Sir Ian Botham’s grandson James Botham called up by Wales | Rugby Union News

first_img 0:21 Wales head coach Wayne Pivac says improvement will take time after they crashed to their sixth successive defeat against Ireland – Advertisement – – Advertisement – James Botham could make his Wales debut against Georgia
James Botham could make his Wales debut against Georgia

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Trojans deserve national attention

first_imgSaturday was a day of firsts all across the college football landscape. The first time redshirt freshman wide receiver Steven Mitchell caught a touchdown pass. The first time a USC quarterback threw seven touchdown passes in a game. The first time Alabama fans complimented the play-calling of Lane Kiffin. Most surprising of all, though: Saturday evening was the first time I found myself rooting for Notre Dame.Sark it to me · First-year head coach Steve Sarkisian has led the Trojans to a 5-2 record this season. This mark includes two wins over Top 25 teams, in then-No. 13 Stanford and then-No. 10 Arizona. – Mariya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanI never thought there would come a time where I could actively root for the Fighting Irish. Yet, compared to the unbridled arrogance of Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is practically a saint, and that’s really saying something. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson’s fourth-and-18 prayer and subsequent (almost) touchdown to Corey Robinson actually had me out of my chair, cheering for the luck of the Irish to prevail yet again.While 6-1 Notre Dame is certainly for real this year, what I was really rooting for was the demise of Jimbo, Jameis Winston and Co. Fisher’s time at LSU must have convinced him that they don’t play football west of the Mississippi. That is the only possible reason I can think of for his comments to the media earlier this week. According to ESPN, he was quoted as saying  Florida State and Mississippi State are the only two teams with victories over two opponents currently ranked in the Top 25.I guess Jimbo in his infinite wisdom forgot about the University of Southern California. At the time of his comments, both Stanford and Arizona were ranked in the Top 25. It was probably just a careless mistake, but Fisher’s attitude is reflective of a seemingly national fetish for the SEC.Florida State is in a different conference, yet its coach succumbs to the allure of the vaunted SEC, with their hard-nosed, swarming defenses that “play football the way it should be played.” Fisher must be listening to the plethora of pundits out there who stand firm in their belief that football begins and ends in the Southeastern Conference.Though that may have been true in 2009, it certainly isn’t today. The only reason the SEC has so many ranked teams currently, is because of the conference’s hype in the preseason. Now that the dust has settled, Mississippi State’s wins against LSU and Texas A&M aren’t that impressive. The list could go on and on.All the while, the Pac-12 is practically ignored because the teams “don’t play defense out west.” Well, I would love to see how Ole Miss and Alabama’s defensive efficiency ratings would fare if you swapped the plodding schemes of Tennessee, Florida and Arkansas with Washington State, California and Oregon State.You have to look no further than Oregon and Alabama to see selective perception at work. Both teams were upset by ranked opponents, with Ole Miss admittedly being more formidable than Arizona. The Crimson Tide’s sole impressive victory is over a vastly overrated Texas A&M team, while Oregon ran roughshod over an elite Michigan State defense, thoroughly dismantling them in the fourth quarter. Yet, Alabama is two spots ahead of the Ducks.The problem with the bias is it just isn’t warranted anymore. The Pac-12 isn’t just USC and the nine dwarfs, nor is the Big 12 Oklahoma, Texas and the rest. College football has shifted, few dominating defenses remain and the team that can score at will is generally the victor.With an array of talented gunslingers and the brightest offensive minds in football running the show, it’s time the Pac-12 and, to a lesser extent, the Big 12, got their due. In any other industry, innovators who are ahead of the trends get praised. In college football, they get mocked.It may seem trivial to lament the biases in an attempt to change the narrative about the SEC and Pac-12, but doing so can have long-term repercussions. USC is probably not a playoff contender this year, but the Trojans certainly have the resources and talent to be a fixture in the conversation moving forward.If the committee were choosing between a one-loss USC team and a one-loss SEC team, it would stink if USC was passed over for competing in what is perceived to be a weaker conference. That is certainly a conceivable possibility as it stands now, which is the crux of my issue with the unjustified love affair the media and some coaches have with the SEC.Speaking of USC, the Trojans had a vintage blowout on Saturday. Though it is hard to put stock in their performance against that Colorado team, the victory showcased some maturity for the Trojans. Last time USC was coming off a road victory over a Top 25 opponent, they were upset by Boston College. To remain focused on the task at hand, and beat up on the Buffaloes was definitely a step in the right direction for this USC team.It was great to finally see the team open it up a bit. Most of the focus will be on the deep balls, but I was happy the Trojans finally started to utilize the middle of the field, throwing 15- to 20-yard passes between the hashes. Next week will be a better indication of the Trojan’s true offensive prowess, and hopefully it will power them to a victory at Rice-Eccles stadium. A third road win over a top-20 opponent would be very impressive. Even Jimbo might take notice. Jake Davidson is a sophomore majoring in accounting. His column, “Davidson’s Direction,” runs Mondays. To comment on this story, visit dailytrojan.com or email Jake at jrdavids@usc.edu.last_img read more

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The 50 Greatest Dodgers of the 2010s: #43, Andrew Toles

