Lando Norris angry with Lance Stroll after crash at Portuguese GP

Lando Norris has delivered a scathing assessment of Lance Stroll after their coming together at the Portuguese GP, insisting the Racing Point driver “crashes a lot” and vowing to “stay away” from him in future races.

Stroll and Norris made contact on Lap 17 when the Canadian attempted a risky move around the outside into Turn One, turning into his midfield rival and spinning off the track. He received a five-second penalty for the incident, and later picked up another for track limits before retiring the car.

  • Brundle: Hamilton’s record stands with any in sport

Norris also picked up damage, and eventually finished 13th and outside the points in the McLaren. The young Briton criticised Stroll, who also collided into Verstappen at the same corner during Friday practice at Portimao, and claimed he “doesn’t learn from anything he does”.

“I don’t know what he was doing really,” said Norris. “He went to the left which I was quite surprised by, when he very easily could have gone to the inside. I was easily halfway alongside and he just turned in.

“He obviously didn’t learn from Friday but he doesn’t seem to learn from anything he does. It happens a lot with him, so I just need to stay away.”

A frustrated Norris added: “It wasn’t a nice battle. I don’t know what I’m meant to say… he crashes a lot.

“I don’t know if he can’t see properly in the right side or something. He ruined his own race, he ruined my race, it was his fault.”

Norris believes McLaren could have scored “good points” on Sunday – Carlos Sainz was sixth in the other car – and insisted Stroll “didn’t need to risk what he did” as he was “much quicker” in what was a battle for seventh.

“I don’t know why he tried to be a hero,” he stated.

Speaking to Sky F1 immediately after his race DNF, Stroll said he hadn’t seen the replay but that he felt Norris’ positioning was “a bit awkward”. Team boss Otmar Szafnauer also felt Stroll’s penalty was harsh.

“I just went around the outside,” said Stroll. “It was a bit awkward as he was kind of in the middle of the track and I wasn’t sure if he was going to go to the inside or stay on the line.”

He continued: “I had to make a split-second decision and I was on the outside over the kerb. From there I just turned into the corner and I guess there wasn’t enough room for both of us, so that was that.”

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French Open winner Iga Swiatek in quarantine after meeting Polish President Andrzej Duda

French Open winner Iga Swiatek is in quarantine after she met Polish President Andrzej Duda who subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.

Mr Duda’s diagnosis comes amid a huge surge in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths in Poland, a nation that saw only very low numbers in the spring.

On Friday, Mr Dudda visited the National Stadium in Warsaw, which is being transformed into one of the field hospitals.

He also met Swiatek, the 19-year-old tennis star who won the Roland Garros title earlier this month.

  • Djokovic regrets US and French Open failures
  • Gauff: Murray a ‘great ally’ for raising diversity issues

Swiatek, who was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit for her achievements in sports and promotion of the country internationally, said on Saturday she felt good, but will quarantine.

“Neither I nor members of my team have symptoms of coronavirus. We carry out tests regularly. We will quarantine ourselves in accordance with current procedures,” she said in a Twitter post.

  • Federer expects Australian Open return
  • Wimbledon considering three scenarios for 2021

Poland is seeing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, with new infections hitting a daily record of 13,632 on Friday. The country recorded 13,628 new cases on Saturday.

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Zainab Alema: If you’re black, Muslim and a woman you can still play rugby

In the not too distant future, Zainab Alema hopes to be sitting on the sofa, cup of Earl Grey in hand cheering on a Muslim Woman playing for England.

If it happens expect tears, lots of them, because this woman known to her team-mates as ‘Bulldozer’ has spent her playing days smashing plenty of physical, emotional and cultural obstacles to get her there.

Growing up, Zainab never thought about playing rugby, she didn’t even know women could. But from the moment she first got “stuck in” during a PE lesson at 17, she relished every second of “feeling free and just running”. The game became intertwined in her life “like an old friend”. But like old friends, there were times she’d question the relationship feeling sometimes like an outsider, someone who didn’t belong.

