The Lions fought back from 17-3 down at half time against a strong South Africa ‘A’ team but were edged out by four points in Cape Town. “There are things we can easily fix in terms of what we gave to them to keep them in the game,” Gatland said
Last Updated: 14/07/21 11:03pm
Warren Gatland believes the British and Irish Lions will get more out of Wednesday’s 17-13 loss to South Africa ‘A’ in Cape Town than their opponents.
The home side led 17-3 at half time, but the Lions were on top for much of the game after the break. However, some poor execution in the home side’s 22 meant they could not make their dominance at the scrums and hefty possession count.
Despite a first loss on tour, head coach Gatland was in an upbeat mood after what had been dubbed the unofficial fourth Test due to the strength of what was ostensibly a South African ‘A’ side.
Lions suffer first defeat of tour against South Africa ‘A’
The Lions suffered their first defeat of this year’s tour on Wednesday as they lost 17-13 to a strong South Africa ‘A’.
“The players are pretty bullish in the changing room, they are confident they can deal with whatever they (South Africa) throw at us in the test series,” Gatland said.
“There are things we can easily fix in terms of what we gave to them to keep them in the game.
“The players are pretty positive about that performance and know we can still improve a lot. We would have got a lot more out of tonight than South Africa.
“The series is going to be a real arm wrestle and that was as close to a Test match as you are going to get.”
Warren Gatland admits his British and Irish Lions side needed a tough game against South Africa ‘A’ and was delighted with their second half performance despite the defeat.
The cancellation of the second of South Africa’s warm-up games against Georgia meant the home side’s match-day squad featured numerous players who were part of the Springboks’ World Cup-winning team in 2019.
And 10 days out from the the first of a three-match Test series, Gatland believes the Lions’ opponents have shown their hand in terms of the way they will play.
“They did a lot of things we expected from them: box-kicking, they were aggressive and direct with their running,” Gatland said. “But we scrummed outstandingly well and defended their mauls particularly well.
“There are a few things we need to brush up on in terms of our accuracies and we had a couple of tries turned down. But those are things we can fix.”
Warren Gatland admits his British and Irish Lions side needed a tough game against South Africa ‘A’ and was delighted with their second half performance despite the defeat.
Gatland revealed Liam Williams will have to go through concussion protocols over the next week before he is cleared to play in the first Test on July 24 after being forced off in the first half.
However, he welcomed the arrival in South Africa of Alun Wyn Jones on Thursday following the Welshman’s quick recovery from a dislocated shoulder suffered in the win over Japan at Murrayfield barely three weeks ago.
Gatland will sit down with Jones and current tour captain Conor Murray to decide who will lead the team, but says it is no foregone conclusion that the former will start in the Test series.
“He has had no rugby in the last three weeks, only training,” Gatland said. “It will be a conversation about what we do with the team.
“In the game at the moment, having guys come off the bench (in matches) is important. Our bench was pretty good today – there are no guarantees of anyone starting.”
“We don’t know what’s in it,” was the argument put forward by the anti-vaxxer, which Dr Green replied: “I know I’m just here in the pizza queue with you, but I do know what’s in it. I’m the best person in the world to tell you what’s in it, because I made it with my team in Oxford and here’s the recipe.” Causing raucous laughter from Good Morning Britain hosts Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley, the scientist was then probed: “What IS in it?”
“It has the virus in it,” began Dr Green. “The virus which is the vaccine – a replication-incompetent chimpanzee adenovirus – can’t cause disease in humans.
“It’s a delivery mechanism to get the code for spike into your body, and the rest of it is pretty much just salty water.”
The associate professor at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics (WHG), at Oxford, noted other components of the vaccines.
Dr Green said live on air that the AstraZeneca jab contains sodium chloride, buffer, and preservatives – “to keep it from growing bugs in it”.
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Professor Gilbert added that “we’re getting very high levels of protection against severe disease – and that’s a really important thing”.
“What really matters is stopping people from getting an infection so severe that they have to go into hospital – and that’s working really well with the vaccine.”
In regards to vaccine hesitancy, Dr Green said it’s “perfectly reasonable” to be resistant about things that are new.
“It’s our job to get the information and the truth out there, so people can make those informed decisions for themselves,” she said.
In light of Freedom Day – commencing on July 19 – Dr Green will still be wearing a mask on public transport.
“Sometimes two safety measures are better than one,” said Dr Green, referring to the vaccine and the use of face masks.
“None of the protective measures are completely effective on their own,” chimed in Professor Gilbert.
“We get the best protection when we link up different ways to protect ourselves.”
Professor Gilbert reminded viewers that “we’re wearing masks to protect other people”.
