Will Macpherson

Author's details

Name: Will Macpherson
Date registered: August 10, 2015
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/series/county-cricket-live-blog

Latest posts

  1. County cricket: James Vince pushes England case with Hampshire century — April 21, 2017
  2. County Championship cricket: day one of the new season – as it happened — April 7, 2017
  3. Steve Finn: ‘Fundamentally I don’t think I’m a nice guy when I bowl’ — April 1, 2017
  4. Liam Livingstone: ‘I have always had that confidence that I could make it’ — March 30, 2017
  5. John Hampshire, former England and Yorkshire batsman, dies aged 76 — March 1, 2017

Author's posts listings

Apr 21

County cricket: James Vince pushes England case with Hampshire century

• Hampshire 281-4 v Yorkshire
• Middlesex 255-1 v Essex; Lancashire 109; Somerset 153-8

On a day that began with all nine visiting captains opting to forgo the toss and stick the home side in – pre-empting bowlers’ dominance – it was prospective England batsmen making the grandest statements.

The stripling Lancashire captain, Liam Livingstone, impressed the onlooking chairman of selectors, James Whitaker, with his maturity – not to mention the audacity and outrageousness of his strokeplay – as he was last man out for 68 of his side’s 109 against Somerset, on a day when 18 wickets fell at Old Trafford. At Lord’s, Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins made centuries in an opening stand of 241 for Middlesex against Essex, watched by England’s head coach, Trevor Bayliss.

Related: Liam Livingstone: ‘I have always had that confidence that I could make it’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/21/cricket-roundup-liam-livingstone-lancashire-james-whitaker

Apr 07

County Championship cricket: day one of the new season – as it happened

Here’s our rolling report of the first day of the County Championship season

6.58pm BST

So, apologies for silence, been a busy half-hour. Here’s the scores on the doors at the end of a frantic day:

6.21pm BST

Jimmy’s got a wicket! He was round the wicket to the left-handed nightwatchman Aaron Beard, and he’s had him caught behind. 25 for two. Westley in this time.

6.17pm BST

Wowzer! Ben Coad! He’s got four.

OUT! @BenCoad10 gets Ervine caught at mid-off by Ballance. 55-4.

6.16pm BST

Surrey close 327 for three. Which is pretty damn decent.

6.15pm BST

Wicket! Jarvis gets Browne caught behind. Angled across, nice shape, edged defensive stroke. Nightwatchman? It’s 22 for one.

Yep, it’s the nightwatchman. Might be Wagner!

6.12pm BST

Good start for Kent

Wicket! Bancroft b Stevens 1. Glos 1/1. Nightwatchman Norwell joins Dent 0*.

6.05pm BST


OUT! @BenCoad10 gets Carberry caught at third by @JackLeaning1. @hantscricket are 50-3.

5.54pm BST

Proper cricketer James Harris.

Liddle c Hankins b Liddle 17. Kent 298 all out. James Harris 33 not out on debut. Glos to face 5 overs before close on day 1.

5.49pm BST

Upshot of all this is that Essex are going to have to deal with nine overs of Lancashire this evening. Five of them, you’d think, will be bowled by one Jimmy Anderson.

5.47pm BST

Out! And all out! Last wicket stand of 51 is ended as Jarvis nicks Wagner to first slip – simple catch – and Lancs are all out for 319. Suspect Essex will think that is 70 too many. The pitch looks pretty flat but they had Lancashire on the ropes and they’ve wriggled hard.

Zak Chappell’s dismissed Greg Smith at Grace Road, where Notts are 20 for one.

5.44pm BST

That sounds like James Vince. Hants want to be careful.

OUT! @BenCoad10 strikes again, Vince clips to mid-wicket. @hantscricket 18-2

5.40pm BST

Second drop at mid-on – this one a bad one – by ten Doeschate in this increasingly irksome last wicket stand (for Essex, at least). That’s the 5o partnership now.

5.34pm BST

Oi oi bit going on at Headingley.

OUT! Adams lbw @BenCoad10. @hantscricket 6-1 in the second.

5.33pm BST

Blessed relief for the Bears.

Mark Stoneman finally caught behind for 165. Surrey 314-3 (Sangakkara 42)

5.28pm BST

Jarvis creams Beard down the ground for four, and the new ball is promptly taken.

5.25pm BST

Jimmy’s just reverse swept Harmer for four to bring up Lancashire’s third batting point!

5.23pm BST

Just seen Roloef van der Merwe made a double hundred opening the batting for Somerset today. Baffling world we live in.

5.19pm BST

Yorkshire all out for 273. Coad the last to go. 17 overs left in the day.

Meanwhile, I’m not the only one enjoying that Samit pic.

The face you pull when you fart in public and it’s louder than expected https://t.co/NGcksBXZsz

5.14pm BST

Barney’s written about the IPL

Related: The IPL is back: cue bedlam, squeals, thunder and pure cricketing energy

5.12pm BST

Hampshire close to having themselves a bat tonight.

OUT! Shaw lbw Dawson, 3. 266-9 now.

5.10pm BST

Just a great pic.

Wicket | Leicestershire are all out for 251 as Samit Patel has Gavin Griffiths caught behind for 1 #LeicsvNotts pic.twitter.com/qJJLFp0Cg7

5.05pm BST

Leicestershire all out for 251, which is a pretty good effort from 135 for seven. 17 overs for Notts to negotiate.

Kent digging in against Glos.

5.02pm BST

Out! Vilas is gone. He’s tried to whip the returning Beard (5 o’clock shadow…?) through midwicket, but he’s got a big leading edge and found mid-off. Simple catch. Vilas gone for 74, and a very fine knock. Jimmy to the crease with Lancs 268 for nine. Big round of applause.

4.59pm BST

150 for Stoneman! Torrid, torrid opening day for Warwickshire.

4.58pm BST

A flurry of wickets. Surely nothing to do with my post saying the fightbacks were on.

Wicket for Notts, straight after the 250 comes up. Pattinson gets his mate McKay (33). 250/9 after stand of 81. Pattinson was pleased.

4.57pm BST

Ballance gone. Sounds like a great knock.

OUT! Ballance b Dawson, 120. @YorkshireCCC 258-8 in the 72nd.

4.55pm BST

Northants are in the lead, with four wickets down.

4.52pm BST

Wicket! Harmer’s taken an excellent catch running forward from the third slip-gully region to get rid of Parry. Wagner dug it in – shock – and it looped up. Good snaffle. 264 for eight.

4.48pm BST

Confirmation that Charlie Shreck suspended, as reported in the Guardian yesterday.

CLUB STATEMENT | Charlie Shreckhttps://t.co/rqlfMn0Pzm pic.twitter.com/DnOGxRrxuy

4.43pm BST

Few fightbacks on around the shires – Yorks, Lancs, Leicestershire.

Meanwhile, Nick Gubbins’s brother is trying to humiliate him on Twitter. Feel free to join in.

@BBCSport #bbcgolf 2016 New Years Eve golf match – Middlesex batsman @ngubbins18 on his birthday captaining his team – over to him pic.twitter.com/UDEmeWJKe8

4.15pm BST

Tea happens at different times around the country, but here they are:

Division One:

Some new hopes, some unkept promises; some determined stories, some unfinished businesses…@ECB_cricket county season spins it all.

4.03pm BST


HUNDRED! Ballance 163 balls with 14x4s. That’s his third hundred in three matches as a Yorkshire captain. 231-7.

4.00pm BST

So that’s tea here. 240 for seven the Lancastrians. Essex a happy bunch.

3.49pm BST

50 for Vilas! He’s played well. Got after Harmer a bit, but also has the run out of Chanderpaul blotting his copybook.

Yorkshire have a point, I see. Ballance going along nicely.

3.48pm BST

Norcross and Rainford-Brent’s magical mystery tour has taken in Chelmsford and they are off to Canterbury!

3.46pm BST

With Parry batting for the first team, this is timely.

Top work from @Kegs10 who’s taken 5/37 as @LancsCCC Second XI have bowled Hampshire out for 205.

Live scorecard – https://t.co/B3S6Jrj6GR pic.twitter.com/JB9phtv2FK

3.42pm BST

Here’s that wicket.

Lancashire 217/6: Ov 58.3, J Clark lbw b AP Beard pic.twitter.com/D16XfMIa2k

3.39pm BST

Wicket! Beard’s pinned Clark and it just looked right. Finger went up, stand of 57 broken. Parry survives an lbw shout early on, maybe struck just outside the line of off. 217 for seven.

Lesser spotted wicket at t’Oval.

3.25pm BST

Been wondering how Durham are going to shape up batting-wise this season. Their game against the University from the same city today gives a fair indication, I reckon. No Colly (imagine he will bat six or seven) but big runs for the new key man at No3 Jack Burnham. Here’s the card.

3.21pm BST

As the Chelmsford wifi drops in and out, I’ll tell you that Lancs have their first point of the summer. Vilas and Clark on the rebuild, sprightly stuff and it’s 201 for six.

3.09pm BST

And the first ton of the summer goes to Mark Stoneman! Surrey are laughing – in so many ways.

And here he is hugging his old mucker Badger Borthwick.

100! What a debut for @mark23stone. Well played that man. pic.twitter.com/3lTeNXPAKm

3.09pm BST

Harry Podmore gets Max Holden; they are both Middlesex loanees. 13 wickets already at Wantage Road. Quick game’s a good game and all that.

3.02pm BST

Apologies, just grabbed me some vitamin D. Lovely day.

Anyway, things are happening around and about. Northants two down (two-day game, anyone?), while Kent and Leicestershire have lost another wicket each.

2.43pm BST

Norwell has pulled ahead of Miles in the Norwell-Miles off. He got Joe Denly, and Northeast is out too. It’s 139 for four.

Here, the Essex crowd has a bit about it all of a sudden…

2.42pm BST

There goes Shiv.

Lancashire 160/4: Ov 44.3, DJ Vilas run out (SR Harmer/sub [CJ Taylor]) pic.twitter.com/ScefdkqTXr

2.41pm BST

Wicket! McLaren gone for a golden duck! He’s been caught at second slip (driving waftily) and Wagner has a wicket. 160 for six…

2.39pm BST

Run out! Chanderpaul and Vilas have had a horrible mix-up and the great West Indian’s been run out! Vilas has turned Grevious Bodily Harmer into the legside, Shiv wanted a run, Vilas didn’t and backward square-leg’s run Shiv out at the non-striker’s. 160 for five. The sub Taylor – who caught Croft – has done the work again.

Meanwhile, traffic.

We’ve hit our first traffic jam, 2 miles shy of the turn off for the M25. Can we use the hard shoulder? #countycricketlive pic.twitter.com/3PL0aqORw5

2.32pm BST

Bit happening at Headingley!

OUT! Hodd falls to Hampshire’s Kolpak combination, Abbott the bowler, Rossouw the catcher at second slip, 0. 132-6 now.

2.28pm BST

So now he has 1,000 catches.

1000th First Class Catch for Chris Read, and it’s a beauty!

Follow LIVE: https://t.co/BVhItFuLwx pic.twitter.com/XeRKooN6cj

2.22pm BST

50 partnership between Northeast 22* and Denly 57* in 12 overs. Kent 129-2 in 40th over. #ProperCricket pic.twitter.com/oOlkrvneBD

2.20pm BST

Simon Harmer has a wicket for Essex! He’s been very tidy since lunch, the new Kolpak signing, and he’s tossed one up on leg-stump – maybe even just outside – to Steven Croft, and he’s swept hard, and got a top-edge, straight to the man at 45. Game, it’s fair to say, is moving on. 136 for four.

2.18pm BST


Leaning now out – lbw to Berg, looked a bit high though – and Yorkshire in a bit of strife on 125/4

Out strides their white knight Bresnan

2.18pm BST

#TeamNorwell – not least because of this.

@willis_macp Liam Norwell did a cracking job for my England side on a game of Cricket Captain a few years back – backing him over Miles

2.11pm BST

Every cloud has a silver lining, is the phrase.