From the moment she was born prematurely at only 26 weeks, she was a fighter and says she had an innate drive, “if I want to do something I try my hardest to get it done”. She liked sport at school but until that PE class, she never loved any sport. That same PE teacher who encouraged her to give it a go got her into a training session at Ealing Trailfinders, but even then Zainab’s rugby journey almost didn’t get started.

This time last year I made my transition to @barnesrfcwomen . What a year it has been! I joined when I was 3 months pregnant , trained pre-season until I was 5 months then had to stop because I was becoming a liability πŸ‘€πŸ€£πŸ€°πŸΎ Watching on the sidelines with my ever growing bump , there was nothing more I wanted than to be out there with my new teammates. I'm so Happy I chose this club as I've never felt so free yet connected to such an amazing group of women. Ready to smash it up in the upcoming season!! Can not wait!πŸ’₯πŸ’ͺπŸΎπŸ’šπŸ’› Bulldozer Love

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“I was so excited to go to my first session and I got lost and the coach came to find me and by then the session was over. I was so mortified. I have lived in London all my life but I got totally lost.”

Accessibility, is she believes, one of the hurdles she had to overcome. “Often clubs are in secluded areas where you have to walk so far along the road before you actually get to the club. For me when I started at 17, I was going by myself by public transport. It was tough especially in winter, down dark streets. My team-mates had their parents dropping them off in cars but I had such a passion for the game I just carried on.”

By far the biggest obstacle for Zainab has been her culture. She says she often gets stared at and commented on when she is in the park kitted up, complete with her hijab and rugby ball in her hand. Her dad couldn’t understand why an African Muslim woman would want to play rugby, “a male, elitist sport”. There are stereotypes she says of Muslim households, “women are supposed to be at home cooking, cleaning and having kids. That’s what we do to some extent but we can do so much more. I am determined to smash those stereotypes”.

It’s not been straightforward. While studying to be a neonatal nurse at university, she joined the rugby team but sometimes struggled to fit in, not just because of the way she looked.

I love this one – @rugby_marrakech πŸ’•πŸ‰ #beautiful #passion #rugby #team #teamwork #womensupportingwomen #womenempowerment #womensrugby

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“I felt a bit out of place because a lot of the time socialising was so alcohol-based. Not that the team would do it on purpose. We would have a pint for the Woman of the Match and I would win it quite a lot, and then have to nominate someone to have it, and it was so uncomfortable I wanted the ground to swallow me up. It may seem like something little to someone else, but it was those little experiences that were so difficult for me.

“I was the only black person on my team wearing a hijab and leggings under my shorts. I look different and all of that stuff played on my mind. I would end up just playing and then go, and when I look back it makes me feel a bit sad. I didn’t get that time to connect with my team off the pitch just because of that awkwardness.

Soon…πŸ€žπŸΎπŸ’šπŸ’›πŸ‰ @barnesrfcwomen

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“People say, you could just sit down and have a coke, which I do now, but I think in uni it is a bit different, I guess you go to the bar a lot more too.”

When she left university and began nursing she found something was missing in her life. She needed a way to release the stress so she began looking for a new rugby club.

Launch of the project in Ghana 20196πŸ‰

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“What I did was have a little nosy at them on social media. What’s the vibe of the club? Is there a black person? Is there an Asian person? Is there someone that I can relate to?”

She settled on Millwall and earnt herself her ‘bulldozer’ nickname. Her job as No 8 was to pick the ball up at the back of the scrum and smash straight into the opposition fly-half.

“The name is sort of a metaphor for what I’m doing and who I am. It smashes and demolishes things, it’s like what I am doing with stereotypes. I kind of like it and it has stuck.”

Zainab currently plays at Barnes Rugby Club, “they’re amazing and it’s weird even though Barnes is a very middle-class area and there are barely any black people at the club, I feel so at home. I guess because I’m an adult I know how to take control of my emotions and I can say no if I don’t want to be in an environment. We had another black woman join us recently because of me and that’s brilliant.”

Given that, perhaps things are beginning to change – “there is a slow progression,” she says. Her hero was World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi and now she loves watching England’s Shaunagh Brown.