“I think it’s a sign of respect if you’re in a situation where you might be able to transmit a virus to somebody else, to keep the mask on.”
“They’re slightly uncomfortable,” Dr Green confessed, “but I’d wear a mask on a tube in London, for sure, and on the bus.”
“If anyone was particularly wanting me to wear a mask, I would,” conclude Professor Gilbert.
Korin Nolan is a pilates influencer with over 100,000 followers on social media. She is also the founder of Power Pilates UK and Dynamic Pilates TV, where she shares pilates tips and workouts with both beginner and experienced fans of the sport.
Korin works out almost every day, but she emphasised that just a few minutes every day makes a huge difference.
She said: “I exercise probably five to six times a week – not always strictly Pilates – which might sound a lot to some people, but sometimes it’s just 30 minutes, which if you’re doing the right kind of exercise, can be enough.
“I also film classes regularly for Dynamic Pilates TV and Instagram, but even if I don’t feel like it, once I get going and those endorphins start pumping I’m always glad I’ve done it.”
Korin recommended working out three to six times a week, saying: “Honestly, I believe fitness can have such huge benefits for all of us, physically and mentally, so I would advise exercising three to six times a week.
“It really doesn’t have to always be a long gruelling workout to be effective.
“As I’ve got older, I’m much more about listening to my body and doing what I feel it needs, rather than punishing myself.”
The pilates expert added there are “so many” benefits to pilates.
She said: “It helps rebalance the body, it streamlines, lengthens, elongates and tones muscles like nothing else.
“As the saying goes ‘abs start in the kitchen’ and it’s true.
“I do think that when you work out, you tend to naturally eat healthier too which helps, but don’t try and convince yourself that because you’re working out you can eat more rubbish, as it doesn’t work like that.”
Korin added: “We should all move more, we have become way too stationary in life.
“And the funny thing is, the more you move, the more you will need and crave it in your life. It’s all about creating healthy new habits.
“If I don’t exercise for a few days my body and mind both feel sluggish and that’s not healthy.”
If you want to try pilates for the first time, Korin recommended getting in touch with a studio local to you.
She said: “I would say, generally speaking, that you’re better going to a specialised studio rather than gym classes, as I’ve found they tend to be better quality.
“If you don’t find what you’re looking for, come and try my online classes on Dynamic Pilates TV, or if you’re local to me in South East London, come to my studio and try reformer Pilates at Power Pilates UK.
“Try out a few classes, as there’s so many different styles of pilates these days and it really does depend on the trainer.”
Korin’s favourite pilates workout to try at home
Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms by your sides in a neutral spine.
Breathe in to prepare, tuck the tailbone under and lengthen the lower back out across the mat, scoop the belly in and draw up the pelvic floor.
Breathe out as you press down into the heels of the feet and peel the back off the mat one vertebrae a time until your hips are fully lifted and you’re resting across the back of your shoulders.
Breathe in again and then roll down in reverse as you exhale, lowering the vertebrae one at a time until you come all the way back to a neutral spine where you started.
Noel Gallagher, 53, is an English singer, songwriter, record producer and musician. He served as the songwriter, lead guitarist, and co-lead vocalist of the mega successful rock band Oasis. Perhaps owing to his years of touring with constant loud music, the singer’s health began to greatly suffer.
Speaking to the Daily Star, he said: “It’s the [ear] I stand in front of my guitar amp with. It’s pretty bad.
“I was going to bed one night and you know when you go into the bathroom when you put the light on a fan goes off?”
The singer explained the sound as similar to a “whistling kettle”.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears, said the Mayo Clinic.
The health site continued: “The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound, and other people usually can’t hear it.
“Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15 percent to 20 percent of people and is especially common in older adults.
“Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system.”
There are several alternative or complementary tinnitus treatment options, including:
None of these treatment options are supported by science.
Many people are convinced that the herb gingko biloba is helpful, however large-scale studies have been unable to prove this.
There are also many nutritional supplements claiming to be tinnitus remedies.
Aged 27, the mum-of-two – who was in the throws of a custody battle with the father of her children, Kevin Federline, at the time – marched into a random salon and shaved off all her hair, which her ex manager Sam Lutfi claimed was Britney’s way to hide evidence of her addiction to amphetamines. Posting on Instagram, Britney, now 39, acknowledged that she’s “had some pretty tough times” in her life. However, the multimillion pound singer highlighted that she’s “had waaaayyyy [sic] more amazing times”.
Exercise improves mental health by:
Helping with concentration levels
Helps the body release feel-good hormones, i.e. endorphins
Helps with getting a better night sleep
Can increase confidence
Fitness routines can help manage mental health
Fitness goals help with motivation
Lacking motivation, feeling fatigued and tired might make it more difficult to consistently work out.
