Australia coach Robbie Deans has hinted that James O’Connor is set to be handed the No 10 shirt to take on the British and Irish Lions.
With Quade Cooper omitted from the initial 25-strong squad revealed by Deans – and Kurtley Beale currently having taken a break from the game for personal issues – O’Connor is the favourite to fill the playmaker role.
Christian Lealiifano and Berrick Barnes are other possible contenders for the fly-half role, while Deans could still call up Cooper when he adds six more players to his squad on June 11.
However Deans is likely to give O’Connor, who has played across the backline since making his Test debut as an 18-year-old against Italy.
“We believe he caters for our need,” said Deans.
“The last time he played for us, and obviously he wasn’t available at any stage last year, he played at No 10 against Wales at the end of 2011 and did a very good job.
Opportunities “In the outings he’s had he’s got the components we are looking for.
“He’s clearly a bloke who traumatises defences, he keeps the attack very square, which provides opportunities for the channels (runners) around him.” O’Connor has started just one Test at fly-half – against Wales back in December 2011 – however he is ready to lead from the front if needed.
“Nothing’s set in stone – it’s still six weeks until the first Lions game,” he said.
“But I’ve played No 10 all my life so I’m pretty comfortable there if I get given the opportunity.
“If I can put on that gold jersey again, it’s going to be massive.
“I missed last year through injury and there are a lot of good players playing this year who are in flying form.
“But if the opportunity comes, I’m going to take it with both hands.” Watch the every Lions game live and exclusive only on Sky Sports.
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It came down to Mike “Moose Tacos” Moustakas against Ryan Cook with runners at 2B and 3B with 2 out in the 9th, and of course the count had to go full. Moustakas bounced to 2B and the A’s were back over .500. As Shakespeare would say…To sweep, perchance to dweam!
It didn’t come easy today for the A’s or for A.J.
Griffin1, as the Royals2 put up picket fences in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. In the 3rd, Griffin walked Chris Getz3 (on a strike, but we won’t bother to be bitter because the A’s won) and Getz came around to score (on an Alex Gordon4 hit, one of 4 he had today). In the 4th, Griffin walked Hosmer leading off, and Hosmer came around to score (on a single by Getz, who had two hits and a walk today despite generally being terrible with a bat in his hand).
2 B and 3B, one out, and that’s when Griffin channeled his inner-Milone, popping up Moustakas, and getting Jeff Francouer on a bouncer to 3B.
Oakland got to within a run, 3-2, in the 5th when Eric Sogard6 doubled and Jed Lowrie7, whose searing line drives kept finding gloves, blooped a two out single to RF. Then after Hideki Okajima8 made a successful A’s debut with a scoreless top of the 7th, the A’s tied it in the bottom half with some help not from on high, but rather from on Lough.
Leading off, Derek Norris ripped a single to CF and as David Lough9 came in and then laid back to play it on a hop, he let the ball play him and watched in horror as the ball missed his glove and scooted on by all the way to the CF wall. We call this “doing a Hamilton”.
3-3 going to the 8th, where Jerry Blevins12 tossed a scoreless inning. Neither Sean Doolittle nor Grant Balfour13 was available today, so Blevins had the 8th and Cook the 9th. Yoenis Cespedes14 made sure it would be a save situation for Cook in the 9th. He made sure by greeting Kelvim Herrera with a booming HR to left-center field, clearing the wall by at least 3 Angel Hernandez’s (a measurement of how far beyond an actual HR a HR needs to go not to be forsaken).
It also cleared by at least 2 Altuves.
That gave the A’s a 4-3 lead for Cook, and the A’s back-up closer got the first 2 outs before Billy Butler15 singled, Hosmer singled pinch runner Elliot Johnson to 3B, Hosmer stole 2B representing the go-ahead run, and that’s when the Cooked Moose was served. Moustakas was 0-for-the-series and something like 1 for 25 on the Royals’ road trip. He’s no Chris Getz.
The A’s outscored Kansas City all of 8-5 in the series, and had to come from behind each game.
On to Texas!
- ^ A.J.
- ^ Royals (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Chris Getz (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Alex Gordon (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Eric Hosmer (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Eric Sogard (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Jed Lowrie (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Hideki Okajima (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ David Lough (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Adam Rosales (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Coco Crisp (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Jerry Blevins (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Grant Balfour (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Yoenis Cespedes (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Billy Butler (www.sbnation.com)
Australia coach Robbie Deans addresses the media at the announcement of the Wallabies squad to face the Lions.
Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty Images The Australia coach Robbie Deans has left the door open for the likes of Quade Cooper to make the final squad to face the British and Irish Lions after the Reds playmaker failed to make the initial 25-man group.
Deans included three uncapped players in his squad, with the former rugby league international Israel Folau capping a remarkable rise after just 12 Super 15 appearances for the Waratahs since switching from Australian rules football at the start of the season.
The Brumbies captain Ben Mowen and the inside centre Christian Lealiifano were the other new faces in the group.
“Today is not the end of it for players who haven’t been named,” said Deans.
“There are six more places to be filled in the squad while every Super Rugby player in Australia will have the opportunity to play international rugby against the Lions during the tour matches, as will the country representative players.
