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Monye & Jones’ Lions selection summit

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Monye & Jones’ Lions selection summit


Manu Tuilagi, Finn Russell and Josh Navidi
Manu Tuilagi, Finn Russell and Josh Navidi were all points of contention as Rugby Union Weekly attempted to pick their 36-man Lions squad
Date: Thursday, 6 May Time: Time: 12:00 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

The aim was to discuss, reconsider, compromise and finally produce one definitive 36-man squad.

It didn’t work out like that.

Instead 2009 British and Irish Lion Ugo Monye and Rugby Union Weekly co-presenter Chris Jones agreed to disagree over their selections to tour South Africa this summer.

These are the controversial calls, left-field shouts and unreconcilable differences that made up their selection meeting on this week’s episode.

And for the real thing, join us from 11:45 BST on Thursday for live text coverage of the announcement of the British and Irish Lions squad and captain for 2021.

Back three

(differences in opinion marked in bold)

Ugo: Louis Rees-Zammit (Wal), Anthony Watson (Eng), Stuart Hogg (Sco), Liam Williams (Wal), Josh Adams (Wal), Jack Nowell (Eng)

Chris: Louis Rees-Zammit (Wal), Anthony Watson (Eng), Stuart Hogg (Sco), Liam Williams (Wal), Josh Adams (Wal), Jonny May (Eng)

Ugo: “I feel guilty about this pick. Jonny May was a world XV pick last year and not much has changed in 2021 apart from England and Gloucester struggling.

Jack Nowell
Nowell came off the bench in the second and third Tests in New Zealand four years ago

“Nowell has only played 100 minutes of rugby since the Premiership final in October as he comes back from injury, but Gatland loves him.

“Nowell is a good team player, a good squad man and, with his appetite for work and strength over the ball, he brings something different.”

Chris: “I think that Jonny May has come on so much as a player, you want him there. In November he scored that superb length of-the-field try against Ireland. You can’t tell me that much has changed.”

Centres

Ugo: Robbie Henshaw (Ire), Manu Tuilagi (Eng), Henry Slade (Eng), Garry Ringrose (Ire)

Chris: Robbie Henshaw (Ire), Jonathan Davies (Wal), Henry Slade (Eng), Garry Ringrose (Ire)

Ugo: “Tuilagi is only just coming back from a long-term injury but on his day he is one of the world’s best, a big point of difference and, against the world champions, that quality could be invaluable.”

Chris: “Part of me does want to select Tuilagi because there is a long time to prove fitness between the squad announcement on Thursday and the tour opener against the Stormers on 3 July.

“Without the injured George North as well, I realise I might be short of power in my midfield selection.

“But I think it would be a big gamble to pick a player who has suffered with injuries in the past and has been sidelined since September.”

Ugo: “You need to have Slade to give you a kicking option. Owen Farrell could, but if he is touring as a fly-half then then you need Slade to bring that dimension.”

Fly-half

Ugo: Dan Biggar (Wal), Owen Farrell (Eng), Marcus Smith (Eng)

Chris: Dan Biggar (Wal), Owen Farrell (Eng), Finn Russell (Sco)

Ugo: “People will be screaming at me for this, but if Biggar and Farrell are your Test fly-halves, your third fly-half has to be very different to the other two.

Marcus Smith
Marcus Smith would be the first uncapped player to tour with the British and Irish Lions since Will Greenwood in 1997

“You need a third-choice 10 who accepts that role. Smith would be over the moon to tour, has energy and vitality that will reverberate around the squad and can be the fulcrum of the midweek side.

“People are free to agree, disagree, be angry, but that is the thinking.”

Chris: “In terms of a Lions squad that goes down well with Scotland fans, Finn Russell being overlooked for an uncapped Marcus Smith would go down like an unsavoury sandwich.

“I would be stunned if Russell doesn’t go.

“We have got to talk about the fact that neither of us are taking Johnny Sexton – a modern great, the Ireland captain, the starting 10 for the second and third Tests in New Zealand four years ago.

“My thinking is just about fitness and durability of a player who will turn 36 during the tour.

“He has had three failed head injury assessments since February.”

Scrum-half

Ugo: Conor Murray (Ire), Gareth Davies (Wal), Danny Care (Eng)

Chris: Conor Murray (Ire), Tomos Williams (Wal), Danny Care (Eng)

Ugo: “Faf de Klerk is a real heartbeat for South Africa, and Gareth Davies is a physical, energetic nine who can get at his opposite number.

“I think he would be an unbelievable match-up to take on De Klerk.

Chris: “With [co-presenter of Rugby Union Weekly] Danny, I don’t think it is blind faith in a pal. There are legitimate reasons why he gets on the plane: he offers something different off the bench, he’s in good form, he’s in a good place mentally, he’s got loads of experience.

“He will also have the respect of the squad and be a good tourist. I don’t think that is a trite thing to mention in 2021. In this ‘bubble’ environment it is more important than ever.”

Loose-head prop

Ugo: Wyn Jones (Wal), Mako Vunipola (Eng), Cian Healy (Ire)

Chris: Wyn Jones (Wal), Mako Vunipola (Eng), Rory Sutherland (Sco)

Chris: “Sutherland is around four weeks away from fitness with a shoulder injury. If he can prove his fitness, I would take him. If not, I’d take Healy.