However, the charity stated: “You can do it! Doing little bits often can make a big difference to your physical and mental well-being.”
Starting small, such as walking to the nearest shop instead of taking the car or public transport, can be the beginning of a good exercise routine.
These prescriptions give free to reduced rate exercise sessions, and the charity encourages working out with other people.
Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of caring more about preserving his good looks than defending the Juventus goal as the Portuguese star made a feeble attempt to block the ball as he lined up in the wall against Parma.
Juventus found themselves behind after 25 minutes of their Serie A encounter with visitors Parma on Wednesday night, after a free-kick strike from the edge of the box by Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Brugman.
It was a side-footed finish into the bottom corner which left Juve ‘keeper Gianluigi Buffon rooted to the spot, but questions were immediately asked about Ronaldo’s defensive posture in the wall as the ball whizzed over his head.
Instead of jumping up in unison with his teammates to attempt to block the strike, Ronaldo remained grounded, covering his face with both arms and meekly dangling out a leg in front of him.
He then turned to watch the ball fly into the bottom corner before trudging off back to the center circle.
The moment was seized upon with glee on social media, with many joking that Ronaldo was more worried about protecting his Hollywood looks rather than carrying out his defensive duties.
“I’m being serious is this man scared of the ball?” chided one Lionel Messi fan.
“Scared of hurting his pretty face,” replied another.
I’m being serious is this man scared of the ball?
— Messi 🐐🇦🇷 (@Marlon73592112) April 21, 2021
He isn’t called Portuguese Angelina Jolie for no reason…man was thinking of keeping that face spotless for girls to admire rather than sacrifice everything for the game…and he can’t even jump…I tot they said he could jump to space n back😂…Clownado!🤡🥴
Ronaldo typically has no trouble using his head at the other end of the pitch, but some observers noted that it wasn’t the first time Ronaldo has been culpable in defensive situations, with a similar occasion coming in Juve’s Champions League second leg against Porto.
On that occasion, the ball had gone through Ronaldo’s legs and into the corner as Juve were dumped out on away goals in the tie.
did the same against porto, juve’s fault for persisting with him in walls at this point
Thankfully Ronaldo’s blushes were spared on Wednesday as Juventus came back to win 3-1 after a double from Alex Sandro and a header from Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt.
Ronaldo endured a frustrating night though, failing to add to his tally of 25 Serie A goals for the season and picking up a late yellow card for what looked like dissent.
Asked about whether Ronaldo should remain in the wall after his latest mistake, Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo said: “Unfortunately, these things happen, but we’ll evaluate it over the next few days.”
The win for the bianconeri keeps them in contention for a top-four finish as they moved into third spot, one point ahead of Atalanta in fourth and five ahead of Napoli in fifth, although both teams have a game in hand on the Turin giants.
At the top of the Serie A standings, Inter Milan edged closer to ending Juve’s nine-year reign as Italian champions as Antonio Conte’s men earned a 1-1 draw at Spezia. Inter are now 10 points clear of local rivals AC Milan, who are on 66 points and went down to a damaging 2-1 home defeat to Sassuolo at the San Siro on Wednesday night.
Watching Juve from the stands on Wednesday was club president Andrea Agnelli, one of the key figures behind the doomed European Super League which has dominated the headlines in recent days.
Agnelli conceded defeat in the breakaway project earlier on Wednesday, admitting that it could not proceed after a host of teams pulled out amid the backlash, including six English participants.
“I remain convinced of the beauty of that project, of the value that it would have developed to the pyramid, of the creation of the best competition in the world,” Agnelli said. “But evidently no [it cannot proceed]. I don’t think that project is now still up and running.”
A scarecrow is a creation built to deceive. A visual signifier of something greater. A simulacrum intended to impress, but when approached, the illusion shatters. Conveniently, Stitchy in Tooki Trouble is much the same. At first glance, it’s a rather attractive pillaging of Donkey Kong Country Returns, borrowing the visual style and Tiki-themed aesthetic for a rollicking 2D adventure in the tradition of Retro Studios’ greater apes. Then you start playing and it rather falls apart.
In this facsimile we have stalks of corn in place of bananas, Tooki statues in place of puzzle pieces, and stilted, uninteresting level design in place of magnificence. Stitchy can walk, double jump, and ground pound. That’s it. You use said ground pound to smash boxes open, but even when they’re stacked up atop one another you can’t simply smash through the lot in a satisfying bout of carnage, à laCrash Bandicoot; you’ve got to laboriously stomp them all individually, for some reason.
