England thrash France 44-8 in 2019 Six Nations

England have continued good run in Six Nations Championship 2019, with 44-8 victory against France on 10th February 2019 at Twickenham Stadium, London. England have won second match in a row in 2019 Six Nations. This is France’s second defeat with largest margin versus England, after their 37-0 loss in 1911. This is second biggest loss for France against any team in Six/Five Nations history since that drubbing. Six Nations Championship offers adequate training for Rugby World Cup 2019 to rugby union teams hailing from northern hemisphere.

England attacked on France right from the start of match. Jonny May opened scoring with a penalty on 2′. English captain Owen Farrell kicked a penalty on 7′. Morgan Parra opened account for France by nailing a penalty on 10′. Farrell smashed his second penalty on 13′. Jonny May booted his second try on 24′. Jonny May completed his hat-trick of penalties on 29′, that Owen Farrell converted on 31′. Damian Penaud registered second and final scoring shot for France with a try on 35′. Henry Slade knocked a try on 40′ that Farrell converted. England were way ahead with 30-8 against France on half time.

England overpowered France in Six Nations 2019
England overpowered France in Six Nations 2019

With a 22 point deficit, chances of revival were bleak for France. A penalty try on 49′ all but sealed the game for England. Owen Farrell hit a penalty on 55′ and did a subsequent conversion himself on 56′. Scoreline read 44-8 in favour of England and remained so till match finish time. France were so devastated that they could not manufacture another scoring shot. Game closed on 44-8 with England emerging as victorious team on the closing time.

England coach Eddie Jones stated: “We weren’t happy at half time; we felt we had gone off the boil a little so I was really pleased with the second half as we shut them out … left a few scoring opportunities out there but certainly our second half was better than our first. It is a difficult game, you get points in front, your natural tendency is to get seduced by the scoreboard and you start doing things you wouldn’t normally do but we kept to our discipline. That’s the way the game is going (the kicking). If teams defend like that (with a high line) then the space is there in the back field and we have the pace. I’m sure teams will start defending us differently and that will create space in other areas.”

France coach Jacques Brunel said: “It was obviously very disappointing, especially the first half. The kicking game created pressure that we were not able to overcome. The same things happened throughout the game. We found ourselves on the line without anyone in behind and we were punished.”

England Vs France 44-8
10th February 2019 – Twickenham Stadium, London
England: 44
Try: Jonny May (2′, 24′, 29′), Henry Slade (40′), Penalty Try (49′), Owen Farrell (55′)
Con: Owen Farrell (31′, 40′, 56′)
Pen: Owen Farrell (7′, 13′)
France: 8
Try: Morgan Parra (10′)
Pen: Damian Penaud (35′)

MS Dhoni to retire after World Cup 2019? Chief Selector MSK Prasad Says

Talking about his form, Prasad said that Dhoni’s output with the bat will only rise with the number of matches he plays and hence, the IPL is a great chance for him to find the furrow yet again.

The position of MS Dhoni to this Indian team which gets ready for the World Cup is not a veiled secret anymore and everyone from the head coach, to the captain and the players, have spoken about the character of Dhoni in the side.

India Cricket World Cup Tickets
India Cricket World Cup Tickets

“We have definitely not discussed this. Because prior to such a big tournament, I do not think it is wise to get distracted, since all energies are geared towards preparing well for the World Cup,” he said in a conversation with ESPNCricinfo.

Speaking about his form, Prasad said that Dhoni’s productivity with the bat will only increase with the number of matches he plays and hence, the IPL is a great opportunity for him to find the groove yet again.

“Importantly, before India head to the World Cup, he will be playing the IPL. So, he will be playing in 14-16 matches – all high-intensity games. That will only help him extend that form he has caught on the Australia and New Zealand tours. I am very happy with his batting,” he further added.

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Italy beaten by Wales 15-26 in Six Nations 2019

Italy have continued their lean run in 2019 Six Nations Championship, with a 15-26 defeat against Wales on 9th February 2019 at Stadio Olimpico, Rome. Wales have won second match of 2019 Six Nations to extend their winning run to eleven matches. Six Nations Championship provides ample preparations of Rugby World Cup 2019 for rugby union teams belonging to northern hemisphere.