“There is more visibility and I like to be active on my social media, because I want people to know that yes if you’re black and a woman you can play rugby. I know how difficult it is so I want to be open with my journey so that other people like me coming through, or thinking maybe I want to try rugby, can look at me and say you know what I can do it.”

Zainab runs “Studs in the Mud ” where she uses rugby to try and change people’s lives for the better, shipping out kit around the world to give people, particularly women and children, the chance to play. She also has a project which aims to encourage more Muslim women to give rugby a go.

Wear the Red Rose πŸŒΉπŸ‰ (we both technically are hehe πŸ‘€) Massive thank you to @marlie_packer for showing her support for studs in the mud! A project launched earlier this year to help support grassroots rugby in Ghana whilst helping to change the lives of women and children for the better through the power of Rugby πŸ‰πŸ‡¬πŸ‡­ Studs In The Mud are looking to host a women's 7s tournament next summer in Ghana and are raising funds . Please see LINK IN MY BIO to donate or visit @studs in the mud Facebook page to find out more ! Every little helps, Thank you πŸ™‚ @worldrugby #rugby @womensrugbyhub @womensrugbyshow @rugbysaracens1 @englandrugby #studsinthemud #womensrugby #givingback #ghanarugby #Alhamdulillah #supportinggrassroots

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“It’s about making a safe space. We are so underrepresented I thought I was the only one at one point so I’m trying to amplify our voices and create somewhere for them to play. We’re here for you to come and give you advice. I’m hoping that we can go and watch each other’s games, have little social things together and have a sense of belonging within the rugby community.”

Zainab goes on to talk about the one time she very nearly did turn her back on rugby. “I was ready to say you know what, I’m done, I can’t see myself in this space. It was quite emotional.

“I went on to the World Rugby guidelines and I wanted to see for myself if someone like me could play in a head scarf, a hijab. I was ready to leave but seeing that it was ok to play in one cemented it for me. There in black and white, it said I can practise my faith and play the game. I can be a Muslim rugby player.”

What does your dad think of rugby now?

“Oh he’s so proud. I was in The Telegraph a while back and he was straight off to the newsagents to buy a copy and get it framed to put it up on the wall and I thought, ‘hey are you the same person who was asking me why do I want to play rugby?’ He’s so super proud of me right now.”

“You have to see it to be it,” she concludes.

Zainab will carry on ‘bulldozing’ her way through the game, being different and standing out is no longer a negative for her. She’s using it to make rugby truly diverse. She’ll deserve that celebratory cup of tea if and when her rugby ambition is realised and there’s a Muslim woman wearing the red rose of England.

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Super League: Monday’s talking points and team news

We look at what’s being said and team news ahead of Monday’s two Super League matches which see St Helens face Salford Red Devils and Leeds Rhinos take on Castleford Tigers, live on Sky Sports…

St Helens vs Salford Red Devils (5.30pm)

Since the Super League season resumed in August, defending champions St Helens have been near-on untouchable as they have moved to the top of the table on the back of 10 straight wins in the competition.

It is something of a turnaround from the pre-lockdown form which had seen Saints win just two of their five opening matches, although head coach Kristian Woolf ascribed that to some carry-over fatigue and the World Club Challenge.

Salford Red Devils vs St Helens

October 26, 2020, 5:25pm

Live on

A 40-8 win over a Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos further strengthened their chances of claiming a third-straight League Leaders’ Shield and although they now face runners-up Salford on a two-day turnaround, Woolf is not letting up on those ambitions.

“It’d be a great achievement that’s for sure and it’s something we’d like to do and are aiming to do,” Woolf said.

“It is going to be difficult because there are so many games played in short periods and the fact of the matter is, you’re going to have to rotate people whether you like it or not.

“You’re going to have to rotate good players and that does make it hard to win every game, but it’s certainly something we’d love to do.”

With that in mind, Woolf is set to make several changes to his side ahead of the derby clash with Wigan this coming Friday as James Graham, Jack Ashworth, Joseph Paulo and Matty Costello return to the 21-man squad while there could be debuts for Jake Wingfield, Tom Nisbet and Matty Foster.

