Monthly Archives: March 2017

INTERVIEW: Leeds Trinity Saints miss out on title, but are hopeful for the future

Rugby Union side Leeds Trinity Saints narrowly missed out on winning the title this season despite a rampant 102-0 victory over Bolton on the final game of the season.

In that fixture the Saints scored a whopping 16 trys and 11 conversions.

The Saints finished in second place in the league table. Just one more victory would have seen them clinch the title, however in the end the Saints trailed just 5 points behind the eventual title winners.

The University of Liverpool Men’s Rugby Union 4th Team secured the title with a 73-6 win over Bangor, in a game where Liverpool scored 12 trys and 6 conversions.

I spoke to Leeds Trinity Saints’ flanker Joe Sanderson about his first season playing for the Saints.

A visibly disappointed Sanderson exclaimed: “Missing out on the league by such a narrow margin, is not good in any way”.

He added: “To lose it by one game is devastating especially when we’ve played so well all year.”

The Saints only lost one game all season, which happened to be against the league winners, in a 12-27 loss at home.

However the first year who applied to be team captain last month, was optimistic about the team’s chances of success next year, and remarked: “We want to build on what the captain’s done and we’ve got a team that can get promoted.”

The full interview with Joe is available below:

Many thanks to Joe for taking the time to talk to me.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

 

 

Midlands’s managerial changes: Struggling Nottingham Forest announce Mark Warburton as manager, while Derby County appoint Gary Rowett

Nottingham Forest, who find themselves just two points above the Championship relegation zone in 19th place, today announced former Rangers boss Mark Warburton as their new manager.

Warburton who has also successfully gained promotion with Brentford in the 2013/14 season has signed a 2 and a half-year deal at the Midlands club.

Warburton may face a baptism of fire as his first game in charge of The Reds is in the East Midlands derby against 10th placed Derby County on Saturday.

Derby are a team who have lost their last 4 away games going into this fixture and are also going through their own period of change.

This is due to the sacking of Steve McLaren, and the recent appointment of the former Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett. The 43 year-old has signed a contract that lasts until the end of the 2018/19 season.

Gary Rowett told the official Derby County club website: “I feel a special bond with the club having been here as a player”.

Both managers will have a tough task of rejuvenating their sides, with relegation looming over Warburton’s side, and a seemingly unlikely chance of securing a play-off place for Rowett’s Rams.

The last time the two teams met, Forest triumphed 2-1 over the Rams courtesy of a 92nd minute winner from Ben Osborn.

The upcoming game between the two teams takes place at The City Ground this Saturday, 1pm kick-off.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs Reading 17/03/17

Promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Reading will take on each other at Hillsborough this Friday in what could prove to be crucial fixture in the battle of securing a play-off place.

The last time the teams faced each other saw Reading triumph 2-1 over the Owls in November of last year.

Now, Reading travel to South Yorkshire on the back of having lost their previous three away games. Most recently they slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Preston North End, in a game where the Royals had 63% of the ball possession, but failed to make use of it.

Furthermore, The Royals have enjoyed just one victory in their last five fixtures, with three defeats and one draw.

Meanwhile over in Sheffield, The Owls have also ran into a rough patch of form, and due to their recent 2-0 loss to Aston Villa, The Owls share the exact same form as Reading in their last five games.

In addition to this poor form, a lack of available defensive players has occurred which will concern Owls supporters going into this fixture, with Glenn Loovens, Tom Lees and Sam Hutchinson all reported to be injured. Vinent Sasso is also suspended.

Despite of this, Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal seems to be upbeat about his side’s chances this Friday, and stated: “We will be a strong team on Friday. It will be a massive game to us.”

Reading may focus on exploiting the lack of regular first team defenders at Wednesday’s disposal, using the likes of the skilled attacker Yann Kermorgant, who is their top scorer with nine goals, to unpick an irregular looking Owls defence.

However, Reading will still of course be facing a tough test, and will also have to contend with Wednesday’s own plethora of attacking players, which includes the likes of Fernando Forestieri who has scored eleven times so far this season.

If Fulham win tonight against struggling Blackburn Rovers, it will ensure that Wednesday would fall out of the play-off places, putting even more pressure on Carvalhal to muster a response from his players rapidly.

This Friday’s game is of vital importance for both of the clubs’ chances of securing a play-off place.

The game kicks off at 7:45pm.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

Terriers manager David Wagner angry over performance against Manchester City, but can now focus on promotion

Despite Huddersfield Town taking a shock lead in the FA Cup fifth-round replay, through a Harry Bunn strike early in the first half, a rampant Manchester City side scored five past The Terriers to win 5-1.

Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner who claimed his side, “Made too many easy mistakes”, acknowledged that the result was fair reflection of the game.

He blamed a lack of aggression, defensive mistakes and the large amount of respect The Terriers gave the Premier League outfit as the key mistakes his side made in the defeat.

Wagner contended that: “When you play against Manchester City you have to be very aggressive.”

While Wagner may have been disappointed, this FA Cup exit means the fourth placed Championship side can now fully focus on their fantastic Championship campaign. The Terriers who are currently undefeated in seven consecutive games in the Championship, so far this season have ensured their supporters are dreaming of playing in the Premier League next season.

Huddersfield, who face top of the league Newcastle United this weekend, had chosen to rest players against City, showing the importance Wagner has placed on the fixture on Saturday.

It does seem unlikely that the West Yorkshire club will make the top two automatic promotion places, as they are 6 points behind second place Brighton. Nevertheless, the outcome of the result against Newcastle this Saturday, whom The Terriers defeated 2-1 at St. James’ Park at the start of the season, could be a pivotal moment to effect all the clubs chasing promotion whatever the result.

Meanwhile in Manchester, City manager Pep Guardiola took no such risks in resting many key players. Guardiola selected a starting eleven which would easily look at home in any Premier League fixture, with the likes of Sergio Agüero, Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones to name just a few of the names starting.

This victory ensured that The Citizens advanced to a quarter-final trip to Premier League side Middlesbrough on Saturday 11th March.

City, who are third place behind Tottenham in the league, travel north to bottom of the league Sunderland this Sunday.

Even though, it is extremely unlikely they will win the league this year, due to Chelsea’s current eleven point gap over them, they will be eager to snatch the second place spot away from Spurs and stay above rivals Manchester United.

Therefore with the title more or less out of reach, City will have their eyes firmly set on winning the FA Cup this year as their piece of silverware.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport