The Sport Matrix: Thursday 15 May 2014


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The Independent Online

Lancaster slams ‘unacceptable’ fixture clashes

England head coach Stuart Lancaster will make strong representations to the Rugby Football Union following next month’s tour of New Zealand in an effort to ensure that future trips to the southern hemisphere are not undermined by catastrophic fixture scheduling.

Lancaster described the current situation as “unacceptable”, revealing that he had raised the issue personally with leading figures in the All Black management but had not succeeded in securing an agreement that would enable him to pick his strongest side for the opening Test in Auckland.

“I absolutely intend to do my best to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he told i. “Because of the scheduling, this is without doubt the most difficult situation I’ve faced since taking on the England job.”

By fixing the Eden Park Test for 7 June, just a week after the Premiership final, the International Rugby Board’s schedulers guaranteed England would be forced to field an under-strength team in that match. MORE

Flying Swift comes back down to earth

Briton Ben Swift flirted with the lead of the Giro d’Italia yesterday. The Sky rider was part of an 11-man breakaway that was reeled in over the final 25km. “Overall I’m happy with the day. I’ve come away with something and it wasn’t for nothing,” the 26-year-old said. MORE

Wilshere phoned Scholes for advice

Jack Wilshere was so surprised by Paul Scholes’ criticism he called him to discuss it. Wilshere said: “There comes a time when you stop being a kid and I think that’s what he’s referring to. You have all this potential, but you have to start putting that potential in [place].” MORE

Meyler relishing Cup final chance

David Meyler will appreciate Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal, should he be selected, after suffering persistent knee injuries. “I was told I might never walk properly again,” said the 24-year-old midfielder. “That gives you a bit of context, to play in an FA Cup final.” MORE

Suarez reveals ‘rage’ at title loss

Luis Suarez has revealed the emotions he felt after Liverpool conceded three late goals to draw 3-3 with Crystal Palace, effectively ending his side’s title hopes. “I had a lot of rage inside me knowing that just a week before we had a great chance to win the league,” he said. MORE

Murray wants to avoid birthday jinx

Andy Murray, who is 27 today, said he doesn’t celebrate his birthdays now because he has retired hurt twice before on his birthday. “I don’t look forward to them,” he said after his 6-2, 7-5 win over Marcel Granollers at the Rome Masters. MORE

Khan keen to bring Fulham back up

Fulham owner Shahid Khan is prepared to invest heavily to restore the club to the top flight at the first attempt following relegation. He said: “I am committed and we are going to do whatever to get them back to the Premier League.”

Pardew seeks Newcastle funds

Alan Pardew is hoping to earn some sympathy from Newcastle owner Mike Ashley when they meet this week to discuss a tough season and decide on a summer transfer strategy. There appears to be no prospect of either leaving.

Vieira supports  B team proposal

Manchester City’s Head of Elite Development, Patrick Vieira, backs the FA Commission: “If you want to catch up with the other nations, you will have to create the B teams because that will have a massive influence on how to develop players.” MORE

Sangakkara has score to settle

Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara reveals to i why he has passed up an IPL payday to play for Durham as he prepares for his country’s series in England. MORE