Sport shorts: England name Six Nations squad and Coco stuns Venus in Melbourne
Ten things from the world of sport on Monday 20 January
1. England Six Nations squad revealed
England head coach Eddie Jones today announced his 34-man squad for the 2020 Six Nations rugby championship.
Jones has included 22 players who featured in the squad that finished runners-up at the Rugby World Cup. England begin their Six Nations campaign with a trip to Paris to face France on Sunday 2 February.
Eight uncapped players are included in Jones’s squad. Tom Dunn, Ben Earl and Ollie Thorley have previously been involved while Fraser Dingwall, George Furbank, Alex Moon, Will Stuart and Jacob Umaga are called up for the first time.
Jones said: “It is always about winning the next game so we have picked the best squad available. At the same time we wanted to bring some young players in because we need to keep building our depth so for those new players it is an exciting opportunity for them.”
Meanwhile, Steve Borthwick will leave his coaching role with England at the end of the season. Jason Ryles, the current boss of Australian rugby league side Melbourne Storm, will join Jones’s staff in November as skills coach.
England Six Nations squad
- Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Ted Hill, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Alex Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams
- Backs: Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, George Ford, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Jacob Umaga, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs
2. More woe for relegated Saracens
It’s been some weekend for Saracens. England’s most powerful rugby union club of recent years learned on Friday that they will be relegated at the end of this season after breaching salary cap rules.
The squad then faced Racing 92 of Paris in the final game of the Champions Cup pool stage needing a win to reach the quarter-final. They got the victory (a nerve-jangling 27-24 win) but it came at a price - for them and England - with No.8 Billy Vunipola leaving the field in the first half with a broken forearm.
It’s the fourth time in two years that he’s broken the same arm, and it ends Vunipola’s season.
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
3. Hamilton to stay at Mercedes?
After months of speculation linking him with a move to Ferrari in 2021, reports in Italy claim that Lewis Hamilton is set to stay with Mercedes and sign a new two-year deal.
British driver Hamilton is out of contract at the end of 2020 and it was revealed last month that he had held informal talks with Mercedes’s main rivals.
However, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the 35-year-old is on the verge of extending his contract with Mercedes and will continue to drive for the champions in 2021 and 2022.
4. Westwood eyes Ryder Cup spot
With his victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship yesterday English golfer Lee Westwood has become only the third player to win European Tour events in four different decades.
The 45-year-old now has his sights set on playing for Team Europe at this year’s Ryder Cup. He said: “It’s only come to the forefront of my mind, that now I’ve got a chance to make the Ryder Cup team.
“I thought I was done in the Ryder Cup to be honest as a player. I would love to play another Ryder Cup as long as I’m good enough.”
5. Gauff stuns Williams again
American teenager Coco Gauff has stolen the headlines on day one of the 2020 Australian Open tennis grand slam in Melbourne after defeating Venus Williams in straight sets. The 15-year-old also beat Williams in the first round at Wimbledon last summer.
In the women’s singles 23-time grand slam winner Serena Williams, world No.1 Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Naomi Osaka are also through to the second round.
Six-time Australian Open winner Roger Federer and British No.1 Dan Evans are through to the men’s singles second round.
6. England secure Test win in Port Elizabeth
England have taken a 2-1 series lead against South Africa after winning the third Test by an innings and 53 runs in Port Elizabeth.
Captain Joe Root said: “The guys are listening to my message, the way we want to play the game. We’ve got a lot of learning to do and we want to keep getting better. Now we’re starting to see results, it’s feeding through the group. Long may that continue.”
The fourth and final Test of the series starts in Johannesburg on Friday.
7. Kerr nets first goal for Chelsea
Australian star Sam Kerr scored her first goal for Chelsea in their impressive 4-1 victory over Women’s Super League (WSL) champions Arsenal yesterday. Beth England, Sophie Ingle and Guro Reiten were also on target.
Manchester City have moved to the top of the WSL table above Arsenal on goal difference after their 2-0 win at Birmingham.
8. 49ers to face Chiefs in Super Bowl
The countdown is on to Super Bowl LIV after the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs secured their spots in the 2 February spectacle in Miami.
Last night the 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers 37-20 to win the NFC Championship while the Chiefs were 35-24 victors against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship match.
Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who threw three touchdown passes and ran in one himself, said: “We’re going to the Super Bowl and going to play our best football.”
9. Kop confident of title
Liverpool fans left Anfield yesterday singing about how they’re going to win the league. Now the rest of the country believes them after they maintained their unbeaten Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win over rivals Manchester United.
Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah were on target as Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table. Jurgen Klopp’s men are now 16 points clear of Manchester City with a game in hand.
10. Today’s back pages
Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Manchester United makes most of the headlines on the back pages, and with it the news that Marcus Rashford is out for at least three months with a stress fracture of his lower back.
“Pain in the Rash” is the rather forced headline in the Daily Star, while the Independent notes that the United striker’s absence will be keenly felt by a club who are already worryingly short of firepower.