Josh Kelly v Ca
nternational welterweightt
v Mose Auimatagi Jr super middleweight
Morgan Jones
J
Sean McGoldrick v Ricky
ky Little
iej Grafka
Joshua Buatsi v Bartlomiej
The referee
Giuseppe Quartarone
Quartaron Italy
Took charge at York Hall
H for Katie
Taylor’s WBA title defence
in
de
December and refere
refereed Alexander
Povetkin’s WBA heavyweight
win
heav
over Cedric Boswell in 2011
Odds
Joshua
a 1–6 Parker 9–2 Draw 28–1
TV Live
ve on Sky Sports Box Office
Radio Live on TalkSport
Online
e Join Bryan Armen Graham
for ourr unrivalled round-by-round
coverage
age at theguardian.com/sport
‘If you love it,
you don’t see it as
tough. I enjoy the
pain my body
goes through’
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:4 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:19
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
••
4
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Sport
Football
The talk
Escape like it’s 1999
Mark Hughes will use the memory
of Southampton’s great escape
in 1999 to help inspire another.
“Anxiety plays a bigger part at the
wrong end of the table,” he said.
News and views from around the game
‘We have to keep
Sterling – he knows
he is important to us’
Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola has
stressed the importance of
Manchester City keeping
hold of Raheem Sterling after the
23-year-old impressed again for
England in midweek.
It is barely a year since the
winger’s future at the Etihad
appeared to be in doubt, but
Guardiola is aware Sterling’s
transformation this season into
both a goalscorer and effective
attacking threat will not have gone
unnoticed. The former Liverpool
player is under contract until
2020, but it is understood City will
open negotiations on an improved
extension at the end of the season.
“Txiki [Begiristain, the club’s
director of football] is talking about
that,” Guardiola said before City’s
visit to Everton this evening. “There
is no doubt we have to keep him.
Maybe other clubs are now interested
because he is playing so well but he
knows how important he is to us.”
Sterling was man of the match in
England’s 1-1 draw against Italy, and
from being a fringe player is now a
certain starter when England take to
the field in Russia in June.
Guardiola revealed that John
Stones suffered concussion in the
game at Wembley before coming off
late in the second half and will have
to sit out today’s match at his former
club owing to medical protocol.
Stones should be able to return
for the Champions League quarterfinal at Liverpool on Wednesday, and
Guardiola is aware of the danger of
the significance of the second trip to
Merseyside overshadowing the first.
“We have had a three-week break,
and plenty of time to review our
games this season against Liverpool,”
he said. “But I have still tried to
prepare for Everton as if it is the most
important game of the season.
“Goodison is always a tough
place to go and I think it would be
a mistake to do otherwise. We are
very close to the title, two more wins
would suffice, but I keep telling my
players that though we are in a very
good position, it is not done yet.”
Paul Wilson
Everton v Man City, 5.30pm, today
▲ Raheem Sterling will open talks
over a new contract in the summer
‘Wilshere will always have injury’
niggles – it’s how he’s structured’
Steve Bould
Arsenal fear midfielder could leave for
free in June after reduced wages offer
Arsenal fear Jack Wilshere
will reject their offer of a
new contract and leave on a
free transfer in the summer. Arsène
Wenger has previously suggested
the club have made him a take-it-orleave-it offer and, at the moment, it
looks as though the midfielder will
do the latter. Everton, West Ham and
Juventus have been linked with a
move for the 26-year-old.
Arsenal have proposed a heavily
incentivised deal because they are
mindful of Wilshere’s fitness record.
He pulled out of Gareth Southgate’s
England squad during the recent
international break with a knee
problem but the player has trained
and is in contention to face Stoke at
Emirates Stadium tomorrow.
“That’s the nature of Jack, I’m
afraid,” Steve Bould, the assistant
manager, said. “He can pick up an
injury because his ankle will turn.
He’s got a sore knee. I think perhaps
he will always have a little niggle
here and there because of the way he
is structured. But he’s a great player.
A fit Jack Wilshere is a very good
player.”
Bould was asked whether he
hoped Wilshere and the club could
work out their differences over the
new deal and reach an agreement.
“Of course,” he said. “I’ve known
Jack since he was a real young kid.
He loves the football club and we just
need him fit more often than he has
been in the past. It is something he
might have to manage all his career.”
The Wilshere contract saga has
rumbled on since September, after
he chose to stay put at Arsenal and
fight for his place. Wenger had told
Wilshere that the club would not
offer him a new deal and, if he could
get something elsewhere, he could
take it and go.
Wilshere did not find anything
and, as he was not fully fit at the
▲ Jack
Wilshere is
not happy
with Arsenal’s
£80,000
contract offer
DAVID PRICE/
ARSENAL/GETTY
time, decided to put his head down,
concentrate on his conditioning
and hope to impress in the Carabao
Cup and Europa League – which
he did. He worked his way back
into Wenger’s first-choice team
in December and there have been
games in which he has shown his
best form.
Wilshere has managed to change
Wenger’s mind about him to the
extent that he does now have the
Arsène Wenger won’t
break the bank to
keep Jack Wilshere
offer of a contract, albeit on reduced
basic terms of £80,000 a week,
which he finds unacceptable. But the
question has nagged away as to how
much Arsenal truly want him to stay
at the club.
They have shown the ability to
break the bank for players they
consider essential – for example,
Mesut Özil agreed a new deal worth
£350,000-a-week in February when
it looked as though he was planning
to make a summer departure as a
free agent. A similar offer was also
made to Alexis Sánchez, although
in the end it was not enough to keep
him from departing the club for
Manchester United.
Wilshere has said that his
preference is to stay at the club he
joined at the age of nine. Something
significant must give for that to
happen, however.
David Hytner
Arsenal v Stoke, 1.30pm, tomorrow
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:5 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:43
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
••
Football fixtures,
results and tables
Cook’s added ingredient
Eddie Howe believes Lewis Cook
can make England’s World Cup
squad after his debut this week: “I
think it can give him that confidence
to say he deserved to be there.”
Pardew hopes for Baggies stay
Alan Pardew wants to remain at
West Brom even if they are relegated.
“I’d like to come back with a squad
that better reflects the way I play,
with more attacking prowess.”
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
P W
Wolves
39 26
Cardiff
38 24
Fulham
39 20
Aston Villa
38 20
Derby
38 16
Middlesbrough
39 18
Bristol City
39 16
Millwall
39 16
Sheffield Utd
39 18
Preston
39 15
Brentford
39 14
Leeds
39 15
Ipswich
38 15
Norwich
39 13
QPR
39 12
Nottm Forest
39 13
Sheffield Wed
39 10
Hull
38
9
Reading
39
9
Bolton
39
9
Barnsley
39
7
Birmingham
38
9
Sunderland
39
6
Burton Albion
39
7
‘Ask Pogba about his dip in
form when you get a chance.
It’s not to do with his injury’
José Mourinho
‘Liverpool
have only
finals from
now on’
Jürgen Klopp
Jürgen Klopp has
said Liverpool are
well-equipped for the
series of “finals” that will
define their season.
The Liverpool manager
takes charge of his 100th
Premier League game
at Crystal Palace where
victory, coupled with
a Tottenham win over
Chelsea tomorrow, would
establish a 10-point lead
over the champions in
the race for a Champions
League place. Liverpool
then face Manchester
City in a Champions
League quarterfinal, either side of a
Merseyside derby.
“We have only finals
from now on,” Klopp said.
“As we have said before,
you create the basis for
the finish. We are in a
good position.”
Klopp will be without
Joe Gomez () who is out
for three to four weeks
with an ankle injury.
Andy Hunter
Crystal Palace v Liverpool,
12.30pm today
José Mourinho denied Paul Pogba’s drop
in form is a hangover from the serious
hamstring injury he suffered in September,
with Manchester United’s manager saying the £89m
midfielder should be asked the reason why he is
struggling.
Mourinho also said he expects Luke Shaw to still be at
United next season, despite substituting the defender at
half-time in the win over Brighton before the international
break and again criticising the left-back’s display.
Pogba suffered the hamstring problem early in the first
half of the 3-0 win over Basel in the Champions League
on 12 September. He had been in fine form until then
but since his return for the 4-1 victory over Newcastle in
November, the 25-year-old has laboured.
While Pogba was dropped and an unused replacement
against Brighton, Mourinho dismissed the suggestion
the player’s continued omission was because of any
lingering effects of his spell out. “It’s nothing to do with
his injury,” Mourinho said. “His recovery was good.”
Pressed on what the dip in form is down to, Mourinho
said: “Ask him when you get a chance.”
Pogba scored for France in their 3-1 friendly win in
Russia on Tuesday, yet Mourinho refused to give an
assessment of his display. “I don’t comment on my
players’ performances in national teams,” he said.
Of Shaw still being at Old Trafford next season,
Mourinho said: “I think so but I always say the door is
open for everyone [to leave] so no problem for him.”
Mourinho also confirmed Shaw is in the squad for
today’s home game against Swansea. “He’s selected,
he’s in the 18,” the manager said.
Jamie Jackson
Manchester United v Swansea, 3pm, today
Sam Allardyce believes Jordan Pickford has
strengthened his claims to be England’s World
Cup goalkeeper not only with an impressive
display against the Netherlands but also with his
performances throughout Everton’s difficult season.
Pickford has been one of Everton’s few transfer
successes of last summer and during England’s recent 1-0
win in Amsterdam enhanced his prospects of starting in
Russia next summer. The 24-year-old has conceded 50
Premier League goals in his debut season at Goodison
Park but that statistic, Allardyce argues, reflects the
team’s struggles in general and not the goalkeeper’s form.
The Everton manager said: “He’s given Gareth a lot to
think about with his performance the other night and his
performances for us. People go on about him conceding
a lot of goals for Everton but that is not the statistic you
look at. You look at the saves he makes. He’s been far too
busy on too many occasions.”
Allardyce said he has never felt insecure in his
position at Everton, despite criticism from fans and other
managers being linked with the job. “It is not an insecure
position and never has been,” he said. “You can create
as much insecurity as you like with speculation but the
reality is I have never felt insecure.”