It’s an exciting time.” Deans said the selection was based on both current Super Rugby form and previous Test background, adding that preparation time for the squad was important.
He said: “That time will be critical.
You only have to look back to the experience in 2001, where Australia lost the first Test, to see the consequence of a compromised preparation.
We have our own more recent experience of something similar.
Rod Macqueen the 2001 Wallabies coach has since made it clear that despite the build-up they had, which included a warm-up game; they were caught short in that opening game.
We have to make the most of the limited preparation time we have in place in order to avoid a similar result.” The experienced Brumbies flanker George Smith (knee) and the Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (fractured arm) have both been overlooked, opening the door for the Reds duo Liam Gill and Saia Fainga’a.
The Australian Rugby Union was prepared to bend the rules for Smith, who is on loan from the Japanese club Suntory, to allow the 110-Test veteran to play in his second series against the Lions.
But a suspected medial ligament injury threatens to rule him out of the three-Test series.
There was also no room for the former John Eales medallist Kurtley Beale or the inside centre Pat McCabe (knee injury), with the Waratahs midfielder Rob Horne getting the nod in a selection surprise.
The Waratahs playmaker Berrick Barnes made the cut after two impressive performances off the bench upon return from injury, while the winger Nick Cummins was the only Western Force player included.
But Cooper’s non-selection will be the major talking point in the coming days.
The Rebels utility James O’Connor is considered the man most likely to wear the No10 shirt in the first Test in Brisbane on 22 June, while Barnes and Lealiifano are also options.
However, Cooper can still play his way into the Wallabies squad, with a further six players to be added on 11 June.
The 38-Test fly-half still has two Super 15 games and the Reds v Lions midweek fixture to impress selectors before the final 31 are chosen.
Beale could also be a late inclusion despite checking himself into a rehab clinic to deal with alcohol-related issues on Monday.
The top 25 players will play two more rounds of Super 15 before assembling in camp in Sydney on 2 June to begin preparations for the series opener.
Preliminary Australia 25-man squad: Ben Alexander, Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins, Dave Dennis, Saia Fainga’a, Israel Folau, Will Genia, Liam Gill, Scott Higginbotham, Michael Hooper, Rob Horne, James Horwill, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Christian Lealiifano, Stephen Moore, Ben Mowen, James O’Connor, Wycliff Palu, Benn Robinson, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Sitaleki Timani, Joe Tomane.
Israel Folau named in Australia squad after excellent season with the Waratahs Former rugby league star Israel Folau is included in a 25-man Australia squad for this year’s Test series against the British and Irish Lions.
However Quade Cooper is a notable absentee for the three-match schedule that starts next month.
James O’Connor, Berrick Barnes and Christian Lealiifano were all included in the squad, with coach Robbie Deans adding six more members to his party on June 11 – which offers Cooper a glimmer of hope.
Cooper appears to be paying the price for his criticism of both the Wallabies’ squad and Deans during 2012 when he described the atmosphere within the camp as a “toxic environment.” Folau, Lealiifano and Ben Mowen are the three uncapped players in the squad with the former an ex-league player with Queensland now representing New South Wales at union.
Nonsense4> The captain will be named when Deans finalises his squad but it is widely expected to be lock James Horwill.
And Deans, speaking of Cooper, said: “People will say that’s the end for Quade but that’s not the case.
“I’ve selected him on 38 occasions.
He’s had a lot of faith and support from me.
To suggest otherwise is nonsense.” Talking about the Lions, Deans added: “We understand what’s coming and that the Lions have a very experienced combination.
“They have a physical side, particularly in the backline so we have to deal with it.” The Lions will play nine matches in Australia, starting against Western Force in Perth on June 5.
The three Tests will be in Brisbane (June 22), Melbourne (June 29) and Sydney (July 6).
Backs: Israel Folau, Digby Ioane, Joe Tomane, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Christian Lealiifano, Berrick Barnes, James O’Connor, Will Genia.
Forwards: Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Liam Gill, Scott Higginbotham, Dave Dennis, Ben Mowen, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Sitaleki Timani, James Slipper, Ben Alexander, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Saia Faingaa
The A’s try to win the weekend series and get back to .500 as Tommy Milone takes the mound tonight, looking to repeat the performance by Parker last night.
The A’s welcome back Chris Young as they get another piece back into the lineup.
1 Total Update since May 18, 2013
By and | Wayne Rooney will not travel with the Manchester United squad for Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game but he does so with the blessing of his retiring manager.
Rooney was given permission to miss the trip to West Bromwich as wife Coleen, expecting their second child, went into labour late on Saturday night.
The couple already have a three-year-old son, Kai.
Champion: Wayne Rooney won his fifth title with Manchester United – but will he stay to win another? The player’s future at Old Trafford could become clearer in the coming days when it is expected he will meet new manager David Moyes to plan a way forward.
Rooney had become disillusioned after believing that he was being marginalised by Sir Alex and asked for a transfer last month, having become resigned to the thought that his prospects at United were limited.
The striker is understood to be keen to start afresh under Moyes, his former manager at Everton, and is seeking reassurance about his future.
