Tag Archives: Rated

How Lions players rated in South Africa ‘A’ loss

The British and Irish Lions fell to a narrow 17-13 loss at the hands of South Africa ‘A’ in Cape Town on Wednesday as the visitors suffered their first defeat on tour; Warren Gatland has plenty to ponder ahead of the opening Test which begins on Saturday 24 May

Last Updated: 14/07/21 11:14pm

Curry starred against the South Africans

Curry starred against the South Africans

The Lions came up just short in Cape Town against South Africa ‘A’, but who stood out to stake their claim for a Test spot?

Tom Curry showed his class as he bids to start the first Test at seven, while fellow Englishmen Maro Itoje and Anthony Watson also pressed their cases for selection in the starting XV.

After comfortably winning their opening three games on tour, the Lions came unstuck against a strong South Africa ‘A’ side thanks to tries from Sbu Nkosi and captain Lukhanyo Am.

Despite the setback, there were lots of positives to come out of the performance nonetheless.

Highlights as the Lions fell to their first defeat of the tour against a strong South Africa 'A' side in Cape Town

Sky Sports 4:59
Highlights as the Lions fell to their first defeat of the tour against a strong South Africa ‘A’ side in Cape Town

Highlights as the Lions fell to their first defeat of the tour against a strong South Africa ‘A’ side in Cape Town

With just one more warm-up game against the Stormers on Saturday before the first Test match against the Springboks, we look at how the Lions rated…

Liam Williams: 6/10

Lasted just 14 minutes and had to be replaced by Elliot Daly following a head injury assessment. The Welshman’s chances of starting in the opening Test must surely now be in doubt.

Anthony Watson: 7

Produced a try-saving tackle on Nkosi early on and prospered both under the high ball and in open play. The Bath wing, who was one of the stars of the 2017 tour, looks set to play a major part once again.

Anthony Watson laid down a marker for starting Test jersey

Anthony Watson laid down a marker for starting Test jersey

Chris Harris: 6

Like most of his colleagues, saw little of the ball in attacking play during the early blitz, but was instrumental in a major improvement thereafter. Cheslin Kolbe’s fantastic footwork bamboozled Harris and led to Am’s try in the first half, which might concern Gatland.

Bundee Aki: 6

Punched his weight as the Lions tried to take the game to South Africa ‘A’ after a difficult start. He’s quietly been going under the radar but is certainly in contention to start in the midfield.

Louis Rees-Zammit: 6

Agonisingly short of the line when stretching out to try to give his side the lead and pinned Kolbe on his own try-line with the screw turning. He faces major competition to start on the wing from the likes of Josh Adams and Duhan van der Merwe.

Owen Farrell: 5

Kicked poorly out of hand in the early stages and was charged down by Eben Etzebeth for the opening try on a night when he took several big hits, but kept going. A good night for Dan Biggar, who pulled out of the game due to a minor ankle issue, in the race to start at fly-half.

Warren Gatland admits his side needed a tough game against South Africa 'A' and was delighted with their second half performance, despite the defeat

Sky Sports 2:28
Warren Gatland admits his side needed a tough game against South Africa ‘A’ and was delighted with their second half performance, despite the defeat

Warren Gatland admits his side needed a tough game against South Africa ‘A’ and was delighted with their second half performance, despite the defeat

Conor Murray: 6

Struggled to establish a relationship with his half-back partner early on, but gradually worked his way into the game. After being named as replacement captain for Alun Wyn Jones, the Irishman is surely favourite to start at nine.

Wyn Jones: 6

Forced an early scrum collapse from the South Africans and worked tirelessly in the loose, getting his rewards with a first Lions try before being forced off with a shoulder injury. Jones will hope it’s not too bad as he certainly did his cause no harm in Cape Town.

Ken Owens: 6

Solid on his lineout throws and industrious in the forward battle to help the tourists claw their way back into the game. Owens has stiff competition from the English pair of Jamie George and Luke Cowan-Dickie.