Andy Hunter
Everton v Manchester City, 5.30pm today
A
34
32
41
37
38
38
44
37
44
41
47
54
48
46
56
56
53
59
57
58
58
57
69
70
GD
+37
+29
+27
+24
+18
+17
+12
+11
+8
+8
+8
-2
-1
-5
-11
-13
-8
-6
-12
-24
-19
-29
-27
-42
Pts
85
79
72
69
62
62
62
61
61
60
55
53
52
52
47
46
44
39
39
39
34
33
31
30
Lincoln City
Mansfield
Swindon
Carlisle
Colchester
Newport County
Cambridge Utd
Crawley Town
Cheltenham
Stevenage
Crewe
Yeovil
Morecambe
Port Vale
Forest Green
Grimsby
Chesterfield
Barnet
39
39
39
40
40
39
40
40
40
39
40
37
39
40
39
40
38
40
17
16
19
16
15
13
14
15
12
11
13
11
9
10
11
9
9
8
13
15
4
12
13
15
12
8
12
12
4
9
15
12
7
11
7
9
9
8
16
12
12
11
14
17
16
16
23
17
15
18
21
20
22
23
56
56
60
57
49
49
42
50
58
50
50
47
38
43
47
32
41
36
42
41
59
49
44
50
52
57
58
56
65
57
48
55
67
61
68
59
+14
+15
+1
+8
+5
-1
-10
-7
0
-6
-15
-10
-10
-12
-20
-29
-27
-23
64
63
61
60
58
54
54
53
48
45
43
42
42
42
40
38
34
33
Barnet
(0) 2
Akinde 51pen 87pen
1,951
Crewe
McKirdy 70
(0) 1
Cambridge Utd
Ibehre 4
Maris 22
Brown 59
(2) 3
Crawley
Payne 49pen
(0) 1
Cheltenham
3,107
(0) 0
Carlisle
Devitt 74pen
(0) 1
Colchester
Eastman 15
Prosser 28
(2) 2
Luton
Hylton 88pen
5,461
(0) 1
Grimsby
5,368
(0) 0
Stevenage
(0) 0
Lincoln City
Rowe 60
Green 62
Palmer 86
(0) 3
Exeter
Stockley 10
Taylor 78
9,785
(1) 2
Mansfield
5,053
(0) 0
Accrington Stanley
Conneely 60
(0) 1
Newport County
Demetriou 40
4,667
(1) 1
Coventry
Biamou 79
(0) 1
4,131
Bristol City
Diedhiou 31
Brownhill 90
(1) 2
Brentford
Mepham 68
11,174
(0) 1
Sheffield Utd
Basham 55
(0) 1
Cardiff
Zohore 16
Mendez-Laing 45
Paterson 64
(2) 3
Burton Albion
Bent 21
(1) 1
Derby
Vydra 42
27,890
(1) 1
Sunderland
(2) 4
Honeyman 10, Fletcher 36
McGeady 50pen, O’Shea 76
Leeds
Ekuban 4
Hernández 50
(1) 2
Bolton
Le Fondre 53
35,377
(0) 1
Wycombe
(0) 0
(0) 1
Wolves
Costa 32
Cavaleiro 37
(2) 2
Notts County
8,038
(0) 0
Middlesbrough
Bamford 90
27,658
Nottingham Forest
(0) 0
Chesterfield
Reed 56
5,713
(0) 1
(2) 2
Port Vale
Pugh 45
Whitfield 82
(1) 2
Millwall
Williams 1
Gregory 33
Fulham
Johansen 66
Cairney 70
(0) 2
Morecambe
Lang 43
(1) 1
(0) 0
Swindon
Norris 55pen
6,328
(0) 1
Norwich
(1) 1
QPR
20,273
(0) 0
Preston
Moult 72
26,588
(0) 1
21,086
16,004
Sheffield Wed
(0) 4
Nuhiu 50 90, João 52
Forestieri 90
SKY BET LEAGUE ONE
P
Wigan
37
Blackburn
38
Shrewsbury
39
Rotherham
39
Scunthorpe
40
Plymouth
39
Peterborough
39
Charlton
38
Portsmouth
38
Bristol Rovers
39
Bradford
38
Southend
39
Doncaster
38
Gillingham
38
Fleetwood Town 39
Blackpool
39
Oxford Utd
38
Walsall
38
MK Dons
39
AFC Wimbledon
39
Oldham
37
Northampton
40
Rochdale
37
Bury
39
AFC Wimbledon
4,378
Blackpool
Daniel 56
4,533
Bristol Rovers
Telford 65
Lines 85pen
Northampton
W
24
23
23
20
15
17
15
16
17
16
16
13
12
12
13
11
12
11
10
11
10
10
8
7
(0) 0
(0) 1
(0) 2
(0) 0
6,416
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F
71
61
68
61
56
55
56
48
52
49
55
52
47
41
45
43
45
53
45
34
39
28
42
28
(1) 2
Reading
Aluko 13
Sam Allardyce
L
6
7
7
9
8
13
9
10
14
9
12
16
16
13
16
19
15
17
18
18
19
23
20
23
Barnsley
Moore 7, Potts 78
12,236
26,750
‘Pickford’s given England a lot
to consider with his displays in
Amsterdam and for us’
D
7
7
12
9
14
8
14
13
7
15
13
8
7
13
11
7
14
12
12
12
13
6
13
9
5
Oxford Utd
Henry 56pen
7,479
(0) 1
Plymouth
Lameiras 3 88
Carey 33 52
(2) 4
D
8
10
9
6
15
9
13
10
4
6
5
11
13
13
9
14
10
11
12
9
10
10
14
9
L
5
5
7
13
10
13
11
12
17
17
17
15
13
13
17
14
16
16
17
19
17
20
15
23
F
71
72
52
64
57
51
61
50
48
56
49
45
47
43
51
45
53
47
39
37
50
36
38
32
A
23
35
31
46
48
47
49
46
47
58
56
59
45
43
57
50
58
57
52
50
65
67
46
59
GD
+48
+37
+21
+18
+9
+4
+12
+4
+1
-2
-7
-14
+2
0
-6
-5
-5
-10
-13
-13
-15
-31
-8
-27
Fleetwood
Sowerby 22
Doncaster
Rowe 43 70
Pts
80
79
78
66
60
60
58
58
55
54
53
50
49
49
48
47
46
44
42
42
40
40
38
30
(1) 1
(1) 2
Bury
Danns 54
9,030
Charlton
Reeves 14
Fosu 19 51
Magennis 79
(0) 1
(2) 4
Scunthorpe
Toney 12
(1) 1
Southend
(0) 0
11,965
Yeovil
(-) P Forest Green
(match postponed – waterlogged pitch)
(-) P
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE
Boreham Wood 0 Barrow 0; Bromley 1 Wrexham 1; Chester 0
Torquay 2; Dover P Tranmere P (waterlogged pitch);
Eastleigh P Ebbsfleet Utd P (waterlogged pitch); Fylde 2
Halifax 0; Gateshead 0 Dag & Red 0; Guiseley 1 Leyton
Orient 3; Maidenhead Utd 2 Sutton Utd 3; Maidstone Utd 1
Hartlepool 2; Solihull Moors 0 Aldershot 0; Woking 2
Macclesfield 3. Leading standings: 1 Macclesfield P40
Pts78; 2 Sutton 39-72; 3 Wrexham 40-68
VANARAMA NATIONAL NORTH
Alfreton Town 1 Nuneaton 1; Boston Utd 3 Kidderminster 2;
Brackley 0 Harrogate Town 0; Bradford PA 2 Stockport
County 3; Gainsborough 4 Spennymoor Town 1; Salford City 2
Curzon Ashton 1; Tamworth 4 North Ferriby Utd 1.
Leading standings: 1 Salford City P37 Pts79;
2 Harrogate 36-73; 3 Brackley 34-68
VANARAMA NATIONAL SOUTH
Bognor Regis P Chelmsford P (waterlogged pitch); Braintree 0
Oxford City 0; Concord Rangers P Hungerford Town P
(waterlogged pitch); Dartford 1 Hampton & Richmond 0;
Havant & Waterlooville 2 Weston-super-Mare 0; Poole P
Whitehawk P (waterlogged pitch); Truro City 3 Hemel
Hempstead 3; Welling P Bath City P (waterlogged pitch).
Leading standings: 1 Havant & Waterlooville P36 Pts70;
2 Dartford 36-68; 3 Hampton & Richmond 36-63
Fixtures
3pm unless stated
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
Birmingham v Ipswich; Hull v Aston Villa (5.30pm)
SKY BET LEAGUE ONE
Walsall v Portsmouth
LADBROKES SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP
P W D
L
F
A GD Pts
Celtic
30 20
8
2 59 20 +39 68
Rangers
31 18
4
9 61 36 +25 58
Aberdeen
30 17
5
8 44 33 +11 56
Hibernian
30 14 10
6 43 33 +10 52
Kilmarnock
30 12 10
8 40 38 +2 46
Hearts
31 10 12
9 32 29 +3 42
St Johnstone
31 10
7 14 31 43 -12 37
Motherwell
30 10
6 14 34 39 -5 36
Hamilton
29
8
6 15 40 51 -11 30
Dundee
30
8
4 18 30 48 -18 28
Partick
30
6
7 17 26 50 -24 25
Ross County
30
5
7 18 33 53 -20 22
Aberdeen v St Johnstone; Celtic v Ross County;
Hibernian v Partick; Kilmarnock v Hamilton; Motherwell v
Rangers (12.30pm)
LADBROKES SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP
Dumbarton v Livingston; Dunfermline v Queen of the South;
Falkirk v Brechin; Inverness CT v St Mirren; Morton v
Dundee Utd
Rochdale
(1) 3
Rathbone 45
Davies 80, Henderson 90
Shrewsbury
Thomas 8
2,817
(1) 1
Rotherham
Lavery 68
9,573
(0) 1
Peterborough
Marriott 90
(0) 1
LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE ONE
Alloa v Arbroath; East Fife v Ayr; Queen’s Park v
Airdrieonians; Raith v Albion Rovers; Stranraer v Forfar
Wigan
Grigg 40
Vaughan 49
Powell 66
(1) 3
Oldham
(0) 0
LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE TWO
Annan Athletic v Berwick; Cowdenbeath v Stenhousemuir;
Elgin v Stirling Albion; Montrose v Edinburgh City;
Peterhead v Clyde
SKY BET LEAGUE TWO
P
Accrington Stanley 38
Luton
40
Wycombe
40
Notts County
40
Exeter
39
Coventry
39
10,625
W D
L
F
24
5
9 65
21 11
8 82
20 11
9 73
18 13
9 61
20
6 13 52
19
8 12 48
A
40
42
54
42
44
32
GD
+25
+40
+19
+19
+8
+16
Pts
77
74
71
67
66
65
PRESS & JOURNAL HIGHLAND LEAGUE
Brora v Turriff Utd; Buckie Thistle v Forres Mechanics;
Clachnacuddin v Huntly; Fort William v Cove Rangers; Keith
v Nairn County; Strathspey Thistle v Lossiemouth; Wick
Academy v Deveronvale
FERRARI PACKAGING LOWLAND LEAGUE
Cumbernauld Colts v Gretna; East Stirlingshire v Spartans;
Gala Fairydean v Hawick RA; Selkirk v Dalbeattie Star
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:6 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 31/3/2018 0:01
•••
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Sport
Football
6
Alderweireld’s World Cup bid
will not influence Pochettino
David Hytner
MARK RALSTON/AFP/
GETTY IMAGES
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
‘The lion is hungry’ Zlatan Ibrahimovic
was in typically bombastic form when he was
introduced by LA Galaxy, his new team. “I feel
young, I feel like Benjamin Button. Don’t worry
about my age,“ said the 36-year-old striker. “I
feel excited, the lion is hungry.” Guardian sport
Wilkins fighting
for life after
cardiac arrest
Ray Wilkins has been placed in an
induced coma after suffering a cardiac
arrest and a fall. The Chelsea legend
and former England international
was taken to St George’s Hospital in
south London last night with his son
Ross saying it would be “touch and go
whether my father will get through
this”.
“He’s in hospital, he’s had a cardiac
arrest and is in intensive care,” Jackie
Wilkins, his wife, told the Daily Mirror. “He is not in a good state at all, I’m
afraid. He’s critically ill. The cardiac
arrest led to a fall which has meant he’s
had to be put in an induced coma. It’s
very, very bad.”
The 61-year-old won 84 England
caps between 1976 and 1986 and had
a hugely successful playing and coaching career starting at Chelsea and Man-
chester United before spells at Milan,
Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers and
Queens Park Rangers, among others.
Many of these clubs posted messages
of support yesterday.
Wilkins was given the all clear after
a double-heart bypass last summer
and also revealed in 2014 that he was
battling ulcerative colitis but he has
worked regularly as a media pundit,
appearing on Alan Brazil’s breakfast
show on Talksport as recently as Tuesday morning.
“It’s a very difficult time for the family. He’s going to have a further scan on
Tuesday,” his wife added. “We hope to
have an update then.” Michael Butler
▲ Ray Wilkins has been put in an
induced coma after a cardiac arrest
Mauricio Pochettino will not change
his defensive system to accommodate
the fit-again Toby Alderweireld and
has made it plain the centre-half is
behind Jan Vertonghen and Davinson
Sánchez in the Tottenham pecking
order.
Alderweireld has endured a torrid five-months, during which he
has had hamstring problems and
made only two appearances for the
club. When he has felt fit, there have
been times when Pochettino has disagreed and left him out – namely for
the Arsenal and Juventus games in
mid-February.
The situation has come against the
backdrop of a breakdown in negotiations over a new contract and it has not
been difficult to pick up on the mood at
the club – he has become a disposable
asset. Because of a clause in his deal,
he can be bought for £25m in the summer of 2019. If Tottenham can get more
for him this year, they may take it.
The 29-year-old re-injured his hamstring in training on 22 February and
Spurs improving
quicker than us,
says Conte
Dominic Fifield
Antonio Conte believes Tottenham are
ahead of Chelsea in their development
even though the Stamford Bridge club
denied their London rivals in the race
for last season’s title.
The champions go into tomorrow’s
derby five points behind Tottenham
with both clubs targeting a top-four
finish and the FA Cup from the runin to a draining campaign. Conte has
suggested in the past that Spurs have
benefited in recent years without the
▲ The defender Toby Alderweireld
has become disposable at Tottenham
returned to the squad for the FA Cup
tie at Swansea on 17 March, when he
was an unused substitute.
Alderweireld played 90 minutes for
Belgium on Tuesday in the 4-0 friendly
win over Saudi Arabia but the national
coach, Roberto Martínez, has warned
his place in the World Cup team will
be under threat if he remains on the
fringes at Tottenham.
Pochettino is unmoved by potential
World Cup heartbreak. He stressed he
would continue to pick a starting XI
purely in Tottenham’s interests and at
the moment that means sticking with
Vertonghen and Sánchez, which he
will do against Chelsea at Stamford
Bridge tomorrow. Sánchez arrived in
a club record £42m deal from Ajax last
same levels of expectation heaped
upon managers at Stamford Bridge,
though he acknowledged they have
made considerable progress under
Mauricio Pochettino.
“I think they have started before
us,” he said of Spurs’ development.
“I am talking about my period, my
era, at Chelsea. We are talking about
a team who, in the last few years, have
been competing to win the title. Don’t
forget that, two years ago, they were
very close to winning the title when
Leicester won it. Last season they tried
to compete with us. Don’t forget that
our run-in to the season was incredible. We won eight of our last 10 games.
“So for sure, now, they are ahead
of us in terms of that development.”
For all Spurs’ excellence under
Pochettino, they are still to win a trophy under the Argentinian. “Every
manager wants to win a trophy,”
added Conte, who has welcomed
summer and it is difficult to overstate
how highly the manager rates the
21-year-old.
“Every single player needs to show
in training that they are better than
their team-mate and then I pick,”
Pochettino said. “In the last four or
five months Toby has struggled with
his injury. Now, he is playing and we
use a back four, with two centre-backs,
and we play Jan and Davinson. I am not
going to change the system [to three
centre-backs] because Toby needs to
play in the World Cup and he needs to
play [at Tottenham].
“I need to pick two centre-backs
and, if you are happy, you keep the
couple of players and he needs to
wait. Like everyone. It’s the same
situation with different players, like
Moussa Sissoko. He maybe needs to
play more because he was out of the
France squad.
“I have an amazing relationship
with Roberto. He texted me about his
comments and I replied. I fully understand them. What do the national
team managers want? They want their
players to play. But my focus is to win
games with Tottenham. I cannot be
kind with every single manager.
“What can I do? I cannot play with
13 or 14 players. If Toby keeps working
hard, he is going to have the possibility
to play and compete. He is an experienced player. He needs to be fit and
to be fit, he needs to train every day
and give his best. That is enough, no?”
Andreas Christensen back to training
after a groin complaint and will assess
Thibaut Courtois’s hamstring problem
tomorrow. “But, if you just want to
win trophies, maybe for important
managers it’s easier to go to another
country.