Wales played attacking game from the start with Dan Biggar going on penalty spree, scoring four times on 2’, 15’, 19’ and 30’. Visitors were on the roll with scoreline reading 0-12. Italy opened score with a try by Braam Steyn on 34’, that Tommaso Allan converted on 36’ to make score 7-12. Wales had a lead of 5 points over hosts Italy on half time.

Italy defeated by Wales 15-26 in Six Nations 2019
Italy defeated by Wales 15-26 in Six Nations 2019

Tommaso Allan nailed a penalty on 44’ to take Ireland close with 10-12. But then Wales went on to take game out of the reach of Italy. Josh Adams kicked a try on 54’, that Dan Biggar converted on 55’. Owen Watkin hit a try on 70’, with a conversion by Gareth Anscombe on 71’. Scorecard read 10-26 in Wales favour at that point. Edoardo Padovani slotted over a penalty for Italy on 75’ to take hosts to 15 points. Italian side could not score more points, and match finished on 15-26 with Wales turning victorious on the close.

This was Wales’ 11th consecutive win, international men’s rugby union competitions. It equaled their longest winning run, set between 1907 and 1910. Italy have been defeated for record 19 times in Six Nations. Italy had last won versus Scotland in February 2015. Josh Navidi was judged man of the match. Wait of Italy rugby team and coach Conor O’Shea for a victory in Six Nations continues.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: “There’s definitely things we need to work on. Our lineouts were poor again, and if we play like that against England, it could be embarrassing. We won’t play like that, though. There were a few guys out there that hadn’t played a lot of rugby so we weren’t as tight in the front five as we would have liked. We made those changes because we are trying to look ahead to the World Cup. We didn’t have as much momentum and tempo as we would have liked, but we’re looking at the Six Nations and trying to build for the World Cup.”

Italy Vs Wales 15-26
9th February 2019 – Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Italy: 15
Try: Braam Steyn (34’), Edoardo Padovani (75’)
Con: Tommaso Allan (36’)
Pen: Tommaso Allan (44’)
Wales: 26
Try: Josh Adams (54’), Owen Watkin (70’)
Con: Dan Biggar (55’), Gareth Anscombe (71’)
Pen: Dan Biggar (2’, 15’, 19’, 30’)

Australia name Squad for T20I and ODI Series against India

Australia have announced squad for T20I and ODI series versus India. Aaron Finch will lead while Pat Cummins and Alex Carey have been appointed joint vice-captains. Ashton Turner has been called-up for maiden series. D’Arcy Short has is selected as cover for Shaun Marsh. Fast bowler Kane Richardson is included in place of injured Mitchell Starc. Middle order batsman Usman Khawaja and spinner Nathan Lyon have been included in the lineup, signaling that both players are important for Cricket World Cup 2019 plans.

In form batsman Shaun Marsh will miss start of the series, welcoming his second child and healing hamstring injury. His absence offers opportunity for Alex Carey and D’Arcy Short to perform well and stack claim for CWC. Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson complete the pace battery. Adam Zampa is the other spinner in Australian ranks. Mitchell Marsh, Peter Siddle and Billy Stanlake have been left out of the squad.

Australia announce squad for T20Is and ODIs versus India
Australia announce squad for T20Is and ODIs versus India

Australian national selector Trevor Hohns said: “Unfortunately scans have revealed that Mitchell Starc sustained a substantial tear to his left pectoral muscle while bowling on the final day of the Test match in Canberra. This means he will be unavailable for the tour of India. We will instead target a return to play for the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE in March.”

Trevor Hohns added: “Kane has been in outstanding form over the summer, including his recent performances in the BBL. Kane not only has experience playing ODI cricket for Australia, but he’s also performed well for his country when given the opportunity. Nathan Coulter-Nile provides us with another quality bowling option, he brings good energy in the field and can also score runs in high-pressure situations.”

