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Trump v the NFL: the latest battle in a long war over sports

Trump v the NFL: the latest battle in a long war over sports More than a week into her suspension for some highly anodyne tweets related to the Take the Knee protest, it feels long overdue to devote space to the ESPN anchor Jemele Hill. Still, I vaguely heard we were listening to women for a minute, and wondered if a black woman could catch a little of Joe Schobert Youth jersey that entitlement to be heard. The traditional answer to that has been “No, I’m afraid she can’t” – which accounts for the nagging sense among many women of colour that sisterliness only stretches so far. Its borders are currently feared to mirror precisely those of Hollywood, California. Men's Nike Tennessee Titans #96 Sylvester Williams Light Blue Team Color Vapor Untouchable Limited Player NFL Jersey Even so, let us journey into the great wilderness beyond. Let us go where the vice-president of the United States can spend up to $250,000 of taxpayer money attending a game just so he could walk out of it when players knelt; where two owners in an 80% or so black NFL can decree that any athlete who silently kneels during the national anthem will be benched; but where a woman whose job is in part to talk about sports and social issues is suspended for doing that. NFL Nike Women's Andy Dalton White Road Limited Jersey - #14 Cincinnati Bengals Vapor Untouchable By way of background: along with her longtime collaborator Michael Smith, Hill hosts the 6pm edition of SportsCenter, in a pairing ESPN heralded at launch as “the first African-American duo to host SportsCenter on a regular basis”. Last month, Hill was disciplined for tweets suggesting Donald Trump was a white supremacist. The White House spokeswoman called for her to be fired. Last week, Hill was judged to warrant suspension for a short series of tweets in which she attempted to point out that there were other ways to show displeasure with the two NFL owners threatening to bench players for kneeling than expecting the athletes to do it for them. “Just so we’re clear,” ran one of these. “I’m not advocating an NFL boycott. But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.” She pointed out that “change happens when advertisers are impacted”, advising those calling players “sellouts” might want to devote some of their attention in that direction. So, pretty standard stuff that people could mostly have worked out for themselves anyway. It’s not like she just slipped her Twitter followers the nuclear codes. Yet ESPN released a statement saying Hill was being taken off air for two weeks. Trump himself reacted to the news of her suspension with typical gossamer-touched statesmanship, tweeting: “With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked’, in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!” And with that, he returned to Joe Schobert Youth jersey touting an author’s book entitled The Art of the Donald: Lessons from America’s Philosopher-in-chief. “Really good book!” Hill, on the other hand, faces a difficult future when she returns from the naughty step next week. The actual president of the actual United States has twice made it perfectly quite clear he’d like her never to work in this town again. That alone should make any self-respecting network go the extra mile to bolster its employee in pointed defence of its independence – which is why every instinct suggests ESPN will bottle it. Various commentators predict this episode will ultimately make Hill too controversial to retain. Dear, dear. Imagine being such a remorselessly political network that one woman’s tweets about a sports-related issue being talked about across America were regarded as so dangerous that you had to shut her down for two weeks. Imagine treating her tweets as though they were an existential threat to your command and control. Imagine being ESPN. It’s difficult to even see what rules Hill meaningfully broke Joe Schobert Youth jersey with the tweets leading to her suspension, other than mildly, indirectly inconveniencing some corporations who advertise with both the NFL and ESPN. ESPN’s code of conduct forbids employees “involved in ‘hard’ news reporting” from taking political positions. But Hill can’t sensibly be judged to be a hard news reporter. In fact, when promoting her and Smith to their slot, the network made specific play of the fact that the show would include “a deliberate and well-paced conversational format in which they discuss sports topics, news, culture, and social issues”. Furthermore, the code states that outside of hard news reporting, political or social commentary is appropriate. “The topic should be related to a current issue impacting sports.” Well … I don’t think it would be going out on a limb here to suggest this particular topic is currently impacting sports. Hill may well argue her views are not even political. Speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch in the past, she explained: “I do tweet more about social issues, which I consider to be issues of morality. Racism isn’t politics. Racism is an issue of right and wrong. Tweeting about significant issues that impact marginalised people isn’t politics. That’s right and wrong.”

