Fear and stress ruled run-up, says rugby World Cup champion

first_imgTOKYO,  (Reuters) – A Japanese voice thunders out of a megaphone and political slogans drown out the voices on a Tokyo nightclub roof garden. Will Greenwood holds his head in his hands. “You hear the Tannoy now, right?” the rugby World Cup winner asked during a break in the cacophony.“That Tannoy is relevant, because that volume was the level of fear and self-doubt I had in my head.”Greenwood played a key role in England’s last, and only, Rugby World Cup triumph in 2003 when they beat Australia in a dramatic extra-time final in Sydney. This weekend Eddie Jones’s England team will seek to replicate that feat when they face South Africa in Tokyo, and the 47-year-old reached back into his memory to tell Reuters what the current crop will be going through right now.“I had this the whole time: ‘Oh my god, oh my god, don’t lose… Oh my god, oh my god don’t make the error’. (People think) ‘No, no, you were all serene and calm… (but) that’s like a front in press conferences,” he said at an event hosted by Rugby World Cup partner Land Rover. “My perspective was Monday, Tuesday, ‘We’re in a World Cup final, baby, this is why we play’… Wednesday, Thursday, ‘Oh my god, do not mess this up’.“Left on my own, demons, thoughts, total and utter fear… just slept, just slept… The only way I could quieten the Tannoy is if I am sleeping or in the cinema, which I then end up sleeping in. “Friday, pushing the food round the plate feeling physically sick, going ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this…’ emotional energy spent…“Saturday morning, ‘Whoah, game day’. Saturday afternoon I’m back in it, I’m alright. So, they’ll all have their stories to tell. They’ll all have their inner demons to struggle with… some may not, and they are the most blessed people or they have listened to the psychologists and haven’t completely ignored them like I always did, which is possibly part of the problem,” he smiled.Ultimately, key for Greenwood was routine and familiarity, which, he said, helped slay the demons. “You know people go to work and they put a suit on and they’re a lawyer, or they have an outfit and they’re a plumber or they’re a builder, or they’re an engineer. They go to work; they’re in work mode.“For me, sticking the England tracksuit on on a Saturday was work mode, and I could just release (the demons) and go through the processes.”ENGLAND BY 10 OR 12 Greenwood said that before this World Cup he had cooled on the seemingly invincible All Blacks, saying he felt they had shown signs of weakness.England beat the three-times and defending champions in a breathtaking semi-final on Saturday.The 2003 champion has instead been mentally backing England’s opponents from 12 months back – until that sensational 19-7 England win over New Zealand.“To ignore last Saturday, and what England did, would be like blind faith in what I said 12 months ago,” Greenwood said. “Just because you voted Remain or Brexit (in Britain’s EU referendum of 2016), actually you might then listen to the arguments, and the point of democracy is you can change your mind and then go ‘actually I have now listened to all the arguments, and I think sport is like that.“You can’t just say because of what you saw 12 months ago… I go much more form horse, short-term, quality I’ve seen, and I think England will win this by 10 or 12 points and will shut out the Springboks.“The defensive press will be too much, it will force South Africa to do something they don’t want to do. You might go, ‘Look at those blooming rose-tinted spectacles he’s wearing’, but I’m going on what I saw, and have seen the past few weeks. “I think they’ve got to stay true to what they did, which is keep the tempo high, keep the pace high, get those pullback balls going around the corner having All Black defenders guessing – I mean guessing – who’s getting the ball, and if they do that then England will put themselves in very good shape to do something that hasn’t been done for 15 years and 345 days.”last_img read more

Pebley calls on USA Swimming to postpone Olympic trials

first_img(Reuters) – United States backstroke specialist Jacob Pebley has called on USA Swimming to postpone June’s Olympic trials and lobby for the Tokyo Games to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I am deeply concerned by the IOC’s recent statement that they are essentially continuing with business as usual despite the growing evidence that COVID-19 will remain a massive threat for the foreseeable future,” he wrote in an Instagram post yesterday.“How can we, members of Team USA and role models for hundreds of thousands of young athletes, attend Olympic trials/the Olympics in good conscience?“To do so would fly in the face of all emerging evidence and best practices for social distancing and protecting the health of vulnerable communities,” said the 26-year-old, currently a member of the national team. Pebley, who competed at the 2016 Rio Games, said even if the Olympics was held without spectators, the events would still require extensive travel and interaction among thousands of athletes, staff and media, which could spread the virus.“Athletes across the globe have been impacted differently by the rapidly evolving closure of training facilities. This creates a radically unequal playing field for Olympic hopefuls,” he said.“Holding Trials and the Olympics as currently scheduled provides impetus for athletes, some of whom can’t even leave their homes right now by law, to defy public health orders and advice given by medical authorities. “USA Swimming has the opportunity to lead the push for the only moral option in light of this unprecedented situation,”“I am asking USA Swimming to publicly advocate for the postponement of both Trials and the Olympic Games in the best interest of vulnerable people and already overburdened health systems around the world.”USA Swimming did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Pebley joins a growing chorus of athletes who believe the Games should be postponed.Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have repeatedly said the Games, scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9, will go ahead as planned.The coronavirus has infected 242,000 people and killed nearly 10,000 worldwide.last_img read more

