In Brief

Sport shorts: All Blacks promote Ian Foster to head coach role and Red Bull are confident Max Verstappen will stay

Ten things from the world of sport on Wednesday 11 December

1. Foster named All Blacks head coach

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has confirmed that Ian Foster will take over as the new head coach of the All Blacks in 2020.  

Foster has spent the past eight years as New Zealand’s assistant head coach and he will now step up as successor to Steve Hansen. 

The 54-year-old will be joined by four assistant coaches, who will be announced in due course. 

NZR chairman Brent Impey said: “He brings world-class international experience to the role, an incredibly strong coaching team, and we think he’ll do an outstanding job.

“While we can’t confirm the full make-up of the coaching team today, we’re delighted with the quality they bring − they have a wide range of coaching experiences and are a diverse group of thinkers.”

After signing a two-year deal Foster said: “I feel truly privileged and honoured to be given this opportunity and I can’t wait to lead the team into the next chapter of what is a remarkable legacy. 

“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the All Blacks over the last eight years and I’m excited and energised by a new coaching team who will join me. 

“It’s incredibly humbling to be appointed to the job and I have a strong desire to serve the jersey well and represent New Zealand to the best of my ability.”

2. Tributes paid to Natalie Harrowell

Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer has paid tribute to Featherstone Rovers and England international forward Natalie Harrowell, who has died at the age of 29.

Rimmer said: “This is tragic news. She was part of a group of players who made history when Featherstone played Bradford in the first Women’s Super League Grand Final in 2017.

“And the three England caps she earned during an era of huge progress for women’s rugby league are an indication of the respect in which she was held by team-mates and opponents alike.”

3. Abramovich rejects Chelsea offer 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has rejected a takeover approach from Todd Boehly, a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. Abramovich reportedly turned down an offer of almost £2.5bn ($3bn), but US financier Boehly remains interested in a deal.

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4. Lord’s and Hove to host Hundred finals

The host venues have been announced for next summer’s finals of The Hundred cricket competitions. Hove will host the inaugural women’s final on 14 August while Lord’s will host the men’s final a day later.  

5. Hammers consult players over Pellegrini

The Daily Mail says West Ham’s owners will speak to the club’s players before deciding on the future of under-fire manager Manuel Pellegrini. Monday’s 3-1 home loss against Arsenal has left the Hammers one point above the Premier League relegation zone.

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen

David Ramos/Getty Images

6. Horner: Verstappen is ‘very happy’ at Red Bull 

Red Bull Racing boss Cristian Horner is confident star driver Max Verstappen with stay with the team despite reports linking him with a move to Formula 1 champions Mercedes. Horner said: “He’s very happy in this team, and we love having him within the team. He fits very well here. It’s down to us to give him a competitive car next year.”

7. Woods and Thomas pair up in Presidents Cup

Team US captain Tiger Woods will partner Justin Thomas in the opening fourballs match of golf’s Presidents Cup, which starts tomorrow in Melbourne, Australia. Woods and Thomas will take on Team International’s Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann. The 2019 Presidents Cup will be live on Sky Sports.  

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8. Euro giants target Neymar and Mbappe 

Europe’s top clubs are keeping tabs on Paris Saint-Germain stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. According to reports Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona are keen on the forwards. 

9. Ancelotti is in demand after sacking  

Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by Napoli last night and speculation was swift to link him to Premier League clubs Everton and Arsenal. Napoli fired Ancelotti an hour after he had guided the club to the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 4-0 home win against Genk. It was the Italian outfit’s first win in ten matches but not one that prevented his dismissal.

10. Sweet 16 for Prem clubs 

All four Premier League sides will be in the draw for the Champions League last 16 after Liverpool and Chelsea secured their spots last night. 

Holders Liverpool won 2-0 against Red Bull Salzburg to finish top of group E while Chelsea were 2-1 winners over Lille to finish runners-up in group H. 

Manchester City and Tottenham, who are in action tonight, have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition. 

Today’s back pages

Salah stunner seals a ‘full English’ in Champions League last 16

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