The Sports Matrix: Friday 30 November 2012


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The Independent Online

Fearless Farrell ready to face New Zealand star Carter

Owen Farrell, England's outside-half shortlisted for the Player of the Year award, will face New Zealand's vaunted No 10 Daniel Carter at Twickenham tomorrow and insists he will not be frightened of the challenge.

Carter has recovered from his leg injury and was yesterday declared fit for the All Blacks' final game of 2012, during which they have gone 13 games without defeat.

New Zealand, who edged out France to lift the World Cup on their own soil last year, will prove exacting opponents for England, who find themselves attempting to end one of the longest unbeaten records in rugby history.

But Farrell, above, is unfazed. "Rugby is a game I love, not a game that scares me," said the 21-year-old on being named in Stuart Lancaster's starting line-up.

Members of the New Zealand squad suffered a bout of diarrhoea and vomiting this week but the All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the side will be fit. He said: "Getting the mix right in training has been tough, but we hope we've handled it smartly enough for people to have enough left in their tanks." MORE

Chelsea target striker for January

Chelsea are planning to bring in or sign another striker in January, with their new manager, Rafael Benitez, believing that the club cannot place the burden on Fernando Torres to score all their goals and play every game to the end of the season. MORE

'Leader' Pocock back to face Wales

Australia's David Pocock, absent since August, will return at openside flanker against Wales tomorrow. "David is one of the best in the world as a player, and is growing every day as a leader, so naturally we are delighted to have him back," said Australia coach Robbie Deans. MORE

Retiring Ponting proud of his career

Ricky Ponting said he felt satisfied with his career after announcing he will retire from international cricket at the end of the third Test against South Africa, which starts today. "I've given cricket my all," said Ponting, 37. "It's been life for 20 years. Not much more I can give." MORE

Finn on course to claim Test spot

Steven Finn, currently recovering from a thigh injury, looks increasingly likely to be named in the England team for next week's third Test in India after impressing in a practice match. Stuart Broad is the player likely to make way, having struggled in the series thus far. MORE

Hore's attack embarrasses NZ

The All Blacks coach, Steve Hansen, conceded last night that New Zealand are "embarrassed" by hooker Andrew Hore, who was suspended for five weeks on Wednesday for striking Bradley Davies from behind in an attack that left the Wales second row with concussion. MORE

Coyle interested in Scotland job

Former Bolton manager Owen Coyle is interested in the vacant Scotland job. Coyle said: "If they [the Scottish Football Association] felt that I was one of those candidates and they wanted to speak, then, of course, I'm quite happy to listen."

Flintoff's opponent calls cricket 'cissy'

Richard Dawson, Andrew Flintoff's boxing opponent at the Manchester Arena tonight, has derided cricket as a "cissy sport". "I looked at some tapes of that cricket," Dawson said. "It looks like a female sport." MORE

Pardew concedes Newcastle malaise

Alan Pardew's position as Newcastle manager remains secure. But asked whether his side are in a relegation fight after their loss at Stoke, even with the season yet to reach December, he said: "Well, we are now, and no, it's not too early." MORE

Feature: Mourinho in mire

Real Madrid are 11 points behind Barçelona and, should they lose the Madrid derby, a move for Mourinho appears even more likely, says Spanish Football Correspondent Pete Jenson. MORE