England’s Sri Lanka tour rescheduled for January

first_img(Reuters) – England’s two-match test series in Sri Lanka, which has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been rescheduled for January next year, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) CEO Ashley de Silva has said. England were scheduled to play tests in Galle and Colombo in March before the coronavirus outbreak shut down sport worldwide as countries introduced lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the virus.“We are in the process of rescheduling the tours that have been postponed,” De Silva told Sri Lankan newspaper Daily News. “England has been already rescheduled for the month of January next year but the dates have not been finalised.“At the same time we are also looking at exploring the possibility of rescheduling postponed tours and looking at the windows which are available and alternatives too. “South Africa is one of the tours which we are looking at rescheduling. We are engaged in discussions with the member countries and see how it can be planned out.”South Africa’s limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka — three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 games — was scheduled to take place in June before it was postponed.“There are also two other tours which are scheduled to take place with India and Bangladesh due to tour Sri Lanka in June-July and July-August respectively,” De Silva added. “We will explore the possibility of playing those two tours in another week or two.”last_img read more

Cincinnati ‘exploring multiple scenarios’ for summer tournament

first_imgNEW YORK, (Reuters) – Cincinnati Masters organisers are exploring options for hosting the tournament as the New York Times reported https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/sports/tennis/us-open-new-york.html?smid=tw-share that it could be moved to Flushing Meadows this year as part of a double-header with the U.S. Open. “The health and safety of the players, fans, volunteers and staff will be our greatest concern,” tournament organisers said in a written statement.“To align with the decision-making timeline of the WTA and the ATP, we expect a final decision on the status of the tournament to be made in mid-June.”According to the Times report, under a proposal by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), both competitions would be played in New York’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center back to back. The intention behind the plan is to minimise travel and the risk for participants after the novel coronavirus outbreak wreaked havoc on the professional sports calendar. Cincinnati, also known as the Western & Southern Open, is set to run until Aug. 23 and the U.S. Open’s main draw is expected to begin on Aug. 31.“The USTA and Western & Southern Open have been exploring multiple scenarios for the tournament,” Cincinnati organisers said. “The number one goal is to hold the tournament, in some form, this summer.”The USTA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The tennis world has slowly begun to resume action, with fans absent from stands.World number 12 Petra Kvitova claimed victory in the women’s draw at an all-Czech tournament in Prague tomorrow, in a slot on the calendar that was originally occupied by the French Open.French Open officials rescheduled the claycourt Grand Slam to begin on Sept. 20, the week after the U.S. Open was set to kick off, prompting frustration from many in the tennis world.last_img read more

EU Referendum result costly for Sporting Index

first_img Related Articles Frankie Dettori rides with Sporting Index  May 29, 2020 Share Submit EU research agency demands urgent action on loot box consumer safeguards July 29, 2020 Share StumbleUpon Andrew Lyman – Brexit is no ‘doom & gloom scenario’ for Gibraltar gambling February 24, 2020 Political spread betting company Sporting Index saw unprecedented action in the run-up to Britain’s EU referendum on Thursday of last week. It was a painful night for the firm as its clients consistently favoured Leave throughout the campaign, resulting in a six figure loss for the company.Sporting Index was the first bookmaker to offer a market on turnout and the eventual 72% figure contributed to the loss as spread bettors clearly believed voters would turn out in force.Ed Fulton, Political Spokesman for Sporting Index, said: “We were getting ready to pop the champagne corks at 10pm when a Remain win looked highly likely, but by midnight the bottles were shoved back in the fridge.“When we got to 4am it was head in hands time on the trading floor and the punters have beaten us fair and square here. On the bright side, the volume of bets for the referendum was fantastic and we look forward to round two against our customers in the US presidential election.”last_img read more

