The Sport Matrix: Friday 8 November 2013


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The Independent Online

Reprieved Ashton has ‘point to prove’ against Argentina

England head coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed yesterday that Christian Wade had been in the original line-up for tomorrow’s Test with Argentina at Twickenham, and that his failure to recover from a hamstring injury suffered in training had effectively forced him to retain out-of-form Chris Ashton for the match.

“There were one or two areas of his game last weekend [against Australia] that were disappointing,” Lancaster said. “And we’ve put it on him a bit in our sessions this week. In fairness to Chris (above), he’s trained well. But he’s under some pressure and has a real point to prove.”

Lancaster added: “To be an international player in the wing position you need the X-factor: Chris has that ability to track the ball around the field; Christian has his footwork; Marland Yarde has power. But you need all the other things, too.”

Billy Twelvetrees remains in the squad and Lancaster added: “I don’t think he played as badly as he’s been making out himself.” MORE

Magnificent McCoy  earns win No 4,000

Tony McCoy celebrated his 4,000th career win yesterday, reaffirming his status as Britain’s most successful jumps jockey. The 18-time champion reached the milestone by guiding 6-4 favourite Mountain Tunes to victory by half a length at Towcester. MORE

Defoe breaks Chivers’ record

Jermain Defoe became Spurs’ record goalscorer in Europe as they beat Sheriff Tiraspol 2-1 to progress to the last 32. Erik Lamela struck first and Defoe scored his 23rd European goal for the club, surpassing Martin Chivers’s mark, before Ismail Isa found the net for Sheriff. MORE

Swansea denied victory once again

Swansea again conceded a stoppage-time equaliser as they drew 1-1 with 10-man Kuban Krasnodar. The reverse tie had ended with the same scoreline after Djibril Cissé’s last-gasp penalty. This time Ibrahima Baldé struck at the last, levelling Wilfried Bony’s goal. MORE

Wigan narrowly beaten by Rubin

Wigan suffered the first defeat of their maiden European campaign as Oleg Kuzmin’s strike steered Rubin Kazan to a 1-0 victory in Russia. Rubin became the first team to book their place in the last 32 but Owen Coyle’s side could join them with two group stage ties left. MORE

Hodgson: I won’t change my style

England manager Roy Hodgson said yesterday he was not going to change his outspoken style after the furore that blew up over his “space monkey” comment to Andros Townsend last month, claiming his words were “totally misconstrued”. MORE

Under-fire Hart handed support

Roy Hodgson has reaffirmed his faith in goalkeeper Joe Hart, who was named along with uncapped Jay Rodriguez in the 28-man squad for the friendlies against Chile and Germany. Hodgson said Hart will start one of the two games. MORE

Federer: I trust drug-testing

Roger Federer has opposed Novak Djokovic’s view that the sport’s drug-testing procedures could no longer be trusted and said missing a test, as Viktor Troicki did, was unacceptable.  “I trust the system,” Federer said. MORE

Woods struggles in dismal conditions

Tiger Woods struggled on a weather-beaten first day at the Turkish Airlines Open. Woods completed only 10 holes – and on the first nine failed to find a fairway. Only five of the 26 groups reached the clubhouse, meaning an early start today. MORE

‘Special’ return awaits Briscoe

Winger Tom Briscoe is set for an emotional return to Hull’s KC Stadium when England play Fiji tomorrow. Briscoe, who keeps his place in England’s squad, left Hull for Leeds and said: “It will be special going back.” MORE

Bunce on boxing

Boxing Correspondent Steve Bunce anticipates the return of bare-knuckle veteran Bobby Gunn, who steps out of the shadows to fight Roy Jones (left) for the WBU’s cruiserweight title in December. MORE