Salford have Dan Sarginson back after missing the Challenge Cup final with coronavirus, while Gil Dudson returns after sitting out the 58-12 defeat by Wigan on Friday through illness.

“To come down from such a massive high is something our players are not used to and we’re not lucky enough to be able to rest players,” Red Devils head coach Ian Watson said.

“We’ve said the performance was not good enough and we don’t want to make excuses, but we have no back up for middles, who are having to play two games a week.

“Wigan were fresh and ready to go and I thought they were really good. They put us under pressure and we lacked energy and leadership, which is probably down to the fatigue factor.”

St Helens: Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, Dom Peyroux, Morgan Knowles, Kyle Amor, Jack Ashworth, Joseph Paulo, Aaron Smith, James Bentley, Matty Costello, Jack Welsby, Joe Batchelor, Josh Eaves, Josh Simm, Lewis Dodd, Matty Foster, Tom Nisbet, Jake Wingfield, James Graham.

Salford Red Devils: Ed Chamberlain, Dan Sarginson, Krisnan Inu, Tui Lolohea, Lee Mossop, Joey Lussick, Gil Dudson, Pauli Pauli, Tyrone McCarthy, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Greg Burke, Luke Yates, Chris Atkin, Rhys Williams, Elliot Kear, Connor Jones, Oliver Roberts, Andy Ackers, Kallum Watkins, Tom Gilmore, Oliver Ashall-Bolt.

Leeds Rhinos vs Castleford Tigers (7.45pm)

After resting players for their game against Saints on Friday, Richard Agar will revert to his victorious Wembley line-up, with the exception of injured prop Adam Cuthbertson, for Monday’s other game against Castleford.

Leeds Rhinos vs Castleford Tigers

October 26, 2020, 7:45pm

Live on

Double-chasing Leeds are currently just outside the top four and jostling with Catalans Dragons for a semi-final spot.

The situation is clouded by the coronavirus pandemic which has wiped out the Dragons’ scheduled back-to-back home games against Hull FC and Warrington, but Rhinos head coach Agar is expecting to face sudden-death rugby before the start of the play-offs.

“We’ve talked about how we might do it and we’re saying that our play-off series could be two or three games long and we could be in sudden death the last two league games so to speak,” Agar said.

“We’re trying to navigate our way through the next two or three games and as a club we could be in sudden death then to get ourselves through.”

Leeds skipper Luke Gale will go up against his old club for the first time since his return to Headingley at the start of this season, while Bodene Thompson is set to take the place of the injury Cuthbertson.

Castleford are boosted by the return of full-back Gareth O’Brien, winger James Clare and forwards Liam Watts, Oliver Holmes, Matt Cook and Tyla Hepi, while coach Daryl Powell could hand a debut to England youth international Cain Robb.

If Robb does make his bow, he would follow in the footsteps of Bailey Hodgson and Brad Martin, who were handed their debuts for the Tigers in last Thursday’s 38-24 win over Hull Kingston Rovers.

“It was Bailey’s first game for I don’t know how long,” Powell said. “He had to make his debut at Super League level at full-back, which is one of the most demanding positions in the game, on the back of very little training and preparation.

“I thought he was awesome and Brad Martin was great, as was Lewis Peachey and Jacques O’Neill so some young bucks are doing us proud.”

Leeds Rhinos: Jack Walker, Tom Briscoe, Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley, Rob Lui, Luke Gale, Ava Seumanufagai, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, Alex Mellor, Rhyse Martin, Brad Dwyer, Liam Sutcliffe, Richie Myler, Mikolaj Oledzki, Bodene Thompson, Cameron Smith, Luke Briscoe, James Donaldson, Alex Sutcliffe, Tom Holroyd.

Castleford Tigers: Derrell Olpherts, Michael Shenton, Jake Trueman, Danny Richardson, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Oliver Holmes, Mike McMeeken, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Alex Foster, Cheyse Blair, Daniel Smith, Junior Moors, James Clare, Matt Cook, Tyla Hepi, Greg Eden, Lewis Peachey, Gareth O’Brien, Dan Fleming, Cain Robb.