Yes, that probably seems like quite a minor thing to pick on, but what can we possibly say about this game? You’ve played it before, a million times, and probably on your phone. That’s not a slight against phone games, but the familiar structure (ranking each level out of three stars?! Why, such a thing has never—, etc), simplistic level design and ultimate lack of real excitement calls to mind the sort of thing you download for free in a promotion, play once, then sack off for more Candy Crush, or whatever the kids are playing on their phones, these days. *Shakes fist at the modern world*
Stitchy in Tooki Trouble isn’t a bad game by any means – well, actually, that depends on your perspective. Something that’s technically solid but doesn’t impress or surprise in any way is, we’d argue, a good deal less interesting than a truly awful experience. Stitchy falls right into the safest possible shape of a 2D platformer. Little challenge, little intrigue, but technically it’s an impressive-looking and feeling game, running at 60fps with bright graphics that really pop off the screen even in handheld mode. But in service to this — a platform game that’s less imaginative than Bloo Kid 2 — it doesn’t really amount to anything consequential.
Coming on the heels of Kaze and the Wild Masks (another game that takes inspiration from Donkey Kong Country) does Stitchy in Tooki Trouble even fewer favours. Despite some moments that are superficially interesting, such as an early level that sees you dealing with rolling waves creating a high obstacle to plan your advance around, the game doesn’t really do anything with its gimmicks, opting instead for banal, samey stage designs that basically don’t do anything to either thrill or offend. The world’s slowest, easiest mine cart stage. A level when a mechanical octopus attacks from the background with its tentacles. Then a languid, simplistic boss battle with said cephalopod.
And it’s… fine, we guess. It’s the kind of title that’s really, really difficult to review because there is nothing new to say about it. No enthusiasm. No real ideas. You play as a scarecrow; how about some sort of gimmick involving, you know, crows? Maybe a flutter jump using crows perched on your arms. Something. Anything!
But there is nothing. Get three items, get to the exit. Rinse, repeat. The juxtaposition of the Shin’en-esque level of graphical polish and the sheer repetition and uninspired slog of the gameplay never ceases to be jarring. As we said, it’s not bad. There’s just absolutely no reason to play it when so many other more interesting (and often cheaper) platformers are available. The controls are responsive (though “Jump” is on the ‘A’ button), the visuals are perfectly pleasant and the soundtrack gets the job done. It’s a meat-and-potatoes platform game through and through, but it fails to find a real identity or reason to exist.
Imagine Donkey Kong Country with none of the flair, none of the momentum, none of the secrets, none of the style and none of the grace. It doesn’t even have a funny face. There’s very little to get your teeth into here, though die-hard platform game fans may get some measure of satisfaction from its limited, low-risk take on the genre. We must reiterate – Stitchy in Tooki Trouble is not a badly-made game, it’s just a relentlessly unimpressive one that offers nothing new or even any kind of twist on an existing trope or mechanic. A sequel to Stitchy that perhaps saw fit to include something — anything — to make the game stand out, that could marry its impressive visuals with similarly good level design… now that would be worth a go. As it stands though, this scarecrow excels its most famed pop-culture analogue by lacking a brain, a heart and any courage to speak of.
NEXT Studios’ Bladed Fury is a side-scrolling hack ‘n slash platformer set in the Warring States period of ancient Chinese history, an era characterized by endless warfare and high political drama that’s been nicely infused here with a hefty dose of mythology and the supernatural. This is a game with a few good ideas up its sleeves, one that manages to nail its Muramasa-esque art style, gets its atmosphere just right, but then fails to raise its combat and platforming action anywhere above absolutely bang average — a factor which is then exacerbated by constant, nagging performance issues that drag the whole affair down further.
Bladed Fury tells the tale of Ji Jiang, daughter of the reigning Duke Kang of Qi, who’s been framed by her family’s rival clan, the Tians, for the duke’s murder at the outset of the game, she must now set out to avenge his death whilst also making a bid to rescue her imprisoned sister, Shu. In order to best the Tians, Ji must confront several witnesses to the Duke’s death, destroy them, consume their souls and use their powers to restore order to the land. Just your average day out in ancient China, then.
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)
In terms of mechanics, there’s really nothing you haven’t seen before here when it comes to the general ebb and flow of moment-to-moment combat. Ji is equipped with a light attack assigned to her flashy Fiendbane blades and a heavier assault that utilises her enormous Crimson Mass greatsword — a sword which can also be used to deflect projectiles. You have a shield, known here as Aegis, which can block attacks or be used to perfectly parry enemies in order to open them up to a handful of special attacks, and a dodge ability that grants temporary immunity as you dash your way through incoming assaults. There’s an upgrade system, collecting yellow orbs from fallen foes allows you to unlock enhancements and additional moves, but again, it’s all pretty bog-standard stuff and in all honesty we spent most of the game hacking away at enemies with just one or two moves, completely forgetting we had a shield to parry with as the enemy AI just never really requires that you mix things up or bother using it.