Rory Sutherland
Sutherland is one of those hoping to increase Scotland’s representation after only two of his countrymen made the initial squad in 2017

“I think with Jones, Vunipola and Healy (29, 30 and 33 respectively) you are short a little bit of dynamism and that trio are ticking up in terms of age compared to 27-year-old Sutherland.”

Hooker:

Both: Luke Cowan Dickie (Eng), Jamie George (Eng), Ken Owens (Wal)

Tight-head prop

Both: Kyle Sinckler (Eng), Tadhg Furlong (Ire), Zander Fagerson (Sco)

Second row

Both: Maro Itoje (Eng), James Ryan (Ire), Alun Wyn Jones (Wal), Tadhg Beirne (Ire)

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Flanker

Ugo: Tom Curry (Eng), Hamish Watson (Sco), Justin Tipuric (Wal), Aaron Wainwright (Wal), Jamie Ritchie (Sco)

Chris: Tom Curry (Eng), Hamish Watson (Sco), Justin Tipuric (Wal), Josh Navidi (Wal), Sam Underhill (Eng)

Ugo: “I think Wainwright has a bit of X-factor. He could be world class. I like his match-up with Pieter-Steph du Toit and he brings extra height and a jumping option in the line-out as well.

Aaron Wainwright
Wainwright, seen here scoring against France in the quarter-final, was a key man for Wales in the 2019 World Cup, but has struggled for a regular starting place since

“Ritchie is just brilliant. Curry and Watson are two players in a particular mould but Ritchie is a different type of player as I look for balance and different ways of operating.”

Chris: “I don’t think that Wainwright has played enough at the highest level recently to go ahead of Navidi, who was in great form in the Six Nations.

“I thought Jamie Ritchie was terrific in the Six Nations, especially in that win away against France on the final day. I really like him, but I wouldn’t be comfortable boarding that plane without Underhill.

“I think against South Africa, you need Underhill to be chopping down those big runners.”

Number eight

Ugo: Taulupe Faletau (Wal), Sam Simmonds (Eng)

Chris: Taulupe Faletau (Wal), Billy Vunipola (Eng)

Ugo: “I don’t think either the Lions or South Africa have a player like Simmonds. He changes the dynamic of how you play. He is lightning quick. I would love to see him in a fresh pair of mouldies on a hard track in South Africa.

“He is a dangerous guy, a point of difference.

26 JuneJapan (Murrayfield, Edinburgh)
3 JulyStormers
7 JulySouth Africa Invitational
10 JulySharks
14 JulySouth Africa A
17 JulyBulls
24 JulySouth Africa
31 JulySouth Africa
7 AugustSouth Africa

“As good a player as Vunipola is, in the last 18 months or two years, against big physical packs, he hasn’t done the things we know he can.”

Chris: “I think you go to South Africa without Vunipola’s power at your peril.

“We probably have not seen a fully rampaging, barnstorming Vunipola for a while, so he is my reputation pick.

“I am not saying he has to be a Test starter, but I want him as an option.”

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Olympian Wrestler Sushil Kumar Named In FIR Over Murder At Delhi Stadium

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Olympian Wrestler Sushil Kumar Named In FIR Over Murder At Delhi Stadium


Olympian Wrestler Sushil Kumar Named In FIR Over Murder At Delhi Stadium

Sushil Kumar did not answer his phone when contacted to comment on the issue.

New Delhi:

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar’s role is under scanner after his name emerged in connection with a brawl that led to the death of a wrestler inside the Chhatrasal Stadium complex in north Delhi, police said on Wednesday.

Sushil Kumar, the county’s only athlete to have won two individual Olympic medals, was named in the FIR, they said.

According to police, a 23-year-old wrestler died and his two friends got injured after they were allegedly brutally assaulted by other wrestlers inside Chhatrasal Stadium in northern part of city.

Police said that on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday, an information regarding firing inside the Chhatrasal Stadium was received at Model Town police station.

Police reached the spot and found five cars parked in the parking area of the stadium.

During enquiry, it was found that a quarrel had taken place allegedly between Sushil Kumar, Ajay, Prince, Sonu, Sagar, Amit, and others in the parking area. Thereafter, police registered a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Arms Act at Model Town police station in this regard, they said in a statement.

The injured were shifted to BJRM Hospital for treatment. They were identified as Sagar, a resident of Model Town, Amit Kumar, 27, a resident of Rohtak in Haryana, and Sonu, 35, a resident of Sonipat in Haryana, they said.

“The crime scene as well as all the five vehicles were inspected. During inspection, one double barrel loaded gun with five live cartridges were found in one Scorpio and two wooden sticks were also recovered from the spot.

“All the five vehicles and weapons of offence were seized. The crime scene was further inspected by forensic experts of FSL, Rohini,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (northwest) Guriqbal Singh Sidhu said.

During the investigation, information regarding the death of Sagar and injury to Sonu was received from Trauma Centre, Civil Lines, following which sections 302, 365, 120B of the IPC were registered, he said.

