In Brief

Sport shorts: Conor McGregor announces UFC comeback date, Renault lose Japan GP points, England recall George Ford

Ten things from the world of sport on Thursday 24 October

1. McGregor sets UFC comeback date

Mixed martial arts (MMA) star Conor McGregor has announced that he will make his return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on 18 January 2020 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Irishman McGregor has not fought in the UFC since his defeat against Khabib Nurmagomedov in October last year. 

The 31-year-old had “retired” from MMA in March, but at a press conference in Moscow today he confirmed his return.

McGregor, a former UFC world champion in two divisions, said: “This date is agreed. I don’t care who will be my opponent.”

2. Renault disqualified from Japan GP

Formula 1 has confirmed that Renault have been disqualified from the results of the Japanese Grand Prix. 

A protest made by Racing Point was upheld and this means the French team lose the nine points they scored at Suzuka. Daniel Ricciardo had finished sixth and Nico Hulkenberg was tenth.

F1 said: “Racing Point’s protest regarded an alleged breach of the Sporting and Technical Regulations and the FIA International Sporting Code, relating to a ‘pre-set, automated brake bias system’.

“The operation of the system, they claimed, could be seen via onboard camera footage, with the brake balance display on the Renault drivers’ steering wheels changing without driver input.”

F1 Mexican GP: preview, predictions and title permutations

3. Anfield to host women’s Merseyside derby

The FA Women’s Super League (WSL) Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton on 17 November will be played at Anfield. The clash between the rivals takes place on Women’s Football Weekend and is the first WSL fixture to be played at the stadium.

4. Irving scores 50 on debut - but Nets still lose

Kyrie Irving marked his Brooklyn Nets debut with 50 points but his team still lost 127-126 in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 27-year-old’s 50-point tally was the most by a player making their NBA franchise debut. 

5. Hill, 15, unable to cash in on golfing glory

English teenager Josh Hill has made golfing history by becoming the youngest player to win an Official World Golf Ranking event. 

Hill won the Al Ain Open in the UAE, an event which is part of the Mena Tour. At 15 years, six months and 27 days old he has beaten the previous record set by Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa. He said: “I really don’t know what to say right now. I am shocked.”

Because he is an amateur the £10,477 prize money was awarded to professional Harry Ellis who finished second.

6. Ford recalled by England 

England head coach Eddie Jones has selected George Ford at fly-half for the Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand on Saturday.

Ford, who started the group games but missed out in the quarter-final against Australia, returns at No.10 with England captain Owen Farrell moving to inside centre alongside Manu Tuilagi. Henry Slade drops to the bench.

New Zealand starting XV 
  • 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith; 1 Joe Moody, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 6 Scott Barrett, 7 Ardie Savea, 8 Kieran Read (captain) 
  • Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Jordie Barrett 
England starting XV 
  • 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Billy Vunipola  
  • Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jonathan Joseph

England vs. New Zealand: preview, team news and predictions

7. Kolbe to miss semi-final against Wales

South Africa winger Cheslin Kolbe will miss Sunday’s RWC semi-final with Wales because of an ankle injury. Sbu Nkosi comes into the Springboks side.

Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby, said: “It’s disappointing not to have Cheslin available as he has been brilliant for us since we first called him up last year. But we really rate Sbu and he will slot straight in.” 

Wales will name their semi-final team tomorrow. 

South Africa starting XV
  • 15 Willie Le Roux, 14 S’Busiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Tendai Mtawarira, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Lood de Jager, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 7 Pieter-Steph Du Toit, 8 Duane Vermeulen  
  • Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18. Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn

8. Juve and Real will battle for Pogba

According to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport Juventus will go head-to-head with Real Madrid to try and sign Paul Pogba next summer. The French World Cup winner has reportedly told Manchester United that he won’t sign a new contract.

9. Another Messi milestone in the Champions League

Lionel Messi has created Champions League history after becoming the first player to score in the Uefa competition for a 15th successive season. 

Barcelona won 2-1 at Slavia Prague last night and Messi’s third-minute strike opened the scoring in the Czech Republic. 

Messi has now scored 113 Champions League goals, all for Barcelona, and the Argentine is second on the all-time scoring list behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: all-time goals and career statistics

10. Chelsea and Liverpool win away in UCL

Frank Lampard hailed his Chelsea “babies” after their superb 1-0 victory away at Ajax in the Champions League last night. 

Substitute Michy Batshuayi scored the winning goal on 86 minutes to give the Blues the three points and move them level with Ajax at the top of group H.

Liverpool thrashed Genk 4-1 in Belgium but the Champions League holders still sit second in group E after Napoli’s 3-2 win at RB Salzburg.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice for Liverpool - the second was a wonder goal with the outside of his boot.

Today’s back pages

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea ‘babies’ come of age with win at Ajax

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