“In England, if you stay here, never,
never will it be easy to win trophies.
To be a coach in this league is a great
achievement for a manager, because
the tournament is so difficult.”
▲ Antonio Conte’s Chelsea must beat
Spurs to maintain top-four ambitions
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:7 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:57
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
••
7
▼ Ivan Cavaleiro turns away after
scoring Wolves’ second goal
SAM BAGNALL/AMA/GETTY IMAGES
Sky Bet Championship
Nuno celebrates ‘massive win’
for fractious nine-man Wolves
Middlesbrough
1
Bamford 90
Wolves
2
Costa 32, Cavaleiro 37
Louise Taylor
Riverside Stadium
Rúben Neves and Matt Doherty were
sent off as Wolves lost their tempers
on Teesside but even the reduction
to nine men failed to prevent Nuno
Espírito Santo’s side from extending
an apparently unassailable lead at the
top of the Championship.
While three wins would guarantee Wolves promotion, Tony Pulis’s
Middlesbrough cling to sixth place on
goal difference. If they are to reach,
let alone win, the play-offs, a team
increasingly built around the attacking talents of Adama Traoré will need
to be rather more ruthless than this.
Although the largely isolated Patrick
Bamford registered his ninth goal in
seven games with a brilliant 94thminute volley, it was too little too late.
“I’m really disappointed; nine men
behind the ball can make it difficult
for you but we lacked a bit of quality,”
said Pulis, whose midfield sat deep and
lacked invention.
Boro’s manager suffered the indignity of a seemingly out of control Nuno
declining to shake his hand at the final
whistle before provocatively, manically, jumping up and down in celebration in front of him.
It was needless and hardly classy,
and stewards, sensing potential
trouble, surrounded the pair. Pulis,
though, played things down. “It don’t
make no difference to me,” he said. “It
would have been different if I’d known
him but I don’t know the fellow.”
Nuno claimed the indiscipline
Rúben Neves is
sent off by
Stuart Attwell
stemmed from the referee’s perceived
failure to send off George Friend for
a supposedly “professional” foul
on Hélder Costa that many neutrals
interpreted as a dive on the forward’s
part.
“A bad decision caused the emotions,” said a manager whose otherwise elegant side’s often rough treatment of Traoré in a game of two red
cards and eight yellows showed
Wolves know how to play tough. “It
was difficult to keep calm. Both teams
lost control. It was crazy.” And his celebration? “I jumped in the air. I was
very happy.”
An absorbing first half was littered
with evidence revealing precisely why
Wolves are cantering to the title, not
to mention why Traoré is arguably the
division’s most dangerous attacking
force and why Neves’s excellent central midfield skills will surely enhance
the Premier League.
By the end of it Darren Randolph
had made a couple of exceptional saves
following subtly swerving long-range
Neves shots and the visitors had scored
twice.
After Randolph saved from Costa,
Ivan Cavaleiro performed wonders
to keep the ball in play, permitting it
to fall to Barry Douglas, whose audaciously chipped, high-calibre pass was
volleyed home, left-footed, by Costa.
The second goal arrived from a
corner after Randolph could only parry
Willy Boly’s header and Cavaleiro
headed in the rebound.
Neves was sent off after receiving his second yellow card in as few
minutes. Newly booked for dissent,
he then slid recklessly into a lunge on
Friend.
Bamford, set up superbly by Traoré,
lost his footing while shaping to shoot,
and Doherty lost his composure, catching Friend’s head with an elbow as they
challenged for a high ball and seeing
a second yellow card and dismissal.
Nuno’s nine men somehow held on.
“It’s massive,” Nuno said. “A massive
win.”
Middlesbrough
4-3-3
Randolph; Shotton•
(Cranie• 70), Ayala,
Gibson, Friend; Clayton
(Assombalonga 70),
Leadbitter• (Howson
63), Friend; Traoré,
Bamford, Downing
Subs not used
Konstantopoulos, Fry,
Harrison, Baker
Wolves
3-4-3
Ruddy•; Bennett•,
Coady, Boly; Doherty•,
Saïss•, Neves•, Douglas;
Costa (Gibbs-White 84),
Afobe (Bonatini 63),
Cavaleiro (N’Diaye 58)
Subs not used
Batth, Vinagre, Hause,
Norris
Referee Stuart Attwell Attendance 27,658
Sky Bet Championship roundup
Sunderland
make it a very
good Friday
Sunderland lifted themselves off the
bottom of the Championship with
an astounding 4-1 win at play-off
contenders Derby County.
A Craig Forsyth own goal and an
Ashley Fletcher strike gave Chris
Coleman’s side a two-goal lead
before Matej Vydra pulled one back.
However, after Forsyth gave away a
penalty, Aiden McGeady converted
a second-half penalty and John
O’Shea’s first club goal for more than
four years made it a very good Friday
for Sunderland.
Cardiff beat relegation-battlers
Burton 3-1 to extend their winning
run to eight games. Kenneth Zohore,
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Callum
Paterson scored for the hosts, with
Darren Bent on target for Burton.
Paul Clement made a winning
start as the Reading manager as his
10-man side eased their relegation
fears with a 1-0 home win over QPR.
Sone Aluko’s fine individual goal
in the first half secured their first
victory in 10 matches, moving them
six points clear of the bottom three.
Millwall’s 2-0 home victory over
Nottingham Forest means they
remain in contention for a topsix finish having recorded a 13th
successive match unbeaten. They
scored with only 27 seconds on the
clock through a header from Shaun
Williams and looked in control after
Lee Gregory’s 10th of the season, in
the 33rd minute, doubled the lead.
Fulham maintained their push
for promotion with a 2-0 win over
Norwich at Carrow Road. They
secured the points thanks to two
goals in four minutes, with Stefan
Johansen and Tom Cairney on
target. Caleb Ekuban and Pablo
Hernández scored as Leeds beat
Bolton 2-1 at Elland Road. Sheffield
United and Brentford both had a
player sent off as they drew 1-1.
Chris Basham put the Blades in
front only for Chris Mepham to
level things up. Jamal Blackman
and Ryan Woods were then shown
straight red cards. Guardian sport
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:8 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 16:56
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
•
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Sport
Football Premier League
8
How they stand
P
Manchester City
HOME
D L F
W
30 14
1
A
W
0 51 10 12
AWAY
D L F
2
A
GD Pts Form
1 34 10 +65 81 WDWWWW
Manchester Utd
30 12
2
1 33
7
8
3
4 25 16 +35 65 WLWWWW
Liverpool
31 10
6
0 38 10
8
3
4 35 24 +39 63 WWWLLW
Tottenham
30 10
4
1 31
9
8
3
4 28 16 +34 61 DWWWWW
Chelsea
30 10
2
3 26 11
7
3
5 26 16 +25 56 LWLLWW
Arsenal
30 11
2
2 39 17
3
4
8 16 24 +14 48 WLLLWW
Burnley
30
6
4
5 12 12
5
6
4 15 14
+1 43 DLDWWW
Leicester
30
6
5
4 21 17
4
5
6 24 26
+2 40 DLDDWW
Everton
31
9
2
4 25 18
2
5
9 12 32
-13 40 WLLWWW
Bournemouth
31
6
4
6 23 26
3
5
7 14 23
-12 36 LDDLLW
Watford
31
6
4
5 22 26
4
2 10 17 29
-16 36 LWWLLL
Brighton
30
6
6
3 21 21
2
4
-12 34 WDWWLL
9
7 19
Newcastle
30
5
4
6 15 15
3
4
8 15 25
-10 32 DWDLWW
Swansea
30
6
2
7 15 19
2
5
8 10 23
-17 31 DWLWDD
Huddersfield
31
5
5
6 15 22
3
2 10 10 30
-27 31 WWLDDL
Crystal Palace
31
4
5
6 18 23
3
4
9 12 25
-18 30 LLLLLW
West Ham
30
5
4
5 16 20
2
5
9 20 37
-21 30 LWLLLL
Southampton
30
3
7
6 16 21
2
6
6 13 23
-15 28 WLDDLL
9 12 33
Stoke
31
5
4
7 17 25
1
5
West Brom
31
2
7
6 16 24
1
4 11
8 25
Will Sparky fly?
Southampton’s Mark
Hughes begins his sixth
Premier League tenure
with a six-pointer at
West Ham. Here is
his top-flight record
155 won
Man City
In all his premier league games
in charge, Hughes has a
-29 27 LDDDLL
25 20 LLLLLL
LLLLL
-25
Leading goalscorers
28
24
21
15
14
14
14
12
Mohamed Salah Liverpooll
Harry Kane Tottenham
Sergio Agüero Man City
Raheem Sterling Man City
y
Roberto Firmino Liverpooll
Romelu Lukaku Man Utd
Jamie Vardy () Leicester
Son Heung-min Tottenham
m
Debut match
Aston Villa 4
Man City 2
170 lost
Blackburn Rovers
40%
Debut match
Liverpool 1
Stoke 0
Stoke City
from 55
34.9%
39.5%
33.3%
win rate
from a total of
444 games
from 147 games
from 174 games
Fulham
29%
from 38
Debut match
Blackburn 1
Portsmouth 0
Debut match
Bolton 0
Fulham 0
119 draw
QPR
20%
Debut match
Newcastle 1
QPR 0
from 30
SOURCE: PERFORM GROUP
Arsenal
Brighton
Chelsea
Crystal Palace
Stoke
Leicester
Tottenham
Liverpool
p
Tomorrow 1.30pm SSPL
Venue Emirates Stadium
Last season Arsenal 3
Stoke 1
Odds H 1-3 A 10-1 D 5-1
Today 3pm
Tomorrow 4pm SSPL
Venue Stamford Bridge
ea 2
Last season Chelsea
Tottenham 1
Odds H 13-9 A 9-4 D 29-12
Today 12.30pm SSPL
Venue Selhurst Park
Last season Crystal Palace 2
Liverpool 4
Odds H 15-2 A 8-15 D 4-1
•
Bellerín
•
Cech
•
•
Koscielny
Mustafi
•
Ramsey
•
Mkhitaryan
•
Wilshere
•
Ndiaye
•
Stafylidis
•
Cameron
•
Zouma
•
Ryan
•
Monreal
•
Schelotto
•
Xhaka
•
Aubameyang
•
Diouf
•
Sobhi
Venue Amex Stadium
Last season n/a
Odds H 20-11 A 2-1 D 9-4
•
Özil
•
Shaqiri
•
Allen
•
Bauer
•
Shawcross
•
Butland
ARSENAL
Subs from Ospina, Macey, Iliev,
Chambers, Holding, Maitland-Niles,
Kolasinac, Mavropanos, Mertesacker,
Elneny, Iwobi, Nelson, Welbeck,
Lacazette
Doubtful None
Injured Cazorla (achilles, unknown)
Suspended None Discipline Y46 R0
Leading scorer Lacazette 9
STOKE
Subs from Haugaard, Niakete, Edwards,
Johnson, Wimmer, Fletcher, Campbell,
Berahino, Rodríguez, Martins Indi,
Crouch
Doubtful Cameron (hamstring)
Injured Choupo-Moting (groin, 16 Apr),
Grant (wrist, unknown),
Ireland (calf, unknown)
Suspended Adam (first of three)
Discipline Y42 R1
Leading scorer Shaqiri 7
Referee Craig Pawson
•
Duffy
•
Dunk
•
Stephens
•
Pröpper
•
March
•
Gross
•
Albrighton
•
Murray
•
Vardy
•
Okazaki
•
Ndidi
•
Chilwell
•
Maguire
•
Bong
•
Izquierdo
•
Mahrez
•
Iborra
•
Simpson
•
Morgan
•
Schmeichel
•
Courtois
•
•
•
Azpilicueta
Cahill
Rüdiger
•
•
Moses
Alonso
•
•
Kanté
Bakayoko
•
•
Willian
Hazard
•
Morata
•
Son
•
•
•
Eriksen
Alli
Lamela
•
•
Dembélé
Dier
•
•
Davies
Trippier
•
•
Vertonghen
Sánchez
•
Lloris
BRIGHTON
Subs from Krul, Mäenpää, Huenemaier,
Rosenior, Bruno, Goldson, Suttner,
Kayal, Baldock, Hemed, Ulloa, Locadia,
Gyökeres
Doubtful Stephens (hamstring)
Injured Brown (knee, unknown),
Sidwell (back, unknown),
Skalak (ankle, unknown)
Suspended Knockaert (second of three)
Discipline Y43 R1
Leading scorer Murray 11
CHELSEA
Subs from Caballero, Eduardo,
Christensen, Drinkwater, Emerson,
Pedro, Zappacosta, Fàbregas, Sterling,
Hudson-Odoi, Giroud
Doubtful Christensen (groin),
Courtois (hamstring)
Injured Barkley (hamstring, Apr),
David Luiz (ankle, 21 Apr),
Ampadu (ankle, Aug)
Suspended None Discipline Y34 R4
Leading scorer Hazard 11
LEICESTER
Subs from Hamer, Jakupovic, Gray,
Diabaté, Dragovic, Iheanacho, Silva,
Huth, Fuchs, Benalouane, Choudhury
Doubtful Iheanacho (hand)
Injured Amartey (hamstring, 7 Apr),
James (achilles, unknown)
Suspended None
Discipline Y39 R3
Leading scorer Vardy 14
TOTTENHAM
Subs from Vorm, Gazzaniga, Aurier,
Walker-Peters, Rose, Alderweireld,
Foyth, Wanyama, Winks, Sissoko,
Oakley-Boothe, Lucas, Llorente, Kane
Doubtful Kane (ankle)
Injured None
Suspended None
Discipline Y38 R2
Leading scorer Kane 24
Referee Chris Kavanagh
Referee Andre Marriner
Kick
off
All the
he data
you need for
the weekend
Six of Luka Milivojevic’s
eight goals for Palace
have been penalties
•
Hennessey
•
•
Sakho
Kelly
•
•
Wan-Bissaka
Van Aanholt
•
•
McArthur Milivojevic
•
•
•
Townsend
Cabaye
Zaha
•
Benteke
•
Mané
•
Firmino
•
Salah
•
Oxlade-Chamberlain
•
Milner
•
•
Robertson
Alexander-Arnold
•
•
Van Dijk • Matip
Karius
•
Wijnaldum
CRYSTAL PALACE
Subs from Cavalieri, Henry, Souaré,
Tomkins, Riedewald, Fosu-Mensah,
Delaney, Jach, Rakip, Lee, Sørloth,
Loftus-Cheek
Doubtful Sørloth (hamstring),
Tomkins (calf), Zaha (knee)
Injured Speroni (knee, 7 Apr),
Ward (calf), Wickham (groin, both Apr),
Schlupp (ankle, May), Puncheon (knee),
Sako (ankle, both Sep), Dann (knee, Oct)
Suspended None Discipline Y55 R0
Leading scorer Milivojevic 8
LIVERPOOL
Subs from Mignolet, Henderson,
Can, Lallana, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno,
Solanke, Woodburn, Ings, Ward, Clyne
Doubtful Can (back)
Injured Gomez (ankle, unknown)
Suspended None
Discipline Y37 R1
Leading scorer Salah 28
Referee Neil Swarbrick
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:9 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 16:56
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
•
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
9
Five asides
What to look out
for this weekend
1 2 3 4 5
Portugal’s best
manager arrives
at Old Trafford
Chance of a lifetime
awaits City if they put
Everton to the sword
Brighton need to
take full advantage of
excellent home form
Is lesser-spotted Gabr
finally going to get a
start for West Brom?
