Wednesday 13 December 2017

Moody to take back armband


Lewis Moody is set to resume the England captaincy for Saturday's international against Wales at Twickenham.

The Bath flanker missed the whole of England's Six Nations title-winning campaign with a knee ligament injury, handing over the captaincy reins first to Mike Tindall and then Nick Easter.

But Moody (33) is the man England manager Martin Johnson wants to lead his squad into the World Cup. Johnson will officially confirm the team to face Wales -- the first of England's three World Cup warm-up fixtures -- tomorrow lunchtime.

Elsewhere, experienced France backs Aurelien Rougerie (broken ankle) and Vincent Clerc (knee) will be fit for the World Cup after making good progress from injury.

France face Ireland in Bordeaux on August 13 and in Dublin on August 20.


CONOR NILAND was left to rue squandering a match point as he crashed out in the first round of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Segovia, Spain.

The Irish No 1 led 5-4 and 40-30 in the third set against Switzerland's Marco Chiudinelli, but the world No 218 stormed back to level at 5-5 before winning the next two games to send 192-ranked Niland packing on a 6-4 2-6 7-5 scoreline.

Jane Fennelly made the quarters of ITF U-18 Circuit Grade 5 event at Cobh's Rushbrooke Club, defeating No 2 seed Alannah Griffin of Britain 7-6 (7/4) 0-6 6-2.

Fennelly was joined in the last eight by Tramore's Sinead Lohan, who beat Italy's Georgia Brescia 6-4 6-3.

Donnybrook's Brendan Dempsey is through to the boys' singles quarter-finals after his second-round opponent, Britain's No 3 seed Aaron Banasik, injured himself in the warm-up.


England are under orders to ignore the hype as they bid to become the official No 1 Test team in the world at Edgbaston next week.

After their 319-run victory over current table-toppers India at Trent Bridge on Monday, England stand on the verge of reaching the top of the International Cricket Council rankings.

No 1 status will be in the bag if England can go 3-0 up at Birmingham, with one to play in the four-match series.

Coach Andy Flower, however, has identified danger in allowing the consequence of a third straight win over a so far out-of-sorts India to distract his players.

Irish Independent

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