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Lewis Hamilton ‘humbled’ by F1 wins record and explains why GP build-ups still ‘terrifying’

Lewis Hamilton said he felt “very humbled” about becoming the F1 driver with the most victories of all time and explained that, despite his record-breaking success, build-ups to race days remained “terrifying”.

The Englishman is now out on his own at the head of the sport’s all-time winners’ table after his 92nd in a dominant showing at the Portuguese GP, brilliantly recovering from losing ground in the early laps to win by almost half a minute.

  • Race report: Hamilton dominates to clinch all-time record
  • How Hamilton broke Schumacher’s ‘untouchable’ wins record

In an absorbing and revealing post-race interview with Sky Sports F1 – which can be viewed in full in the video above – Hamilton said he was grateful for the historic success.

“I feel fantastic. Very humbled,” said Hamilton, who had tied Michael Schumacher’s long-standing mark of 91 wins at the previous race in Germany.

“Very difficult to explain the feeling. I feel young, I feel energised. And, of course, I’m very grateful. I’m constantly thinking of the guys I’m working with.”

Hamilton was 22 years old and in just the seventh race of his rookie season of F1 when he won for the first time at the 2007 Canadian GP, with McLaren.

His landmark 92nd success comes in his 14th season aged 35 and puts him within touching distance of a Schumacher-equalling seventh championship. 77 points ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton could clinch that historic title as early as the Turkish GP on November 15.

But while the relentless nature of Hamilton and Mercedes’ success means there is a certain inevitably over the identity of F1’s race winner in recent seasons, the Englishman says he still experiences plenty of doubts and uncertainties ahead of every race start with so many variables at play in each Grand Prix.

“Each race – and each race win particularly – there have been certain characteristics, a different journey, each time,” explained Hamilton, who made his 262nd F1 start on Sunday.

“The crazy thing about this is that I would have thought I would get used to things. But I was getting ready, getting my helmet on in the garage today – nerves, uncertainty. Have I remembered my strategy? Have I remembered my switch settings?

“All these different things you go through and it’s still terrifying!

“You wake up on a Sunday and every Sunday you feel different. It’s hard to register – am I good today? There are days I’m getting in the car on the grid and I’m like ‘I don’t feel good, this is not going to go well’ then I drive the best ever.

“Then I have days that I feel really good and it’s not so good. So you never know what to expect but all I try to do is by preparing myself the best way I can.”

Praising the team’s role in his preparations and routine, Hamilton said: “Even though I’ve had all the success, I study more than I’ve ever studied. I practice multiple things, that’s why you’re setting certain things done as consistent as they are.

“Also I work with incredible people. They really, really are phenomenal. You look at the reliability I’ve had [one DNF in the last 79 races and none in the last 45] – that’s no coincidence. That’s done from the guys really not taking no for an answer and people not sitting back on success, and continuing to develop together.”

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Garry Ringrose: Ireland centre facing spell out with broken jaw

Ireland centre Garry Ringrose will be out for up to six weeks after breaking his jaw in Saturday’s 50-17 Six Nations victory over Italy, coach Andy Farrell confirmed.

Ringrose suffered the injury after his face came in contact with Edoardo Padovani’s knee when he tried to charge down the Italy winger’s clearance during the first half of the contest in an empty Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The 25-year-old will miss Ireland’s final Six Nations game against France next week, where a bonus-point victory in Paris will guarantee them the title.

  • Ireland go top, but may regret late concession
  • Six Nations: Ireland 50-17 Italy recap

“Garry Ringrose has broken his jaw so bad news for us all,” said Farrell.

“He’s been so good for us the last 10 days, he has been absolutely fantastic with his leadership and he was a big part of the reason why we got what we wanted out of today.

“He was unfortunate with his thumb injury earlier in the Six Nations and has come back and had a setback like that which will keep him out for four to six weeks, so we’re gutted for Garry.”

Ringrose could potentially be ruled out of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Cup campaign which starts in November.

Ireland are scheduled to face Wales on November 13, England on November 21, and Georgia eight days later.