I suppose that 26-6 to 101 all out is an improvement of sorts

2.11pm BST

Email of the day!

Andrew Miles has been in touch, telling of a cracking little game he’s involved in:

2017 marks the third year of the Miles/Norwell Gloucestershire challenge, where I and my former team captain Matt Norwell (Priory Arms CC, Stockwell) engage over the course of the season as to which of our Gloucestershire bowling namesakes (Craig Miles and Liam Norwell) will take the most county championship wickets. 2015 went to Norwell and 2016 to Miles, so we’re poised for another season of Division 2 bowling stats. It’s currently one apiece, as Gloucestershire have Kent at 102 for two, reflecting on a great decision to bowl first by Glos.

2.05pm BST

Glamorgan all out for 101!

And a lesser spotted wicket at the Oval!

WICKET: Burns ct Ambrose b Barker 71

154/1 (37 overs) pic.twitter.com/EU1oDFKhT4

1.59pm BST

Brummies, shield your eyes!

Surrey v Warwickshire – Day 1: Lunch highlights
133/0 (31 overs) pic.twitter.com/j3A3jnQYVi

1.59pm BST

Broad, Pattinson and Gurney have a couple each at Grace Road.

Wicket! A second for Broad. He traps Eckersley in front for 13 and it’s 116/6 in the 32nd over at Grace Road.

1.55pm BST

So, we’re back out after lunch and we’ve lost Hameed. He’s left one from Porter that has taken the very top of off; here’s a clip. Porter’s bowled excellently.

Lancashire 118/2: Ov 31.3, H Hameed b JA Porter pic.twitter.com/tgi66FT1gW

1.04pm BST

Division One:

12.59pm BST

Jonathan Trott bowling before lunch on day one at the Oval. Mmm.

Simon Harmer’s made a poor start here. We’ll have one over of Wagner before the break, with Lancs 114 for two.

12.52pm BST

They’ve made it to Grace Road! (Or the Fischer County Ground)

Lovely to see @norcrosscricket and @ejrainfordbrent on their flying visit around the country #bbccricket pic.twitter.com/3JOr5xqFYz

12.51pm BST

Livingstone my first scalp of the season, Weatherley my second.

Weatherley c Mustard b Miles 36. Kent 76-2. Northeast joins Denly 28*.

12.46pm BST

Weatherley a very fine young player who’s had a very good winter in Adelaide. Couple of others at Hants possibly wishing they’d be given a loan to get some cricket.

50 partnership up between Weatherley (35*) and Denly (28*). Kent 75-1. pic.twitter.com/O98f5z4xEJ

12.45pm BST

A wise man speaks.

There- for some of my shoutier followers- proof that you can enjoy both the CC & the IPL without having an existential crisis! #lovethegame

12.42pm BST

Gurney’s got a couple and Leicestershire are four down for not that many (79, to be exact). Major mystery how they look at their lineup and decide Ned Eckersley should bat No7. Very odd.

12.36pm BST

The man from the Sun doesn’t think much of Warwickshire.

Surrey pass 100 without loss. Far too easy for Burns and Stoneman (who have both made fifties) against toothless Warwickshire attack.

12.35pm BST

With Foster dropped for Wheater, this is worth celebrating.

1,000 first-class catches for Chris Read!

It’s his final season, and the @TrentBridge stalwart has reached the big milestone on day one! pic.twitter.com/bWvnfBu0Vm

12.30pm BST

So, to the Oval, then.

Burns brings up 100 for Surrey, shortly followed by a 6 to earn his half century.

Burns 50*
Stoneman 50*

12.18pm BST

Related: County Championship 2017: fans from the 18 counties share their predictions

12.08pm BST

Good point well made.

Reminder that Glamorgan don’t have a batting coach

12.07pm BST

Glamorgan are 26 for six!!

12.04pm BST

Lancashire 50/1: Ov 14.2, LS Livingstone c V Chopra b AP Beard pic.twitter.com/RatWV7Ywml

12.00pm BST

Wicket! And my first jinx of the season goes to Liam Livingstone (sorry Lankys). He’s swung very hard at Beard on the drive, got a big fat edge which is flown in second slip’s vicinity. Westley has dived and parried it up, so Chopra dived across from first slip to take it. Good from the Essex cordon. 50 for two.

11.55am BST

Here’s Broad doing work.

First wicket of the @CountyChamp season goes to @StuartBroad8! Head to https://t.co/rWx755wHB4 for real-time clips from every game pic.twitter.com/rIZVggRmwe

11.54am BST

Only wicketless ground is the Oval. Sounds familiar.

How cool is this! McCullum to lead MCC v Afghanistan at Lord’s.

11.46am BST

So, the cricket. We’ve had 45 minutes play at the Cloudfm County Ground. Porter got Davies earlier but (and I will get castigated for this) Hameed and Livi are looking solid. Some lovely drives from point to mid-off. Wagner is digging it in, and neither batsman is a puller (both swayers) so he’s not getting much from them.

11.43am BST

Just fired up the old email to find a couple of bits and pieces lurking!

Wayne Trotman (Hi Wayne!) writes:

I’m taking it all in at my desk, way down and across the eastern Med’ in sunny Izmir, on the west coast of Turkey. In fact, I’m waiting to invigilate an English for Specific Purposes (ESP for the initiated) exam for Biomedical Engineers. You know, ‘explain the difference between benign and malignant tumours’. And other stuff in a similar vein. I’m also hoping that the other OBO die-hard in Turkey, my mate Rob Lewis up in Istanbul, is better occupied than of late, when I caught him emailing your colleague about his mum having been born in Ranchi, where India recently thumped England. Get to your lessons, Lewis!

I’m thinking of the friends and family of Dan Lucas today … He led me to the Guardian OBO coverage last year and will be sorely missed by many people. RIP x

11.41am BST

So, let’s talk about Hampshire. I tweeted yesterday about the fact that they left Tom Alsop of England Lions out of their matchday squad for this match. Mason Crane hasn’t made the side, either. But it is Headingley in April and Liam Dawson is already in the side. They do have five non-England qualified players, mind … Not a great look.

On start-days, for some people, of course, it doesn’t matter what day the Championship starts, it’s just inconvenient to get to. The one man and his dog rep doesn’t stand up, because the Champo is followed well remotely – on blogs like this!

@willis_macp a combination of playing at the weekend or working during the week prevent me from catching anything other than T20 these days.

11.38am BST

A fan of Friday starts! Excellent. Interestingly, ECB research has shown in the past that county cricket on a Saturday hasn’t been that well-attended. People playing, I guess. Hopefully people come along this year.

@willis_macp Also, big fan of Friday starts. Going to be able to attend many more days this cricket this season.

11.36am BST

Wondering how your county is doing financially? Ali Martin’s got his stethoscope out and assessed them all.

Related: County cricket financial healthcheck: the bottom lines around the country

11.31am BST

What are everyone’s thoughts on Friday starts? Personally I preferred Sunday starts, but then I guess I’m not really a spectator. Worse ways to spend a working weekend, certainly.

11.28am BST

Glamorgan are 9-3!! Kleinveldt in amongst it. Top three gone, so Ingram and Nye Donald have a clean up job on their hands.

11.23am BST

You just get that feeling Nottinghamshire might get a bat today.

Wicket for Notts! James Pattinson, who hasn’t bowled as well as Broad, traps Ackermann lbw. He made 7 and it’s 21/2.

11.12am BST

Here you go. Perhaps not quite as much nibble as I thought.

Lancashire 10/0: Ov 2.4, AL Davies c AJA Wheater b JA Porter pic.twitter.com/AtsonTAzku

11.11am BST

A wicket at Chelmsford! Porter just gets one to nibble away from Davies and he’s nicked behind! Wheater (not Foster) takes the catch. Out wanders Livingstone. James Whitaker is here.

11.07am BST

Stuart Broad with the first wicket of the season, Paul Horton shouldering arms and bowled.

11.03am BST

Has left his first ball alone. But he’s off the mark! Lovely stuff. He’s about to face some chin music from Wagner.


@willis_macp can we be excited at Shiv still shuffling into line at 42? (pretty sure Hameed wasn’t born when he debuted for WI)

@willis_macp What parallel opening day is this where the weather is so wonderful?! Ready and excited for Surrey’s potential title push.

10.58am BST

Jamie Porter with the ball, Alex Davies facing the first ball. Three slips, a gully, and no James Foster behind the stumps.

10.55am BST

Anyway, we are not far off seeing Haseeb Hameed wander out to bat for the first time this season. Liam Livingstone, who I interviewed a week or two ago, will bat at first drop.

Related: Liam Livingstone: ‘I have always had that confidence that I could make it’

10.52am BST

So here are the teams …

10.35am BST

Ian Bell has decided that Warwickshire are batting at the Oval. Glamorgan have won the toss and are batting at Northants. All the team news to follow in here.

10.34am BST

So I was completely wrong. Lancashire are batting.

Good news from the middle where @LancsCCC have won the toss and will bat first under blue skies here at Essex. Team news on its way.

10.33am BST

Elsewhere there is a bit more clarity.

.@hantscricket captain James Vince has opted not to toss and bowl first.

Uncontested toss and Kent bat first. Debuts for Weatherley and Blake for Kent.

10.32am BST

Or perhaps not … the plot thickens

Lancashire have won the toss and will bat first here in Chelmsford. pic.twitter.com/4fkZQYjmbO

10.31am BST

Essex are having a bat. Or, in other words, Jimmy Anderson is having a bowl. I have no idea whether that is as a result of a toss or not.

Meanwhile, at Grace Road.

Standard warm up. Unselfish play by Fletcher. Just failed to record a fine save by Peter Moores, who was very pleased with himself. pic.twitter.com/XhGpZG3bqU

10.26am BST

Chelmsford is now called The Cloudfm County Ground. Cloudfm is not a radio station, apparently.

10.20am BST

We are about 10 minutes from a few theoretical tosses. With the sun out, don’t know how many we will get. It’s sunny here but with Jimmy on show I reckon Lancashire will have a bowl.

10.04am BST

Morning Stuie! Good to hear from you. Think Kent will be strong – James Harris is an excellent addition and Wayne Parnell might be on his way too.

@willis_macp morning will hope gloucestershire can have a good day v kent (following from my bedroom in wiltshire)

10.03am BST

Lots of people are here. Doesn’t sound like James Foster is playing, though.

| Gates have just opened and people are queueing for miles here at The Cloudfm County Ground. The season is nearly here. pic.twitter.com/Ixan80F4G4

10.01am BST

Given it’s a new season, I think it’s appropriate that you all let me know where you’re drinking this in from. Are you at a game? Are you, god forbid, at your desk? In the garden? Let me know in all the usual places …

9.57am BST

Alright alright!

It’s the new season, the sun’s not just shining it’s positively beaming and thus hereby declare County cricket – live! officially open for the summer! Welcome one, welcome all. Great to have you on board.

9.20am BST

Will shall be here shortly. Meanwhile, read our team-by-team guide to the County Championship season…

Related: County Championship 2017: Divisions One and Two team-by-team guide

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/apr/07/county-championship-cricket-day-one-of-the-new-season-live

Apr 01

Steve Finn: ‘Fundamentally I don’t think I’m a nice guy when I bowl’

Middlesex and England quick readily admits he has plenty on his plate as he contemplates his 13th first-class season

Steve Finn knows spring has sprung because of the line of questioning he is facing. “Every year for eight years I reckon, answering the same ones,” he says. “Is this my most important year yet? Is this my year?” The laughter he produces is a tad tired.

Finn is a cricketer for whom the years are passing without our noticing – he has taken to describing himself as “long in the tooth”. Embarking on his 13th season as a first-class player, seven years from his Test debut, and turning 28 next week, he understands exactly why this annual ritual takes place, although that does not make him any more likely to rise to the bait. “It comes with the territory,” he says, another answer he has clearly had practice delivering. “International cricketers are in the limelight more than others. I accept that fully.”

