Wednesday 31 October 2012

Redpath Switches Sale Role

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Sale Sharks have confirmed that Bryan Redpath has accepted the position of head coach at the Aviva Premiership club.

The former Scotland international moves into the new role after being removed from the director of rugby position with the Sharks earlier this week.

Redpath will now be part of a rugby strategy management board chaired by club owner Brian Kennedy,chief executive Steve Diamond, former All Blacks and England assistant boss John Mitchell and Ian Blackhurst.

Sale are currently bottom of the Aviva Premiership following seven successive league defeats this season.

Kennedy said: "We are delighted to announce that Bryan Redpath will be taking on the role of head coach of Sale Sharks as from today.

"His four-year contract that commenced this year will stay in force. Sale Sharks have formed a rugby strategy management board which will meet regularly to devise and review the long-term rugby strategy.

"This board will be chaired by Brian Kennedy and consist of the following members: Ian Blackhurst, Steve Diamond, John Mitchell and Bryan Redpath.

"The priority of all the management within Sale Sharks is to get back to winning ways and secure our position in the Premiership. We believe we have the playing and coaching talent and structure to achieve this.

"Beyond this we must plan medium- and long-term to compete at the top of the game, and this will be the remit of the strategy board."

Diamond confirmed on Tuesday that he will be in charge of the team for the remainder of this season.

Former New Zealand coach and England assistant Mitchell, though, has been linked with a return to the club for a while.

Mitchell watched Sale's most recent games, including last Friday's narrow Premiership defeat against Worcester, and has been working with the club as a consultant.

Redpath took over at Sale in June, signing a four-year deal after leaving Gloucester.

But despite making some big-name signings, including Danny Cipriani and Richie Gray, Sale are currently firm relegation favourites with a third of the Premiership season having elapsed.

They have recorded a solitary victory from nine starts in all competitions this term, beating Heineken Cup opponents Cardiff Blues earlier this month.

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Telefonica End O2 Cork GAA Deal

Telecommunications company O2 will end their sponsorship deal with the Cork County Board at the end of the present contract on December 31st, 2012.

It will bring an end to a 15-year relationship between the pair and was believed to be only second in terms of investment to Dublin’s deal with Vodafone in sponsorship of county sides.

In a joint statement released this afternoon, O2 marketing director Eugene Mitchell said: “We have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with the Cork County Board since 1998, during which time we have shared in many memorable moments and achievements by the footballers and hurlers, including 26 national and 46 Munster titles.

“On behalf of O2, I would like to extend our gratitude to the County Board officers, to the players, team managements and supporters. We wish continued good fortune to all Cork teams and their loyal fans for the future.”

Bob Ryan, chairman of the Cork County Board, said: “We are obviously very sorry to lose O2 as sponsors of Cork GAA after 15 mutually successful years. The County Board officers, our hurling and football Players, our team managements and our supporters have enjoyed an excellent relationship with O2 and with its executives and representatives.

“We wish to thank them for their partnership and generous support over the years. We are currently in negotiations with a number of interested parties about the sponsorship of Cork GAA from 2013 onwards”.

O2, which is owned by Spanish company Telefonica, sponsors both the Ireland and England rugby teams

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St Nicholas Defends Breeders

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St Nicholas Abbey has been drawn well in stall three for the defence of his Breeders' Cup Turf title on Saturday.

The five-year-old won 12 months ago as his trainer Aidan's son Joseph became the youngest jockey, at 18, to win a race at the meeting.

Stablemate Excelebration goes from gate six in the Breeders' Cup Mile (2340 GMT) on the same card at Santa Anita.

Fifteen races, worth a total of over £15m, will be run with six contests on Friday and nine on Saturday.

St Nicholas Abbey won the Coronation Cup at Epsom in June and was then placed in three consecutive top-level events before finishing down the field in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp earlier this month.

The main American challenger in the Turf race (2218 GMT) is Point of Entry, drawn in stall one.

Excelebration, who has been placed five times behind the world's top-rated horse Frankel, triumphed in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on 20 October.

His opponents include French star Moonlight Cloud, drawn in nine, for trainer Freddie Head who is aiming to win the race for the sixth time in all, having ridden Miesque to two wins in 1980s before saddling Goldikova to three victories.

Last year's runner-up Game on Dude is among the leading contenders for the concluding Breeders' Cup Classic, which has no European entries.

The Bob Baffert-trained gelding was leading the race a year ago but was caught by Drosselmeyer in the final strides at Churchill Downs and finished second.

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Berg Set to Rejoin Blackburn

Former Blackburn defender Henning Berg is set to sign a three-year deal to become the club's new manager.

The imminent arrival of the 43-year-old, who has six years of managerial experience in his native Norway, ends the search for Steve Kean's successor.

Berg, who is expected to be unveiled on Thursday, will take charge with Blackburn fifth in the Championship.

He played almost 300 games in two spells with Rovers and won the Premier League title with the club in 1995.

Blackburn have waited more than a month to appoint a replacement for Kean, who resigned on 28 September after 21 months in charge.

The Championship club asked to speak with former Rovers players Tim Sherwood - currently the technical co-ordinator at Tottenham - and Fulham coach Billy McKinlay about the position, but both approaches were rejected.

And on Tuesday, Harry Redknapp distanced himself from the job following speculation he was planning talks with the club.

