The Sport Matrix: Saturday 13 December 2014


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The Independent Online

Bird pays price for spending a penny in public

Greg Bird, one of Australia’s top internationals, has been dumped as captain of his National Rugby League club team, the Gold Coast Titans, after being caught urinating in public.

The Titans also fined Bird A$15,000 (£7,886) for being caught relieving himself on Monday, the day after he got married. He was warned that his contract would be torn up if he misbehaved again.

“All players need to accept personal responsibility for their actions and recognise that incidents of this nature bring the image of the NRL and the game of rugby league into substantial disrepute,” said Titans chief executive Graham Annesley.

‘Europa League launches career’

Tim Sherwood believes the Europa League is a competition foreign managers in England strive to win as it can enhance their careers. The i columnist and former Tottenham manager writes today: “Just have a look what winning it does for your career.” Sherwood adds: “For Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas, the Europa League, and its predecessor the Uefa Cup, was the launch pad.”

Gurney and Stokes face World Cup axe

England will announce their squad for the World Cup next Saturday. Two players on the current tour of Sri Lanka, Harry Gurney and Ben Stokes, are likely to be jettisoned. Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad are recovering from injuries but are expected to be selected.

Milner poised to sign new City deal

Manchester City midfielder James Milner is set to sign a new contract at the Etihad Stadium. The news of Milner, who has impressed this season and is in the final year of his current deal, comes after goalkeeper Joe Hart admitted he was also ready to sign fresh terms. “Milner, I hope that he will sign also. We will see, same as Joe, in the next days,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini yesterday.

Irvine in firing line ahead of Villa test

West Brom manager Alan Irvine pointed to West Ham’s resurgence as he sought to relieve pressure he faces ahead of today’s home game against Aston Villa. “Look at West Ham, where they are now and where they were this time last year,” said Irvine, referring to their upturn in fortune under Sam Allardyce. Victory is vital for West Brom, who have won only one home league game all season.