Related: Steven Finn puts in a shift without getting the breaks for England

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/01/steve-finn-bowler-middlesex-england-13th-first-class-season-interview

Mar 30

Liam Livingstone: ‘I have always had that confidence that I could make it’

After a mighty winter with the Lions, the Lancashire all-rounder is intriguing the England selectors and an ODI cap seems a certainty this summer

Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone is a cricketer on whom observers often pin that abstract trait of having “a bit about him”. In Livingstone’s case that means a certain swagger – he spent his first full county summer not only piling up runs but also rubbing opponents up the wrong way.

He has since translated that form into a mighty winter with the Lions and the England selectors are interested to the extent that it would be a surprise if he is not the owner of an ODI cap by the end of the summer. It looks likely to come against Ireland in May, when Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler are playing in the Indian Premier League, but he may have to wait and face West Indies in September, when a raft of debutants are expected.

Related: Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone hammers maiden hundred against Somerset

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/30/liam-livingstone-england-lancashire-all-rounder

Mar 01

John Hampshire, former England and Yorkshire batsman, dies aged 76

Hampshire had been Yorkshire president since March 2016Played eight Tests and won County Championship five timesThe former England batsman John Hampshire has died aged 76. Hampshire was a giant of Yorkshire cricket, having captained the club, played in…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/01/john-hampshire-former-england-and-yorkshire-batsman-dies-aged-76

Feb 19

Teenage Welsh prodigy Jackson Page ‘surpasses expectations’ in first ranking event

The bearded 15-year-old from Ebbw Vale ‘has mad few days’ after wildcard appearance at the Welsh Open that sent a buzz of excitement through the sport

“My Facebook notifications have gone mad!” says Jackson Page, at the end of the week of his young life. “It’s been a mad few days, to be honest.”

The raw facts were these: the 15‑year‑old from Ebbw Vale played his first professional tournament, as a wildcard at the Welsh Open in Cardiff, 25 miles from home. In the first round he came back from 3-1 down to beat the world No123 John Weston 4-3 on a respotted black and then defeated the No78 Jason Astley by the same score. In the third round, he lost 4-0 to the world No4 and 2011 World Championship finalist Judd Trump, who went on to reach the final.

Related: Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘They will never take my soul. They will never take my spirit’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/19/jackson-page-snooker-prodigy-welsh-open-judd-trump

Feb 07

Alastair Cook: ECB hung me out to dry in Kevin Pietersen furore

• ‘I was the lightning rod; everyone thought it was my decision’
• ‘England have stagnated as a team. There is a lot of work to be done’

Alastair Cook said he felt left “out to dry” by the England and Wales Cricket Board over the Kevin Pietersen affair three years ago while his decision to stand down as Test captain was due to the realisation that a new voice was needed in the dressing room.

Speaking for the first time since resigning on Monday – a decision that has left his vice-captain, Joe Root, poised to take over – Cook tackled the thorny subject of Pietersen’s banishment from the side after the 2013-14 Ashes, admitting he had few regrets during his tenure but that the issue was poorly managed by his employers.

Related: Jason Gillespie says the timing is perfect for Joe Root to become England captain

Related: Kevin Pietersen: The questions that now need to be answered | Andy Wilson

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/07/alastair-cook-england-captain-right-time-resign

Feb 06

Joost van der Westhuizen, South Africa rugby great, dies aged 45

• World Cup-winning scrum half had motor neurone disease since 2011
• Van der Westhuizen was admitted to hospital on Saturday

Joost van der Westhuizen, the South African Rugby World Cup winner, has died aged 45. The former scrum-half had been living with motor neurone disease since 2011 and was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital on Saturday morning.

The J9 Foundation, the charity founded by Van der Westhuizen in 2012, confirmed that he had died at home, saying in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Joost. He passed away in his home surrounded by his loved ones. He will be sorely missed.”

Related: Joost van der Westhuizen will be remembered for inspirational spirit and dignity | Robert Kitson

RIP Joost van der Westhuizen. An incredible player and fighter to the end. The first of the new age 9’s.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/06/joost-van-der-westhuizen-south-africa-rugby-great-dies

Jan 22

Monty Panesar: ‘I just want to play for England again, I’ve got to do it’

The spinner has been troubled on and off the pitch but a winter spent coaching in Australia has left him in positive mood for 2017

It was the Northamptonshire coach, David Ripley, who came up with the idea that Monty Panesar should spend this winter in Australia. If it seemed a risky move to send a man with well-documented mental health problems, kept in check by a robust support network, way out of his comfort zone then, listening to him talk, it is seeming an inspired idea.

The primary reason for his southern summer was to get revolutions in his troublesome left shoulder (in another bid to rouse his dormant elite-level career) playing grade cricket and coaching youngsters at Campbelltown-Camden just outside Sydney. But he has also trained with the Big Bash team Sydney Thunder, and is speaking from Brisbane, where Cricket Australia are tapping into his knowledge of taking wickets – and winning matches – in India to help the batsman Matt Renshaw and spinner Steve O’Keefe before their tour next month. He is pleased with the state of his shoulder, and his bowling; professionally, it is proving a fruitful jaunt. He has taken to coaching with glee and describing his method, he is calm and lucid.

Related: Monty Panesar becomes PCA ambassador and opens up on mental health issues

Related: Monty Panesar, the man from the margins who made his mark | Barney Ronay

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/22/monty-panesar-england-coaching-australia-cricket

Dec 12

Maiden Ashes day-night Test confirmed for Adelaide in December 2017

• Lights to be switched on for second Test of 2017-18 series down under
• T20 tri-series in Australia and New Zealand to follow in early 2018

The Adelaide Oval has been confirmed as the venue for the first day-night Test between England and Australia. The game will be the second Test of the 2017-18 Ashes series on 2-6 December 2017.

The series will open at The Gabba in Brisbane – where Australia have not lost a Test since 1988 – on 21 November before moving to Adelaide for the pink-ball Test, then Perth before Christmas. England may be spared a trip to the historic Waca ground – where they won just once – with the new multi-sport Perth Stadium to host the fixture if it is built in time. The series will be rounded off with the traditional fixtures in Melbourne from Boxing Day and Sydney in the first week of 2018.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/12/ashes-day-night-test-adelaide-fixtures-2017

Nov 26

England 27-14 Argentina: rugby union international – as it happened

Eddie Jones’s team had to play with 14 men for 75-plus minutes, but held off the Pumas to win at Twickenham

4.46pm GMT

Right, I’m carrying on with this caper, but not here. Ireland are hosting Australia – come join me!

Related: Ireland v Australia: rugby union autumn international – live!

4.41pm GMT

That’s a serious win for England, who were down to 14 men for 76 minutes after Daly’s red card. Argentina had a man sent off of their own with four minutes remaining, and one sense that he will be in more trouble than Daly.

Ben Youngs says that is the most satisfying of England’s 12 wins under Eddie Jones. They can’t have had to dig deeper in many.

Ben Youngs: ‘We want to make history & next week we have the opportunity to do that’ (Eng need to beat Aus for record-equalling 14th win).

4.39pm GMT

80 min Argentina are back to 14 by the way, with Matera back on the field. This scrum is a mess, unsurprisingly. England go right with the clock red, but knock on and Argentina break through De La Fuente. Argentina aren’t going to put it out, this is the end of the year. But eventually they knock on and thast is that. Extraordinary game, that.

4.36pm GMT

79 min Argentina then knock on on their own 22. Twickenham goes mad as Robshaw is named man of the match.

4.35pm GMT

79 min Argentina go quickly but eventually get a crosskick goes wrong and it goes out. England are going from deep! Joseph has spotted a gap, and boots it, but Argentina mop up.

4.33pm GMT

78 min Care is marshalling England and they go left, but Wood knocks on. Argentina will run it from deep. Landajo half-break, then Isa fully breaks until running into Slade. Argentina go left, and Lezana breaks. England knock on.

4.32pm GMT

76 min Marler took that very well. He knew what he was doing. We have 13 v 13 for the last four minutes. Farrell finds touch and England win the lineout on the right on the 22.

4.31pm GMT

What has happened here is that Pieretto has been held by Marler. His boot has found his head. Was it intentional? If so, red. He’s tumbling. But he knows what he’s doing.

Marler has been yellowed for holding.

4.28pm GMT

75 min Slade is on for Brown, who pulled up a little groggily after nearly scoring. England win the lineout and Sinckler carries, then Lawes. Care goes left, then May offloads and Sinckler breaks! Eventually there is an interception as England launch it around but we are going back to look at something. Offside, but something more, maybe? 18 white in the dock for stamping here … Pieretto the naughty boy.

4.25pm GMT

74 min They have gone miles here Argentina, right down to England’s 22, where May makes a fine tackle. On they go, and they are rewarded with a penalty 10m out. Ref wants to know if there has been a neck roll, though, and Dan Cole is the victim. Penalty reversed. Great coutnerattack ruined by that. Farrell finds touch.

4.23pm GMT

73 min So we have another scrum. Eventually the ball emerges and Argentina break!

Scotland won 43-16 btw.

4.22pm GMT

72 min The scrum is steady and Robshaw is loud. England go right! They come back left and Brown is in space, straightens and swats a couple of men off! He doesn’t quite get to the line but wriggles there. Has he scored?

The question, which is good for England, is “is there any reason why I cannot award the try?” Well, yes there is actually. Brown has knocked on. 5m scrum for Argentina.

4.19pm GMT

71 min That scrum, of course, gets the reset it deserves.

4.18pm GMT

70 min Wow! Hernandez’s kick off has gone backwards! He’s sliced it and it’s landed in his own half! England scrum.

4.17pm GMT

69 min Kruis carries well for England and they have an overlap out left! It goes through the hands of Ford, Wood and Joseph, who draws the man and frees May, who streaks home to finish! From 5m in on the left, Farrell cannot convert.

4.15pm GMT

67 min Eesh. Farrell’s missed again, from out right. That’s an ugly one. Landajo on for Cubelli.

4.14pm GMT

66 min From the maul, Argentina are collapsing. England play the advantage – there’s a chip gathered by Joseph then a knock from Ford. But we are going back for the penalty! And there’s a yellow card for Matera!

4.13pm GMT

65 min England win another penalty from the kick-off! Great work from Robshaw, and England find touch, and win the lineout!

4.11pm GMT

38m out, just to the left. Farrell scores and England are eight points clear.

4.11pm GMT

63 min That’s a turnaround! Dan Cole has Argentina on the hop at scrum time and there’s a penalty. That will please Marler and George too. Farrell – is he captain now? – will go for the posts.

4.10pm GMT

62 min Hernandez sends it very high but they knock on as it comes down. Creevy is going off, replaced by Montoya. Pieretto replaces Herrera.

4.08pm GMT

61 min Argentina run left from their own half. A miss pass doesn’t go to hand but is recovered. They go right but that’s a huge tackle from Farrell. On they go.

4.07pm GMT

60 min Hartley missed four tackles there. Another scrum, then. New cast in the front row. I’m going to shock you here – we are resetting.

4.06pm GMT

59 min Blood falling from Cole’s ear but the ref hasn’t noticed. Better scrum for England, and Ford sends up a huge high bomb which May chases well. But he can only knock on. Good effort from Ford and May. Hartley and Mako off for George and Marler.

Tonga have beaten Italy!

Huge result for Tonga in Padua. They’ve just beaten Italy – who defeated the Springboks for the first time, last week – by 19-17. What a day

4.04pm GMT

58 min Cole back for his first look at a scrum since being binned. Argentina are steady and go right. Kruis tackles Creevy very well as they come up the middle but there is space out left until they knock on! Hartley still out there.

4.03pm GMT

56 min This one’s just inside Argentina’s half and pretty straight, but Farrell sends it to the right. Harrison knocks on the 22 drop-out! Poor from England.

4.01pm GMT

55 min Argentina go up the middle through Creevy, who is everywhere. But they give away another penalty! They will go for goal, again.

4.00pm GMT

54 min Argentina win the ball and Hernandez sends up a bomb. Brown safely under it and England probe up the right on halfway. Youngs snipes, but is turned over by Creevy.