FA needs urgent change Jersey at the top after damning day

FA needs urgent change at the top after damning day The Football Association’s senior management were facing calls for multiple resignations after a calamitous day for the people running the sport when their failings in the Mark Sampson affair were brutally exposed and the chief executive, Martin Glenn, was accused of behaviour “bordering on blackmail” by one of the England Women’s footballers whose complaints of racial remarks have finally been proven. Women's Nike Los Angeles Chargers #29 Craig Mager White Vapor Untouchable Elite Player NFL Jersey In a remarkable day of evidence before the digital, culture, sport and media committee, the FA issued a full apology to Eni Aluko and Drew Spence after a third inquiry, instigated on the back of the Guardian’s investigation into the previous two processes, concluded that Sampson, the now-deposed manager, had made discriminatory remarks to both players. The report, drawn up by the barrister Katharine Newton, concluded there was now overwhelming evidence to find that Sampson had asked Spence, a mixed-race player, how many times she had been arrested and told Aluko to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not bring the Ebola virus to Wembley. However, the reversal of Newton’s initial findings, amid allegations of an FA cover-up and whitewash, set the scene for an extraordinary hearing in which the organisation’s chairman, Greg Clarke, had to issue a hasty apology for describing claims of institutional racism as “fluff” and the England Women’s goalkeeping coach, Lee Kendall, was accused of regularly speaking to Aluko in a fake Caribbean accent. The hearing also heard claims that a black actress was hired for a role-play about a selfish and badly behaved footballer in front of Aluko’s former team-mates, leaving them thinking it was a deliberate portrayal of her, and Glenn was forced to issue his own apology after being interrogated about his interview with the Guardian in which he stated Newton was appointed, as a black woman, because of her sex and ethnicity. Glenn said he had been tired “at the end of a long day”, adding that it was not “a pack of lies but it was an embellishment,” drawing accusations from the MPs that he had changed his story because his initial line was illegal in discrimination law. Clarke later blamed the football-abuse inquiry, claiming he was tired after “working 22 hours a day”, when pressed on the story this newspaper revealed on Monday about his 14-word email response – “I’ve no idea why you are sending me this. Perhaps you could enlighten me” – to the Professional Footballers’ Association sending him a six-page document stating the Aaron Lynch Jersey FA’s internal review was a “sham” that was “not a genuine search for the truth. That email, described by Aluko as “dismissive and disrespectful”, was the subject of intense questioning and one of the reasons why the committee chairman, Damian Collins, later called for the four FA executives who appeared in Aaron Lynch Jersey front of the MPs – Clarke, Glenn, the technical director, Dan Ashworth, and the human resources director, Rachel Brace – to resign. “What’s really concerning is that the best practice that would be in a big company clearly wasn’t brought to bear in the FA,” Collins said. “Why is that? Are there people blocking it? The organisation doesn’t want to do it? There are serious failings there and I can’t believe any of the people on the panel could be proud of the process they ran. “Does what you have seen today inspire confidence that they understand the issues well enough that they will put in place the right system to make sure it doesn’t happen again? I’m not convinced. You have to question whether they are the right people to take the organisation forward.” Amid a number of highly damaging revelations, it also emerged that the FA had withheld half of an £80,000 out-of-court settlement it had reached with Aluko and, according to the player, invited her to a meeting last month at which Glenn tried to cut a deal that she either put out a statement saying the organisation was not institutionally racist or would not receive her money. “I felt that was bordering on blackmail,” Aluko said.

