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Ruddock: U-20 draw not issue

RUGBY: Ireland U-20 coach Mike Ruddock is not concerned that Ireland's best finish at the Junior World Championship last year has not netted them a more favourable draw this season.

Ireland will open their JWC pool campaign in France next week against Australia and then face Fiji and New Zealand.

The composition of the pools is decided by how teams finished at the previous championships, and Ireland would have hoped to avoid at least one of the big guns having finished fifth in South Africa.

But a series of other surprise results had a big impact.

"Of course it will be tough but it will give these young players a good insight into international rugby and in that context it is a great opportunity to play southern hemisphere teams given that we have the Six Nations here," he said.

Ruddock was set to announce his squad for the tournament today.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Rugby Union's top target Vern Cotter is to take over the national team in summer 2014. Scott Johnson will continue as interim coach before stepping aside to become the SRU's director of rugby.


Hamilton snaps back at Vettel

F1: Lewis Hamilton has snapped back at Sebastian Vettel following his criticism of Mercedes after the Monaco Grand Prix.

Vettel described race-winner Nico Rosberg and team-mate Hamilton as like "two buses going for a cruise" over the first few laps as they preserved their tyres in the opening stages, backing up the pack.

In response to Vettel's dig, Hamilton said: "He has had the fastest car for the last four years, so it's easy for him to say that. He's got it easy.

"We are making our way up, we are learning, growing, improving with a car that has great potential, so I don't agree with him."


Rain may ruin England's hopes

CRICKET: All eyes were on the Headingley skies today as England looked to add the finishing touches to a series win over New Zealand.

With no prospect of a Black Caps victory, the hosts will leave Leeds having won the two-match rubber but may be denied a 2-0 scoreline by rain.

If and when play does get under way in Leeds, the tourists will resume on 158-6 - 309 runs adrift of England.