3.59pm GMT

53 min England claim the kick-off and Youngs boxkicks. Isa naively lets it land and it goes into touch on halfway, much to the crowd’s delight.

3.58pm GMT

This is on the left and 40m out. Farrell sticks it through.

George is coming on, which is fascinating.

3.57pm GMT

51 min England win the lineout and roll. Lawes has it. There’s an advantage for coming in at the side. And the penalty comes. Farrell is going to go for goal. Jamie George is going to come on for Dylan Hartley …

3.56pm GMT

50 min Cubelli gets them moving with a quick tap, but after a grubber, Jonny MAy is tackled illegally by Orlando and England win a penalty. Bold tackle from a man who has already spent 10 in the bin. Farrell hammers it into touch on halfway.

3.54pm GMT

49 min Another scrum, then. Argentina win the free-kick.

3.54pm GMT

48 min Cole brings Wood with him, and Sinckler goes. Farrell was playing flanker there. Argentina win the lineout and keep it tight until England knock on.

3.53pm GMT

47 min A clean put-in is handy for England. They win the ball and go right, and Ford tries a chip, but it’s over May’s head and into touch. Dan Cole is back!

3.51pm GMT

46 min Lawes wins the lineout and England maul. Youngs snipes. Mako carries. Then an Argentina knock on comes. Back to scrums …

3.50pm GMT

45 min Joseph does well to claim a crosskick but throws a slightly wild offload that England do well to gather. After a boxkick, England bundle Argentina into touch in their own territory. Three minutes left on Cole’s sin bin.

3.49pm GMT

44 min Orlando stretches England on the right, but there’s a knock on and turnover. England go up the left, then Ford kicks deep and Argentina come back.

3.48pm GMT

43 min England’s 13 men are struggling. Argentina barge their way out of the 22, then into England’s half.

3.47pm GMT

42 min Argentina rumble out of their 22 after claiming cleanly, then Estelles breaks up the left! Lovely stuff. Cordero, who started it, is there for him, then Cubelli is on his shoulder and Cordero takes it back and runs in easily under the posts. Hernandez converts.

3.45pm GMT

Ford gets us going.

A good point from Damian Clarke on Scotland: “Personally, I wouldn’t care if they were wearing Pikachu onesies, as long as they carry on playing like this.”

3.44pm GMT

So, Twickenham. For the first eight or so mins of this half England will be down to 13 men. Daly was red carded and Cole has been binned, so Sinckler has come on for Wood. How will Argentina exploit that? Billy Vunipola is gone too, a leg injury forcing him off to be replaced by Teimana Harrison.

With 12 mins left, Italy the Springbok Slayers are leading Tonga by a point.

3.41pm GMT

Scotland’s kit, by the way, is blooming awful. White with blue stripes isn’t the end of the world but the numbers have a huge great circle around them on the back. Down with sort of thing, it’s not the 90s.

3.39pm GMT

Scotland have scored again, and Davina Dear, who sounds rather like she is in tears, has emailed me to have a moan about Pascal Gaüzère. “He was determined to let Argentina score,” she wails.

Don’t ever change, Twickenham.

Laura Wright singing theme from Gladiator at half-time….

3.33pm GMT

What to know how long that half lasted? It was an hour. Mad scenes. One minute after the players leave the field, Scotland kick off the second half against Georgia. The two games started at the same time.

3.30pm GMT

Wowzer. What a half. 16-7.

Daly sent-off. A yellow card for each side. Argentina all over England at the scrum.

3.29pm GMT

40 min Kyle Sinckler comes on, and Tom Wood has to go off. We’ve had five penalties and are six minutes into over time. Another scrum. Argentina are on the move at this one, but it’s reset! Jeeezzzzuuuussss. 47 mins by the time the ball goes in. Ball is in the middle of this scrum for an age, until Isa picks up and charges! He gets rid of Youngs and Harrison on the way to the line, what an effort!

Twickenham boos as Hernandez converts, which is very boring. He scores.

3.26pm GMT

40 min We go again. This one is firmer, the advantage comes again! Penalty! Coles is the man binned. Still no penalty try. England down to 13.

3.25pm GMT

40 min “Let’s go Coley,” roars Robshaw to no avail, as they reset because both packs stand up. Draining work for England’s 14 men, this. Scrum goes down, another penalty. We must be so close to a yellow now. Just a warning again. Scrum again. Clock says 44 mins.

3.22pm GMT

40 min So, another scrum. Another England offside. Isa picks up, they go left and they spoil. But back for the penalty. Ford pinged. Another scrum!

3.21pm GMT

40 min Harrison is packing down at No8. A steady scrum finally. It’s at Isa’s feet but Youngs nips in and is pinged. Penalty, and Orlando is back from the bin. They are going for the scrum again and the clock is red. Card not far off for England.

3.20pm GMT

39 min Vunipola is in real strife. It’s his right leg. Teimana Harrison is coming on as Billy is helped off. They are bringing the cart to make his exit (Vexit) easier. Big applause. The scrum is a mess again and we have another reset.

Scotland 31-11 up at half time and have scored four tries against Georgia.

3.17pm GMT

38 min There’s another palava, another reset. Cubelli looks as depressed by this as I am. Isa carries when it finally comes back. Good work from Youngs. They forwards have it and are edging towards the line. There’s an advantage, and after a Cubelli dart fails, they go back for it. Big Billy Vunipola is down.

3.14pm GMT

36 min This is our first scrum! Of course there’s a palava.

Scotland are thrashing Georgia 31-11 by the way.

3.13pm GMT

35 min It really is right on the 5m line. Creevy finds his man but England defend well and Argentina knock on on the short side.

3.13pm GMT

34 min They go back for that penalty after a very, very long advantage. Hernandez kicks for touch, right down towards the 5m line on the left.

3.12pm GMT

33 min They win this one and spin it left. Joseph tackles brilliantly but they come back right. Chris Robshaw is offside and there’s an advantage. On they rumble through the phases, eight now.

3.10pm GMT

32 min Creevy misses his man, Hartley gathers and England go left. Farrell kicks horribly but gets lucky. It’s another Argentina lineout.

3.09pm GMT

31 min Hartley finds Kruis, Youngs boxkicks long into touch.

3.09pm GMT

30 min There’s a crossfield kick from Argentina deep into England’s 22 which is taken well, but May bundles Estelles into touch!

3.08pm GMT

Vunipola turns the ball over and runs deep into Argentina territory, sends it to Ford. Robshaw sends it left, where Wood or Joseph has a walk-in, but Orlando slaps down. Penalty try, converted and there’s a yellow card too.

3.06pm GMT

28 min Cordero gathers off the post and runs from deep. They go into England’s half and up the right!

3.06pm GMT

27 min Right, there’s a tackle from Cubelli on Hartley with no arms that the TMO spots. Argentina have given a heap of penalties. Creevy is spoken to. This is 40m out, and just to the right. Farrell is going to kick for goal. He’s hit the post!

3.04pm GMT

26 min Argentina gather themselves and run from deep. The ball is spilled and Vunipola and Joseph counter.

3.03pm GMT

25 min Good kickchase from Robshaw, but Argentina steady at the ruck, until Kruis charges down the boxkick!

“Lawes and Joseph are immense so far,” writes Elliott Wilson, who has a hangover so bad that two berocca can’t fix it. Still a better day than your namesake Daly.

3.02pm GMT

Straight through the middle.

3.01pm GMT

23 min England have another penalty but there’s an advantage. Ford has the ball and he loops to the left but they realise they aren’t going anywhere and the penalty comes. They will kick for goals again. It’s in a veyr similar spot to the last – 30m out on the left.

3.00pm GMT

22 min Farrell finds touch on the left in Argentina’s half. They win the ball and get the rolling maul going.

Here’s that Mike Brown run.

Brown’s back!

Watch LIVE now on @SkySports 2. #CarryThemHome https://t.co/vgLx93Yldk

2.59pm GMT

21 min Argentina go right, then left. Creevy and Matera carrying lots, and Isa charges up the right. But on the ninth phase they don’t release and England win the penalty!

2.58pm GMT

20 min Hartley loses the lineout as Petti spoils. That’s the first England have lost this autumn!

2.57pm GMT

19 min Harley finds Lawes and they maul. Then Youngs goes left through the two Vunipolas, but the ball squirts through and is turned over. Hernandez finds a decent touch.

2.56pm GMT

18 min They win the lineout and kick high. Estelles appears to have taken out May in the air. He lands more safely. What will we see here? The Twickenham crowd are incensed. He lands nicely on one foot. Just a penalty. It’s outcome based, this. He’s landed safely, so there’s no card. Farrell kicks to touch on the right just outside the 22.

2.54pm GMT

17 min Argentina win a free kick at the lineout as England close the gap. They rumble phasily, until a kick deep. May finds Brown and he runs! He doesn’t just run, he runs 50m! He can’t find Billy V and eventually there’s an Argentina lineout.

2.52pm GMT

16 min Farrell thumps to touch, but they are still not out of their half. Lawes claims the lineout and Youngs hammers it high. May does well and Robshaw appears with the ball and they go left, until Farrell passes behind Brown and into touch on the left.

2.51pm GMT

15 min Loads of knocks on, and a huge hit from Lawes. Eventually England win a penalty! They loved that.

2.51pm GMT

14 min Kick-off finds Ford, who thumps down field, and into touch on halfway. No fuss. Creevy goes long to Cubelli and Argentina head left. England knock on in the tackle so there’s an advantage.

2.49pm GMT

13 min Farrell, as he tends to, scores.

Scotladn are 12-5 up at Kilmarnock and Georgia are a man down.

@willis_macp Surprised to see Estelles for Arg. He’s quick but doesn’t even get in Northampton’s dismal side this season

2.48pm GMT

12 min England win the lineout and maul. They have an advantage for coming in at the side. And we go back for it. It’s 30m out on the left, and Farrell will kick for goal.

2.47pm GMT

11 min What a mess this is … England nab an interception, then it’s turned over again, and Argentina kick straight out. England lineout in the Argentina half.

2.46pm GMT

10 min England are stretched. May is now on the left wing, with Joseph covering the right. Argentina in a penalty on their 10m line. Hernandez misses touch! Senatore is staying off, with Isa staying on.

2.45pm GMT

9 min From the 22, England kick to halfway. Youngs kicks high.

Argentina have had three players go off for HIAs in the opening 7 minutes

2.44pm GMT

8 min Argentina lineout on the 22. Hernandez is back, which is great news. It’s Gonzalez Iglesias, No12, who is going off. De la Fuente stays. They win the lineout and maul. Creevy at its heart. It goes out, Hernandez tries a chip but they are offside.

The Guardian’s man agrees.

Had to go, I’m afraid. England must now play last 75 mins with a man short… #engvarg

2.43pm GMT

7 min Argentina nudge through and Ford comes across to clean up, but keeps the ball in play. Argentina go right, but knock on, and Jonny May wins the ball. England kick back and Cordero knocks through into space, but finally England find touch.

2.41pm GMT

6 min The ball is all over the place here. All over the place. Argentina break through but Billy Vunipola nips that in the bud.

2.40pm GMT

5 min Twickenham crowd boo, but I think that is the right shout from the ref. Argentina kick for touch.

2.39pm GMT

5 min Kruis gathers the restart this time, and Youngs box kicks high. Ouch! Daly has taken the man out in the air. Could be trouble. Didn’t look nasty (Daly’s eyes are on the ball until the last two steps), but Senatore has been taken out very high, and the England wing has got it all wrong. He’s getting treatment. TMO time. Gotta be yellow, this, at least. Senatore is up again.


2.36pm GMT

4 min It’s a simple nudge, and Farrell sends it over.

2.36pm GMT

3 min Hernandez’s second attempt at the kick-off is long and high. Twickenham gets excited as Billy Vunipola goes charging up the middle, then – after a delicious pass from Mako – Jonny May flies down the right. On the sixth phase, by now back in front of the posts, Argentina go off their feet. Juan Martin Hernandez has gone off with a head injury.