Where Bladed Fury does manage to come into its own slightly with regards to combat is in its addition of a Soul Sliver mechanic, enabling you to utilise special powers absorbed by each of the bosses you defeat as you make your way through the game towards a showdown with the Tians. By holding in ZR and pressing a face button Ji can select from any four of six Soul Sliver powers, allowing her to, for example, create a black hole which pulls enemies into the centre of the screen, rain arrows down on her foes, summon a spider whose webs slow the movement of all onscreen enemies or even equip a huge (and historically accurate) mech-cannon to fire off a ferociously damaging shot. It’s a neat mechanic, and one that certainly looks the part as you fire off these screen-shaking specials, however, much like the rest of the combat in the game, it’s let down by plodding enemies, a lack of challenge and level design that feels lazy and repetitive.
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)
As you progress through Bladed Fury you’ll face off against a selection of enemies who, besides a handful of decent boss encounters, fail to provide any sort of meaningful challenge or force you to get creative with the weapons and skills you’ve got at your disposal. Yes, you’ll come up against foes who have armour that needs stripping away with your Crimson Mass before they’ll take any damage, you’ll occasionally be required to parry projectiles back towards their source or even hop over the shields of larger foes in order to attack them from behind but honestly, that’s pretty much all you get in terms of enemy variety here. It really is all left down to the boss encounters and, although they do a better job of providing you with something to think about, they’re compromised in this Switch port by a frame rate that just cannot deal with busy onscreen action.
During run-of-the-mill encounters and boss battles alike, the frame rate here is a constant issue, sometimes a minor annoyance, but often a real stuttering mess when things get even halfway heated, it really takes the shine off proceedings and results in a game that just doesn’t feel anywhere nearly polished enough on Nintendo’s hybrid console. As Ji’s story progresses the ante is eventually upped in terms of difficulty, with the last half hour’s miniboss rush gauntlet providing the kind of challenge we’d have liked to see from the get-go, but it’s all so stuttery by this point that you’ll likely find yourself succumbing to foes repeatedly due to mistimed shots and blocks or failed platforming attempts on account of these framerate problems. Further to this, moving from screen to screen as you advance through levels incurs a few seconds of empty black screen as the next area loads (not something we expect to see in a side-scrolling action game these days), we suffered several full crashes to our home screen during pivotal boss encounters, and there’s also an issue with Ji’s death animation that sees the screen fade to black just as, or even before, she’s dealt a final blow, meaning you never actually get to see exactly what killed you. It’s an odd one.
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)
Elsewhere, although there are a handful of good ideas here with regards to level design — one area charges you with collecting special stones and inserting them into a central map in order to unlock progress through its corridors, for example — in practice everything just feels rushed and totally bereft of any real challenge. There are often multiple routes to investigate through areas, as indicated by a rather bland and basic map, but taking the time to explore these never leads to anything satisfying, there are no secrets or rewards to find beyond the odd bundle of boring upgrade orbs to pick up for your efforts. Platforming is of the most basic variety too, environmental traps consist of nothing more than the odd rotating flame here and there or maybe a spiked wall that moves on a timer and, in the end, it just feels like a lack of genuine effort was made outside of the game’s admittedly pretty art style.
Overall then, Bladed Fury has got a few things going for it. It certainly looks the part, there’s plenty of style on display as you cut through the state of Qi, Ji’s story is involving enough stuff and the final half hour (of the total of three hours it took us to complete) ups the ante to a level of difficulty that’s much more satisfying. However, a lack of any real challenge, dull level design, lacklustre enemy AI and constant technical issues on Switch mean that this one really is hard to recommend in the end. All the pieces are here, they just haven’t been assembled very well.
Bladed Fury is a good-looking hack ‘n slash platformer that tells a decent tale and is set in an engrossing period of history that’s been nicely infused here with mythological and supernatural elements. It’s Soul Sliver mechanic adds plenty of scope for strategic combat shenanigans and its levels have a few good ideas thrown into the mix. However, all of these positive aspects are let down by poor implementation, dull enemies who don’t force you to utilise your moveset, bland and repetitive area layouts, simplistic platforming and constant technical issues that plague combat just as it’s starting to up the ante. If the framerate issues are addressed this one may be worth a look for fans of the genre, otherwise it’s hard to recommend in its current state.