Roberto Firmino Jersey and Mohamed Salah lead Liverpool

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah lead Liverpool rout of Maribor With the exception of José Mourinho’s stifling tactics it had always seemed a question of when, not if, Liverpool would polish their performances with a killer touch. The Marquette King Jersey answer arrived in emphatic style here in Slovenia, where Jürgen Klopp’s side ignited their Champions League campaign with the biggest away win in Liverpool’s rich European history. Youth Premier Adidas Justin Schultz White Away Jersey - #4 NHL Pittsburgh Penguins One win in eight games before this trip had tested Klopp’s humour but not his conviction that Liverpool are “on a good way”. Seven unanswered goals on the road in the Champions League reaffirmed the belief of manager and players. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored twice while Philippe Coutinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with his first Liverpool goal, and Trent Alexander-Arnold were also on the scoresheet as the visitors secured the lead in their group. “I didn’t know about the record until after the game,” the Liverpool manager said. “The wonderful history of this club can feel like a backpack at times, so it is nice to write our own good piece of the history. It will be difficult to beat that record. “It is quite rare to win 7-0 but it showed we did unbelievably well. The boys deserved that. When you don’t score it is a challenge to stay confident but we will try to use this result now.” Liverpool’s impatience for a first win in the group stage was undisguised. It was evident in Klopp’s pre-match press conference when he spoke of making amends for the points dropped against Sevilla and Spartak Moscow. It was clear in a team selection that showed no sign of complacency against the Slovenian champions, the lowest ranked team in the group, as the Liverpool manager fielded the same attack who faced Manchester United on Saturday. And it was demonstrated in a commanding, clinical performance that overwhelmed Maribor from the first whistle asthe perfect way to release the frustrations of the dour United stalemate and the perfect opponents, it has to be said. The hosts had no answer to Liverpool’s movement, strength and quality and were swiftly routed. Firmino started the torment for Maribor by tucking home his first goal in six games in the fourth minute. The Brazil international had forgotten his security pass on the way into the stadium and was sent back to the team bus to retrieve it by a sharp-eyed steward, but he had no problem locating weaknesses in the home side’s defence. Salah and Coutinho enjoyed similar success against a regularly exposed rearguard, and it was the hero of Egypt who instigated the breakthrough when he broke away from Marko Suler’s lunging challenge on the right wing. Salah sprinted on, Marquette King Jersey picked out Firmino unmarked in the centre and the forward converted from close range. Number two followed quickly and this time Firmino was the instigator. He spun away from his marker in the centre circle and found Salah with a fine cross-field ball. Salah fed James Milner, recalled on the right of the midfield three with Jordan Henderson rested, and he crossed for Coutinho to sweep a first-time finish beyond Jasmin Handanovic from 12 yards. Milner has found opportunities limited this season but he seized it here, driving at Maribor and providing an accurate range of passes throughout. Firmino created the third, too, returning the favour for Salah, whom he released behind the defence with a perfectly weighted ball, having ridden several challenges in the buildup. Liverpool’s summer signing beat the advancing Handanovic with a measured, angled finish and the visitors were home and hosed with 70 minutes left to play. But there was no let-up in their work rate or adventure. The combination of Coutinho’s craft and Alberto Moreno’s pace on the left troubled Maribor regularly, the full-back striking the side netting from one chance created by the playmaker, and it was that source that provided Liverpool with their fourth. Moreno crossed hard and low from the byline, having been released by Coutinho, and there was Salah to tap into an unprotected net.

Craig Shakespeare sacked by Leicester City

Craig Shakespeare sacked by Leicester City after four months in charge Craig Shakespeare has been sacked as Leicester City manager only four months after being given the job on a Andrew McCutchen Jersey permanent basis. Mark Jackson Swingman Road Navy Blue Men's Jersey: Indiana Pacers #13 Adidas NBA The 53-year-old succeeded Claudio Ranieri on a caretaker basis last season and oversaw an upturn in form that led to the club pulling away from the relegation zone and finishing 12th. Kenny Golladay Women's Limited Blue Jersey: Nike NFL Detroit Lions Vapor Untouchable Alternate #19 But following the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Monday evening Leicester slipped into the bottom three, prompting the owners to relieve Shakespeare of his duties, with assistant Michael Appleton taking charge for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Swansea City. Leicester’s vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha confirmed Shakespeare’s departure in a statement on Tuesday evening. “Craig has been a great servant to Leicester City – during his spells as an assistant manager and since taking over as Manager in challenging circumstances in February. His dedication to the club and to his work has been absolute and the contribution he made to the most successful period in Leicester City history is considerable. “However, our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since and the Board feels that, regrettably, a change is necessary to keep the Club moving forward – consistent with the long-term expectations of our supporters, board and owners. “Craig is and will remain a very popular, respected figure at Leicester City and will be welcome back at King Power Stadium in future, both professionally and as a friend of the club.” The former England manager, Sam Allardyce, is the early Andrew McCutchen Jersey favourite to take over, with Chris Coleman and Roberto Mancini also favoured by bookmakers. Leicester, who have won only one league game this season, are the second Premier League club to sack a manager this season following Crystal Palace’s decision to replace Frank de Boer with Roy Hodgson after only four games. Shakespeare was given around £60m to spend on players in the summer transfer window, including £25m for the Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho, £17m for the Hull City centre-half Harry Maguire and £15m on midfielder Vicente Iborra from Sevilla, but Leicester’s only Premier League win came against newly-promoted Brighton in August. Their only other points this season have been picked up in draws against Huddersfield, Bournemouth and West Brom while Shakespeare also oversaw wins against Sheffield United and Liverpool in the Carabao Cup. Monday night’s 1-1 home draw with West Brom saw Leicester’s Andrew McCutchen Jersey winless Premier League run reach six matches - the same as when Ranieri was sacked earlier this year. However, it was not thought that Shakespeare’s job was under immediate threat following a difficult start to the season which brought fixtures against Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, the four matches Leicester have lost so far. Ronaldo shimmered with menace and Lloris had to react brilliantly to tip over his snapshot. He had gone close moments earlier while, on 65 minutes, he outstripped three Tottenham players before working Lloris. The goalkeeper also scampered across his line to deny Isco. Back came Tottenham and, after Kane’s miss, Llorente ushered in Eriksen only for Navas to save again. Pochettino and his team were left to wonder what might have been but this was a night when the glass was half-full.