Berg, who was sacked by Lillestrom last October, made a big impression during discussions with Rovers earlier this week and will be handed his first managerial role in English football.

As a player, he was part of the Blackburn team that won the Premier League title under Kenny Dalglish and, in his second stint with the Lancashire side, the League Cup in 2002.

Berg won two further league titles during three years at Manchester United and is one of only three Norwegians to reach 100 caps for his country.

Since his departure from Lillestrom, the former Rangers centre-back has been working as a television pundit in Norway.

Blackburn have taken nine points from six matches under caretaker manager Eric Black, who admitted after Saturday's 1-0 win against Watford that he was unsure if he would remain in charge for this weekend's trip to managerless Crystal Palace.

"I've no idea, but it's been the same for four weeks," Black told BBC Radio Lancashire. "I'm just delighted with the response I've had from the players. They've been fantastic.

"The Wolves game [Black's only defeat] was one that disappointed everybody, but we had three away draws which I don't think were a disaster and two home wins.

"The players have shown that they're capable of getting us out of this division. I've enjoyed some parts of it and not enjoyed others, but I've enjoyed working with the players and I'll continue to work with them until I'm told not to."

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Garcia Returns for DP World

Sergio Garcia will make his comeback from eye surgery at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The Spaniard, who has not played since helping Europe to victory over the United States at the Ryder Cup in Medinah, underwent an operation to correct an astigmatism.

Garcia will now return at the European Tour's season-ending event, which gets underway at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in the United Arab Emirates on November 22.

"I had the surgery but everything went very well," the world number 21 said.

"I will have three tournaments towards the end of the year. I hope I can play good, finish on a high note and get ready for next year."
Asia Tour

The 32-year-old will then head for the Asia Tour in December after confirming his place in the field for the Thailand Golf Championship, as well as the Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia.

"I really like Thailand, I have been there for holiday and I really enjoyed the country," Garcia, who finished tied for 24th in the event last year, said.

"The tournament is very well organised, and I think it is a very nice tournament; everyone does a great job there."

Hunter Mahan will also be at the Amata Spring Country Club from December 6-9 for the Thailand Golf Championship, the penultimate event on this year's Asian Tour calendar.

The American is added to a stellar field that already included former world number one Lee Westwood and major winners Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson.

"My wife, Kandi, and I went on a vacation in Thailand a couple of years ago," Mahan said.

"We love to travel and it was definitely one of our favourite trips. The beaches were beautiful, the food was great- we had a really good time so I thought it was a great place for me to play, a great place for me to see and to show Thailand what kind of golfer I am."

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Williams Out to Davis in Chengdu

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World number four Mark Williams was beaten in the first round of the International Championship in Chengdu, China, by England's Mark Davis.

Davis, the world number 20, sealed a 6-4 win over the two-time world champion with a 138 clearance.

"Mark is a legend of the game but he was not at his best today," Davis told

World number two Judd Trump looked in good form, sealing a 6-3 victory over Fergal O'Brien.

A break of 118 was the highlight for Trump, who will meet world number 71 Aditya Mehta in the second round of the £600,000 world ranking event after the Indian stunned 10th-ranked Stuart Bingham 6-4.

"It's definitely my best win so far because Stuart has been one of the best players in the world this season," said Mehta. "It's great for my country. I will need to play better against Judd Trump and I am ready for it."

Marco Fu beat Martin Gould in an 11th-frame decider and goes on to play Davis, while there were also wins for Stephen Maguire, Mark Allen, Ding Junhui and Ricky Walden.

Maguire defeated Scottish compatriot Jamie Burnett 6-3 to book a last-16 meeting with Peter Ebdon.

Allen triumphed over Robert Milkins 6-2 to set up a meeting with Cao Yupeng, the player he accused of being dishonest at the World Championship in April.

Ding plays Shaun Murphy in the second round after a 6-1 thrashing of Chinese compatriot Zhou Yuelong, while Walden takes on world number one Mark Selby thanks to his 6-4 win over Lu Ning.

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Alex Dowsett becomes Movistar

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British time trial champion Alex Dowsett has left Team Sky to join Movistar for the 2013 season.

The 24-year-old from Essex joined Sky as a neo-pro rider in 2011 from the US-based Trek-Livestrong development team.

He has since shown his potential as a top time triallist, winning the British title in 2011 and 2012 and finishing eighth at this year's World Time Trial.

"It gives me new opportunities and Movistar have been itching to have me," Dowsett told BBC Essex.

"It's been fantastic at Team Sky. I thank them for everything they have done for me."

Dowsett missed out on a place in Great Britain's Olympic cycling team when his preparations were hampered by an elbow injury.

He also blamed his omission on the decision to allow drug cheats to represent GB at London 2012, with David Millar, who admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs in 2004, included in the squad.

He made headlines earlier this month when he described Lance Armstrong as a "legend" in the aftermath of the American's drugs ban.

But Dowsett said he was referring to what Armstrong had achieved in the fight against cancer and added he would not want to shake the Texan's hand.

The move to Movistar gives the Commonwealth Games silver medallist the opportunity to step into the main body of a team and to challenge for tour stage victories.

Movistar won the team classification at this year's Vuelta a Espana,where Alejandro Valverde also took the points and combination classifications.

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