Ed Reed: “I always will be a Raven”

first_img(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In typical fashion, former Ravens safety Ed Reed initially labeled his return to Baltimore as “another away game” as a member of the Houston Texans, but we all knew better.Spending more time reminiscing about his 11 years with the organization that drafted him with the 24th overall pick of the 2002 draft, the 35-year-old’s true feelings shined through to no one’s surprise. It’s impossible not to be a little sentimental as Reed prepares to potentially play in his first game with another NFL franchise after missing the start of the season recovering from offseason hip surgery.“Baltimore is family. I miss walking into ‘The Bank’ on Sunday,” Reed said in a conference call with the local media. “I have a lot of memories; I cherish that and always will be a Raven. That’s where I was raised in the NFL. I did a lot of growing; we did a lot of special things. That’s something that could never be taken away.”The reactions from former teammates have been awkward but respectful this week as the thought of Reed wearing enemy colors at M&T Bank Stadium seems foreign. Some teammates have even joked that they hope Reed won’t be ready to return to action as he acknowledges being less than 100 percent after missing the entire preseason and the Texans’ first two regular-season games.Even Reed doesn’t know exactly what to expect from the hometown fans, joking that it will depend on how the morning tailgating goes prior to Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff.“It’s going to be weird with him being here such a long time,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. “It’s going to be weird seeing him in a different uniform. He moved on, and we moved on, and hopefully he cannot play so we don’t have to play against him.”While Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has spoken positively about Reed’s status, the veteran defensive back was noncommittal about playing Sunday after practicing on a limited basis each of the last two days. It’s expected that Reed would only play on a part-time basis against the Ravens in his first game action since Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3.It’s anyone’s guess what Reed will have to offer this season as he enters his 12th season and is coming off his second major hip surgery in the last four years.“I’m not confident about [anything] but going day to day the way I’ve been,” Reed said. “There’s no confidence about it if I haven’t played. You can’t be confident if you haven’t been on the field.”Even with Reed’s physical skills in decline, the Ravens are fully aware of his mental prowess in the secondary and know he is still able to take advantage of mistakes like he did when picking off an overthrown pass by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl. A ferocious Texans pass rush makes Reed’s stalking in the secondary even more dangerous for quarterback Joe Flacco.Facing the man who challenged him on a daily basis in practices for years, Flacco understands how significant Reed’s return is for both Baltimore fans and his organization, regardless of what kind of player Reed will be in 2013.“If he was in his fifth year, it probably wouldn’t be that big of a deal, because he wouldn’t have been here for that long,” said quarterback Joe Flacco, who teamed with Reed for five seasons. “But the fact that all the fans know him as a Baltimore Raven, and the fact that I was a fan of his at one point [before being his teammate], yeah, it probably makes it a little bit different.”Reed’s decision to depart for Houston on a three-year, $15 milllion wasn’t the storybook ending many had hoped for after he finally raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February, but his return to Baltimore will still be memorable as fans will inevitably recognize one of the greatest players in franchise history.The Ravens just hope Reed doesn’t make them pay with his play on the field.“It’s like playing against your brothers again while I’m out there coaching,” said Reed, who insisted he holds no hard feelings over the way his exit from the Ravens played out. “I’ve been having this feeling for a long time. It’s different being here and coming to see my guys, who I’ve been fighting with for a long time.”Lewis to speak or not to speakOnly adding to the emotion of Reed’s return to Baltimore will be the Ring of Honor induction of future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, who ended his remarkable 17-year career in February.His presence on Sunday has sparked questions over whether Lewis will address the team prior to kickoff. Truthfully, it’s an awkward proposition for an organization that spent the offseason trying to move on from the era in which Lewis and Reed were the biggest faces of the franchise.“I think we’ll leave that up to Ray, but I think he should just enjoy his moment,” Suggs said. “It’s his day. He’s going in [to the Ring of Honor], and if he feels he needs to say something to the team, he can say something. If anybody has the right of way, it’s him. If he just wants to enjoy it, take it in and be a fan of football, that’s fine, too.”It would be nearly impossible for the Ravens to deny Lewis the opportunity to speak to his former teammates if he asks, but one wonders if it would be counterproductive to the leadership-by-committee approach that continues to be a work in progress in the early stages of the season.Numerous members of the organization have made it clear throughout the offseason and summer that it’s a new era of Ravens football, so Lewis’ presence beyond the details of the halftime celebration could be considered a potential distraction.“I don’t have a philosophical position on that,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Either way would be fine. If it happened and it felt right, it would be great. And if it didn’t happen because it didn’t make sense, that’d be fine, too.”Watch out for WattCONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>last_img read more