2.34pm GMT

2 min Those phases end when the ball is kicked to Daly, who nails it downfield, and Argentina find touch. England win their lineout and go right, with Daly coming off his wing, and a May grubber going through, which Argentina touch down in goal under pressure from the winger. 22 drop out. Farcical scenes as Hernandez kicks off without the ref’s blessing, and the players aren’t listening. They carry on, but it’s a waste of their time.

2.31pm GMT

1 min Advantage played from that knock-on, which came about because England basically left the ball. Youngs box-kicks to touch, and Argentina get some phases going.

2.30pm GMT

Hernandez gets us under way. And Argentina immediately knock on.

2.29pm GMT

Anthems. Long old intro to Argentina’s one, during which the coach, Daniel Hourcade, is either yawning heavily or gurning heavily. Take your pick. It’s a belter, that tune. Really is. Then it’s God Save The Queen.

Contact me! On the emails will.macpherson.freelance@theguardian.com or on the twitters @willis_macp. Kick-off in one minute.

2.25pm GMT

England wearing that blue number they rocked against Fiji last week. It’s got a red cross on the chest, which I’m really not sure about. In my very humble opinion Argentina have the best gears in world rugby. Classic baby blue and white for them. Players wandering out.

2.18pm GMT

Not long til kick-off, not long until anthems, and anthems mean big Argentinian men in floods of proud and joyful tears.

2.09pm GMT

Over on BBC one, they’re building up to Scotland against Georgia in Kilmarnock. Rugby’s the national sport in Georgia, and it sounds like they might be a little peeved not to get a go at Murrayfield. Richie Dixon, the former head coach of Scotland and Georgia, reckons they are at the stage Italy were at pre-Championship introduction in ‘99. Knocking on the door.

1.53pm GMT

Can kick.

Elliot Daly clearing the dead-ball line from about 55 metres out in this week’s warm-up. Rocket. pic.twitter.com/B50TBEcTOb

1.53pm GMT

England have made changes from the Fiji win. Two blokes who scored two tries in that game are gone for very different reasons. To some consternation in the West Country and beyond, Semesa Rokoduguni is out, with Jonny May returning. Joe Launchbury has been banned for the last two games of the autumn for a little use of the boot. George Kruis’s return, in that regard, could not be better timed. England do have an embarrassment of riches in the second row. A couple of old hands are back too: Mike Brown at full-back and Tom Wood on t’openside.

1.42pm GMT

Right so England are looking for a 13th straight win, and their 12th under Eddie Jones. Argentina have won just two in 10 and they lost to the Scots last week. Marcelo Bosch, the Saracen and Puma, reckons the loss of Tuculet is a big blow for Los Pumas.

There was an interesting chat with Jones on Sky just there. He says he picks the team as soon as the last game finishes!

1.18pm GMT

You want to know the teams, don’t you. Here you go. Note the change at full-back for Argentina. Tuculet out injured.

Ingerlund: M Brown (Harlequins); J May (Gloucester), J Joseph (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), E Daly (Wasps); G Ford (England), B Youngs (Leicester); M Vunipola (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), G Kruis (Saracens), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), B Vunipola (Saracens).

11.24am GMT

Well hello there, and welcome to another Feast Of Rugby. There’s a veritable truckload of the stuff happening across western Europe today – six (6) belting looking games with intrigue across the rankings (context!!).

First among equals is the game I’m (I’m Will Macpherson, by the way, and you can email me here) here to tell you about on a minute-by-minute basis: England v Argentina at Twickenham, or, as the people who go there call it Twickers. Yeah.

Related: Gus Pichot: ‘The Fiji v England game wasn’t very good for rugby … it’s unfair’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2016/nov/26/england-v-argentina-rugby-union-autumn-international-live

Nov 19

Ireland 9-21 New Zealand: rugby union autumn internationals – as it happened

Malakai Fekitoa scored two tries as New Zealand overcame two yellow cards to win in Dublin

7.44pm GMT

That was an excellent day of Test rugby, all in. England thrashed Fiji but showed frailties, Wales and Scotland crept past their opponents with dramatic late kicks, while New Zealand righted the wrongs of Chicago. Perhaps most momentous of all, Italy beat the Boks.

There’s still one game to go – Australia face France in Paris in a few minutes’ time – but that is all from me. Thanks very much for your company, see you (sort of) for all the action next Saturday too.

7.39pm GMT

Right, that is that. Michael Aylwin’s report from a superb Test match at the Aviva Stadium will be right here very soon. I’m just looking at the team sheets from the end of the game. Ireland had four blokes off with injury, while New Zealand completely reshuffled their backline to tighten up. Cracking game.

Massive respect between these sides after two epic Test matches this year.#IREvNZL pic.twitter.com/mFn2BW6jXe

7.31pm GMT

“Jeez that was a tough Test match,” reflects Brodie Retallick. Damn straight.

7.29pm GMT

Here is Gerard Meagher’s report from Wales’s very tight win over Japan in Cardiff.

Related: Wales are run close by inspired Japan before late Sam Davies drop goal

7.28pm GMT

Conor Murray is talking to Sky. He’s annoyed that Ireland didn’t take advantage of all that possession and New Zealand’s two yellow cards. Ireland were just too profligate in the New Zealand 22. A brutal Test match, that.

7.25pm GMT

Beauden Barrett is your man of the match. It’s got very scrappy, and somehow Perenara breaks through, only to be tackled hard. They are chucking it about now. Eventually Fekitoa knocks on and that is that. The Blacklash happened, then.

7.23pm GMT

79 min Oh, that could have been lovely. But not quite. Jackson dinks over the top, Payne chases but knocks on, he can’t quite gather.

7.22pm GMT

78 min Ireland go off the top, and the backs hammer away. Eventually it is turned over and New Zealand come from deep. But Fekitoa’s dink goes straight out. That is a very poor kick. 90 seconds on the clock.

7.20pm GMT

77 min Finally the ball comes out. New Zealand eventually kick, find touch, and Ireland decide against taking it quickly.

7.19pm GMT

76 min Come on. This has been a great game. Now let’s not ruin by taking forever resetting scrums. That’s two resets now…

7.18pm GMT

75 min 10 phases now for Ireland, they are charging up the left, but TJ Perenara has spoiled it off Heaslip’s carry. NZ scrum 10 metres out on the right hand side.

7.17pm GMT

74 min Zebo is the latest Irishman to be helped from the field. That’s the fourth injury they have had. Scrum-half Marmion is on the wing. NZ’s scrum is solid, and they switch, but Fekitoa knocks on and Ringrose half-breaks. Hauled down. Ireland truck on…

Ha! Or is that Ha?

@willis_macp In my mind I am changing all your exclamation marks into question marks. It makes it more intriguing.

7.15pm GMT

73 min Ireland have three points to show for much of the ball this half. And it’s the same story here as Sean Cronin knocks on. It’s 21-9 with seven minutes to go. Naholo on for Ben Smith now.

7.14pm GMT

72 min Van der Flier breaks the line! He’s brought down on the 22 but that’s a lovely run. They keep plugging away …

7.13pm GMT

71 min Ireland win the ball and bash up the middle through Ringrose and Healy, on for McGrath. New Zealand resolute.

7.12pm GMT

70 min Sean Cronin, on for Best, takes the throw. Van der Flier goes up the middle, then Trimble up the right, but he’s bundled into touch by Ben Smith.

7.11pm GMT

69 min Ireland need to score twice. They are consolidating possession deep but have lost their shape. They win a penalty, which Jackson knocks down into New Zealand’s half.

7.10pm GMT

68 min New Zealand end up with the ball from that lineout and charge up the middle.

7.10pm GMT

67 min That feels like a sucker punch. Ireland have a lineout on the New Zealand 10m line on the left.

7.09pm GMT

66 min Ben Smith comes flying back at Ireland! It goes through all sorts of hands – Barrett, Lienert-Brown, Barrett again, Perenara (was that forward?), then to Fekitoa, who crosses easily for second. Scrappy and scintillating at the same time. Best is complaining to the ref. “I have a team that look after me,” replies Peyper. Barrett converts.

7.07pm GMT

64 min It’s scrum time, so they are catching their breath. More Fields of Athenry. Murray feeds a very noisy scrum then Ireland run it on the 22. Jackson kicks high.

Niall Swan wants the score. It’s 14-9 to NZ.

@willis_macp asked in the nicest way possible, could you put THE SCORE in some of your Ire v NZ updates please. Or at least in the headline?

7.05pm GMT

63 min Ireland grubber from deep and Barrett gathers. New Zealand go left, then right. Dagg has space and arcs round, but his offload only leads to a knock on off Lienert-Brown!

7.04pm GMT

62 min New Zealand charge on through the phases, through the offloads. But they lose it and Ireland come from deep! Was that another high tackle on Heaslip? No.

7.03pm GMT

61 min Toner claims the lineout again. Murray boxkicks, and New Zealand come from deep through Barrett. A loose pass from Perenara slows but they go down the short side to be greeted by a green wall.

7.02pm GMT

60 min Ireland go off the top and up the middle. But they are turned over and Perenara thumps down field and into touch.

7.01pm GMT

58 min TJ Perenara is off the bench. New Zealand are still giving away penalties. Jackson thumps downfield.

6.59pm GMT

57 min Jackson goes for the posts. 30m out, to the right, and scores. Three points scored during each sin-binning.

6.58pm GMT

56 min This game has just got real loose. Kearney is nearly in as Ben Smith fumbles a kick, then Ardie Savea goes on the break. New Zealand run from deep bit out left, they get pinged for clinging on!

6.57pm GMT

55 min Now it’s Ireland’s hooker beating defenders. Best carries, then it’s O’Brien up the middle. Three mins more in the bin for Fekitoa!

6.56pm GMT

54 min NZ go for touch, win the lineout at the front and Dane Coles is on the fly! Brilliant tackle from Sean O’Brien nips that in the bud. And then New Zealand give away another penalty.

6.55pm GMT


6.54pm GMT

53 min Ireland keep knocking on the door, but Josh van der Flier has knocked on in contact! And then a penalty comes. Ireland told to get their hands out of the ruck, and they ignored him. Great work again from Ardie Savea.

6.53pm GMT

52 min New Zealand bring on Charlie Faumuina for Owen Franks. Lineout in the corner for Ireland, who rumble. They are on the move. Again, great defence from NZ.

6.52pm GMT

51 min Ireland win the lineout and batter up the short side. Paddy Jackson crosskicks and in claiming Trimble does brilliantly but puts a foot in touch. We are going back for another penalty – it’s another high tackle on Murray.

6.51pm GMT

50 min Aaron Smith kicks off the base and finds touch, still inside New Zealand’s half.

6.50pm GMT

49 min Ireland go to the corner. I think that was the right call. No intent, but reckless. Heaslip claims the lineout and what a mess. Sean O’Brien tries to claim an offload at pace but shells it. Scrum eight metres out.

6.49pm GMT

48 min New Zealand run their way out down the left, then Smith does an awful boxkick from the 22, which goes nowhere! Ireland go left rapidly, and Fekitoa catches Zebo high and the arm is swinging. That’s yellow!

6.47pm GMT

47 min Ireland eventually knock on. Ardie Savea has pulled off an excellent turnover. New Zealand scrum,. eight metres off their own line.

6.46pm GMT

46 min There’s Fields of Athenry. Jeez that’s loud. Ireland tunnelling away up the left but still to no avail. Keep bashing.

6.45pm GMT

45 min Garry Ringrose nearly breaks through from that scrum, and New Zealand go left. The defence is excellent, again.

6.44pm GMT

44 min New Zealand win the lineout but there is a poor box kick from Aaron Smith. That gives it back to Ireland, who kick to Julian Savea, and he spills under pressure!

6.43pm GMT

43 min Barrett kicks for touch, and finds it, but New Zealand are not yet out of their half.