Trevor Hohns concluded: “Ashton has been on our radar for some time, given his performances in the shorter formats. Ashton is a smart cricketer who reads the game well and provides us with another strong batting option. He’s been in good form over the summer, and he has an opportunity to put his case forward ahead of the World Cup.”

Australia Squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa, D’Arcy Short (as cover for Shaun Marsh)

West Indies announce Squad for First 2 ODIs against England

West Indies have named squad for first two ODIs versus England. Firebrand opener Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis have returned for one day internationals in Barbados. West Indies captain Jason Holder has returned to ODI setup after recovering from shoulder injury. Wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran has earned call-up for maiden ODI series. Off-spinner Ashley Nurse has returned back after healing the shoulder injury sustained on India tour. West Indies are on a roll with winning first two test matches against England and aiming a clean sweep of visitors. Hosts will look to build on the success of test series for good performance in ODIs.

Five match ODI series is important for England and West Indies from the perspective of preparation for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales. Number 1 ODI ranked team England are one of the favourites for CWC. England have never won the premier ODI tournament before. West Indies are two time ODI world champions and have also won T20 world cup twice. Caribbean team will look to create outside chance to challenge for CWC title.

West Indies name Lineup for First 2 ODIs versus England
West Indies name Lineup for First 2 ODIs versus England

Chris Gayle has second most runs in ODI career while being second most capped player for West Indies. Gayle has scored 9727 runs from 284 appearances. His tally is right behind Brian Lara, who collected 10405 run from 299 matches. He has recorded 23 centuries, the most for a West Indian batsman. He has also compiled highest individual score by a Windies player in ODI format, 215 vs Zimbabwe in CWC 2015. Chris Gayle has also took 165 wicket in one day internationals at an average of.35.3 average and 44,3 strike rate.

Nicholas Pooran is rewarded for good performance in 8 T20Is he has played, scoring 148 runs at average of 24.66 with an attacking fifty against India. Marlon Samuels, Carlos Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Kieran Powell and Sunil Ambris who played in Bangladesh series are left out. ODI series will start on 20th February 2019 at Kensington Oval in Barbados with second match on 22nd February 2019 at same ground.

Chairman of selectors Courtney Browne said: “As we continue our Cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming series against the top ranked ODI side is a great opportunity for us to gauge where we are as a team. This allows us to identify any areas that need addressing relating to selection and also helps the coaching staff to fine tune their game strategy. We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI cricket for the first time. He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order. Shannon Gabriel remains very much in our World Cup plans but with a heavy workload expected in the Test series he will be considered for selection later in the ODI series.”

West Indies Squad (First 2 ODIs): Jason Holder (capt), Fabian Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas

Australia can win ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Shane Warne

India have been great in the limited overs format since the Champions Trophy 2017. Out of the ten ODI’s series they have played since the June 18 final, India have won a striking 9. In 2019 also, under the captaincy of Virat Kohli, India have managed to trump the vast Australians and New Zealand in their own yards. The only series that India have lost since the Champions Trophy was against England in 2018.

Australia World Cup Tickets
Australia World Cup Tickets

Most of the enthusiasts and experts are already tagging India as the preferences to lift the World Cup trophy in May. Australian legend Shane Warne also believes that India and home team England go in as “hot favourites” into the World Cup. Having said that, the leg spinner is also confident that Australia still have a chance to secure their title, even though their recent performances have been disappointing.

“As I’m putting my world cup squad together for my column, I really believe Australia can win it again. As we have the players for the conditions, match winners etc. I think England & India go in as hot favourites, but if the selectors play their part – then the Aussies can 100% win!”

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Sarfaraz Ahmed to captain Pakistan till Cricket World Cup 2019

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed that Sarfaraz Ahmed will remain captain of Pakistan Cricket team till 2019 Cricket World Cup. PCB has announced this news to put an end to rumors about captaincy of Sarfaraz Ahmed. International Cricket Council (ICC) had suspended Sarfaraz Ahmed for four matches under anti-racism code of conduct. PCB has supported Sarfaraz Ahmed by naming him skipper of Pakistan men’s cricket team for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, scheduled to run from 30th May to 14th July 2019.