Palace visit offers
Klopp ideal reason
to bring back Clyne
Once José Mourinho was king
but now he cannot even claim
to be the Premier’s League
best Portuguese manager.
It is hard to imagine anyone
else turning Swansea around
as impressively as Carlos
Carvalhal has done since
taking over in late December,
when the Welsh club seemed
doomed. Now they are out
of the relegation zone and
within reach of survival. Even
Mourinho must admire the
solidity that Carvalhal has
introduced to Swansea, who
will not give up chances easily
at Old Trafford. Paul Pogba
could return for the hosts
having performed well
for France in midweek.
Manchester City are going
to win the Premier League.
But their game at Everton is
one of the most important
of their season because if
they win it, they know for
sure that they can clinch
the title in their following
match against Manchester
United. Football is great for
many noble reasons, but the
ignoble – such as revelling in
the misery of others – is just
as much part of its charm, and
after spending the best part
of 70 years suffering at the
hands of their local rivals, City
now have the opportunity
of a lifetime. It would be
surprising if they didn’t give
themselves a shot at it.
Brighton have lost their last
two matches, both away, but
have been strong at home all
season, unbeaten by anyone
outside the top five. Beating
Leicester, and Huddersfield
the following week, would
almost guarantee survival,
which would make their
run-in – featuring games
against Tottenham, Liverpool
and Manchester United – look
a lot less daunting. Claude
Puel’s task is to ensure that
Leicester do not simply go
through the motions for the
remainder of the campaign.
They certainly have enough
quality to spoil Brighton’s
home record and even push
for European qualification.
Alan Pardew travelled to
Switzerland this week to
watch Egypt take on Greece
and run the rule over Ali
Gabr ( above), the Egyptian
defender he signed on loan
from Zamalek in the last
transfer window who has
since been restricted to
just one appearance on the
bench. With West Brom
10 points from safety with
seven matches to go, the
introduction of a player with
no Premier League experience
against Burnley may be too
little, too late. Nevertheless,
a run-out for Gabr would at
least help justify some of the
money he’s been paid since
arriving at the Hawthorns
No doubt Liverpool would
have chosen a different
fixture in which to resume
action after the international
break, and before a week
featuring Champions League
bouts against Manchester
City either side of the
Merseyside derby, than a
trip to Crystal Palace. With
that schedule, Jürgen Klopp
is unlikely to risks players’
fitness. Andrew Robertson
limped off for Scotland in
midweek and Joe Gomez is
out. Trent Alexander-Arnold
is available but perhaps the
fit-again former Palace player
Nathaniel Clyne ( left)
will be given a first league
appearance of the season?
Everton
Manchester United
Newcastle
Watford
West Brom
West Ham
Manchester City
Swansea
Huddersfield
Bournemouth
Burnley
Southampton
Today 5.30pm BT Sport 1
Venue Goodison Park
Last season Everton 4
Manchester City 0
Odds H 19-2 A 4-11 D 23-5
Today 3pm
Venue Old Trafford
Last season Manchester Utd 1
Swansea 1
Odds H 5-19 A 18-1 D 11-2
Today 3pm
Venue St James’ Park
Last season Newcastle 1
Huddersfield 2 (Ch’ship)
Odds H 7-9 A 19-4 D 5-2
Today 3pm
Venue Vicarage Road
Last season Watford 2
Bournemouth 2
Odds H 11-8 A 9-4 D 5-2
Today 3pm
Venue The Hawthorns
Last season West Brom 4
Burnley 0
Odds H 17-10 A 11-5 D 5-2
Today 3pm
Venue London Stadium
Last season West Ham 0
Southampton 3
Odds H 2-1 A 8-5 D 9-4
•
Coleman
•
Pickford
•
•
Jagielka
Keane
•
• Davies
Walcott
•
Gueye
•
De Gea
•
Baines
•
Rooney •
Bolasie
•
Valencia
•
• Sterling
•
D Silva
• De Bruyne
Fernandinho
•
•
•
•
Walker
Danilo
Otamendi
Kompany
•
Ederson
EVERTON
Subs from Robles, Niasse, Schneiderlin,
Calvert-Lewin, Martina, Kenny,
Klaassen, Vlasic, Baningime, Funes Mori
Doubtful Gueye (hamstring)
Injured Sigurdsson (knee, May),
Mangala (knee, Aug), McCarthy
(leg, Sep), Holgate (ankle),
Stekelenburg (groin, both unknown)
Suspended Williams (last of three)
Discipline Y45 R3
Leading scorer Rooney 10
•
Smalling
•
Matic
•
Pogba
•
Rashford
•
Young
•
A Ayew
•
Olsson
•
Carroll
•
Ki
•
Dubravka
•
•
Lascelles
Lejeune
•
Shelvey
•
Martial
•
Sánchez
•
Yedlin
•
Dyer
•
•
• Naughton
Mawson • Van der Hoorn
Fernández
•
Fabianski
•
Ince
•
Gayle
•
Mounié
•
Pritchard
MANCHESTER UNITED
Subs from J Pereira, Lindelöf, Shaw,
Darmian, Carrick, Lingard, McTominay,
Mata, Fellaini, Rojo, Herrera, Jones
Doubtful Young (knee)
Injured Blind (ankle, unknown),
Romero (knee, unknown)
Suspended None
Discipline Y56 R1
Leading scorer Lukaku 14
•
Mooy
•
Malone
•
Dummett
•
Kenedy
•
Pérez
•
Prödl
•
Mariappa
•
Doucouré
•
Capoue
•
Janmaat
•
Femenía
•
Pereyra
•
Holebas
•
Richarlison
•
Dawson
•
Wilson
•
Van La Parra
•
• Hadergjonaj
Jorgensen
•
Lössl
NEWCASTLE
Subs from Darlow, Manquillo, Clark,
Mbemba, Haïdara, Merino, Hayden,
Atsu, Murphy, Slimani
Doubtful None
Injured Joselu (ankle, 7 Apr),
Elliot (back, unknown),
Gámez (ankle, unknown)
Suspended None
Discipline Y41 R2
Leading scorer Gayle 5
•
Stanislas
•
A Smith
•
Gosling
•
Aké
•
King
•
L Cook
•
S Cook
•
Ibe
•
Francis
•
Begovic
WATFORD
Subs from Gomes, Bachmann, Okaka,
Ndong, Lukebakio, Gray, Carrillo,
Hughes, Britos, Zeegelaar, Cathcart,
Kabasele
Doubtful None
Injured Chalobah (knee), Cleverley
(hamstring), Deulofeu (foot), Hoban
(knee), Kaboul (foot), Sinclair (unknown),
Wagué (hamstring, all unknown)
Suspended None Discipline Y50 R4
Leading scorer Doucouré 7
•
Evans
•
Hegazi
•
Nyom
•
Gibbs
•
Phillips
•
Livermore
•
Rodriguez
•
Deeney
•
Hogg
•
Schindler
•
Foster
•
Karnezis
•
Diamé
•
Ritchie
•
Lukaku
•
Abraham
•
Tosun
•
Agüero
•
Sané
•
Bailly
•
Lennon
•
Ward
•
Brunt
•
Rondón
•
Barnes
•
Gudmundsson
•
•
• Hendrick
Cork
Westwood
•
•
•
Lowton
Tarkowski
Mee
•
Pope
WEST BROM
Subs from Myhill, Palmer, Field,
Robson-Kanu, Gabr, Yacob, Harper,
Leko, McClean, McAuley, Krychowiak,
Barry, Burke, Chadli
Doubtful None
Injured Sturridge (hamstring, 7 Apr),
Morrison (achilles, 15 Apr)
Suspended None
Discipline Y58 R1
Leading scorers Rodriguez, Rondón 5
•
Hart
•
•
•
Ogbonna Cresswell
Collins
•
•
Zabaleta •
• Masuaku
Kouyaté
Noble
•
•
Arnautovic
Antonio
•
Lanzini
•
Gabbiadini
•
Boufal
•
Bertrand
•
Carrillo
•
Lemina
•
Tadic
•
Højbjerg
•
Hoedt
•
Soares
•
Stephens
•
McCarthy
WEST HAM
Subs from Adrián, Trott, Rice, Evra,
Fernandes, Cullen, Hernández, Mario,
Hugill, Haksabanovic, Quina
Doubtful Collins (hamstring),
Kouyaté (ill)
Injured Carroll (foot, 21 Apr),
Byram (ankle), Obiang (knee),
Reid (knee, all unknown)
Suspended None Discipline Y63 R2
Leading scorers Arnautovic,
Hernández 7
MANCHESTER CITY
Subs from Bravo, Touré, Adarabioyo,
Díaz, Laporte, Foden, Zinchenko, B
Silva, Jesus, Delph, Gündogan
Doubtful Agüero (match fitness)
Injured Mendy (knee, 7 Apr),
Stones (concussion, 7 Apr)
Suspended None
Discipline Y46 R2
Leading scorer Agüero 21
SWANSEA
Subs from Nordfeldt, Narsingh,
Bartley, Britton, Routledge, Roberts,
James, Maric, King, Clucas
Doubtful None
Injured Rangel (groin, 14 Apr),
Sanches (hamstring, 14 Apr),
Bony (knee, unknown),
Fer (achilles, unknown)
Suspended J Ayew (last of three)
Discipline Y42 R1
Leading scorer J Ayew 6
HUDDERSFIELD
Subs from Coleman, Green, Sabiri,
Depoitre, Smith, Billing, Kachunga,
Quaner, Löwe, Kongolo, Scannell,
Stankovic
Doubtful Stankovic (knee)
Injured Hefele (knee, 21 Apr),
Williams (ankle, unknown)
Suspended None
Discipline Y50 R3
Leading scorer Mounié 6
BOURNEMOUTH
Subs from Boruc, Federici, Butcher,
Simpson, Surman, Hyndman, Arter,
Mousset, Taylor, Defoe, Wiggins,
B Smith, Pugh
Doubtful Begovic (knee),
Mousset (match fitness), A Smith (back)
Injured Mings (back, unknown)
Suspended None Discipline Y47 R1
Leading scorer Wilson 7
BURNLEY
Subs from Lindegaard, Heaton, Arfield,
Wells, Ward, Vokes, Marney, Long,
Taylor
Doubtful Heaton (shoulder)
Injured Brady (knee, unknown),
Deffour (knee, unknown),
Walters (knee, unknown)
Suspended None
Discipline Y55 R0
Leading scorer Wood 7
SOUTHAMPTON
Subs from Forster, Taylor, Bednarek,
Pied, Davis, Hesketh, McQueen,
Obafemi, Sims, Austin, Ward-Prowse,
Long, Redmond, Romeu
Doubtful Davis (hamstring)
Injured None
Suspended None
Discipline Y41 R0
Leading scorer Austin 6
Referee Paul Tierney
Referee Bobby Madley
Referee Martin Atkinson
Referee Andy Madley
Referee Lee Probert
Referee Jonathan Moss
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:10 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 17:43
•
10
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Sport
Football Premier League
A six-pointer
on the pitch
– and a point
to be made
in the stands
Toxic atmosphere at London
Stadium forces club to take
action before basement
battle against Southampton
hampton
Jacob Steinberg
I
n different circumstances it
would be possible simply to
look forward to a day of huge
significance at the bottom
of the Premier League. If life
at the London Stadium was
that straightforward, however, they
would not be fortifying security in
front of the directors’ box and there
would be no clamour for the trio
running West Ham United to stay
away from home games for the rest
of the season.
The future has arrived in less than
glorious circumstances, humbling
West Ham as they prepare to host
Southampton this afternoon. The
promised dream has turned into a
nightmare in a soulless bowl. It has
been three weeks since West Ham’s
last game descended into chaos and
it is hardly ideal they have spent that
time working with the authorities to
prevent a repeat of the ugly scenes
that marred their 3-0 defeat against
Burnley.