Suggs applying tough lessons from last season to bounce back in 2014

first_imgOWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs spent a decade chasing the elusive Super Bowl glory he finally tasted at the end of the 2012 season.But he couldn’t have imagined how difficult it was going to be defending that championship following the retirement of Ray Lewis and the free-agent departure of Ed Reed, leaving the Ravens without two Hall of Fame players and leaders who were the heart and soul of the organization. Of course, a myriad of reasons explained an 8-8 season in which the Ravens missed the playoffs, ranging from a porous offensive line and nonexistent running game to an otherwise-solid defense that struggled to create turnovers and get off the field in the fourth quarter.Suggs and his veteran teammates said all the right things last season when asked how they’d possibly replace the leadership void created by the departures of Lewis, Reed, and other veterans, claiming there were more than enough voices ready to handle the changes. But the 31-year-old linebacker acknowledged Wednesday it was not only “very agonizing” to miss the postseason for the first time since 2007 but also draining going through his first season without two men who’d been older brothers to him for the first 10 years of his career.“I had those older guys around to build, and it was a period of adjustment,” Suggs said. “It was weird, and it transpired onto the field — not having those guys there. But, the most [important] thing we can learn from last year about those guys not being there is those were once-in-a-lifetime guys — Ed Reed and Ray Lewis — and all we can be is ourselves. They’re not going to come walking through the door to help us win another championship. All you can be is yourself, and that should be enough.”Even though Suggs posted double-digit sacks for the fifth time in his career in 2013, his play down the stretch didn’t help the Ravens’ push for a sixth straight trip to the postseason as he collected only one sack in the final eight games, leading many to speculate he was playing hurt. His 10 sacks were enough to earn him his sixth invitation to the Pro Bowl, but his play against both the run and pass deteriorated at an alarming rate with four games in which he posted one or no tackles.With the Ravens needing a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 to sneak into the playoffs, Suggs and fellow pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil combined for one tackle and zero sacks in a 34-17 loss that resulted in the Ravens staying home in January. Asked to reflect on his up-and-down season at this week’s mandatory minicamp, Suggs didn’t hide behind what could have been the convenient excuse of saying he was hurt.“One of the things was you get a little cold and you gain a little weight,” said Suggs about the second half of the season. “I probably put on a little too much weight down the stretch there. But that was one of my big focuses going into this year. Definitely, if I keep my weight down, I can have a strong finish. I think I was pretty much healthy.”Head coach John Harbaugh went out of his way to praise Suggs for his conditioning level upon reporting to Owings Mills earlier this week. The veteran linebacker likes the changes made to both sides of the ball, citing the positive vibe created by the hiring of new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.The linebacker also complimented the free-agent signing of veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, who isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers like he did during Wednesday’s practice when he got into a scuffle with cornerback Lardarius Webb. It’s the kind of attitude that was lacking on the offensive side of the ball last season following the trade of wide receiver Anquan Boldin.“It’s good to have that. We had it a few years ago in 81,” Suggs said. “And it’s good to have that fire back on that side of the ball, [to] have somebody who will go out there and jab back with us and compete.”In addition to acquiring Smith and a few other veterans such as center Jeremy Zuttah and tight end Owen Daniels, the Ravens spent a large portion of their offseason re-signing their own players, including a four-year contract extension for Suggs. The deal did provide short-term relief in lowering his 2014 salary cap figure from $12.4 million to $7.8 million, but general manager Ozzie Newsome made a $16 million gamble in guaranteed money that Suggs’ second half last season was more of an aberration than a preview of what’s to come for a linebacker entering his 12th season.So, who is the real Suggs at this stage of his career? The man who looked like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate while accumulating nine sacks in the first eight games last year or the worn-down player who failed to set the edge against the run and provided little pressure on the quarterback down the stretch?The truth is likely somewhere in the middle, but Suggs appears determined to prove he’s closer to the player he was in the first half of the 2013 season based on what kind of shape he was in upon arriving at the team facility this week. And he made it clear he’s recommitted to just being himself after struggling to adjust to life without Lewis or Reed for the first time in his NFL career.“You’re going to always have something to prove when you’re playing this game,” Suggs said. “You never want to hit your cruising altitude; you always want to be ascending with your game. You can always get better.”last_img read more