Hugo was fantastic Jersey He showed his real level

Hugo was fantastic Jersey He showed his real level Mauricio Pochettino paid tribute to Hugo Lloris after the goalkeeper helped Tottenham Hotspur to a 1-1 Champions League draw at Real Madrid but the manager was more pleased that his team had held their own and showed they could compete at the highest level. Men's CCM Bryan Trottier Authentic Black NHL Jersey: Pittsburgh Penguins #19 Stanley Cup Champions Throwback Tottenham led at the Bernabéu through a Raphaël Varane own goal before Cristiano Ronaldo equalised before half-time from the penalty spot. Lloris was busy and he made two outstanding saves to deny Karim Benzema and Ronaldo in the second half. Tottenham had chances of their own and Harry Kane could not find a way past Keylor Navas when he was one-on-one with him on 71 minutes. The result kept Tottenham level on points at the top of Group H with Real while their hopes of qualification to Steven Souza Youth jersey the last 16 were further boosted when Borussia Dortmund could manage only a draw against Apoel in Nicosia. “The result is less important,” Pochettino said. “The fact we competed makes me most happy. We are building a new stadium and the team is under construction, too. It is important to reinforce the belief that we can compete. Last season it was sad that we did not compete in the Champions League. This year it’s better. We have progressed and we are growing. We must be confident in the path we are following. The club has great potential for the future.” Pochettino knew that Tottenham might have snatched victory but he was quick to recognise that Lloris had kept them in the game. Steven Souza Youth jersey “Hugo was fantastic,” he said. “He deserves big praise from everyone. He showed his real level. You had the opportunity to see why Hugo is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.” Lloris said: “Benzema should have scored and he knows that but, as a goalie, you need a bit of luck and I managed to kick his chance away. We shouldn’t forget where we came from. Four years ago, we were playing in the Europa League and now we’re playing against and competing with Real Madrid in the Champions League. We have to follow it up now with Steven Souza Youth jersey a good performance against them at Wembley.” Pochettino said the result put Tottenham in a “very good position to go through” and he hoped it could serve as a catalyst for the season. “We need to make sure this type of performance helps us to believe and be strong and trust in ourselves and the way we play,” he said. “I am so proud of my players and the performance and now we need to keep going. We have a lot of important games coming up, with Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday being the next. It’s tough but we can compete.” Sturridge sent the former Arsenal man clean through on goal and he opened his Liverpool account with a measured finish before Alexander-Arnold’s deflected drive completed the rout. “We wanted to show our best counter-pressing and a few of the goals came from that,” Klopp said. “We were also cool inside the penalty area” – cool, devastating and record-breaking. Maribor have conceded four goals in 10 domestic home fixtures this season but they continued to be ravaged by Liverpool en route to their heaviest European defeat. Firmino scored his second when he met Coutinho’s free-kick with a glancing header that sailed across Handanovic and inside the far post. Firmino and Salah departed to well-earned ovations from the travelling Liverpool supporters, and it seemed almost cruel of Klopp to introduce Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge from the bench.