6.42pm GMT

42 min As Ireland go left, the ball is spilled backwards off Rory Best. Lots of possession. Black shirts everywhere, big tackle from Read on Payne. And now there’s a penalty for clinging on. Great defence.

6.41pm GMT

41 min New Zealand kick back to Ireland, who set about some phases. They try the short side with no luck, just chipping away. Heaslip barges up the middle.

6.40pm GMT

Jackson kicks off and here we go… Big 40 minutes

6.38pm GMT

My colleague Andy Bull has written an excellent piece from England’s win at Twickenham earlier:

Related: Rokoduguni’s flying England return only adds to frustration for drained Fiji | Andy Bull

6.37pm GMT

Richard Searle has been in touch. He’s talking about Beauden Barrett’s try. I thought he grounded it, but Johnny Sexton, who admittedly was much closer at hand, didn’t. Richard thinks Sexton should have been binned.

“If Barrett didn’t ground that try, it should have been a penalty try for the flagrant head shot he took beyond the goal line,” fumes Richard. “He only didn’t ground it easily because the Irishman tried to decapitate him. Should have been a try and a yellow card.”

6.33pm GMT

Greig Laidlaw knocks over three points for Scotland. Fratellis this time to celebrate it. The Murrayfield DJ is a predictable chap. It’s 16-16 with 12 left.

6.30pm GMT

Thrilling final 15 minutes await at Murrayfield, too. Argentina lead Scotland 13-16.

6.27pm GMT

Pause. For. Breath.

What a half of rugby. New Zealand lead, but their penalty count is also perilously close to double figures. Constant infringements. Ireland have had three (3) men go off injured. It’s tough going out there. Give me five minutes to gather myself and I’ll be back.

6.25pm GMT

New Zealand kick for touch, win the lineout, and then Barrett crosskicks. It goes out of place but is deep in the Irish 22. This’ll be the last play. Best finds his man again, they roll briefly, Murray demands the ball and nails it into touch.

6.23pm GMT

39 min Best – Toner – Murray is a pretty reliable lineout call for Ireland. They go right, then left, before Retallick tackles Jackson brilliantly. Ireland are pinged for holding on. New Zealand have a penalty deep in their own half.

6.22pm GMT

38 min Ireland go wide from the lineout, a Trimble grubber is cleaned up by Dagg. New Zealand recover to boxkick towards halfway.

6.21pm GMT

37 min Paddy Jackson kicks for touch, and Ireland will have a lineout on the right hand side just outside the 22.

6.21pm GMT

36 min The scrum is strong and Ireland win the penalty!


@willis_macp savage test of Irelands resolve & street smarts! Johnny Logan’s 2 Eurovision wins still stand alone unless we can get this done

6.20pm GMT

35 min Ireland go from deep, going through the phases. There’s a boxkick for Murray, which just gives the ball back to Savea, although Ireland keep the ball up from him and win the scrum!

Scotland 13-13 Argentina btw

6.18pm GMT

34 min Ireland kick for touch and go off the top. Trimble is stopped in his tracks by a huge tackle, Rettalick’s fifth.

6.18pm GMT

33 min The ball comes to Coles on the right, then Whitelock rumbles up the middle. It comes to Julian Savea on the left, who bumps one man, but then it’s a penalty to Ireland! New Zealand have conceded seven already.

6.16pm GMT

32 min Rolling maul then off the lineout then a dart down the shortside for Conor Murray. He gets up and boxkicks, which Dagg takes well. Barrett throws and aful pass over Fekitoa’s head and he does well to keep it in.

6.15pm GMT

31 min New Zealand win their lineout and get mauling, but Ireland have driven them out of play!

6.14pm GMT

30 min Huge shove at the scrum from NZ but Ireland keep the ball. Murray boxkicks into touch.

6.13pm GMT

30 min Oh no! Ireland try to run from deep and Paddy Jackson knocks on, it lands at Barrett’s feet, he picks up and trots in to score! Or does he?! He’s slapped it out of the hands, so it’s a knock on. Stander is off permanently now. Van der Flier to stay on.

6.12pm GMT

29 min New Zealand get the ball rapidly out of the scrum and run hard and flat from deep. They get to halfway until Ireland spoil a bit and knock on, with the resultant advantage kicked wide to Dagg. The ball is knocked on by New Zealand.

6.10pm GMT

27 min Ireland knock on from the resultant lineout. Aaron Smith returns to put the ball in to the scrum.

You can say that again:

@willis_macp Ireland really need to pull something out the bag to follow on from their performance in Chicago two weeks ago #COYBIG

6.09pm GMT

26 min Ireland penalty. New Zealand constantly infringing here. Joe Moody doesn’t wrap on Tadgh Furlong. Still a minute of Smith in the bin. Jackson puts this penalty into the corner.

6.08pm GMT

25 min Retallick collects Barrett’s kick off but Ireland counterruck brilliantly in midfield and turn it over!

6.07pm GMT

24 min Ireland are going for the posts. It’s simple enough for Paddy Jackson. Liam Squire was the naughty New Zealander at the scrum.

6.06pm GMT

23 min So we have an Ireland scrum 5m out, just to the right of the posts. The intensity here is mad. Four minutes more in the bin for A.Smith. Ireland advantage at the scrum, Murray cleans up, then they go left. Yep, back for the scrum penalty.

6.04pm GMT

22 min Ireland thump up through the middle, but the ball is slow. They get the scrummage. Great attacking from Ireland, quality defence from New Zealand’s 14 men. Stander off getting treatment, Josh van der Flier on for him.

6.02pm GMT

21 min Ireland go down the left. Stander thunders forward. Heaslip half-breaks down the right! New Zealand stretched.

6.02pm GMT

20 min Conor Murray’s boxkick is taken well by Savea, and the ball is all over the place, eventually out right with Zebo on a knock on advantage.

6.00pm GMT

19 min Ardie Savea is on for Cane, who has a knee injury. Sexton is off with a hamstring injury. Barrett kicks the penalty to touch, and New Zealand begin some phaseplay. Ben Smith replaces his namesake Aaron at 9. Barrett goes aerial but Trimble takes brilliantly.

5.59pm GMT

18 min Ireland put it in the corner – but Johnny Sexton is off. More on that as we get it. Paddy Jackson on. They win the lineout but are then pinged for blocking.

5.58pm GMT

17 min Zebo charges down the left, the advantage is still on. Lots of phases, lots of carries, and there’s the penalty. Read and Aaron Smith getting a telling off for spoiling at the breakdown – and Smith has been sin-binned for persistent offending!

5.57pm GMT

16 min Ireland win the lineout and get a rumble on. They have an advantage too.

Accra news:

@willis_macp Ryans in Accra lovely pint of the black stuff according to the reviews! Sure the match is on there! No more pub guide work!

5.56pm GMT

15 min Ireland penalty! It’s all going on here. Rory Best is in the referee’s ear about a tackle/shoulder charge, I think by Aaron Smith. Sam Cane is down in some discomfort – a twisted knee and a bloody head for him. Sexton puts the penalty into touch on the right by the 22.

5.53pm GMT

14 min The scrum is in the middle of the field deep in Ireland’s half. Aaron Smith picks up at the base, goes left and gives it to Beauden Barrett, who breaks through and crosses! What a scything run, what a score.

Or is it? They are having a look at the grounding, because Johnny Sexton has put in a brilliant tackle that might have held him up. The TMO thinks it is down, but the Aviva Stadium doesn’t! Try! And converted.

5.50pm GMT

13 min Ireland still have the ball. Another mammoth run of play with 10 phases before Rob Kearney grubbers. He and Ben Smith then exchange huge kicks. The last finds Beauden Barrett who breaks, dinks through, collects and tries to pass to Dagg but Trimble gets fingertips to it! Just a knock on. Try saving effort.

5.49pm GMT

11 min Right, that was a very long delay indeed. Very unfortunate. A frenetic game pauses for breath. Huge reception as Henshaw is taken off. Cane a lucky boy, I reckon. Citing?

Ireland kick for touch and win their lineout. It’s scrappy in midfield as they go up the short side. Now they go right.

@willis_macp Craic Irish Pub Calle 25, google Irish Pub………! Fearing for Ireland after that start. Come on The Tullow Tank do damage

5.46pm GMT

10 min Ireland win a penalty from the kick-off. Clock is stopped, to check Sam Cane’s tackle on Henshaw. Are there any arms in there? He just barges in, and it’s pretty high. TMO thinks he is trying to wrap. Penalty and nothing more, which appears to be against the new directives. Ireland are going to kick down field to touch. Rory Best is not happy, and Henshaw is in some serious discomfort. He’s going off on a stretcher – very long delay. Garry Ringrose is on.

5.42pm GMT

Ireland opt to use their advantage to have a shot at goal. It’s a simple one, just to the right of the posts and Sexton makes no mistake.

5.41pm GMT

8 min Conor Murray feeds, but Ireland are shoved back. Heaslip picks up, Murray goes left and there’s an offside advantage. Has Stander scored? No, he’s been held up.

5.40pm GMT

7 min Shock – the scrum is being reset

5.40pm GMT

6 min Rory Best’s lineout is pinched by Whitelock but Ireland scramble it back! Heaslip breaks and Sean O’Brien is fed, but is held up by Beauden Barrett! Ireland have a 5m scrum. Insane start, this.

5.38pm GMT

5 min Wow that is loose from Ben Smith. He throws a wild pass from the kick-off. Aaron Smith cleans up with a boxkick to touch. Ireland lineout 30 metres out on the left.

5.37pm GMT

4 min Aaron Smith feeds Dagg, who tries to squirm over but can’t! they go to Barrett, he cross-kicks flat, and Fekitoa finishes brilliantly! He has blood all over his face. The ball was in play for three minutes there. Mad. Barrett slots the conversion. What a start.

5.35pm GMT

2 min Sean O’Brien tries to gather the kick-off but takes a hit and is down. The two sides spar on the right hand side. New Zealand go left and there is space for Ben Smith but then Ireland turn Julian Savea over! Murray grubbers and Savea is on the charge again. NZ go right, then up the middle. This is intense. Fekitoa into contact on the left, then Retallick through the middle, and Read up the right. Ireland soaking it up.

5.33pm GMT

Beauden Barrett kicks to Ireland and WE. ARE. OFF. Jaco Peyper of SA our ref by the way.

5.31pm GMT

That’s the haka then. Spine-tingling as ever. No figure of eight this time. Just a straight line.

TJ Perenara leads the haka with Kieran Read at the front. It’s a year and a day, of course, since the death of the great man Jonah Lomu. New Zealand look PUMPED.

5.28pm GMT

(All three) anthems done, and sung very heartily indeed. Three of the best, actually. Time for the haka.

Thank you to @toniwater for this!

@willis_macp Ireland need 2 match the savage intensity the All Blacks will bring 2day, theyre hurt big time! Molly Malones in Belize!

5.25pm GMT

A quick shout for the reports from earlier:

5.22pm GMT

Anthem and dignitary time. Some dirty Movember performances from the All Blacks this year.

Don’t forget you can email me! Or tweet me!

5.19pm GMT

Players are on their way out. You have enough time to watch this. Dublin looks a treat.

5.18pm GMT


Michael Davies has been in touch with a “plea for help”. He writes: “Long shot … does anyone know where in Belize City might be showing the match?”

5.12pm GMT

Here are the teams for Ireland-New Zealand, which kicks off in about 18 minutes.

Ireland: R Kearney; A Trimble, J Payne, R Henshaw, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, T Furlong; D Toner, D Ryan; CJ Stander, S O’Brien, J Heaslip.

5.09pm GMT

Keith Wood is one of the BBC commentators at Murrayfield. The poor bloke must be itching to be in Dublin. Instead, he’s just seen Greig Laidlaw put Scotland 3-0. Paolo Nutini, not the Fratellis, chosen to serenade him.

5.06pm GMT

Kick off moments away at Murrayfield. Heather Stanning off of rowing has just given the ref – New Zealand’s Ben O’Keeffe – the ball.