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Sky Sports and BT Sport 'want to scrap Premier League's PPV scheme'

Sky Sports and BT Sport ‘want to scrap Premier League’s controversial pay-per-view scheme charging fans Β£14.95-a-match after fans complain about the pricey service’

  • Reports claim Sky Sports and BT Sport want to scrap the pay-per-view schemeΒ 
  • Premier League fans are being asked to pay Β£14.95-a-match for some games
  • The service has been since its October launch with some fans boycotting games
  • A Sky source claimed the pay-per-view scheme is ‘damaging their reputation’

Both Sky Sports and BT Sport are open to scrapping the controversial pay-per-view scheme for Premier League games, claiming it is ‘damaging their reputations’.Β 

England’s top-flight are charging fans Β£14.95-per-match in order to gain access to the matches not selected in the original TV picks, with the matches shown on the TV pair’s Box Office channels.Β 

The scheme has been slammed by fans for a variety of reasons, from a lack of analysis coverage in the service to the idea of forking out even more money for TV football subscriptions this season.

Sky and BT are open to scrapping the Premier League’s Β£14.95-a-match pay-per-view serviceΒ 

Fans are being asked to pay Β£14.95-a-match to watch half of the top-flight matches this season

And a Sky source told The Mirror: ‘Sky is not happy to be involved in showing the pay-per-view games. We never thought it was a good idea and nothing’s changed since it started.Β 

‘It is damaging the reputation of Sky Sports to be linked to this scheme – and that feeling is shared at BT. Everyone here would prefer for it to stop.’Β 

On Saturday night, Liverpool fans boycotted their match against Sheffield United broadcasted on Sky Sports Box Office and instead donated Β£14.95 to foodbank charities.Β 

The Reds supporters, led by fan group Spirit of Shankly, raised over Β£81,000 and follows the work done by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford in fighting child poverty and starvation.Β 

Other fan groups of Premier League sides such as Arsenal’s Supporters Trust, whose side face Leicester City on Sunday night on the Sky Box Office channel, are also setting up online donations as an alternative to watching games.Β 

Some Liverpool fans boycotted Saturday’s Sheffield United game on Sky Sports Box Office

According to reports, both BT and Sky feel their ‘reputations are being damaged’ by PPV

The pay-per-view scheme was brought in for the first time this season as fans continue to be kept away from football grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.Β 

The launch of the service came about as the UK Government’s plans to reintroduce fans into stadia was scrapped at the beginning of October due to a spike in cases across the nation.Β 

The last Premier League match to accept fans in the ground took place on March 9, as Aston Villa were beaten 4-0 by Leicester City.

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Jack Nowell set to miss England’s autumn internationals with toe injury

Jack Nowell is set to miss England’s autumn international fixtures after revealing he is to undergo surgery on a ligament injury in his toe.

The 27-year-old says he has been playing through the injury as he helped the Exeter Chiefs to a historic European Champions Cup and Premiership double.

  • Exeter pip Wasps to secure historic double
  • Ireland go top but may regret late concession
  • England vs Barbarians cancelled due to Covid breach

Nowell broke the news after playing the entirety of Exeter’s 19-13 win over Wasps on Saturday that saw them seal their second Premiership title.

He said: “I’ve ruptured the ligaments around my toe and had to dig deep a little bit. I’ve not trained at all for two weeks so it’s something I have to get fixed and once I’ve sobered up I’ll find out.

“It’s been horrendous, it’s my big toe so any drive has been painful. I played in the final last week so spent the week trying to get the swelling out of it.

“But I would never have forgiven myself if I hadn’t given it a go and it’s great to be backed by the coaches.”

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter said: “He’s battled through and done everything he can and you have to give him credit and to do that for the club when the international matches are coming along,” he said.

Nowell also featured in all 80 minutes of the Chiefs’ 31-27 victory against Racing 92 in the Champions Cup final on October 17.

Nowell has been a regular in Eddie Jones’ England squads since the Australian became head coach in 2015 and would have been a strong contender to feature in their four Tests over the next five weeks.

England conclude the delayed Six Nations in Italy on October 31 before hosting Georgia on November 14 and Ireland on November 21, and then travelling to face Wales on November 28.

