The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 5 November 2014


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Strachan: Focus on Irish, not England

Gordon Strachan admitted that Scotland’s forthcoming friendly with traditional rivals England at Celtic Park will play second fiddle to their European Championship qualifying match against the Republic of Ireland four days earlier. Strachan says the match against the Irish, who are level on points with leaders Poland in qualifying Group D, at the same venue is “absolutely” the most crucial.

Stokes learns to control emotions

All-rounder Ben Stokes says he has learned to temper his emotions, after he punched a dressing-room locker having been dismissed for nought in England’s ODI in Barbados in March. The 23-year-old Durham player said: “I now know in myself not to punch lockers. It is just a matter of knowing how to deal with failure, I guess, and make sure any emotion or anger is directed in the right way.”

Protectionist wins amid tragedy

The 2014 Melbourne Cup will be remembered sadly as the occasion when two horses, the Japanese favourite Admire Rakti and the home-trained Araldo, lost their lives. The race itself was won by Protectionist and jockey Ryan Moore said afterwards: “They went a strong pace early on and I struggled for a position, but it was just about finding the space. I had so much horse, he won it easy.”

Player fights with fan in Tel Aviv derby

The Tel Aviv derby between Hapoel and Maccabi descended into chaos on Monday after Maccabi midfielder Eran Zahavi (right) was sent off for retaliating when a fan attacked him. The bare-chested Hapoel supporter slapped and tried to kick Zahavi, who had just equalised. The Israel international then pushed the fan back. After more fans ran on, the match was called off at half-time. Hapoel manager Eyal Berkovic said: “This was not a game of football, it was war... I’m stunned and ashamed to be involved in football on a day like today.” Yesterday 100 fans clashed outside the court where those arrested were being dealt with.

Rokoduguni earns England start

Semesa Rokoduguni, the Fijian-born wing, and two other uncapped players – Anthony Watson, a back-line Bath team-mate of Rokoduguni’s, and lock George Kruis – are confirmed as part of England’s team for the match with New Zealand. Rokoduguni will start.