This is a relegation six-pointer
with an unwelcome distraction. It
is the 17th-placed team at home to
the 18th, with two points separating
the sides, and there will be as much
focus on events in the stands as
those on the pitch.
It is a sad situation but there is
no escaping reality for West Ham
with the dust still settling after
Burnley’s first goal resulted in five
pitch invasions and hundreds of
supporters gathering below the
directors’ box to protest against
David Gold and David Sullivan, the
club’s owners, and Karren Brady, the
vice-chairman.
Sullivan was struck on his glasses
by a coin and he and Gold had to
leave their seats early. Almost 20
West Ham fans have been issued
with lifetime suspensions for
invading the pitch or throwing
missiles, the club is facing
punishment from the Football
Association and the fallout even
featured Sadiq Khan, the mayor of
London, rebuking Brady for claiming
that cuts to the stadium’s security
budget were responsible for the
trouble.
A pitch invader
holds a corner flag
against Burnley
Stewards were overwhelmed
a the toxic atmosphere raises the
and
prospect
of trouble flaring again,
p
n least because Sullivan, Gold
not
a Brady are expected to attend
and
t game against Southampton and
the
h
have
indicated no desire to part with
t club they led away from Upton
the
P
Park
two years ago.
Brady and Khan met to discuss
t stadium’s problems on Monday
the
a the Safety Advisory Group,
and
w
which
features West Ham, the
M
Metropolitan
police, the London
L
Legacy
Development Corporation
a the stadium operators, LS185,
and
h agreed additional security
has
m
measures
for the game.
Police will be inside and outside
t ground, stewards will be
the
positioned in the stands and by the
p
pitch,
free flow around the stadium
w be reduced and West Ham have
will
p
placed
a barrier near the directors to
s
stop
fans getting too close. A female
s
steward
who suffered concussion
i the crush below the directors’
in
b and a male steward who was
box
l with a blood clot behind one eye
left
a
after
being assaulted are expected to
r
return
to work.
The operation will add £60,000 to
t security bill and will be covered
the
b the taxpayer, although the safety
by
enhancements are just as well
given that the SAG has warned that
further trouble will leave West Ham
facing the prospect of playing future
matches behind closed doors.
“I want this club to appeal to
really good international players,”
said David Moyes, West Ham’s
manager. “I want them to say ‘I
want to join West Ham United’. I
don’t think what happened against
Burnley is going to make those
players want to join us.”
Moyes, whose contract runs out
at the end of the season, says he
would like to remain at West Ham.
However, his decision is likely to
depend on them staying in the
Premier League. Uncertainty reigns.
Victory will take West Ham five
points above Southampton but it
is telling that the visiting manager,
Mark Hughes, has spoken about
using the crowd against the home
team.
A
fter all, the build-up
to the Burnley game
was overshadowed
by Mark Walker, the
head of the West Ham
United Independent
Supporters Association (WHUISA),
becoming the target of an online
‘What happened
against Burnley is
not going to make
internationals
want to join us’
campaign orchestrated by members
of the Real West Ham Fans Group
(RWHFG) after his organisation
tried to resurrect a cancelled protest
march.
Walker held productive talks with
Sullivan after the club were criticised
by Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for
Ilford North, for failing to condemn
the abuse. Yet WHUISA will vote
this morning on whether to march
before the Manchester City game on
28 April, while there is intrigue over
rumours of rival groups holding a
“static protest” outside the stadium
against Southampton.
The mood is fragile and, although
the players have sympathy with the
supporters’ complaints, which have
mainly focused on a perceived lack
of investment in the transfer market
since the move to Stratford, they are
concerned more disruptions will
harm their efforts to stay up. Five of
West Ham’s final eight games are at
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:11 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:27
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
••
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
Stepping up security
How West Ham plan to
halt further fan unrest
“Significantly enhanced”
police presence, inside
and outside of the London
Stadium
A “dynamic response team”
on hand in case of another
pitch invasion
Supporter movement
restricted by several
on-venue security gates
Security barriers stationed
in front of the directors’ box
11
Rugby league
Holbrook savours ending
Wigan’s Easter supremacy
St Helens
21
Wigan
18
Aaron Bower
Totally Wicked Stadium
It is impossible to argue Justin
Holbrook has not overseen a remarkable transformation at St Helens in
little over a year in charge but you felt
there was still one niggling itch left for
the Australian to scratch.
For eight consecutive Good Friday
meetings between rugby league’s biggest rivals, Wigan have held the balance of power over the Saints, winning
on every occasion. While St Helens
have led the way from the opening
weekend of this particular campaign,
victory here would undoubtedly prove
the biggest assertion yet that Holbrook
has built a side capable of winning the
title.
And while it was nerve-racking
throughout the wait is over for St
Helens. Not only does this win end a
Racing
Carbon Dating is
tempting at 16-1
for a repeat win
Greg Wood
Angry West
Ham fans make
their feelings
known with a
banner aimed at
the club owners
BEN STANSALL/GETTY
home, with visits from Everton, both
Manchester clubs and Stoke still to
come.
The collapse against Burnley was
alarming and Moyes, who has Arthur
Masuaku available after the wingback’s six-match ban for spitting,
told the players during their recent
mini-break in Miami that they must
show strength of character if there
are more protests.
“They were shocked,” Moyes
said. “We couldn’t understand it. We
were only 1-0 down. If anything we
needed the fans’ support. I can show
you the stats that said as soon as the
pitch invasions started the players
dropped off physically.
“We’ve said to the players if
anything like this happens again we
have to make sure we don’t drop off
and that this time we rally round
each other quickly because it looked
like we just went to pieces.”
Moyes is still getting to grips with
West Ham’s politics, which is an
unenviable task, and the week has
been dominated by calls for unity
from claret and blue heroes like
Mark Noble and Sir Trevor Brooking.
The problem for West Ham is that
the strength of any truce is likely to
depend on which team scores the
first goal.
Join us live
Coverage this
afternoon
of Palace v
Liverpool
and Everton
v Man City
theguardian.
com/football
The Flat season on turf is taking time
to ease itself in but there can be few
complaints about the feature event
at Musselburgh this afternoon, which
brings some excellent staying handicappers together to race for £60,000.
There is more than a nod to the
jumps in the 14-strong field as Harry
Fry, more familiar as a leading National
Hunt handler, saddles a top contender
in American Gigolo. Other runners
arrive fit from the winter code but the
one that seems to have sneaked in
under the radar is last year’s winner,
Carbon Dating.
As he did in 2017, Carbon Dating
spent the winter running well without
winning for Satish Seemar in Dubai.
Twelve months ago he returned from
the sunshine to run out a comfortable winner from a mark of 101. This
time around he races off 100 and his
overnight price of around 16-1 appears
generous.
Musselburgh 1.50 Masham Star was
one of the busiest in training last year
with 20 starts but he held his form well
and looked good on his return this
month. He gives weight away here but
goes well with some cut in the ground
and should be up to the task.
Haydock 2.05 Nigel Twiston-Davies
took the first two editions of this race
with Ballybolley and should complete
the hat-trick with Crievehill.
nine-year wait for a Good Friday victory – with their last coming in 2009
– it more importantly opens up a fourpoint gap at the summit for the Saints.
Both sides more than played their
part in a magnificent contest. Played
at breakneck pace, the meeting of
first versus second was everything it
promised. It looked as though Wigan’s
dominance would continue with 15
minutes remaining, as Willie Isa’s try
put Shaun Wane’s side into a lead that,
given the nature of their second-half
play, they thoroughly deserved.
But Holbrook’s St Helens do not
know when they are beaten. They
drew level via the boot of the talented
half-back, Danny Richardson, who
▲ St Helens’ Ben Barba crosses for a
try in the uplifting win over Wigan
Musselburgh 2.25 Alpha Delphini
ended last season as a sprinter on
the up and is the one to beat. At the
likely odds, though, it could be worth
chancing Caspian Prince on his debut
for Mick Appleby. He was well below
his best when sent to Doha last month
but would give the favourite a race on
his earlier form.
Haydock 2.40 Several runners have a
chance while Applesandpierres will
attract support after peppering the target in recent outings. The value may lie
with Wolfcatcher, who bounced back
from a poor run on Boxing Day to finish a close third at Kempton last time.
Musselburgh 3.00 Indomeneo’s fitness needs to be taken on trust but he
finished a busy juvenile campaign on
a roll with two wins in a style that suggested he could make further progress.
Ayutthaya looks the danger from an
opening mark that may well prove
lenient.
Haydock 3.15 A competitive handicap
chase in which there is a case to be
made for most. Shanroe In Milan is one
of the least exposed over fences and
improved for a step up to three miles
last time. He is up 7lb for a half-length
win but another furlong here should
eke out a little more improvement on
only his fourth chase start.
Greg Wood’s tips
Haydock 2.05 Crievehill 2.40 Wolfcatcher
3.15 Shanroe In Milan (nb) 3.50 All My Love
4.25 Classic Ben 5.00 Tara Mist 5.35 Muckle Roe
Musselburgh 1.50 Masham Star 2.25 Caspian Prince
3.00 Indomeneo 3.35 Carbon Dating (nap) 4.10 I Am A
Dreamer 4.45 Tommy G 5.20 Queen’s Sargent
Carlisle 1.40 Donna’s Delight 2.10 Secrete Stream
2.50 Pixiepot 3.25 Bright Prospect 4.00 General
Mahler 4.35 Lowanbehold 5.10 Derriana Spirit
Kempton 2.00 Tigre Du Terre 2.35 Fabricate
3.10 Qaysar 3.45 Inn The Bull 4.20 Sputnik Platinum
4.55 Sparkalot 5.30 Excellent George
Chelmsford 5.45 No Approval 6.15 Communique
6.45 Leoro 7.15 Samovar 7.45 George Of Hearts
8.15 Image 8.45 Alfonso Manana
once again enhanced his burgeoning
reputation with a sublime performance, before Regan Grace’s try put
the hosts ahead again.
Having led 12-2 at half-time courtesy of tries from Ben Barba and Zeb
Taia, the Saints were perhaps guilty of
not seeing off Wigan sooner. But after
Richardson converted the winger’s try
from the touchline to open up a sixpoint gap, the 21-year-old kicked a
drop goal to create a two-score lead
which, despite Joel Tomkins’ late try
with a minute remaining, was enough
for the hosts.
Wigan could have perhaps rejected
the opportunity to try to convert
Tomkins’ magnificent solo effort in an
attempt to salvage one or two extra
plays but it was not to be. By the end,
there was a sight which has become alltoo familiar – thousands of St Helens
fans saluting Holbrook as he savoured
the moment post-match. It has been
a long time coming for the hosts: you
suspect they will enjoy every second
of it.
St Helens
Barba; Makinson,
Morgan, Percival, Grace;
Lomax, Richardson;
Amor, Roby, Thompson,
Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin
Interchange
Fages, McCarthyScarsbrook, Douglas,
Knowles
Tries Barba, Taia, Grace
Goals Richardson 4
Drop goal Richardson
Wigan
Escare; Davies, Bateman,
Gildart, Burgess; Williams,
Powell; Clubb, Leuluai,
Flower, Isa, Farrell,
O’Loughlin
Interchange
Tomkins, Sutton, Tautai,
Woods
Tries Tomkins 2, Isa
Goals Escare 2, Williams
Referee Robert Hicks Attendance 17,980
Golf
Woods claims he is
a ‘walking miracle’
Ewan Murray
Houston
Tiger Woods described himself “a
walking miracle” as he prepared to
return to major championship action
at the Masters. Next week will mark
the former world No 1’s first appearance at Augusta National since 2015.
Wood has suffered persistent back
troubles, which culminated recently in
fusion surgery. “I got a second chance
on life, I am a walking miracle,” he said.
Woods has the same aspiration as
always at what he called “the bestrun tournament in the world”. The
14-times major champion added: “I’m
just there to win.”
Ian Poulter’s hopes of joining
Woods in the Masters field received
a huge boost as the Englishman hit a
second-round 64 at the Houston Open.
Poulter’s opening score of 73 had left
him 124th in the field.
“Are you going to pack your suitcase, throw it in your car and go home
or go out there and play?” Poulter said.
“I rolled a few putts in and moved up
the leaderboard.
“I actually played all right yesterday. That’s why I was so angry, because
I wasn’t that bad and wanted to give
myself a chance.”
Shane Lowry’s consecutive 68s
leave him eight under and a shot ahead
of Poulter. The Irishman is also chasing the Houston win that would earn
him the last available Masters berth. “I
have a flight booked home to Ireland
next Friday and if I have to change that,
it’s a good problem,” Lowry said.
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:12 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 23:48
•••
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Sport
Cricket Second Test
12
Yesterday at
Hagley Oval,
Christchurch
Scoreboard
England First innings
Balls 4s
AN Cook b Boult ...................................2
7
0
MD Stoneman c Latham b Southee .....35 111
4
JM Vince lbw b Southee ......................18 41
3
*JE Root b Southee ............................37 63
5
DJ Malan lbw b Boult ............................0
1
0
BA Stokes c Watling b Boult ................25 63
4
JM Bairstow not out...........................97 154 11
SCJ Broad c Sodhi b Southee .................5
6
1
MA Wood b Southee ...........................52 62
7
MJ Leach not out ...............................10 33
1
Extras (b2, lb5, w1, nb1) ......................9
6s
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
Total (for 8, 90 overs).......................290
Fall 6, 38, 93, 94, 94, 151, 164, 259.