Spurs’ Harry Kane rues Jersey missed chance after Cristiano

Spurs’ Harry Kane rues missed chance after Cristiano Ronaldo Harry Kane’s reaction said it all. It was a mixture of disbelief and deep regret. There were 71 minutes on the clock and, suddenly, Tottenham Hotspur’s main man was in. The pass from Fernando Llorente was made to measure and, when Kane shot, all eyes followed the Filip Chlapik Youth jersey ball to the bottom corner of the Real Madrid net. Women's Game Ahmad Brooks Green Jersey: Home #55 NFL Green Bay Packers Nike It squirmed agonisingly wide, Keylor Navas having got his fingertips to it and everyone seemed to take a moment to let it all sink in. Kane, who had been the pre-match story because of his explosive form and Real’s interest in him, might have made quite the statement. Women's Adidas Detroit Red Wings #55 Niklas Kronwall Premier Red Home NHL Jersey As it was, Tottenham still made one. Mauricio Pochettino knew this match would be a gauge of the club’s progress. “When you come here, you feel the reality about football,” he said on Monday. The reality was pretty sweet. Real showed their quality and there were periods when Tottenham had to dig in. Pochettino’s 3-5-2 formation was more like 5-3-2 and Real were fluent. They hogged 61% of the possession. Tottenham were grateful that Karim Benzema had an evening when his dead-eyed instincts deserted him while Hugo Lloris bailed them out on a couple of occasions. His second-half saves to keep out Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo were the latest illustration of his world-class ability. He was the Tottenham hero. Yet it said plenty about the maturity of the visitors’ performance that they closed out the draw with a measure of comfort and, when it was all over, the 4,000 travelling fans celebrated wildly. They sang their songs at full volume and the result from Nicosia, where Borussia Dortmund had managed only to draw Filip Chlapik Youth jersey with Apoel, furthered the feel-good factor. Tottenham played with savvy and personality while they also carved Real open on a number of occasions. It would now be a tremendous disappointment if they failed to qualify and nobody could have predicted that with any certainty when the draw was made. Above all, as Pochettino said afterwards, Tottenham showed they belonged at this level. Inside the area at the north end, the goal before him, fans above him; one of their own; his moment. He opened his body and, right-footed, tried to guide it inside the far post. Navas moved fast, left hand reaching, and just as quickly the moment was gone. Apart from his one-on-one miss Kane was good and he helped to provide Tottenham with their pinch-me moment. Gloriously from their point of view, they had grown into the tie and the breakthrough goal came at the end of a patch of deep purple. Raphael Varane will carry the can and it was the most unfortunate Womens Filip Chlapik Jersey of deflections that sent Serge Aurier’s low cross looping past Navas but Kane had forced the error. The excellent Harry Winks released Aurier and, after Kane had tried and failed to execute a flick, Varane blundered. Kane turned away from two white shirts and switched on the power before crossing low for Llorente, whose surprise selection paid off handsomely. Navas got down but Llorente got a second bite and that was when Casemiro chased in and took away his standing leg. Even Spanish radio said that it was a penalty. The referee, Szymon Marciniak, was unmoved. He would point to the spot just before half-time – at the other end – and it was one of those decisions that Aurier allowed the referee to make by going to ground inside the area. The contact with Toni Kroos was a Filip Chlapik Youth jersey long way from being excessive but it was enough for the Real midfielder to feel it and go down. Ronaldo sent Lloris the wrong way with his kick. Aurier argued that Kroos had fouled him in the build-up.