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the Nov. 15, 2019 edition of the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here. I broke the story of Andrew Toles’ promotion to the big leagues in the summer of 2016. One thing I didn’t include in any of my reporting at the time was this text message from a Dodgers staffer: “that could end poorly.”The story of Toles’ career with the Dodgers hasn’t technically ended. He’s still under contract to the team, but he spent all of 2019 on the restricted list and did not play. The reason for his absence was never revealed; we only knew that Toles had the support of the organization while he was away. For a player who joined the team in a cloud of mystery, it was an appropriate fadeout to the decade.The Dodgers were well aware of his question marks when they signed Toles as a minor league free agent. They knew Toles had been disciplined by two different college programs — kicked off the University of Tennessee baseball team in 2011 and suspended by Chipola College in 2012. They knew the Tampa Bay Rays expelled Toles from his Single-A team following a blow-up with his manager in May 2014. They knew all this because the GM who drafted and developed Toles with the Rays was none other than the Dodgers’ Andrew Friedman. Toles’ second chance in professional baseball went much better than his first. Fast-tracked from Single-A to the majors in 2016, Toles slashed .314/.365/.505 in 48 regular season games. By October, he had ramrodded his way into the starting outfield. Toles started four of six NLCS games against the Cubs that year, going 6 for 13 (.462) with a pair of doubles. At 24 years old, Toles had made the leap from prospect, to failed prospect, to starting outfielder on a playoff team. The transformation landed him in the pages of the New York Times.The following winter, the Dodgers jettisoned their de facto left fielder, Howie Kendrick, paving the way for Toles to seize regular playing time in 2017. However, a knee injury in May promptly ended his season. His absence on the field would have been more conspicuous without the emergence of Chris Taylor. Still, by 2018, Toles was healthy and competing for a job in spring training. There was a pathway for him to regain his standing on the depth chart.By the final week of camp, Toles and Joc Pederson were in the running for the final outfield job. Pederson went 8 for 54 during the Cactus League season. Toles went 15 for 53. Pederson won the job anyway, and Toles began the season in Triple-A. There, a hamstring injury cost him two months. He batted .306 at Oklahoma City but never cracked a Dodger outfield rotation that now featured a rejuvenated Pederson and Matt Kemp, in addition to Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernandez and Yasiel Puig. On Sept. 29 in San Francisco, Toles singled and stole second base against the Giants. He hasn’t batted in a major league game since.Judging only what he did on the field, Toles deserves some extolling. His postseason at-bats, limited though they were, look impressive in the context of the decade. His .792 regular-season OPS compares surprisingly well with the Dodgers’ other outfielders of the last 10 years. His effort in the outfield and on the bases was at least as impressive as hit bat. Ironically, Toles’ hard-nosed efforts landed him in the operating room and derailed his early promise perhaps as much as anything. Toles is still only 27 years old. But without knowing the substance of his off-the-field issue(s), it’s hard to say anything definitive about his future in baseball.All we have for now are memories of one of the game’s best personalities, a talented athlete who offered tantalizing glimpses on the field. Who else points at a mean-mugging Chase Utley and says, unironically, “I wake up in the morning and I’m like, ‘how can I be like Chase Utley today?’ ” Who else admits he checked FanGraphs to see when he’d get called up from Triple-A? Who else, while being unable to walk, says (also unironically), “I’m pretty much healthy right now … besides my knee”? No one, that’s who. You can tell the story off the 2010s Dodger teams without Andrew Toles, but it wouldn’t be nearly as fun. -J.P.Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.The 50 Greatest Dodgers of the 2010s: #44, Javy GuerraMore readingClassless action ― Did you attend an Astros home game in 2017? You might have a valid legal claim in Texas, writes Sports Illustrated.Go to the tape ― Audio signature data verifies the presence of a banging trash can at Minute Maid Park during the 2017 regular season, confirmation of the Astros’ alleged sign-stealing scheme.Whistle tip ―Further audiovisual evidence has emerged that the Astros were stealing signs in Game 4 of the 2017 World Series.Magnanimousindefeat ―Yu Darvish, riffing in Japanese on his re-litigated 2017 World Series failures, said “I think I have to continue to accept the results.”‘Pitch better’ ― Is Kenta Maeda’s talent the only thing keeping him from starting more?Get real ― The Phillies, not the Dodgers, acquired J.T. Realmuto last off-season. Now the two sides are working on a long-term extension.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Tommy McCafferty to take to the stage tonight in Dublin

first_imgDonegal man and Headcoach of Kickboxing & Muay Thai Letterkenny, Tommy McCafferty fights BAMMA26 fight tonight in the 3 Arena, Dublin.Tommy ‘The Ghost’ McCafferty (6-2), fights out of Team Torres in Derry.McCafferty has a formidable kickboxing background and held two World ISKA titles before moving into MMA in 2012. McCafferty has multiple weapons at his disposal and is determined to make 2016 his year and to put an end to McKee’s rise through the Lightweight ranks, as he takes to the biggest stage of his career at BAMMA 26.Tommy McCafferty to take to the stage tonight in Dublin was last modified: September 10th, 2016 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:bamma 26letterkennyMMAteam torresthe ghostTommy Mc Caffertylast_img read more

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