To bat JM Anderson.
Bowling Boult 25-5-79-3; Southee 23-6-60-5;
De Grandhomme 17-4-44-0; Wagner 20-5-69-0;
Sodhi 5-0-31-0.
New Zealand JA Raval, TWM Latham, *KS Williamson,
LRPL Taylor, HM Nicholls, †BJ Watling, C de Grandhomme,
TG Southee, IS Sodhi, N Wagner, TA Boult.
Toss New Zealand elected to field.
Umpires M Erasmus (SA) and BNJ Oxenford (Aus).
Picture of the day
Bairstow, on 58, gets a nasty
bouncer in the chops from De
Grandhomme. It cracks his helmet,
sending it spinning off his head as
he tumbles after. Headgear kaput,
stumps and man unscathed
Shot of the day
ay
Mark Wood
off Neil Wagner
On the way to
a maiden Test
50 of bubbling
happiness,
Wood takes an
almighty swipe
at an inevitable
short ball and
flat-bats it over
the boundary
for six
Ball of the day
ay
Trent Boult to
Alastair Cook
The former
captain, alas,
feet glued to
the spot, loses
his off stump to
a pearler from
Boult, pitched
on around
middle and
swinging away
Tweet of the day
 I couldn’t love Christchurch
any more than I do right now …
this is lunchtime on day 1 of the
Test. Kids playing on the outfield,
mums and dads checking out the
pitch. Gorgeous! 
Graeme Swann @Swannyg66
Stat of the day
Alastair Cook
has passed 50
twice in his
past 20 innings,
James Vince
twice in 21
2
Bairstow bails out
tourists’ misfiring
batting quartet
Vic Marks
Christchurch
As the tampering saga begins to recede
– or is this just a little lull? – it is no
longer possible to hide the fact that
England’s Test team is undergoing a
good old-fashioned crisis, stemming
from a lack of runs, rather than integrity, among their batsmen.
Fortunately for Joe Root his allrounders came good in the final
session to keep England afloat. In
this case it was Jonny Bairstow, who
steered England to a total approaching respectability with an excellent,
unbeaten 97. Bairstow moved on to his
fifth Test century quickly on the second day’s play but the tourists did not
hang around and were all out for 307.
Bairstow’s chief ally on day one was
Mark Wood, who may be elevated to
all-rounder status for a while, after he
hit a vibrant 52, his best score in Test
cricket. Bairstow’s refined belligerence is familiar but there were times
in their partnership when the quality
of Wood’s strokeplay made it hard to
distinguish them. This pair added 95
together in 18 overs, an alliance that
papered over another alarming batting performance. It may be that some
of the batsmen are mentally numb,
others may be rusty, but on a sublime
day for cricket it became all too evident that England possess only three
batsmen in their top seven capable of
suggesting any kind of permanence
at the moment, even on a perfectly
benign surface.
Beyond Root, Ben Stokes and
Bairstow there is currently a quartet who seem as fragile and fleeting
as a rainbow but not so pleasing on
the eye – with the possible exception of James Vince when cover driving. Sadly that quartet now includes
Alastair Cook, who was defeated by
Trent Boult once again.
The autumnal sun beamed down.
The locals claimed their spots on grassy
banks still damp with dew when Kane
Williamson won the toss. Following the
pattern of the four previous Tests here
he opted to bowl despite the overhead
conditions. England had made three
changes from Auckland, with Vince,
Wood and Jack Leach, who was making
his debut, replacing Moeen Ali, Chris
Woakes and Craig Overton. By recent
standards this was a radical overhaul.
Up stepped Boult and in his third
over he clean bowled Cook. It was a fine,
full delivery that deviated from leg to
off and, with Cook’s feet stuck on the
crease and his bat lunging desperately
in front of him, he missed the ball by a
▲ Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow
cross for a run in their stand of 95
remarkable distance given he has more
than 12,000 Test runs to his name.
Cook’s dismissal did not preface an
Auckland-style subsidence, although
there was some swing and nip for the
pace attack. Mark Stoneman, off the
mark after an inside edge sped perilously close to his off stump, played
and missed frequently while Vince
looked more assured. As ever a couple of drives purred from the middle
of his bat as the Kiwis kept searching
for swing via a full length. Then, on 18,
Vince was stuck on the crease against
Tim Southee and was lbw, with the
replays confirming that the ball would
have clipped leg stump. Like so many
of the batsmen he needs a substantial
score in the second innings to guarantee his place in the next Test team.
Root settled easily and scored
without difficulty, often on his toes
and punching through the offside.
He navigated the side to 70 for two
at lunch, not a bad foundation after
being put into bat. For another half an
hour after the interval all was serenity. New Zealand tried a review against
Root that reflected how dangerous the
England captain was looking. Root
drove Southee to the onside boundary to confirm this but then he tried
to clip another full-length delivery
through midwicket and was bowled. He
marched off, disgusted with himself.
From here there was mayhem.
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:13 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 23:48
•••
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
Action
stations
at Hagley
Oval
Jonny
Bairstow
swings the
bat on his
way to an
excellent
unbeaten 97
on day one in
Christchurch
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
13
▼ South Africa fans did not miss the
chance to taunt the Australia team
SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS
Attacking talk
‘When I get
to 20 I think I’m
like Bradman’
PAUL CHILDS/
REUTERS
Vic Marks
Christchurch
Dawid Malan missed his first ball
from Boult and set off for the pavilion
before the umpire’s finger was properly raised. It was as if he had never
sighted the ball. In the next over Stoneman’s luck ran out as he edged a handy
delivery from Southee into the safe
hands of Tom Latham at second slip.
Stokes and Bairstow, batting properly, now added 57 but after tea Stokes
was caught down the leg side off Boult.
The standard response to this dismissal
is to say that he was “strangled” but
this happens so often now, especially
against left-handed bowlers, that the
batsmen must take note of an error. Stuart Broad, elevated to No 8, did not bat
like one, soon chipping an easy catch to
mid-off against Southee. But Wood did.
There were several crunching cover
drives and as well as a six hooked off
Neil Wagner. Wood had not played
against a red ball since September.
Practice? Who needs it? Having posted
his maiden half-century in Test cricket
he was bowled by Southee. All the
while Bairstow had mixed discretion
and aggression as he often can with the
tail. The crack of two pull shots against
Wagner echoed satisfyingly around the
ground. After Wood’s departure, Leach
supported Bairstow throughout the
final 10 overs. For the New Zealanders
the old firm of Boult and Southee did
all the damage, with the latter the more
potent this time.
New blood and fresh minds came to
the rescue alongside Jonny Bairstow.
Mark Wood galloped to his maiden
half-century and then Jack Leach
nobly hung around against the second
new ball, which he seemed to negotiate with fewer alarms than the proper
batsmen did against the first one in
the morning. The new pair, uncluttered by recent failures and eager to
justify a place in the side, did Bairstow
and England a favour as 164 for seven
became 290 for eight at the end of the
day’s play.
Wood, whose previous best Test
score was 32, is seldom seen without
a smile. “I’ve got a Test 50 before a fivefor. That’s the wrong way round,” he
said afterwards and then spent most
of the time praising Bairstow. “It was
nice to have Jonny at the other end.
We first played against each other as
12-year-olds when Northumberland
met Yorkshire. We were having a bit
of a laugh out there. ‘Oh look there’s
another bouncer from Waggers [Neil
Wagner]’ so that helped us to forget
the situation and concentrate.”
Wood outscored Bairstow in their
95-run partnership, hitting seven
fours mostly off the middle and one
six, which was definitely came out
of the sweet spot. “Jonny constructs
an innings – he’s a batsman,” added
Wood. “I chanced my arm a bit. Jonny’s
done it before and it was great to be
there with him. He sticks his chest out
after the bouncer and there’s a little bit
of arrogance. I like that and sometimes
the bowler can get a bit frustrated. I
had a great time with him except for
my last ball [Wood was bowled by Tim
Southee with the final ball of the 79th
over]. That was a bit rubbish to have
Leachy come in for the new ball.”
Wood admitted that he started as a
batsman as a kid and at the Hagley Oval
he played some copybook drives. “The
trouble is,” he said, “when I get to 20
I think I’m like Bradman and play too
many shots. Sometimes I get ahead of
myself. There were a lot of bouncers
and that may have helped. At least I
knew where the ball was likely to be.”
‘I chanced my
arm a bit. Jonny’s
done it before and
it was great to be
there with him’
Mark Wood
Chin-up stance keeps
Australia in the fight
Markram hits century for
South Africa but new-look
tourists refuse to wilt
Adam Collins
The Wanderers Stadium
It felt like a great day one. The home
side tucked in on an inviting track. The
depleted visiting pace division raced
in hard, fighting back whenever times
were getting tough. A young opener,
Aiden Markram, stroked another
graceful century. A veteran seamer,
Chadd Sayers, finally won his debut
and collected his first wickets. The
Bullring crowd lived up to their reputation. Pat Cummins got on a hat-trick,
picking up the local captain, Faf du
Plessis, first ball. It was a day that
demanded attention.
Yet such is the predicament Australian cricket finds itself in that all eyes
will quickly return to Sydney overnight when David Warner fronts the
cameras to have his say about what
happened in Newlands. Unlike his fellow members of the Sandpaper Three
– Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft
– the opener and former vice-captain
did not answer questions on landing in
the country. He wanted to “take a deep
breath” first. First time for everything.
But the 11 players in the middle of
the Wanderers could not control any
of that. What they could influence was
the way they conducted themselves.
The standards this Australian team
have kept are on trial and will be for
a long time yet. So what the team did
was set a standard in the field that
belied any suggestion that they are
going to roll over in this fixture inside
three days in order to get an early flight
home. It was impressive.
Take Matt Renshaw, the opener who
flew into the country two days ago. The
Queenslander was one of three men
who made that midweek hike and
four changes to the team humiliated
in Cape Town. Diving around in the
gully he stopped everything.
He was backing up the graft of the
bowlers, of whom Cummins was again
the standout. When the world was falling in last Sunday, he was the one that
did not wilt. On the first evening of that
match he ran amok with the old ball.
Here it was not quite as dramatic but
the exertion – off practically no practice between Tests – was the same.
With Markram beyond 150 and looking better by the moment and AB de
Villiers getting busy, they came close
to bursting the final session open and
finishing two down. Instead Cummins
drew a false stroke from Markram.
When Du Plessis inexplicably shouldered arms next delivery to a searing
inswinger, it was two in two balls and
the Australians were back in business.
At stumps the new captain, Tim
Paine, had a message for the world,
that his era in charge would be underpinned by respect. To start on the right
foot, after the national anthems were
sung he arranged with Du Plessis that
the sides would shake hands, an idea
he picked up watching football in his
hotel room. To Paine it is a small but
important gesture he wants to implement at the start of each series.
“We’ve got to be more respectful
of our opposition and we’ve got to be
more respectful to cricket,” he said.
“We’ve tended to push the boundaries
as far as we possibly could. I think that
we’ve seen that people probably don’t
like that, so it’s time for us to change.”
Paine added that a humbler
approach would suit the group he now
oversees. “We’re a different group of
players than Australia have had for a
long time. We haven’t got too many
guys that like to verbalise and have
that really hard-nosed approach. We’re
about creating an environment where
guys can come in and play cricket and
just be themselves.”
Nobody will be getting carried away
after one committed day at the grindstone and a few encouraging words –
culture takes time to embed, both good
and bad. But this might just be when
they finally started getting it back on
track and might just carry more weight
than anything Warner says.
Smith ‘isn’t Pablo Escobar’
Shane Warne has hit out at the
treatment of Steve Smith, saying:
“He isn’t Pablo Escobar”. The
former Australia spinner was
referring to the late Colombian
drug lord known as the “King
of Cocaine”. “Smith didn’t kill
anyone,” Warne said on Sky Sports.
“He’s a guy that’s made a mistake.
To see him being manhandled
at airports, to see him attacked,
it is like the dogs are all over him.
I think it is disgraceful behaviour
from them. I think it is partly
because the prime minister
[Malcolm Turnbull] has come out
and said: ‘This is ridiculous, what’s
happening.’” PA
Wicketkeeper Tim
Paine took over as
Australia captain
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:14 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 19:43
•
Sport
Rugby union
14
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
▼ Rhys Patchell scores Scarlets’ first
try in the win over La Rochelle
ANDREW LEWIS/FROZEN IN MOTION/REX/
SHUTTERSTOCK
Burger
relishes
extended
test and
Leinster trip
Champions Cup quarter-final
at the Aviva Stadium is the
next challenge for Saracens’
former South Africa
a flanker
Gerard Meagher
European Champions Cup quarter-final
Halfpenny has the
artillery to break
La Rochelle’s walls
Scarlets
29
La Rochelle
17
Paul Rees
Parc y Scarlets
The Scarlets became the first Welsh
region to reach the last four of the
European Cup for nine years as they
overcame a nervy start against imposing and enterprising opponents to seal
victory with a Scott Williams try five
minutes from the end when they were
down to 14 men. They will be away in
the semi-final to the winners of Sunday’s match between Leinster and
Saracens.
The Scarlets were playing their first
knockout match in Europe here and
had to provide extra seating to get the
capacity above the requisite 15,000.
The match sold out in less than an hour
and there was a sizeable contingent of
supporters from La Rochelle who had
not seen their team win away since the
beginning of November.
An early Leigh Halfpenny penalty
gave Scarlets the lead but they paid for
carelessness in possession in which
they were pushed behind the gainline by a rush defence. La Rochelle
had a bulky pack and a front row that
seemed to cover most of the width of
the pitch, but in Arthur Retière they
had a centre who weighed little more
than 11st.