That Shakespeare has Jersey now followed a certain Claudio Ranieri

Riyad Mahrez chose the perfect Jersey moment to finally rediscover Riyad Mahrez chose the perfect moment to finally rediscover his goalscoring touch as Craig Shakespeare’s faith in the Algerian was repaid with an equalising goal that ensured Leicester avoided the ignominy of three successive home Premier League defeats by the skin of their teeth. NFL Men's Nike Buffalo Bills #10 Philly Brown Stitched Black Anthracite Salute to Service Player Performance Hoodie That Shakespeare has now followed a certain Claudio Ranieri in not recording a victory in six league matches – a run which ended with the Italian’s sacking in February – is an unwanted statistic with his side in the bottom three, although the re-emergence of the player who did so much to inspire the famous title-winning season will be more welcome in these parts. Nike NFL Robert McClain Orange Jersey Men's Limited: #36 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Alternate Having tried and failed to engineer a move away from the King Power Stadium in the summer, Mahrez has endured a torrid few months that also saw Gary Zimmerman Jersey him and his Leicester team-mate Islam Slimani dropped by Algeria after some indifferent displays. But the way the pair combined after Slimani was brought off the bench to replace the £25m striker Kelechi Iheanacho – so ineffective on his full home Premier League debut – and cancel out Nacer Chadli’s brilliant free-kick will give Shakespeare hope that the spirit of 2015-16 has not all evaporated just yet. “He didn’t go away with Algeria, worked really hard at the training ground and gave me an issue over whether to start him at home,” said Shakespeare of the goalscorer, the relief evident in his voice. “He had an opportunity before that which he would have expected to score but he showed again he has that character to try and keep going and he’s got his just rewards.” The pressure was on Leicester to show some signs of improvement after their poor run and Shakespeare responded by making three changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Bournemouth before the international break, with Jamie Vardy back from a groin injury and Mahrez recalled on the right flank. Tony Pulis also made three changes, with Boaz Myhill making his first league start for 18 months in place of Ben Foster, who injured his knee in an impromptu training session with his son in his back garden, as West Brom went in search of a first league victory since the second game of the season eight weeks ago. But other than a frenetic opening in which Ahmed Hegazi – fresh from helping Egypt reach their first World Cup finals since being knocked out by England in 1990 – impeded Vardy with a variety of limbs which eventually led to a deserved booking from Mike Dean, neither side carried much of a threat during a dull first half. A brilliant free-kick from Mahrez that just eluded Iheanacho was the closest Leicester had come to breaking the deadlock until Danny Simpson’s effort from distance in the 35th minute was well saved by Myhill after a corner was only half cleared. Given the lack of Gary Zimmerman Womens Jersey action, whether there had been any takers for the Shakespeare/Pulis half-and-half scarves on sale before the match was the main topic of discussion at half-time but Vardy ensured there was something to get the home fans off their seats within 30 seconds Gary Zimmerman Jersey of the restart. A sloppy back pass from Hegazi was seized upon by the England striker and his touch took the ball beyond Myhill before the pair collided just outside the box. After some treatment, the keeper was allowed to continue but afterwards Pulis seemed concerned by his options in goal. “I don’t know what happened with Bo,” said the manager. “I don’t know if it was his hamstring, his back or his Gary Zimmerman Jersey groin. Bo was in because Ben has hurt his knee, which is an enormous worry for us.” The free-kick given as a result of Myhill’s challenge on Vardy was headed against the outside of the post by Harry Maguire. A few minutes later, a brilliant back-heel from Vardy played in Marc Albrighton down the left and his pull-back presented Mahrez with a golden opportunity to score his first goal of the season, only for his shot to sail harmlessly over the crossbar.

Players with 60 or more Jersey Wales caps can play globally

Players with 60 or more Jersey Wales caps can play globally Wales face going to the World Cup in Japan without two of the players who toured New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions this summer following a change in the policy governing players who are based in France and England. Men's Shaquille O'Neal Swingman White Adidas Jersey: NBA Cleveland Cavaliers #33 Home The Finals The old, complicated format, which put a cap on the number of exiles the Wales head coach Warren Gatland was allowed to select and only applied to players who had turned down a contract offer from one of Wales’s four regions, was replaced on Monday with a rule that snares players with fewer than 60 caps who from now on base themselves outside the country. It means the Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb, who has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Toulon next season, would be unavailable for selection, as would the Gloucester flanker Ross Moriarty if he signs a new contract with the Kingsholm Lane Johnson Authentic Jersey club, who are anxious to keep him, but it does not affect players on current deals with Premiership clubs. “We have tried to simplify things because the old rule was not easy to understand,” Gatland said. “I am not comfortable with it in the sense that as a national coach why have a policy that means you are not able to pick some of your best players, but it is a balance. “It is not just about what is best for the national team but, long-term, what is best for Welsh rugby. We need our regions to be competitive and we want to keep our best players in Wales. I have spoken to Rhys [who has won 28 caps]: he is 28, he has had injuries and he is thinking about his family. He may have made his decision whether he was captured by the policy or not. “He can still get out of his Toulon contract as he has just signed a letter of agreement. He has not signed a full contract with them. Rhys needs to make his own decision: we spoke to him to say the policy was potentially going to be introduced so he was aware of it. Getting to 60 caps might take him three years and he might not get the opportunity to Lane Johnson Authentic Jersey move again.” Getting out of a pre-agreement with Toulon will not be easy for Webb, who was the scrum-half replacement in all three Lions Tests in June, scoring a try in the first. The owner, Mourad Boudjellal, played hardball when the Australia outside-half Quade Cooper tried to abort his move to the club, saying that getting out of an agreement to sign would cost the player more than £150,000. Cooper made the move. “It would be a different scenario if the regions said he should be able to play for Wales because he had already made the decision to move, but I do not know whether that will happen,” Gatland said. “You have to feel for Rhys and my point of view is that we will not be able to pick a world-class player.” “It’s a real blow that I won’t be able to play international rugby from next season,” Webb is quoted as saying by Wales Online. “I didn’t know the full implications when I agreed to join Toulon because the change in the selection policy came out after I signed. “I have given 10 years service to the Ospreys and Welsh rugby and have picked up injuries along the way. I would have hoped that would have been taken into consideration. I still very much want to play for Wales this season and hope I can gain selection for the autumn international squad.” Webb’s half-back partner at Ospreys and another Lion, Dan Biggar, is joining Northampton next season but he is only four caps away from reaching 60. “It would be tough if Dan suffered an injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season,” the national coach said. “He told me that the Northampton offer was life-changing and that while he loved playing for Wales, at his age it was the right move.”