PCB backs Sarfaraz Ahmed as Pakistan captain till 2019 Cricket World Cup
PCB backs Sarfaraz Ahmed as Pakistan captain till 2019 Cricket World Cup

PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said: “Sarfaraz has been an integral part of the Pakistan cricket team’s World Cup preparations and has proved to be a good strategist, leader and performer. He led Pakistan to the Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to top of the ICC T20I rankings. I am happy to confirm that Sarfaraz will remain Pakistan captain till the World Cup. I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain. His achievements and contributions as a captain and as a valuable all-round cricketer cannot be undermined or overlooked because of the team’s recent Test results.”

Ehsan Mani praised Sarafraz Ahmed for leading Pakistan cricket team in all three formats of cricket, a rare quality as most teams have separate captains for different formats. Mr Mani revealed that he had met Sarfaraz Ahmed in 2006 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in Colombo. He remembered how Sarfaraz had led Pakistan to victory in final, by dismissing India for 71 after being restricted to 109 runs. He said that Sarfaraz has contributed well for Pakistan and has leadership ability as he has captained the under-19, PIA and Pakistan sides.

Ehsan Mani backed Sarfaraz Ahmed by stating: “Nobody should doubt him as captain. He is captain and will remain captain until next decision is taken. Yes, questions have been raised about the performances but in a bigger picture results have been good so far. I spoke to selectors, coaches, director operations and the entire board is behind him. I am confident he will continue the good work with Mickey Arthur and Inzamam-ul-Haq so that the team is in the best possible shape and form to produce strong performances at the World Cup.”

Pakistan are set to contest 10 ODIs ahead of 2019 World Cup. Pakistan will host Australia for 5-match ODI series in UAE starting in late March 2019. PCB has proposed to Cricket Australia to consider playing a couple of games in Pakistan, in effort to bring cricket back to the troubled country. Pakistan will then tour England for five ODI matches in May 2019 right before Cricket World Cup 2019.

Sarfaraz Ahmed described: “This support has always been there and I’m thankful for the reassurance. It is a big honour for me to lead Pakistan at World Cup and stand among those who did in past people like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq. I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with a committed support staff in the dressing room. Everyone is geared up and keenly looking forward to returning to the country where we won the last major ICC tournament. Pressure is always there during captaincy. But with the chairman and board’s support I feel motivated more than ever. I now would like to transfer the same to the team for the upcoming Australia series and World Cup.”

Pollock Picks India and England as Cricket World Cup Favourites

Former Proteas captain Shaun Pollock trusts host country England and in-form India who are No 1 and No 2 respectively on the ICC ODI rankings are favourites to win the Cricket World Cup 2019. Pollock shared his words standing together with the Cricket World Cup trophy in Johannesburg during the South African leg of the ICC’s ‘trophy tour’ an inventiveness used by the ICC to raise responsiveness for the event taking place in England and Wales from 30 May – 14 July.

Cricket World Cup Tickets
Cricket World Cup Tickets

‘There are only 10 teams, and each team plays each other before the semi-finals, but I think there will only be about six teams capable of really competing for the trophy,’

Australia fought recently, but I believe the reappearance of Steve Smith and David Warner will make a big change. New Zealand are currently playing good cricket but I do think India and England are the favourites to win the event.’

In all seven previous Cricket World Cups with Pollock elaborated in four of them through his memorable career spanning 303 ODI’s on behalf of South Africa – the Proteas have unsuccessful to get past the semi-final stage, but Pollock has slight hopes for his countrymen, who are currently just below England and India in third place on the ICC ODI rankings.

‘South Africa will believe they can make the semi-finals, and from there anything can happen,’ he said.

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Australia remove assistant coach Stephen Larkham before Rugby World Cup 2019

Rugby Australia has removed Stephen Larkham from assistant coach job. He had strong differences with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. He is appointed as national performance national high-performance coach adviser. The decision to axe Stephen Larkham from attack coach post was made by head coach Michael Cheika. His removal is surprising because there are just little over seven months are left in the Rugby World Cup 2019.