It was Retière who inspired the
opening try of the game after eight
minutes. He picked up a loose ball
outside the home 22 and caught his
own chip ahead. He was tackled just
short of the line and, when Jérémy Sinzelle kicked to the corner, Steff Evans
failed to catch the ball. The television
match official, David Grashoff, then
ruled that the lock Romain Sazy had
grounded it over the try line.
It looked a decision based on World
Rugby’s pronouncement following the
failure to award Gareth Anscombe a try
for Wales at Twickenham last month,
one where the slightest contact is
enough. The crowd voiced its disgust
but the Scarlets picked themselves
up, carried on winning penalties at
the breakdown and within 10 minutes were back in the lead through
two Halfpenny penalties.
The Scarlets are known for their flair
but they had to meet straight-running
opponents head on. Their captain, Ken
Owens, led the way by felling both
props in quick succession and with the
English referee, Luke Pearce, allowing a contest at the breakdown (to the
bafflement of the French side) John
Barclay became a pivotal figure.
Barclay started at No 8 but became
his side’s poacher after 14 minutes
when the wing Paul Asquith suffered
a leg injury and, with the Scarlets having only a scrum-half and outside-half
on the bench, was replaced by a backrow, Josh MacLeod. The move saw the
open-side James Davies moved to the
Leigh Halfpenny
scored 19 points
with the boot
wing but, despite the desire of both
sides to move the ball, both struggled
to achieve width.
La Rochelle were dominant in territory and possession, kicking the ball
in defence only for tactical advantage
rather than to relieve pressure. But it
was the Scarlets who led at the interval, 12-10, after Halfpenny’s fourth
penalty was answered by one from
Alexi Bales.
Nerves were less of a factor after
the break. Halfpenny’s fifth penalty extended his side’s lead but La
Rochelle were making clean breaks,
led by Retière, whose deceptive
strength in contact allowed him to
bounce off tacklers who went too high.
The Scarlets were forced into a
reshuffle behind when Steff Evans
suffered a head injury as he chased a
kick ahead, inadvertently elbowed in
the face by Bales. Halfpenny moved to
the wing and Rhys Patchell took over
at full-back with the replacement Dan
Jones taking over at outside-half.
La Rochelle sensed a game there
to be plundered and laid siege to the
Scarlets’ line. They were held up three
times, a combination of courage and
a willingness to bend the breakdown
laws to breaking point keeping the
Scarlets ahead. Their beautiful game
had had to turn ugly.
Having absorbed numerous blows,
the Scarlets delivered the knock-out
on the hour when Hadleigh Parkes
broke through the midfield and Dan
Jones’s losing pass allowed Patchell
Jo
to use Halfpenny as a decoy before
cutting inside Vincent Rattez to score.
cu
La Rochelle kept coming but the
Scarlets played the final 10 minutes
Sc
a man short after Will Boyde was
sent to the sin-bin for entering a ruck
se
from the side. Then Williams got the
fr
home crowd singing and Pierre Bouho
dehent’s late try was the scantest of
de
consolations.
co
Scarlets
Halfpenny; Asquith
(MacLeod 14; Boyde 62),
Williams, Parkes, S Evans
(D Jones 46); Patchell,
G Davies (A Davies 76);
R Evans (D Evans 68),
Owens (capt), Lee
(Kruger 56), Beirne,
Bulbring (Rawlins 56),
Shingler, J Davies,
Barclay (Elias 76)
Tries Patchell, Williams
Cons Halfpenny 2
Pens Halfpenny 5
Sin-bin Boyde
La Rochelle
Bouldoire (Boudehent 30);
Rattez, Retière, Aguillon,
Barry; Sinzelle (Noble 62),
Bales (Kerr-Barlow 56);
Priso (Tuifedle 62),
Bourgarit, Atonio
(Boughanmi 52), Sazy
(capt), Tanguy, Veivuke
(Gourdon 24), Kieft
(Lamboley 56), Amosa
(Forbes 56)
Try Sazy, Boudehent
Cons Bales, Noble
Pen Bales
Referee Luke Pearce (Eng) Attendance 15,180
Schalk Burger has a vineyard that
sprawls over 180 hectares of Western
Cape countryside waiting for him as
soon as he decides to retire. Had he
taken what he calls “the easy option”
he would be winding down the
clock right now and topping up the
bank balance in Japan rather than
preparing for a European quarterfinal. But there is an unmistakable
twinkle in his eye as he explains at
Saracens’ sodden training ground
that, with his 35th birthday only a
couple of weeks away, he is due to
sign on for another year in north
London.
For apart from the poor weather
which he describes as “one heck
of a spring” that has meant “I’ve
never played so little golf in my
life”, Burger has relished his time at
Saracens. The former South Africa
flanker banked one European title
last season and Saracens are now
well set for the Premiership run-in,
but it was the disastrous run of seven
successive defeats at the end of last
year – the low point of which was a
46-14 thumping by Clermont – that
reinforced his feelings. That kind of
adversity stirred the senses.
“In every season there’s a game
when you’re just not on it for some
reason and the score blows you out of
the water,” he says. “We’re humans,
aren’t we? It was good for us to just sit
down and simplify our way forward.
That’s a nice process, I like that. In
the World Cup we lost a game against
Japan in Brighton and that was a
high-pressure situation. How do you
turn it around? It speaks volumes of a
group if you can because it would be
easier to disintegrate.”
Saracens have pulled off some
exceptional away victories in recent
years – Burger recalls last season’s
Champions Cup win at Toulon
and, inevitably, the semi-final
triumph over Munster in Dublin
that followed has been mentioned
frequently this week – but it is hard
to escape the feeling that tomorrow
against Leinster would be their best
to date. For the odds are stacked
against England’s only quarter-final
representatives, the twice defending
champions.
Owen Farrell has been declared fit
to play, though it remains to be seen
if he is able to kick at goal. He is one
of six starters still bearing the scars
of England’s humbling by Ireland
while 10 of the squad that clinched
the grand slam at Twickenham
line up for Leinster. Mark McCall,
Saracens’ director of rugby, has been
at pains to eschew the Six Nations
narrative – “we’re not England” – but
in truth it is inescapable.
Furthermore, Leinster are the
form team in Europe, breezing
through what was supposedly the
hardest pool with 27 points from a
possible 30. Victory over Munster
at the Aviva Stadium was hugely
impressive last April but when
Leinster are at their second home
it is an altogether more formidable
challenge. Saracens established
their European dominance on an
ability to thrive in knockout rugby,
having won the last six do-or-die
contests. If their aura has slipped
a little this season, then this is the
perfect opportunity to restore it.
“The good thing about challenges
is that you stand up to them,”
Burger adds. “You shouldn’t let
the opposition down. All the years
from playing against the All Blacks,
learning what the haka stands for,
the biggest thing we focused on was
don’t disappoint the All Blacks with
what you bring to it. This weekend is
a similar sort of challenge.”
Burger always enjoys his trips
to Dublin but among those that
stand out are South Africa’s narrow
defeat in 2009, when he scored
the Springboks’ only try at Croke
Park. That was the year of Ireland’s
previous grand slam before their
latest clean sweep and Burger has
undoubtedly been impressed with
what he has seen in recent weeks.
“What everyone underestimates
is how physical they are because you
always see the beautiful tries or set
pieces, which I think have become
a hallmark, or the cross-kicks or
the chips in behind, how they find
space,” he says. “All of them are
super physical and that is where it
starts this weekend for us.”
Farrell’s rematch with Johnny
Sexton is just one of the intriguing
match-ups but it again raises the
question of whether Premiership
players are feeling the strain of
too great a workload. Farrell has
played 1,084 minutes for his club,
this season, Sexton 434, and Burger
acknowledges that the domestic
campaign in England is a gruelling
exercise.
“It’s a tough season but it was
refreshing for me to do something
other than Super Rugby. The easy
option would have been to finish
over in Japan.” Saracens will be
delighted Burger did not take it.
Chiefs regain trophy
Jack Innard scored two tries as
Exeter regained the Anglo-Welsh
Cup with a convincing 28-11 win
over Bath at Kingsholm. With no
competition in 2015, this was the
Chiefs’ fourth final in succession
and, after losing the last two, they
claimed back the trophy they first
won in 2014. Bath were second best
on the day as their wait for a first
trophy since 2008 – when they won
the European Challenge Cup – went
on. Toby Salmon scored Exeter’s
other try, with Joe Simmonds adding
three penalties and two conversions,
while Bath’s points came from a
Cooper Vuna try and two penalties
from Freddie Burns. PA
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:15 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:55
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
••
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
Results
Sport
15
Football
FOURTH TEST (first day of five)
JD WELSH PREMIER LEAGUE
Cefn Druids 3 Bala Town 1
South Africa v Australia
SSE AIRTRICITY IRISH PREMIER DIVISION
Bray 0 Cork City 4; Derry City 2 St Patrick’s 1;
Dundalk 3 Bohemians 0; Limerick 0 Waterford 2;
Shamrock Rovers 1 Sligo 0
JUPILER LEAGUE
Standard Liège 1 Sporting Charleroi 0
PRIMEIRA LIGA
Boavista L Tondela L Marítimo 4 Feirense 1;
Rio Ave 2 Estoril 0
Rugby union
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP
Quarter-finals
Scarlets
29 La Rochelle
17
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP
Quarter-finals
Newcastle
25 Brive
Pau
35 Stade Français
10
32
ANGLO-WELSH CUP
Final
Bath
11
Exeter
GREENE KING IPA CHAMPIONSHIP
P W D L
F
Bristol
19 18 0 1 760
Ealing Trailfinders 18 15 0 3 645
Bedford
18 9 2 7 550
Jersey
19 11 1 7 441
Cornish Pirates
19 9 0 10 557
Yorkshire Carnegie 18 10 1 7 416
Doncaster
19 8 1 10 496
Richmond
19 9 0 10 383
Nottingham
18 8 1 9 422
Hartpury RFC
19 6 1 12 399
London Scottish
19 4 1 14 423
Rotherham Titans 19 1 0 18 327
Richmond
12 Nottingham
Chess
St Louis may bid
for Caruana
world title match
Leonard Barden
By winning this week’s candidates
tournament in Berlin, the 25-year-old
American Fabiano Caruana has qualified for a 12-game world title series
against Norway’s Magnus Carlsen in
November. It was going to be in London with a €1m prize fund, but now
there are rumours of a much higher
bid, a venue switch to St Louis and
tricky negotiations.
The first American-born challenger
since Bobby Fischer defeated Boris
Spassky in 1972 lives in St Louis, which
has become a renowned global chess
centre hosting inter alia the US cham-
Weekend
on TV
Sloane Stephens faces
Jelena Ostapenko in
the Miami Open final
pionship and an annual elite event in
which both Carlsen and Caruana compete. The billionaire Rex Sinquefield
bankrolls it all and was financially
responsible for Caruana, who has dual
nationality, electing to represent the
US rather than Italy from 2015.
Caruana was born to Italian-American parents in Miami, was home
schooled, learned his chess skills in
Brooklyn, and at 14 broke Fischer’s age
record as the youngest US grandmaster. He moved to Europe in search of
the best tournaments and coaching,
living in Madrid, Budapest and Lugano
and representing Italy. As an American
again, he led the US team in 2016 to
their first ever gold medals at the biennial 150-nation Olympiad.
Sinquefield is a long-time Fischer
fan, who once met his idol on a plane
trip, and a few years ago bought up
Bobby’s personal library. Four-time US
champion Yasser Seirawan, a Sinquefield confidant, said that a St Louis bid
would be “significantly higher” than
the €1m in London, which may be in
some doubt anyway, since it was raised
from primarily Russian sponsors
before the Berlin result was known.
For the embattled and financially
stretched global chess body Fide, St
Louis could prove a lifeline. However,
Fide’s commercial partner Agon,
based in Moscow, holds the rights to
the match and is sure to fight its corner.
3560 White mates in three moves at latest,
against any defence (by Fritz Giegold,1970).
The black king has no moves but the subtle
answer defeats many solvers.
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
3560 1 Kc1! f5 2 Rgd7! Bxf4+ 3 R7d2 mate.
CHRIS CARLSON/AP
Hull’s hope Britain’s Charley Hull stood four shots off the lead after the first
round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills, California, the season’s first major.
Pernilla Lindberg’s 65 left her a shot clear of the pack. The former world No 1
Lydia Ko made a double bogey at the seventh in her round of 70. PA
Today
Football
Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Sky Sports Premier League, 11.30am
Motherwell v Rangers
BT Sport 1, noon
Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund
BT Sport 2, 5pm
Everton v Manchester City
BT Sport 1, 5pm
Hull v Aston Villa
Sky Sports Football, 5.15pm
Sassuolo v Napoli
BT Sport 3, 5.15pm
Las Palmas v Real Madrid
Sky Sports Mix, 5.25pm
Juventus v Milan
BT Sport 2, 7.30pm
Sevilla v Barcelona
Sky Sports Football, 7.40pm
Paris Saint-Germain v Monaco
BT Sport 3, 7.45pm
BRITISH & IRISH CUP
Quarter-finals
Jersey
22
Leinster A
17
28
A
366
374
468
399
503
454
498
488
483
482
637
667
B
16
15
16
8
16
8
16
8
7
13
12
6
Doncaster
Munster A
Pts
88
75
56
54
52
50
50
44
41
39
30
10
20
10
6
NATIONAL LEAGUE ONE
Bishop’s Stortford 15 Blackheath 5;
Old Elthamians 6 Ampthill & District 18
Golf
HOUSTON OPEN (Texas, US)
Leading first-round scores (US unless stated) 65 L Glover;
K Tway. 66 J Suri; R Pampling (Aus); R Armour; R Fowler.