5.01pm GMT

A tweet! Thanks John.

@willis_macp History 4 or Black 2 Business as usual 4 NZ? Wounded All Blacks the worst kind of wounded! Close 4 65 mins then NZ by 10+!

4.57pm GMT

New Zealand’s Irish revenge mission is not the only rugby still to played today. Too much spring tours, as they call them in the southern hemisphere, continue. The Scots are hosting Argentina at Murrayfield – and that should be a belter – while Australia, who crept home against Scotland last week – face France in Paris at 8pm.

The Red Hot Chili Pipers are doing their thing at Murrayfield. Of course they are.

4.52pm GMT

Uh oh. South Africa lost to Italy earlier, and it hasn’t gone down well among top brass.

The Springboks take losing very seriously pic.twitter.com/zqwwQP3xwQ

10.28am GMT

More rugby! Thank you to England and Fiji and Wales and Japan for providing the tasty hors d’ouevre, but this, in Dublin, is the one we’ve all been waiting for.

Two Saturdays ago, Ireland pulled off one of the great wins. In Chicago, where the Cubs had just ditched another great hoodoo, they drew on the emotion fuelled by the tragic and premature death of Anthony Foley to secure victory over the All Blacks – at that stage on an 18-match winning streak – for the first time in 111 years, and at the 29th time of asking. It was an extraordinary achievement, and was down to a whole lot of skill; they scored five tries to New Zealand’s four and defended like demons.

Related: Ireland v New Zealand: half-backs hold key as Irish look to reshape world order

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2016/nov/19/ireland-v-new-zealand-rugby-union-autumn-internationals-live

Nov 19

England 58-15 Fiji: rugby union autumn internationals – as it happened

England scored nine tries as they ran out easy winners over Fiji at Twickenham

4.47pm GMT

To wrap things up over here, here’s Paul Rees’s report from Twickenham:

Related: England register record win against Fiji but defence is cause for concern

4.27pm GMT

Ben Ryan is giving a stirring speech on Sky about the future of Fijian rugby. He’s making a very compelling case for a Super Rugby franchise in the Islands.

4.25pm GMT

Nine tries for England, and they will be pleased about that. Rokoduguni took his chance with a brace, and Launchbury and Joseph also got a couple each. The defence was a bit of a mess, at times, but a job well done overall. There will be a full report on the site very soon.

Also soon is Ireland v New Zealand! I’ll be liveblogging that too. Join me please.

Related: Italy celebrate famous first win over sorry South Africa

4.21pm GMT

What a breathless start to the day’s rugby!

Here’s some results:

4.20pm GMT

Here’s Ian Malin’s report, by the way, of England women’s defeat to New Zealand earlier.

Related: New Zealand fight back after England threaten famous upset at the Stoop

4.18pm GMT

Sam Davies has slotted a drop goal with the clock on 79:50. There’s time for a kick-off, but it’s poor and they boot into touch to win 33-30! Scenes in Cardiff.

4.17pm GMT

Fiji aren’t kicking it out. They try to finish on a high, but knock on and Henry Slade pummels it out! England win 58-15.

4.16pm GMT

79 min Fiji turn it over, and escape. Through Matawalu and Nadolo – who else? – they get down to England’s 22 and Alex Goode cleans up, but ambitiously. It ends up in touch thanks to Danny Care.

4.15pm GMT

78 min From the lineout, Te’o has a half-break, and it results in a 5m scrum for England.

In Cardiff, Wales really should have scored there. It’s 30-30 with 2 mins to go. 5m scrum to Japanm on their own line.

4.13pm GMT

77 min So Fiji have a 5m scrum. It’s solid. They go left through the hands. And now right. England defending quite manically, and they win a penalty thanks to Jamie George. Ford boots for touch.

4.11pm GMT

75 min Fiji win the lineout, rumble towards the line but are held up.

4.11pm GMT

74 min Nakarawa breaks, and they rumble upfield. Eventually they win a penalty, which they put in the corner.


4.09pm GMT

73 min Fiji win a penalty at the scrum in their 22, and run. As they do.

4.08pm GMT

72 min England go burrowing down the right, before Hughes half-breaks. It comes back and gets very scrappy as Ca knocks on.

4.07pm GMT

The drought is over. @Federugby claim first ever victory over @Springboks. #ITAvRSA https://t.co/l79on5sTLt

4.07pm GMT

71 min Lovely from England, lovely from Henry Slade. He delays a delicious little pass, sends it over the top, Billy Vunipola straightens and sends to Launchbury, who has two. Ford misses from the right hand side.

4.05pm GMT

69 min This scrum takes an age to happen. When it does, England do good things. Car e loops round Ford and releases Daly who hares forward before being tackled. They go left, then right, before Roko is pinged for holding on.


4.03pm GMT

67 min Infield, Fiji knock on at the breakdown. Charlie Ewels is on for Lawes too. It was Joseph who went off for Slade.

4.02pm GMT

66 min England gather, and boot it. Fiji lineout on halfway. Henry Slade’s on.

4.01pm GMT

65 min George finds his man, and the forwards keep it among themselves. When the backs get their hands on it, Ford checks, delays and goes long, to Roko, on the right touch line, and he walks it in for his second. From wide, Ford misses.

3.59pm GMT

63 min Fiji win the lineout and kick. England’s forwards carry up towards the 22, then Kyle Sinckler gets his hands on it! He charges towards the line but is tackled by the last man! Advantage and they need it as Nadolo intercepts. Penalty, which Ford puts in the corner.

3.57pm GMT

62 min The ball is quick from the lineout and they spin it wide. Daly tries to do Fiji on the outside but his foot ends up in touch 5m out.

3.57pm GMT

61 min Fiji win a scrappy lineout but then give away a penatly for obstruction, which Ford plants into touch just outside the Fiji 22 on the right hand side.

3.56pm GMT

60 min Fiji send a very fine kick into England’s 22. Good spot this. They go long at the lineout and Nadolo flies on to it! He’s stopped but there is a penalty advantage for not rolling away. They charge on, but it’s a little slow. Nine phases they go through before the backs gets a run. As Te’o produces a crunching tackle, they go back for the advantage, but knock on. England look to be running it, but eventually kick down field.

3.54pm GMT

58 min Fiji win their lineout and go left. They win a penalty when Nathan Hughes comes in at the side. Sinckler on for Cole. Fiji captain Qera is off.

3.53pm GMT

57 min Elliot Daly fetches the ball deep in England’s 22 and sends a raking kick into touch on the left-hand side. He’s had a good day.

3.51pm GMT

56 min Jamie George finds his man at the lineout, Danny Care sends up a box-kick, which Fiji gather. It’s turned over, and Care box-kicks again. It’s collected, Matawalu sends a wild offload to Matavesi, who sends a wild pass out, which is brilliantly read by Joseph, who intercepts and runs in under the posts! Ford converts.

3.48pm GMT

54 min Fiji win a solid scrum and send Nadolo rumbling down the left. They keep it on the blindside, with Matawalu sniping. Phases. Relative, by Fijian standards, calm, as Matavesi sends a grubber into touch on the England 22 on the left-hand side.

3.46pm GMT

53 min Fiji also have a new hooker, Talemaitoga, and he overthrows. It goes out to England’s midfield, where there is a knock one. Danny Care on for Ben Youngs and Ben Te’o for Owen Farrell.

3.45pm GMT

52 min England make two changes in the front row. Mako and Hartley off, Marler and Jamie George on. From the restart, Ford kicks to touch on halfway.

3.45pm GMT

50 min We’ve got a pause as a couple of injuries are attended to. England win their scrum, it comes back and Rokoduguni cuts a glorious line! He’s gone 50m before being hauled down near the line. England have the advantage but have Fiji stretched, and they send it wide neatly, through almost every set of hands to Alex Goode wide on the right. He crosses easily for his first international try. Classy straightening from Mako there. Farrell scores the conversion.

Italy are beating South Africa 20-18.

3.41pm GMT

48 min Nathan Hughes has come on for Teimana Harrison. England win the ball at the lineout but then Ford is nailed by Tikoitorotuma. Daly brilliantly claims a garryowen, but Fiji get the ball back and eventually win knock on on halfway.

3.39pm GMT

47 min Launchbury claims Hartley’s lineout, and they look to drive. Hartley’s at the back of it and crosses the line! Try! Or not! Obstruction against Mako Vunipola, who seemed to help Hartley over the line and was unbound. Fiji boot the penalty downfield, but don’t get too far.

3.37pm GMT

46 min Loads of missed tackles from England in that try. England win the ball from their kick-off and Fiji are pinged for not moving away at the ruck. Farrell goes for the corner.

3.36pm GMT

45 min Harrison has missed three of his four tackles. That lineout – in the 22 – comes back, and Fiji go left. After a charge rom Qera, they come back right and Metu Talebula, the full-back, gets the ball in the middle of the field and loops right, to score in the corner! Nadolo misses again.

3.34pm GMT

42 min Matawalu in the thick of things immediately, as you’d expect. Eventually, after plenty of phases, Harrison is pinged for not rolling away and Fiji kick the penalty to touch on the right.

3.32pm GMT

41 min England go a little too wide on the left, and a foot finds touch. Fiji scrape the lineout back and get some phases going.

3.31pm GMT

Matawalu on for Vularika at scrum-half. And we’re underway.

3.30pm GMT

So we had a seven try first-half at Twickenham. England will want to tighten up, while Fiji will want to forget their awful first 30 minutes. England missed 11 tackles in that half.

Oooohhh. South Africa are leading Italy by a point at half-time.

3.27pm GMT

Paul Coleman is relying on me, which is slightly nerve-wracking. “I’m following the game in Yangon (Rangoon) Myanmar via the Guardian,” he writes, “because the expensive app that I shelled out for that promised live coverage is about as much use as tits in a fish.” hur hur hur

3.25pm GMT

I said I’d keep you posted on events in Cardiff. It’s a fun game there too! Wales lead 14-13 at the break. Roberts and Lydiate have scored for Wales, who also had Liam Williams sin-binned. Akhito Yamada has run in from 60 yards for the Japanese.

SD Weekley has been in touch with a very good entry to the “I’m listening in the best place” conversation: “Mount Standish chairlift, Sunshine mountain village, banff, Alberta, Canada. Sadly no beer (it’s only 8am)….poor excuse I know…..” Envy doesn’t cover it, with or without beer.

@willis_macp I’m just excited there’s an England game where Ben Te’o can justifiably be considered an option

3.16pm GMT

So Nadolo kicks the conversion. It’s a sexy strike, but misses on the nearside.

And that is half-time. England scored five early tries, but Fiji have fought back well in the last 10 minutes, and one senses that England might be in for a rollicking from Eddie Jones. They were just a bit sloppy there.

3.14pm GMT

40 min Qera goes off the base of that lineout with some conviction. He gets very close to the line, and after what feels like an age, Nakarawa gets his hands on it, stretches and scores! Good try that.

3.13pm GMT

39 min Fiji win the linout, and try to rumble but get nowhere. The ball comes loose and Nadolo carries in midfield. As the ball is spun left, Yato bounces off Ben Youngs and throws an audacious offload that results in a Fiji lineout. Last play of the half.

3.11pm GMT

38 min From the kick-off, Fiji win a penalty for holding on. Matavesi sticks it in the corner.

Chris Stubley is: “On board a survey ship 100 miles offshore Morocco.” That’s pretty good …

3.10pm GMT

37 min That’s better from England. Big shove on, and that’s a penalty. Strangely, they are going for the posts. Quiet boos at Twickers, but Farrell kicks it over.

3.09pm GMT

36 min So England have a beautifully placed scrum. In the middle of the field, in the middle of the Fiji 22. But it needs reseting. Scrum pretty even thus far.

“I can’t better Myanmar but I am on a beach in Brazil which isn’t terrible,” writes Jen Bromley. “Rather than in my favourite rugby and beer pub in Cambridge today I find myself with a cold beer on the beach at Balneário Camboriú, Guardian live coverage in hand . If I could make a lovechild of the two locations I think it would be a place worth a visit.”

