The Sports Matrix: Friday 30 March 2012


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The Independent Online

Lancaster's 'honour' at being named England coach

Stuart Lancaster yesterday spoke of the "honour and privilege" he felt after being named England head coach on a permanent basis. The 42-year-old took temporary charge for the Six Nations, replacing Martin Johnson, who quit after last year's World Cup. Lancaster impressed in leading England to second place behind Wales. "After the Ireland game, I wasn't sure I'd be sitting here," Lancaster said yesterday. "Now it's a matter of finding words to describe how I feel. Two spring to mind: honour and privilege. The chief executive of the RFU, Ian Ritchie, felt the governing body had made the right decision in waiting to make their appointment. "It was our task to find the best man for the job," Ritchie said. MORE

England collapse despite Trott ton

England fell short in their record run chase yesterday, to lose the first Test to Sri Lanka by 75 runs in Galle. Chasing 340, Jonathan Trott scored a painstaking century to help the tourists reach 233 for 4. The final six wickets were lost for just 31 runs. MORE

Strauss dismisses calls to resign

England captain Andrew Strauss insisted he would not stand down from his position, despite a poor showing in the First Test against Sri Lanka. "My focus is on winning the next game," he said. "It would be wrong to think anything otherwise." MORE

Bilbao recover to take lead to Spain

Athletic Bilbao came from behind to beat Schalke 4-2 in Germany in their quarter-final first leg last night, Fernando Llorente scoring twice. Sporting Lisbon beat Metalist Kharkiv 2-1, AZ Alkmaar beat Valencia 2-1 and Atletico Madrid beat Hannover 2-1.

Ferguson suggests Vieira broke rules

The Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has implied City's Patrick Vieira may have breached FA rules in suggesting United have benefited from refereeing decisions this season. "You're not supposed to discuss referees," the Scot said. MORE

Murray relishing Nadal showdown

Andy Murray said he was relishing tonight's Miami Masters semi-final against Rafael Nadal. "I've always enjoyed playing Rafa on hard courts," the Scot said. "He's obviously very tough for everybody. He's played well here the last couple of years." MORE

Magnussen eyes record showing

Australian swimmer James Magnussen is looking forward to testing himself in the Olympic 100m freestyle this summer. "I'll do the best I can to conquer the pool," he said. "I can't wait to get a chance to race and hopefully break the world record." MORE

Dalglish dampens Carroll fever pitch

Kenny Dalglish has dismissed claims Andy Carroll's first return to St James' Park since leaving it will overshadow Liverpool's visit to Newcastle on Sunday. "It's not about any one individual," the Scot said. "It's about what the squad has done." MORE

Venables urges FA to hire coach now

Terry Venables has urged the Football Association to speed up the appointment of a new manager to succeed Fabio Capello, who resigned more than seven weeks ago. "They have to get someone in there straight away," the former England manager said. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Having been asked to draw a line in very grubby sand, Stuart Lancaster went quite a bit further. Not only did he imbue a young team with sharply improved values, he also created a considerable winning momentum. MORE