Several teams have been formed to trace the alleged persons. Technical evidences relating to this incident have been obtained. The details of the recovered vehicles are also being obtained from the concerned authority, police said.

One Prince Dalal, 24, a resident of Jhajjar in Haryana, has been apprehended in this case, along with one double-barrel gun, they said. Police said they have recovered two double-barrel guns, seven live cartridges, two wooden sticks, and five cars.

Official sources claimed that the incident took place due to a property dispute in the Model Town area.

“It was not a case of trespassing. The accused took the victims inside the stadium where they assaulted them in the parking area. Sushil Kumar was present at the spot when the incident happened, however, police are investigating his role in the assault,” an official source said.

However, Sushil Kumar did not answer his phone when contacted to comment on the issue.



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‘It’s more personal’ – Alvarez warns Saunders

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‘It’s more personal’ – Alvarez warns Saunders


Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez
Alvarez arrived for his Texas fight on a private jet
Date: 8 May (9 May UK) Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Belts: WBC & WBA world super-middleweight titles (Alvarez), WBO belt (Saunders)
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and live text commentary on BBC Sport website at around 0400 BST

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez says Billy Joe Saunders’ pursuit of him has made Saturday’s fight “more personal”.

The Mexican, 30, has been called out in recent years by Britain’s Saunders, who insists he can land a shock win.

Saunders did not turn up for the first face-to-face of the week and is angry about the size of Saturday’s ring.

“It’s always been 20ft and now he wants 24ft,” Alvarez told 5 Live Boxing. “If he wants I will give him the whole stadium. I don’t care.”

“It’s a little more personal,” added Alvarez, who will risk his WBC and WBA world super-middleweight titles while Saunders puts his WBO belt on the line.

“He’s been talking a lot about me for the last four years. In a couple of days it will happen and it’s a little more personal.”

When the pair did meet face-to-face for the first time on Wednesday, Saunders goaded Alvarez and warned his rival “you have not seen someone with this heart”.

‘A rare breed’ – analysis

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders
Saunders (right) did not turn up for media obligations on Tuesday but faced Alvarez on Wednesday

BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello:

At times, Alvarez glared at us across the Zoom divide but also found room to smile, indications of a man so at ease and in control of his emotions on the doorstep of a big fight.

Tyson Fury has said Saunders and his ilk are a different breed. Canelo is a rare one too.

‘I have no worries’

Saturday’s bout – which will take place in front of more than 60,000 fans at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium – will be aired on BBC Radio 5 Live at around 04:00 BST on Sunday morning.

Alvarez says he can recall “very few” occasions where he has felt this way about an opponent.

Saunders’ team have pushed for the use of a bigger ring as his evasive style would benefit from added space in which he could move.

Alvarez says Saunders’ style will prove “complicated” but he does not expect surprises from his rival, adding: “I don’t see anything that would worry me.

“At this level I have to adapt to anything and I will be ready for anything. I know his qualities and know he’s an elusive fighter but I trained 100% for this to show I’m in my best moment right now.”

Saunders – unbeaten in 30 contests – is a betting underdog against a fighter who has lost just once in 58 fights.

Alvarez admits he will go after the fourth significant belt at super-middleweight if he beats Saunders.

His rise from entering the sport after being bullied while selling ice creams as a teenager has seen him win world titles in four weight categories across a professional career spanning almost 16 years.

“I love boxing and what I do,” he added. “It’s something to show people you can reach your goals and do big things. I used to sell popsicles and look at what I have done now. It’s good to show people.”

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London Chef Refused To Close Restaurant In Lockdown, Here’s Why

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London Chef Refused To Close Restaurant In Lockdown, Here’s Why


The Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses and industries across the world. Among the hardest hit has been the restaurant and hospitality sector, which is still reeling from the effect of the past year. The restaurant industry has come forward to help those in need during the times of the pandemic. In spite of suffering losses, the spirit of doing good is still intact among eateries across the globe. This can be seen in the thinking of a fourth-generation Indian restaurateur, who kept his Covent Garden restaurant open even when the city was in lockdown.

The Punjab restaurant at Covent Garden recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. It specialises in North Indian cuisine and was founded by Gurbachan Singh Maan. Rather than keeping the restaurant functioning as normal, present generation owner Amrit Maan decided to cook meals for the needy and provide supplies to food banks. “I made a conscious decision not to close. For us Covent Garden is a village, it’s a community. I just refuse to have the kitchens closed. It doesn’t make sense. It gives you hope,” he said.

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Thus, Amrit Maan moved out of his family home to stay at the restaurant in order to keep his parents from getting infected. Seven of the forty staff members stayed at the premises to help Maan’s mission. Many volunteers in London also found a calling in the noble cause of providing food to the homeless.

Maan has presently provided over 100,000 meals to the homeless and about 50,000 to food banks. “You could sit at home and just shut the curtains and watch TV but I knew I was sitting on a blessed asset our kitchens are industrial kitchens. We have been helping the homeless for three or four years.”

Thus, the business has also never shut its kitchens in its entire history. What did you think of the heartwarming gesture by the restaurant? Tell us in the comments below.





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