67 S Stricker; B Cauley; S Stefani; J Kokrak; G Chalmers (Aus);
M Every; B Stegmaier; S Power (Ire); G Murray; M Thompson;
K Mitchell; B Snedeker; P Harrington (Ire). 68 H Varner III;
N Lindheim; D Lee (NZ); J Rose (Eng); B Haas; S Lowry (Ire);
H Stenson (Swe); J Spieth; L List; S Piercy; M Kuchar;
M Piller; F Gómez (Arg); T Hoge; K Streelman; J Dahmen;
K Bradley; P Mickelson; JJ Henry; D McCarthy; A Ancer (Mex).
WOMEN’S ANA INSPIRATION (Mission Hills, US)
Leading first-round scores (US unless stated)
65 P Lindberg (Swe). 66 B Recari (Sp); A Uehara (Jpn).
67 Jang H-n (Kor); J Korda; A Valenzuela (Swi). 68 Choi C
(Kor); L Thompson; C Kerr; Chun I-g (Kor); B Altomare;
Park S-h (Kor). 69 E Talley; J Song; A Olson; Yoo S-y (Kor);
C Hull (Eng); Park H-y (Kor); K Tamulis. 70 L Li; M Sagstrom
(Swe); Park I-b (Kor); BM Henderson (Can); P Phatlum
(Tha); K Kaufman; Kim S-y (Kor); A Yin; N Hataoka (Jpn);
L Ko (NZ); J Ewart Shadoff (Eng); L Duncan; P Creamer;
M Jutanugarn (Tha); H Green (Aus); B Law (Eng).
Tennis
NATIONAL LEAGUE TWO
South Henley 17 Taunton Titans 20
PRINCIPALITY BUILDING SOCIETY WELSH PREMIERSHIP
Aberavon 24 Bedwas 19; Bargoed 7 Cardiff 39;
Carmarthen Quins 34 Ebbw Vale 23; Llandovery 24 Newport
19; Neath 10 Merthyr 29; RGC 1404 55 Cross Keys 26;
Swansea 19 Pontypridd 54
ATP/WTA MIAMI OPEN (Florida, US)
Men: Quarter-final: A Zverev (Ger) by B Coric (Cro) 6-4
6-4.
Semi-final: J Isner (US) bt JM Del Potro (Arg) 6-1 7-6 (2).
Women: Semi-final: J Ostapenko (Lat) bt D Collins (US)
7-6 (1) 6-3.
Fixtures
Rugby league
BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE
P W D L
F
A
St Helens
8 7 0 1 228
96
Wigan
7 5 0 2 202 103
Warrington
9 5 0 4 168 149
Castleford
6 5 0 1 105 114
Leeds
7 4 1 2 136 129
Hull FC
8 4 0 4 183 158
Wakefield
7 4 0 3 128 111
Widnes
8 3 0 5 159 157
Salford
8 3 0 5 142 170
Huddersfield
8 2 1 5 114 216
Hull KR
8 2 0 6 134 172
Catalans Dragons
8 1 0 7
92 216
Huddersfield
22 Leeds
Hull KR
22 Hull FC
Salford
32 Catalans Dragons
St Helens
21 Wigan
Warrington
32 Widnes
Johannesburg South Africa lead Australia by 313 runs with
four first-innings wickets remaining.
South Africa First innings
D Elgar c Sayers b Lyon ..................................................19
AK Markram c MR Marsh b Cummins ............................152
HM Amla c Handscomb b Cummins ................................27
A B de Villiers c Paine b Sayers .......................................69
*F du Plessis lbw b Cummins ...........................................0
T Bavuma not out .........................................................25
K Rabada c Renshaw b Sayers...........................................0
†Q de Kock not out .........................................................7
Extras (b8, lb6).............................................................14
Total (for 6, 88 overs)..................................................313
Fall 53, 142, 247, 247, 299, 299.
To bat VD Philander, KA Maharaj, M Morkel.
Bowling Hazlewood-18-3-60-0; Sayers-26-6-64-2;
Cummins-19-3-53-3; Lyon-21-1-95-1;
MR Marsh-3-0-23-0; Renshaw-1-0-4-0.
Australia JA Burns, MT Renshaw, UT Khawaja,
PSP Handscomb, SE Marsh, MR Marsh, *†TD Paine,
PJ Cummins , CJ Sayers, NM Lyon, JR Hazlewood.
Toss South Africa elected to bat.
Umpires IJ Gould (Eng) and NJ Llong (Eng).
PD
+132
+99
+19
-9
+7
+25
+17
+2
-28
-102
-38
-124
Pts
14
10
10
10
9
8
8
6
6
5
4
2
22
30
16
18
18
BETFRED CHAMPIONSHIP
Batley 18 Dewsbury 10; Featherstone 16 Toronto Wolfpack
24; Halifax 30 Barrow 4; London Broncos 16 Toulouse 36;
Sheffield 38 Rochdale 20; Swinton 10 Leigh 40
BETFRED LEAGUE ONE
Bradford 30 Oldham 12; Coventry 18 Newcastle 32;
Doncaster 14 York 16; Hemel Stags 12 London Skolars 18;
Hunslet 22 Keighley 38 West Wales 6 North Wales 54;
Whitehaven 14 Workington 12
Cricket
SECOND WOMEN’S T20 INTERNATIONAL
Colombo (SSC) Pakistan 72 (HASD Siriwardene 4-9).
Sri Lanka 73-3. Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by seven wickets.
TODAY (3pm unless stated)
Rugby union
European Champions Cup
Quarter-final Munster v Toulon (3.15pm)
European Challenge Cup
Quarter-finals Connacht v Gloucester (1pm);
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues (5.45pm)
British & Irish Cup
Quarter-finals Bedford v Ulster A;
Ealing Trailfinders v Cornish Pirates
Cricket
Fourth Test (second day of five)
Johannesburg South Africa v Australia (9am)
Women’s T20 international tri-series
Mumbai Australia v England (5.30am)
Third women’s T20 international
Colombo (SSC) Sri Lanka v West Indies (5.30am)
TOMORROW (3pm unless stated)
Rugby union
European Champions Cup
Quarter-finals Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92 (1pm);
Leinster v Saracens (3.30pm)
Cricket
Fourth Test (third day of five)
Johannesburg South Africa v Australia (9am)
MCC university matches (first day of three)
Fenner’s Cambridge v Nottinghamshire (11am)
Bristol Gloucestershire v Cardiff (11am)
Canterbury Kent v Oxford (11am)
Hove Sussex v Loughborough (11am)
Edgbaston Warwickshire v Durham (11am)
Flagge Meadow Worcestershire v Leeds/Bradford (11am)
First T20 international
Karachi Pakistan v West Indies (3.30pm)
Tomorrow
Rugby union
Connacht v Gloucester
BT Sport 3, 12.30pm
Munster v Toulon
Sky Sports Action, 2.30pm
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues
Sky Sports Action, 5.30pm
Cricket
South Africa v Australia
Sky Sports Cricket, 8.55am
New Zealand v England
Sky Sports Cricket, 10.30pm
Golf
ANA Inspiration
Sky Sports Golf, 11pm
Tennis
WTA Miami Open
BT Sport ESPN, 6pm
Boxing
Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker
Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm
Football
Dundee v Hearts
Sky Sports Football, noon
Arsenal v Stoke
Sky Sports Premier League, 12.30pm
Werder Bremen v Eintracht Frankfurt
BT Sport 1, 2.30pm
Leganés v Valencia
Sky Sports Football, 3.10pm
Chelsea v Tottenham
Sky Sports Premier League, 3.30pm
Nantes v St-Étienne
BT Sport 3, 4pm
Mainz v Borussia Mönchengladbach
BT Sport 1, 5pm
Eibar v Real Sociedad
Sky Sports Football, 5.25pm
Atlético Madrid v Deportivo
Sky Sports Football, 7.40pm
Lyon v Toulouse
BT Sport 1, 7.45pm
Rugby union
Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92
Sky Sports Action, 12.30pm
Leinster v Saracens
BT Sport 2, 3pm
Cricket
South Africa v Australia
Sky Sports Cricket, 8.55am
New Zealand v England
Sky Sports Cricket, 10.30pm
Golf
Houston Open
Sky Sports Golf, 7pm
ANA Inspiration
Sky Sports Golf, 11pm
Tennis
ATP Miami Open
Sky Sports Arena, 6pm
Cycling
Tour of Flanders
Eurosport 1, 9.15am
Section:GDN 1S PaGe:16 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 22:57
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
•••
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Bu
Burger
with relish
Sch
Schalk fired up for
Sar
Saracens’ mission
to s
to storm Dublin
16
Page
P
age 114 But his words chimed uneasily with the wider weather
fronts of Russia 2018, a tournament that has become ever
more grey and ominous, from the relentless politicking
on all sides, to the bad moon that hangs over every Fifa
event, an ugliness spawned in the Sepp Blatter endtimes that must now play itself out over four more years
of curdled power-play.
A
ILLUSTRATION: MATT JOHNSTONE
A happy ending?
Messi’s endless
genius would be
ideal antidote
to grey World Cup
Barney Ronay
I
see a bad moon rising: I see trouble on the way.
Or if not quite trouble, then some interesting
times this summer for the poor old beleaguered
World Cup; and indeed for Lionel Messi in what
is surely a last realistic shot at the ultimate
prize for the most exhilarating footballer of the
modern age.
Argentina’s travelling fans are still among the
most vivid memories of the last tournament in Brazil, a
sweaty, gleeful, Messi-worshipping horde from across
the border that in the last few days before the final
seemed to be coming up through the Rio drains and
falling down from the trees, emerging in ever greater
numbers from the Copacabana surf.
By the end they were sleeping in cars in the Rio sidestreets, packing out the bars and parading in the main
streets, and all the while singing that song to the tune of
Bad Moon Rising that ends with the line: “You’re going
to see Messi, he’ll bring us back the cup.” Except, of
course, it didn’t happen like that. And it seems even less
likely to happen this time around given Argentina’s 6-1
shellacking at the hands of Spain on Wednesday.
In mitigation, Spain were sensationally good in
Madrid. Plus, of course, Messi didn’t play, watching
instead from the stands and looking as mournfully blank
as he had four years ago, wandering off the Maracaña
pitch past a huge screen proclaiming him the player of
the tournament.
And really it is the sense of heaviness that is striking
here. “The World Cup is like a revolver to his head,”
the manager, Jorge Sampaoli, had said even before the
evisceration by Spain, referring to Messi having to carry
both his team and his own elite sporting destiny.
gainst this backdrop the idea that
Messi, now 30 and who has done
nothing but bring sporting joy,
might get another shot at winning
a World Cup has felt like a glimmer
of something redemptive, a happy
ending of sorts, a way of making this
tournament beautiful.
Even this is complicated, however. It would
be fair to suggest at this point there is nothing
particularly subversive or novel about the world’s
most famous multimillionaire footballer illuminating
Vladimir Putin’s circus. Better, from this perspective, for
France to go and win it after Tuesday’s reports of racist
Russian taunts, or for some perennially menaced Baltic
state to make a late entrance and thrash the host nation
in the semis.
But this is where Messi himself becomes interesting,
where glory at this World Cup might also add another
layer, or at least some actual substance to the basic
meaning of Lionel.
Let’s face it, away from the on-field feats, the
most interesting thing about Messi is how startlingly
uninteresting he is, the peculiar remoteness of his public
persona. Has any near-ubiquitous public face ever had
so little content, so little depth? He seems nice. But
Messi really does have nothing to declare but his own
genius, no context beyond that endlessly gushing well of
brilliance.
This is not meant as a criticism. There is no extra
obligation for sports people to intersect with the wider
world. But usually great athletes just can’t help being
political beings. Diego Maradona got to mean something
simply by being poor and brilliant and flawed, the
charismatic outsider with shades of darkness and light.
Even Pelé, who seemed to have spent most of the 1970s
travelling the world in a fur-lined helicopter wearing a
solid gold hat, had a depth of meaning to his feats, a kid
from Bauru who emerged from poverty to conquer the
sporting world.
And then we have Messi. For a while
That Messi
his defiantly ordinary demeanour felt
might get
like it might carry some significance,
a kind of holy fool dynamic. The best
another
player in the world didn’t have tattoos
shot at
and a douchebag hairstyle. Then he
got tattoos and a douchebag hairstyle.
winning
So that was that. At the end of which
a World
the meaning of Messi is, simply, that
Cup has
being really good at football is really
good. Being the best is the best. Have a
felt like a
good time – all the time.
glimmer of
Except, of course, there is
something something else here. The joy. As
Sampaoli also said in Madrid, Messi
redemptive needs to be able to enjoy football,
to relax, to exist as a free spirit, to
become his most exhilarating self. And this is perhaps
Messi’s wider significance, a reminder that playfulness
and joy are the essence of what he does, that he succeeds
by communicating this basic sense of freedom, of
something upliftingly impish.
This enduring spark is the most striking thing about
his years of success in the most managed of footballing
worlds, a place of corporate lockdown and annihilating
physicality. In the middle of this, hiding in plain sight,
Messi is the opposite of control, an antidote to grey.
It isn’t so far-fetched he could do it in Russia too.
Argentina very rarely lose with him in the team. Messi
himself looks fitter than four years ago and more at ease,
an oddly gentle supercharged sporting genius who is
still, and for all the gongs and glories, an element of grace
within the machine.
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