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A freak accident Jersey on a Portuguese beach left the sport-obsessed On a blustery grey afternoon, which reminds Henry Fraser that winter is coming, it is light and quiet inside. His easel is to the left, where his latest intricate painting can be seen, as Fraser talks about an enriching life. Only his face and neck are alive with movement for his entire body is paralysed from the shoulders down. But Fraser addresses the devastating paralysis he suffered eight years ago, when he was 17, with a calm acceptance underpinned by defiance. Youth Nike Jacksonville Jaguars #14 Justin Blackmon Limited Black 2016 Salute to Service NFL Jersey It needs an iron will to prosper as Fraser has Erick Aybar Jersey done against devastating odds. The former academy player at Saracens, where his brother Will was a stalwart of the squad which won the Premiership and successive European Champions Cups, is now a mouth artist and the author of a moving book about the lessons he learned from paralysis. Men's Adidas Los Angeles Lakers #9 Nick Van Exel Swingman Purple Road NBA Jersey Fraser has already told me how sport instilled the ferocious competitiveness which allowed him to confront paralysis. He has also grinned at the fact that his admirers stretch from JK Rowling, who wrote the book’s foreword, to his boyhood hero Jonny Wilkinson praising this “story of transformation and inner power.” With similar equanimity he remembers how he was once “consumed by fear and darkness.” Fraser looks out at the large garden in Hertfordshire where he and his three brothers used to run around with a freedom he can only imagine now. “The first surgery was unsuccessful,” Fraser recalls after his spinal cord had been severed and crushed when he dived in the sea in Portugal in 2009. Surgeons spent seven hours trying to re-align the vertebrae. “Before the second surgery my heart kept stopping because I had a pacemaker. I couldn’t breathe myself, couldn’t even talk. The pacemaker box was next to my head so I wasn’t sleeping. The second surgery was so huge because they had to open up the back of my neck [and screw the damaged vertebrae into place]. I felt even worse than before. “I was on so many drugs because I’d also Erick Aybar Jersey contracted MRSA and pneumonia and my mind was all over the shop. I had visions that everything was going to be fine and I would move again. But your mind takes you to places you never knew existed and you think the worst thoughts. My heart stopped a couple more times and I thought: ‘I could die today. How much more do I have to take? And then you’re told: ‘You’ll never be able to move your arms and legs again.’ You think: ‘This is just too much.’” I was also scared leaving the safety of the hospital. The nurses were in tears because we had got very close His parents were remarkable even though they reacted understandably when first hearing he was a tetraplegic, paralysed from the neck down and in all four limbs. Henry’s dad was unable to speak while his mother screamed. “When he told them,” Fraser recalls, “the surgeon also said: ‘Henry will need you more now than ever.’ Those words hit home.” Fraser describes the happy moments he could still experience amid those terrible early weeks – from the kindness of strangers to watching a DVD with his dad of England winning the 2003 World Cup. The images, as Wilkinson dropped the winning goal which had inspired Fraser when he was 11, helped him again. Yet the horror still had to be faced back in England, at Stoke Mandeville hospital, when Fraser finally saw himself. “Yeah,” he says, “two-and-a-half months after the accident I still had the tracheotomy tube in my throat attached to the oxygen tank and I’m in the chair. But you’re still thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll walk out of hospital at the end of this.’ “Market forces dictate, but it is also about creating the right environment. Liam Williams joined Saracens on less money than he was Erick Aybar Jersey offered in Wales because they have been successful. They keep their players even though they are offered more elsewhere because they have a good environment and that is the challenge for us in Wales. Our aim is to have five competitive entities, the national team and the regions. If we achieve that, the policy will work; if we don’t, it Erick Aybar Jersey will fall over.”

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