Exeter pip Wasps to secure historic double

A Henry Slade try and 14 points via the boot of Joe Simmonds saw Rob Baxter’s Chiefs secure their second Premiership title with a 19-13 win over Wasps in driving rain at a deserted Twickenham.

The triumph also saw Exeter confirm a historic cup double, following on from their 31-27 European Cup final victory over Racing 92 in Bristol last week.

Wasps, who came into the final minus 11 squad players due to positive coronavirus tests and close contact protocols, scored their points through a Jacob Umaga try, Jimmy Gopperth conversion and two Gopperth penalties.

Lee Blackett’s side were always in the tight and error-ridden contest, played out in torrential rain for its entirety, but were left to rue a late five-metre lineout throw which was critically stolen by Exeter replacement Jonny Gray.

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Match Report – Ireland 50 – 17 Italy

Ireland scored seven tries and 50 points to move to the top of the 2020 Six Nations table with a bonus-point win over Italy, but the late concession of a try could hurt their title chances. 

Debutant wing Hugo Keenan scored two tries, while fellow debutant Will Connors scored a try and earned the man of the match for an all-action display in defence and at the breakdown.

CJ Stander, Johnny Sexton, Bundee Aki and Dave Heffernan added further tries, while Sexton kicked five conversions and a penalty, with Ross Byrne adding a further conversion.

For Italy, an Edoardo Padovani intercept try, plus a further Paolo Garbisi try in the final play of the match – after Ireland had taken a drop-goal conversion to ensure further play – brought them 17 points.

Ireland now travel to face France in Paris in the final round of the Six Nations next week, while England travel to face Italy, with the title likely to come down to bonus-points and points difference.

More to follow…

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Terry O’Connor: Judge cleared of using phone in Lewis Ritson fight

Judge Terry O’Connor will not face any disciplinary action in relation to Lewis Ritson’s controversial win over Miguel Vazquez, after the British Boxing Board of Control cleared him of using a phone while scoring the fight.

Ritson received a split decision win over Vazquez on October 17, with O’Connor scoring the super-lightweight bout widely in the Newcastle fighter’s favour.

  • Ritson judge O’Connor to explain ‘phone’ criticism
  • ‘I’ll KO Campbell then a YouTuber’

A picture later emerged on social media which purportedly showed O’Connor looking at a phone during the fight in Peterborough.

However, after investigating the matter, the BBBofC says it is satisfied O’Connor was “not in possession of any telephone or handheld device whilst carrying out his duties as a judge”.

A BBBofC statement read: “British Boxing Board of Control Judge Mr. Terry O’Connor appeared before the Stewards of the Board to discuss his performance at the tournament held on 17th October 2020 at the East of England Showground Arena, Peterborough.

“Allegations made on social media and the print media as to Mr. O’Connor using a mobile telephone or similar handheld device were considered.

“Following extensive consideration of footage and Mr. O’Connor’s evidence supplied, the Stewards are satisfied that Mr. O’Connor was not in possession of any telephone or handheld device whilst carrying out his duties as a judge in the contest between Lewis Ritson and Miguel Vazquez and his scoring of said bout was not affected in any way.

“In addition, Mr. O’Connor’s scoring of the bout was considered and whilst judging a contest is subjective and following Mr. O’Connor’s explanation of how he scored the bout, the Stewards are satisfied that Mr. O’Connor’s final score reflected his own opinion of the contest.”

O’Connor scored the fight 117-111 for Ritson, with fellow judge Michael Alexander also favouring the British fighter 115-113.

The third judge, Marcus McDonnell, scored the fight 116-113 in favour of Vazquez and Ritson’s promoter Eddie Hearn admitted afterwards that he thought the Mexican had done enough to win.

“Watching from home and felt Vazquez deserved the win there,” Hearn tweeted.

Ritson, meanwhile, played down talk of a potential future fight against former WBA super-lightweight champion Regis Prograis, who lost to British fighter Josh Taylor in October last year.

“We got the win but it showed where we are. Call out Regis Prograis? I think we’ve got a little while before we get to them,” said Ritson.

“That was an eye-opener. We are world fringe level.”

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