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The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 12 November 2013
Lancaster in search of balance for All Blacks Test
Stuart Lancaster faces the most delicate motivational task of his international career as England seek to strengthen their credentials as potential winners of the 2015 World Cup by beating New Zealand this weekend. The All Blacks are treating the match as a revenge mission after their record defeat a year ago.
“When you play the best in the world you’re in for a huge examination – physically, mentally and technically,” Lancaster said. “New Zealand have been to Johannesburg, Sydney and Paris and won in each. They are used to winning games of real magnitude. We’ve won our last six at Twickenham. The atmosphere this weekend will be unbelievable, so the timing of the emotional build-up will be vital. Too much and you burn out before the game. Too little leaves players at risk of under-performing. The art of coaching is getting this right.”
Lancaster, who faces several injury problems, acknowledged that the final autumn fixture would be an important staging post to the World Cup: “If we want to be genuine contenders, we have to believe we can win.” MORE
Jones: United just love being hated
Phil Jones believes Manchester United benefit from being criticised and written off by so many pundits. “People want us to fail because we have won the league so many times,” he said. “Everyone hates the best clubs, it is as simple as that. We enjoy that. We relish the test.” MORE
Female stars held back by misogyny
Glasgow City club manager Laura Montgomery laments the lingering sexism surrounding women in sport. “Without doubt there’s a number of misogynist, negative opinions,” she said. “Not just women’s football but women’s sport and women playing sport. It’s difficult to change.” MORE
Djokovic powers to third Finals title
Novak Djokovic overcame Rafael Nadal in straight sets last night to win his third ATP World Tour Finals title. The Serb, winner in 2008 and again last year, broke Nadal in his first service game before proving too powerful for the world No 1, prevailing 6-3, 6-4 at the O2 Arena. MORE
Injury troubles hamper England
England have a number of injury worries ahead of their final Autumn international of the series, against New Zealand this Saturday. Mako Vunipola is still struggling with a knee injury while Joe Marler is causing concern as he recovers from concussion. MORE
Bardsley relishing new lease of life
Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley is revelling in the turnaround in his fortunes at the club. “There were situations which were difficult,” he said. “I thought my career was over but the manager [Gus Poyet] has come in, he’s given me a new lease of life.” MORE
Clarke: Australia ready for battle
Australia captain Michael Clarke feels his team are well set ahead of the Ashes series. “The team is in a fantastic place and the feeling in the group is outstanding,” he said. “The boys are flying. They’re all looking forward to Thursday week.” MORE
Jamaican doping ‘tip of the iceberg’
A leading Jamaican drug tester fears the recent spate of positive tests could be “the tip of the iceberg”. “The results are not good, to have so many positives coming in competition,” Dr Paul Wright, a senior doping control officer, said. MORE
England ring the changes for Canada
England head coach Gary Street has made 11 changes for tomorrow’s match with Canada from the side which beat France. “We have freshened up our line-up with some experienced players who were on the bench at the weekend,” he said. MORE
Turkey set sights on 2022 Ryder Cup
Turkey are readying a bid to host the Ryder Cup in nine years’ time. “We have the idea to host in 2022,” Ahmet Agaoglu, president of the Turkish Golf Federation, said. “If anyone wants to skip 2018 or 2014 we can take it.” MORE
Though it is hard to argue against Brian Clough as the foremost club manager of all time, Bob Paisley stands right behind him on the grounds of trophies delivered with a team of his own creation. MORE
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