Rugby Australia (RA) issued a statement: “Larkham will move into the new role with immediate effect after a decision was made by head coach Michael Cheika that Larkham should no longer continue in the role of assistant coach of the Wallabies”.

Australia remove assistant coach Stephen Larkham on head coach Michael Cheika's demand
Australia remove assistant coach Stephen Larkham on head coach Michael Cheika’s demand

Stephen Larkham had been attack coach since 27th October 2015. Michael Cheika had chosen him for assistant coach role after joining wallabies as head coach in 22nd October 2014. Michael Cheika and Stephen Larkham guided Australia to final of 2015 Rugby World Cup, where they eventually lost to New Zealand. Relationship between the two coaches deteriorated. They were not on same page regarding strategy and game philosophy. Stephen Larkham will focus on coach mentoring, coaching and skills development across Rugby Australia’s national programmes, including Australian sevens program, Junior Wallabies, state under-20s academies and Wallaroos.

Stephen Larkham said: “Ultimately Michael is responsible for the performance of the team. We have differences in attacking strategy and overall game philosophy. We couldn’t agree on these key points and it is in the best interest of the team that they receive clear and consistent messages from their coaches. I am obviously disappointed with this outcome as I had chosen to pursue the experience of taking the Wallabies through to the World Cup, however I am pleased to be able to continue coaching and contributing to Australian Rugby in this new role.”

Australia gone through worst season in 2018, winning just 4 out of 13 matches. This was worst win-loss record for Wallabies in 60 years. Rugby Australia reviewed dismal performance, but shown faith in coaching of Michael Cheika. RA though have roped in Scot Johnson for newly created post of Director of Rugby. Shuffling in team management has also resulted in resignation of Haydn Masters from head of athletic preparation job.

Ireland stunned by England 20-32 in 2019 Six Nations

Ireland have a dismal start to their 2019 Six Nations Championship campaign, with a 20-32 defeat against England on 2nd February 2019 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. England under coach Eddie Jones kicked their Six Nations 2019 quest by outclassing 2018 champions Ireland. Six Nations Championship offers important preparation of Rugby World Cup 2019 for rugby union teams from northern hemisphere.

England outclass Ireland in Six Nations 2019
England outclass Ireland in Six Nations 2019

England attacked right from the beginning with Jonathan May scoring a try in 2′, that captain Owen Farrell converted on 3′ to make score 0-7 in visitors favour. Ireland replied with a penalty by Jonathan Sexton on 11′. Irish prop Cian Healy hit a try on 25′, which Jonathan Sexton converted on 26′ to turn scoreline read 10-7. Elliot Daly put England ahead with a try on 30′ and subsequent conversion by Farrell on 31′. Owen Farrell nailed a penalty on 40′ to put England in lead with 10-17 score on half time.

Jonathan Sexton kicked a penalty on 55′ to take Ireland close. But then England went on rampage to take game out of Ireland. Henry Slade smashed a try on 66′, while Owen Farrell connected a penalty on 70′. Henry Slade scored his second try on 76′, with a conversion by Farrell on 77′. John Cooney consoled Ireland with a try on 80′ with a conversion by Jonathan Sexton to make scoreboard read 20-32 with England emerging victorious on match close.

This was first home defeat for Ireland under coach Joe Schmidt in Six Nations Championship. This loss finished Ireland’s 12-match winning streak at home. This was first victory of England against Ireland at Aviva Stadium after their win in 2013 Six Nations, which had also ended the run of 14 unbeaten matches by Ireland at Aviva Stadium. England won the Millennium Trophy for 19th time with Ireland trailing by 13 awards.

Ireland Vs England 20-32
2nd February 2019 – Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Ireland: 20
Try: Cian Healy (25′), John Cooney (80′)
Con: Jonathan Sexton (26′, 80′)
Pen: Jonathan Sexton (11′, 55′)
England: 32
Try: Jonathan May (2′), Elliot Daly (30′), Henry Slade (66′, 76′)
Con: Owen Farrell (3′, 31′, 77′)
Pen: Owen Farrell (40′, 70′)