Familiar face: Rooney and David Moyes are set for talks at Old Trafford The pair once fell out over false claims made in the player’s autobiography about Moyes leaking information to the press.
Since then, though, Moyes has spoken warmly of Rooney after he said the player phoned him to apologise personally and to thank his old boss for the guidance he gave early in his career.
Moyes is expected to meet Rooney, before taking a holiday at the end of this month, as one of the more pressing issues at the start of his Old Trafford reign.
Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones has apologised to team-mate Glenn Whelan after smashing his car windscreen in a mistaken act of retribution for a training-ground prank which went wrong.
Jones took to Twitter tonight to clarify the circumstances of an incident that has led to Stoke opening an internal investigation.
Jones revealed he had spoken to team-mates today, including Whelan, after he found a pig’s head wrapped in his clothes at the Barclays Premier League club’s Clayton Wood training ground yesterday.
Hamming it up: Brek Shea posted this image of him holding a pig’s head in the Stoke changing room The 28-year-old reacted by smashing Whelan’s windscreen, but he was tonight left to apologise and offer pay for the damage after the Republic of Ireland international claimed he was not involved in the prank.
Stoke are yet to make a statement as to whether any player will be punished for the incident, which came ahead of their final game at Southampton tomorrow, with Jones claiming the culprit was still yet to come forward.
Jones suggested he and Whelan had now moved on from the matter, denying also that the incident was racially motivated.
Addressing the issue on his Twitter page, Jones wrote: ‘First off for all the people saying this had anything to with racism I’m not endorsing that.
‘Secondly i’ve apologised to glen Whelan for the destruction of his property.
Apology: Jones took to Twitter tonight to clarify the incident ‘For all the people that think that the pigs head wrapped in my clothes was banter great so is the broken window.
‘As far as tension in the squad there’s nun (sic) myself and whelan had our thrash out and he said it wasnt him so I apologised n im paying for it.
‘As for the person who did it no one has come fwd n apologised to me so I guess the joke was gd then.
‘But as I said if you have the belly to take banter to that level be willing to accept the reaction.
Thats final no more comments.’ Stoke midfielder Brek Shea yesterday tweeted a picture of himself with the pig’s head with the words ‘locker room banter gone wild’.
Not happy: Kenwyne Jones was the victim of the pig’s head prank The incident came just days after retiring striker Michael Owen had his car covered in eggs and flour by team-mates.
Jones was also involved on that occasion, tweeting a picture of Owen’s car to his followers with the explanation that it was a ‘leaving present’ for the former England star.
‘For all the ppl that think I did micheal Owen’s car I didn’t,’ Jones wrote tonight.
‘I just posted the pics of it , I was never involved in any of the pranks in the dressing room.’ Happy Sunday: Michael Owen woke up to find his car caked in eggs and flour before his final game Stoke opened an investigation into the matter last night although they were unavailable for comment when contacted this evening.
‘The club takes seriously reports of an incident at our training ground this afternoon,’ the club said in yesterday’s statement.
‘A full internal investigation will be carried out and those responsible for any unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with in accordance with the club’s disciplinary procedures.’ Whelan and Shea are both doubtful for tomorrow’s match at St Mary’s due to groin and calf injuries respectively, although Jones has been listed as fit to take his place.
Short trip for Barton, as scarcely 8 games later, Daric is DFA’d for the second time by the A’s.
Barton played 8 games for the A’s, filling in at 1B and allowing the A’s to shift Brandon Moss to the OF.
In 23 PA Barton had a line of .143/.217/.286 and wOBA of .228 and a WAR of -0.1.
Kenwyne Jones: Stoke striker has responded after finding pig’s head in his locker Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones claims there is no tension in the Potters squad despite his angry reaction to finding a pig’s head in his locker at the club’s training ground.
The Premier League club have launched a full internal investigation into the incident, which came to light on Friday afternoon with Brek Shea posting a picture on Twitter.
Jones reportedly responded by damaging team-mate Glenn Whelan’s car, in the mistaken belief that the midfielder had been responsible.
The Trinidad and Tobago international has since apologised to Whelan and will pay for the damage caused, and although the person responsible is yet to come forward, Jones insists he bears no grudges.
“As far as tension in the squad there’s none.
Myself and Whelan had our thrash out and he said it wasn’t him so I apologised and I’m paying for it.” Kenwyne Jones In a series of postings on Twitter on Saturday evening, he wrote: “First off for all the people saying this had anything to do with racism, I’m not endorsing that.
“Secondly, I’ve apologised to Glenn Whelan for the destruction of his property, for all the people that think I did Michael Owen’s car, I didn’t.
I just posted the pictures of it, I was never involved in any of the pranks in the dressing room.
“So for all the people that think that the pig’s head wrapped in my clothes was banter, great, so is the broken window.
“As far as tension in the squad, there’s none.
Myself and Whelan had our thrash out and he said it wasn’t him so I apologised and I’m paying for it.
“As for the person who did it, no-one has come forward and apologised to me so I guess the joke was good then.
“But as I said, if you have the belly to take banter to that level, be willing to accept the reaction.
That’s final, no more comments.”