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Debutant’s toughness could prove headache for Springboks: Hooper

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper is keen to witness first-hand the toughness of Brumbies enforcer Is..

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Wallabies captain Michael Hooper is keen to witness first-hand the toughness of Brumbies enforcer Isi Naisarani on debut in a game against South Africa that will provide an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a new-look Australian back row.

After years of waiting to finally be eligible for the Wallabies, Fijian-born Naisarani will be thrown into the deep end at No.8 on Test debut at Ellis Park on Saturday (Sunday AEST).

Isi Naisarani will line-up at No.8 for the Wallabies against South Africa.

Isi Naisarani will line-up at No.8 for the Wallabies against South Africa. Credit:Rugby AU Media/Marty Cambridge

Hooper has never lined up alongside Naisarani but has felt the full force of his ball-carrying capabilities at Super Rugby level while playing for the Waratahs.

“Ive played Isi a lot now and he is a tough, tough customer,” Hooper said. “He has been wanting to be in this jersey for a long time, so its a great reward for someone who has put in a lot of years of waiting in the ranks. He gets an opportunity to come here tomorrow and play in such a proud position for the Wallabies at No.8. Im excited to be playing with him as opposed to against him."

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While the Wallabies will sorely miss David Pococks breakdown brilliance, Naisarani provides a different package and a bigger body teammates hope he will use to good effect.

"I think he'll bring a bit of X-factor," said Australian squad member Luke Jones. "He's an amazing ball runner, he can pick a line and identify it and get his timing really well. If he can do that, he can make a good couple of linebreaks or he can maybe at least dent the defensive line.

"That's what he can bring and then occasionally in defence he'll come storming out of the line and sprint at someone and try and take them out."

Australia have also picked a big No.6 in Lukhan Salakaia-Loto for his 12th Test in two years after debuting in Bloemfontein against South Africa in 2017.

Hooper may be forced to get his hands dirtier at the breakdown in Pococks absence but overall he is feeling positive about the balance of a back row ready to go head-to-head with the likes of Rynhardt Elstadt, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Francois Louw.

“Its a good balance of mobility and some good ball-carriers and guys who want to get their hands on the opposition in defence,” said Hooper of Australia's back row.

Michael Hooper getting through his work at Wallabies training.

Michael Hooper getting through his work at Wallabies training. Credit:Rugby AU Media/Marty Cambridge

The Wallabies have lost 11 of their previous 15 Tests heading into a World Cup year and have not won in Johannesburg for 56 years.

The last time Australia played at Ellis Park 11 years ago they were thumped 53-8.

“You get to look at what youve been doing for the last couple of weeks and [a win] validates the stuff youve been trying,” Hooper said. “We do want to build momentum. We want to have a really good strong attacking game and the ability to do that across the length of the field as well as a strong defence.

“We know we have to keep our wits about us against a South African team with a really big strong pack. Weve had a bRead More – Source

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Freddy Rincón: Former Colombia captain in critical condition with severe head injuries after car crash

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Former Colombia soccer captain Freddy Rincón is in critical condition with severe head injuries after being involved in a car crash in Cali, the hospital treating him said in a statement.

The 55-year-old Rincón was admitted to hospital on Monday following a car accident in the early hours of the day, CNN en Español reported, citing local media.
The accident involved a van with four occupants, including the former player, and a bus, the Undersecretary of Mobility of Cali, Edwing Candelo, told the newspaper, El País Cali.
Five people were injured in the crash, added Candelo.
Rincón underwent surgery which lasted nearly three hours, the Imbanaco Clinic said in a statement later Monday, adding that he has been transferred to intensive care, where he remains in critical condition.