3.07pm GMT

35 min Nadolo collects the restart, recycles and Fiji go wide on the right, but it eventually comes back on the England side. Farrell dinks through and Fiji are trying to run it out. Dangerous. And, typically, it’s knocked on.

3.06pm GMT

33 min The 5m scrum is scrappy, with England losing their bind. Reset. This scrum is better, and Vularika send it straight to Nadolo, who charges then recycles. Nakarawa does the same. They go right, nice and tight, then left, flinging it wider and Nadolo goes over in the corner! Nothing Roko can do about that. Nadolo now has 18 tries in 24 Tests. He’s an unlikely goalkicker, is Nadolo, and his left-footed nudge from wide on the left goes wide.

3.03pm GMT

31 min They lose the lineout, but the ball coming back is scrappy and they force England into conceding a 5m scrum as Roko is bundled out.

3.01pm GMT

30 min Fiji penalty! England collapsing this time. Fiji stick it in the corner, as they jolly well should.

3.01pm GMT

29 min England knock on from the kick off and that’s a scrum just outside the 22 for Fiji.

3.00pm GMT

Wales, by the way, lead Japan 14-6 and have had a man in the bin.

2.59pm GMT

27 min Robshaw wins the lineout from 8m out, and go rumbling again. It’s Launchbury who rolls over this time. All too easy. Farrell converts from the right. Lots of kicking practice for him today.

2.58pm GMT

26 min England win a penalty from said scrum. Fiji collapsing. They stick it into the right hand corner.

2.57pm GMT

25 min Fiji stick the penalty into touch, knock it down, and Vularika drops it. Oh dear. England scrum on the opposition 22.

2.56pm GMT

24 min The lineout is on the 22 and is taken quickly! England buildup nicely but eventually are pinged for obstruction.

2.56pm GMT

23 min The lineout is again won with ease. They send it off the top and through the hands on the right. It comes back left and Farrell nudges forward with his left peg. Vularika gathers under pressure and a boxkick finds touch.

2.54pm GMT

22 min England gather the kick off and get that rolling maul going again. It’s not going anywhere, but Fiji pull it down illegally and that’s another penalty. England stick it into touch on halfway again.

2.53pm GMT

21 min England stick it into the corner and getting the rolling maul, errr, rolling. It’s a wee bit scrappy, but they force Harrison over right in the left-hand corner. Farrell’s conversion comes from very wide and he misses to the left.

2.51pm GMT

19 min They win the lineout again, and the forwards do some leg-driving up into the 22. They have an offside advantage, Daly goes on a dart but is held up by Yato and we go back for that penalty. It’s in front of the posts.

2.50pm GMT

18 min England win the lineout and go on a rumbling rolling maul. Then there’s a penalty against Ravai for pulling down the maul. England stick it into touch.

2.49pm GMT

17 min Fiji win the ball at a solid scrum and go wide, but the scrum-half Vularika isn’t quite quick enough and is forced into touch on the left.

Ajit Chittambalam writes: “Fiji’s lack of preparation may show up in the set pieces and defensive organization, and England will prey on this all day. I love Fiji but this looks a little grim.”

2.47pm GMT

15 min Fiji need to calm down. They have the ball and are recycling. Eventually, somehow, England knock on at the breakdown. Fiji scrum.

John in Myanmar! “Another lip smacking prospect as all England games seem to be under Eddie,” he writes. “I wonder who’s the remotest follower of the coverage? I’m sipping a Dagon beer in Taunggyi in Myanmar.”

2.46pm GMT

13 min England kick that penalty into touch, win the lineout, send it wide, and Rokoduguni scores in the right hand corner. That’s his first for England. Farrell misses the con.

2.44pm GMT

11 min Fiji are all over the place, I’m afraid. From the kick off, Roko runs hard into the Fijian half, but Billy Vunipola knocks on. They play the advantage, make it into England’s half but eventually Fiji are penalised for a neck-roll.

2.42pm GMT

9 min Fiji win their lineout, box kick, and then win a penalty, which is quick-tapped by the replacement prop Rabai. They go through the phases, but Robshaw steals and Youngs kicks out, it bounces beyond Nadolo’s reach, and kindly into the hands of Rokoduguni. It comes back, and again Ford delays a delicious pass, it ends up with Daly and he jinks and runs in from 30 metres, fooling defenders all over the shop. Farrell converts, and that’s 500 points for the Saracen!

2.39pm GMT

7 min This is loose, and it’s scrappy. The ball just about comes back for England, George Ford stands flat but the ball goes out of play after he find Daly wide on the right.

2.38pm GMT

6 min Oh dear, on two fronts. Campese Ma’afu, the Northampton loosehead, has had to go off injured. Peni Ravai replaces him. Josh Matavesi then sticks the kick-off out on the full to the left.

Japan are leading Wales, by the way. They’ve scored a penalty and it’s 3-0.

2.36pm GMT

4 min That scrum goes down but the ball comes back for England, and Roko has a trundle that is ended by Nadolo. They recycle and Mako Vunipola goes on the charge, it goes through the hands, George Ford delays his pass and Jonathan Joseph scores from close range in the left-hand corner! Owen Farrell converts, that’s 499 international points for him.

2.33pm GMT

2 min England win a free-kick from the resulting scrum, as Fiji engage early, and go for another scrum. It looks very cold.

2.32pm GMT

1 min Nadolo gathers, and Fiji box-kick long, and Alex Goode makes a hash of gathering. After a bit of kicking Elliot Daly tries something defter, but it doesn’t really work and eventually Fiji knock on in their own half.

2.31pm GMT

And we’re off, as George Ford kicks to Fiji.

2.30pm GMT

They’ve taken all that stuff off the field, so Fiji can do the Cibi, their traditional challenge. Short, but sweet, and the tracksuits are coming off.

2.29pm GMT

Send me your thoughts – I have to type Fijian names a lot today and they are really very hard.

2.27pm GMT

Just switching screens for a moment, I notice plenty of tears in the Japanese lineups as they sing their anthem. Will try to keep you up to date with events in Cardiff too.

2.26pm GMT

The players are on their way out for the anthems. England are wearing their change shirt, which is a dark blue number. All the standard Twickenham pomp and circumstance. Fiji are lead out by their hooker Sunia Koto, who is winning his 50th cap.

Email me! will.macpherson.freelance@guardian.co.uk

2.20pm GMT

So here are the teams:

England: Goode; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Farrell, Daly; Ford, B Youngs; M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole; Launchbury, Lawes; Robshaw, Harrison, B Vunipola.

2.16pm GMT

On your radios, this is good news …

England v Fiji – pleased to be part of history for BBC rugby today. I’ll be in the box with their 1st female lead commentator @Sara_Orchard.

2.11pm GMT

Semesa Rokoduguni lining up against Nemani Nadolo is one of the sexier match-ups going round this weekend. Serious finishers, seriously big units.

Nemani Nadolo at first-receiver during Fiji’s run-throughs from the left. They’re not going to wait to get him in the game. Why would you?

2.05pm GMT

So, England are after their 11th win of the year, 11th under Eddie Jones, and 12th on the bounce. Fiji are after their second win over a tier one – god I hate that there are tiers – side in the last decade. “We’ve got to keep structure in the game,” said Eddie Jones. Personally, I want it to be wildly loose.

Sky have Ben Ryan in the studio with Clive Woodward. Cool guy.

Related: Ben Ryan on life after Rio: ‘Base Fiji team in Cornwall – they would love it there’

1.53pm GMT

England v Fiji, of course, is a pretty stark case of rugby haves taking on rugby have-nots. Here’s Rob Kitson with some food for thought on the subject.

Related: Workers’ welfare becomes first casualty of Pacific Islands gold rush

1.49pm GMT

History in the women’s game! England’s Rochelle Clark came off the bench for her 116th cap, in their game against the Black Ferns at the Stoop. As a result, she’s the most-capped women’s international ever. Here’s the historic moment:

The moment Rocky Clark became the most capped Women’s international of all time! https://t.co/TwcaOCwkv2


47′ ENG 17 – 5 NZL
Lydia Thompson finishes off another sweeping move from England Women. Con successful. https://t.co/EX0pVfSuSm

10.15am GMT

Well a very good afternoon to you all. London’s feeling mighty wintry this, well, winter’s afternoon. England, having got their autumn programme off to a very tidy start against the Springboks last week, host the wonderful Fijians, the sport’s (well, a close cousin of this sport, anyway) Olympic Champs, and it should be a belter. I’m Will Macpherson, and welcome to the Guardian’s minute-by-minute coverage.

Indeed this Saturday, 19 November, provides a veritable feast of rugby. While England take on Fiji, the Welsh host Japan. Then, later, I’ll be with you for New Zealand’s revenge operation against Ireland in Dublin, and the Scots also host Argentina. Even later, Australia are playing France in Paris. I will do my utmost to keep you abreast of developments across the board.

Related: Eddie Jones’s pursuit of greatness puts Fiji firmly in England’s firing line

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2016/nov/19/england-v-fiji-rugby-union-autumn-internationals-live

Sep 15

Haseeb Hameed’s perfect timing earns teenager chance to answer England call | Will Macpherson

After being omitted from England’s Under-19 World Cup squad in Bangladesh he is expected to be named in the Test squad on Friday and looks to the manner born

“If Test cricket survives and thrives, then here’s a boy who was born to open the batting in it. I just hope the game lasts long enough for him to play it.” So said Mick Newell, England selector, Nottinghamshire supremo and a man not known as a showerer of unearned praise, on 6 July at Trent Bridge after Haseeb Hameed had soaked up 284 balls across six hours and 26 minutes to save the game for Lancashire against a Notts attack containing Stuart Broad and Imran Tahir.

It was the 19-year-old opener’s second first-class century; a month later he doubled that tally against Yorkshire, becoming the first Lancashire batsman to score a ton in each innings of a Roses match.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/sep/15/haseeb-hameed-england-squad-bangladesh-lancashire

Sep 12

Jos Buttler: criticism of Eoin Morgan unfair, he’s still our captain

• One-day captain’s choice to not tour Bangladesh ‘a very personal decision’
• Vice-captain Buttler will take over from Morgan for one-day section of tour

The interim England ODI captain, Jos Buttler, empathised with the “very personal decision” made by Eoin Morgan, the regular captain, and Alex Hales, the opening batsman, in pulling out of next month’s tour to Bangladesh due to security concerns and said that the England team – who have discussed each other’s worries at length – “won’t let anything like this come between any of us in the side.”

The director of cricket, Andrew Strauss, said on Sunday that he was “disappointed”with the pair’s decision to miss the tour and Morgan particularly has been criticised by the likes of former England captains Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain. Buttler admitted he was surprised by the “unfair” criticism and said it definitely would not divide the dressing room. “He [Morgan] has made the decision that is right for him and it is not one he has taken lightly,” he said.

Related: Title-chasing Middlesex accept Lancashire’s invitation to bat with relish

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/sep/12/jos-buttler-eoin-morgan-bangladesh-odi-captain

Aug 26

Yorkshire win puts pressure on Middlesex at top of Championship

• Yorkshire beat Nottinghamshire by 305 runs
• Surrey beat Lancashire by 10 wickets

With four rounds of fixtures remaining, both divisions of the County Championship are beautifully poised. Yorkshire, by beating Nottinghamshire – for whom relegation seems increasingly likely – by 305 runs, sit five points behind Middlesex, whom they meet at Lord’s in the final game of the season. Surrey beat Lancashire by 10 wickets to seal their fourth win in seven matches and, having played two games more than the top two, sit two points behind Yorkshire.

It took Surrey only 75 minutes on the final morning to take the last two Lancashire wickets and then knock off 38 runs and as a result the threat of relegation – which, after failing to win any of their first seven matches seemed not so much a threat as an inevitability – has eased considerably.

Related: England get better of the rain breaks to beat Pakistan on D/L method

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/26/yorkshire-win-middlesex-top-county-championship

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