Come Rock Your Red with Barry Trotz in Bel Air!

first_imgAttention Washington Capitals fans: This is your chance to ROCK YOUR RED! We at WNST, in conjunction with Comcast SportsNet, are pleased to announce a live appearance with Capitals head coach Barry Trotz on Wednesday, December 10th at Buffalo Wild Wings in Bel Air. The puck drops at 730pm! We’ll reminisce with Coach Trotz about his old days leading the Baltimore Skipjacks, and we’ll talk about his transition back to Washington D.C. as head coach of the Caps. Does he feel that the Caps are close to contending for a Stanley Cup? We’ll cover all of that and much more in a night of great food, fun, and puck talk at Buffalo Wild Wings in Bel Air!Coach Trotz will be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans, but there will be a limit of one per person (time permitting).As has become a WNST tradition, the great folks from There Goes My Hero will be in the house swabbing anyone who has not yet been added to the bone marrow transplant database. If you are between the ages of 18-55 and have not yet “swabbed,” please visit There Goes My Hero and learn more about how you can save a life by swabbing a Q-Tip inside your mouth for 30 seconds. Seriously! We’ve swabbed over a thousand people and have raised tens of thousands of dollars since we began our #JennStrong initiative this past spring. It’s our mission here at WNST to save as many lives as humanly possible, and we thank Coach Trotz for helping us work towards that goal!As always, a special thanks to our friends at Freedmont Mortgage for presenting all of our live events here at WNST. If you’re looking to buy or refinance a home, don’t make a 30 year mistake by choosing the wrong lender – visit Freedmont Mortgage now! Also thanks to Enoch Office and Rugenix for their continued support. Rob and the gang at Buffalo Wild Wings in Bel Air will take care of making sure your food is delicious as always – all YOU have to do is show up rocking your red! See you on December 10th, Caps fans!last_img read more

Ravens begin putting together practice squad

first_imgLess than 24 hours after making final cuts to reduce their roster to the 53-man limit, the Ravens welcomed back several players to their practice squad.On Sunday afternoon, Baltimore announced the signings of linebacker Brennen Beyer, wide receiver Jeremy Butler, guard Kaleb Johnson, safety Nick Perry, quarterback Bryn Renner, tight end Konrad Reuland, and offensive lineman De’Ondre Wesley to officially fill seven of their 10 spots on their practice squad.However, the Ravens appear to be on the verge of filling the remaining spots.Waived on Friday, rookie wide receiver Daniel Brown indicated on Twitter that he was joining the Ravens’ practice squad after spending the spring and preseason with them. A punt block and a touchdown reception in the preseason finale in Atlanta helped his cause a great deal.According to multiple reports, the Ravens are also adding former Houston Texans cornerback Charles James to their practice squad. A charismatic figure in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series this summer, James has also played some running back and has ability as a returner, which could lead to him getting a long look in practices. The third-year defensive back and Charleston Southern product also posted via Twitter that he was joining the Ravens, but nothing had been made official as of Sunday afternoon.The Ravens saw two of their former players claimed by other teams on waivers Sunday as cornerback Asa Jackson was awarded to the New York Giants and rookie guard Robert Myers was assigned to the Indianapolis Colts. Baltimore was not awarded any players off waivers on Sunday.last_img read more

Orioles finally send struggling Jimenez to bullpen

first_imgSporting the worst ERA among qualified pitchers in the major leagues, Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is finally moving to the bullpen.Manager Buck Showalter announced the change ahead of Tuesday’s series-opening win in Boston as veteran Yovani Gallardo will be activated from the disabled list on Saturday to take Jimenez’s place in the starting rotation. After giving up five runs and retiring only one batter in Sunday’s loss to Toronto, Jimenez will now pitch in relief as he tries to work out his issues that have led to a 6.89 ERA and 1.98 WHIP in 13 starts covering 62 2/3 innings.Over his last 28 starts dating back to last July 17, the 32-year-old has posted a 6.17 ERA in 147 1/3 innings. Still owing Jimenez just over $21 million through next season, the Orioles hope the right-hander can work out his issues in the bullpen to eventually return to a starting rotation that entered Tuesday ranked 12th in the American League in ERA.This marks the second time in his three seasons with Baltimore that Jimenez has been moved to the bullpen because of ineffectiveness.last_img read more