World Cup glory

Rincón played in three World Cups — 1990, 1994 and 1998 — and scored 17 goals in 84 games for Colombia.
He was born in 1966 in Buenaventura, in western Colombia, and was one of the key players of his country’s golden generation in the 1990s.
Notably, he scored against West Germany at the 1990 World Cup in Milan’s San Siro stadium, his goal coming late in the game to secure a 1-1 draw giving Colombia a place in the round-of-16 after the country’s 28-year absence from the tournament.
Rincón also scored two goals in a famed 5-0 win against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1993.
In Colombia, he played for Santa Fe and América de Cali, with whom he won three trophies.
In 1994, Rincón joined Brazilian club Palmeiras, before then moving to Europe. He played for Italian club Napoli and then joined Spanish giant Real Madrid, becoming the first Colombian footballer to play for the La Liga club.
Rincón returned to Brazil in 1996, where he won three local titles and a Club World Cup with Corinthians.
He retired as a player in 2004 and later coached third division teams in Brazil. He was an assistant to former Brazil coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo at Atlético Mineiro in 2010 and to Jorge Luis Pinto at Millonarios de Colombia in 2019.

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Fantasy Premier League tips gameweek 19: Cristiano Ronaldo, Son Heung-min, Bukayo Saka and more

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Cristiano Ronaldo

The news of Liverpool vs Leeds’ postponement leaves a lot of managers in the lurch. Most of us have at least three players who will not be playing on Boxing Day, with captaincy favourite Mohamed Salah one of them. Where do we turn with our most reliable points-scorer suddenly wiped out?

It requires a bit of restructuring and probably a -4 hit but moving to Ronaldo, who travels to Newcastle, may not be a bad idea. Though Salah could return quickly against Leicester and Chelsea, the Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching and Manchester United’s fixtures are strong, with an expected double gameweek on the horizon.

Son Heung-min

A more straightforward move is Salah to Son. Many managers could do it with their weekly free transfer and there is good reason to back the Tottenham winger, who scored against Liverpool last time out and has an enticing run of fixtures coming up and a likely double in gameweek 22.

Crystal Palace’s defensive numbers are still among the more impressive this season but are stronger at home than away and have faltered slightly of late, while Tottenham’s attack is gradually picking up under Antonio Conte. After the visit from Patrick Vieira’s side, Spurs face back-to-back trips to Southampton and Watford.

Bukayo Saka

After three consecutive impressive wins, Arsenal assets are all the rage this week, with heavy investment in the band of young, exciting attacking players at Mikel Arteta’s disposal. Gabriel Martinelli was a late call-up to our picks last time around and duly delivered, while Emile Smith Rowe keeps on scoring even as a substitute.

If we had to pick one for this weekend’s trip to Norwich though, it would still be Saka. He has a better chance of starting long-term than Martinelli and he has more impressive underlying numbers than Smith Rowe. In fact, those numbers have gradually ticked up after a slow start to the season, with an average of 0.6 non-penalty xG+xA over the last six games.

Kieran Tierney

While Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe are all popular picks this week, one thing to look out for is an unusual split coming up in Arsenal’s fixtures, where their schedule is a lot better from a defensive perspective than an attacking one.

With that in mind, 4.8m-rated Tierney offers a slightly more adventurous route into Arsenal’s backline than either goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale or the cheaper Ben White. The concern with Tierney, as ever, is injury and whether he can be trusted to start games during a tight schedule, but at a low ownership of 6.4%, he may be worth the risk.

Armando Broja

With all these heavy hitters to swap around and squad restructuring to do, it can be useful to leave money in the bank for flexibility. But at the same time, we need a deep squad in order to cope with the postponements and rotation. It is difficult to find players in the cheap but reliable sweet spot.

Broja is one of the better budget options. He carries a rotation risk himself and can get substituted early but, with Che Adams and Adam Armstrong still making their way back from injury, the 5.1m-priced Southampton striker should get enough minutes going forward to earn points, while freeing up funds to spend elsewhere.

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Real Madrid tied with Cadiz

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Real Madrid tied with Cadiz without goals in the match that brought them together today in the eighteenth round of the Spanish Football League “La Liga”.

With this result, Real Madrid raised its score to 43 points at the top of the standings of the Spanish League teams, and Cadiz raised its score to 14 points in 19th place.

Source: sena

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