Kyle Sinckler: 6

Gave no quarter in a brutal front row battle and was never found wanting as the Lions’ pack hammered away deep inside the South African 22. After initially not being selected for the tour, he might just yet have a major say in the Test series.

Maro Itoje: 7

A constant nuisance at the breakdown and dominant at the lineout, he drove the Lions forward throughout. His best game so far means he’s almost a certain starter for the visitors.

Maro Itoje says that the loss was a brilliant lesson as they learnt a lot about the team they'll face in the Test series

Sky Sports 2:35
Maro Itoje says that the loss was a brilliant lesson as they learnt a lot about the team they’ll face in the Test series

Maro Itoje says that the loss was a brilliant lesson as they learnt a lot about the team they’ll face in the Test series

Iain Henderson: 6

Helped to turn the tide as the Lions’ maul started to make an impact and earn them a greater share of the ball. With original tour captain Jones set to re-join the squad, the battle to feature in the second row is certainly heating up.

Josh Navidi: 6

As busy as ever in the heat of the back row scrap and made a series of telling surges forward. The late replacement to the tour is making a real case to be heavily involved against the Springboks.

Tom Curry: 8

A thorn in South Africa ‘A’s side throughout as he foraged for the ball and repeatedly exploited the space ahead of him with ball in hand, while also charging down a Faf De Klerk kick. Curry is surely now favourite to start ahead of Hamish Watson.

Taulupe Faletau: 6

Grew into the game as the Lions fought back and was an increasing threat with the ball in hand. Sam Simmonds will want to prove his worth ahead of the first Test at Cape Town Stadium.

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This post originally posted here SkySports | News

Arsenal’s Euro 2020 transfer targets rated as Edu plots summer raids

Alexander Isak – 8 

The 21-year-old may not have scored euro 2020, but he impressed many with his performances for Sweden, making two assists.

According to Spanish outlet AS, Arsenal ‘have spoken with the Swede’s representatives’, informing them of their interest.

The Gunners are in the market for a new forward this summer, with Eddie Nketiah linked with an exit and Alexandre Lacazette having just a year left to run on his deal.

Once again, though, Arsenal are not the only club interested in Isak and the forward has just signed a new contract with Real Sociedad, meaning it will take a bumper offer to prise him away.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Sport

England’s Euro 2020 end-of-tournament report: Every Three Lions player rated

Southgate hopes to lead England at World Cup in 2022

The infamous countdown clock installed after Greg Dyke’s galvanising speech at the start of the decade always pointed towards Qatar 2022 for England success.

Having fallen just short this time, Express Sport assesses which of the players are looking ready for the next World Cup – and which are not.


7 games, 690 mins, 37.4 km

One of England’s stars. Has ‘moments’ with Everton but emerging as top international goalkeeper.


6 games, 599 mins, 59.9 km

His pace remains a vital attribute. A wobbly first game against Croatia but grew from there.


6 games, 575 mins, 62.6 km

Exorcised some Mourinho angst and final goal completing his transition to Shawberto Carlos.

England team

Gareth Southgate’s team went all the way to the Euro 2020 final, but how did each player rate? (Image: GETTY)


7 games, 538 mins, 62.5 km

Really looked the part in the final when his focus was much more forward-looking


7 games, 679 mins, 67.3 km

His rehabilitation from the Nations League was remarkable alongside Maguire.


5 games, 510 mins, 51.5 km

Shrugged off his injury in time to play a vital part at both ends of the pitch.


5 games, 172 mins, 22.0 km

Always seemed to lift the mood when he came on but never found that special something.


5 games, 151 mins, 20.5 km

Disappointing final cameo. Scored goal, but card tricks aside he was not-so-magic Jordan.


7 games, 649 mins, 74.3 km

Four goals but his own high standards demanded more. Needs a system that works.


7 games, 641 mins, 68.3 km

Made a few wrong decisions in the final but who can forget that semi-final display?


5 games, 84 mins, 10.7 km

Really needs to get his shoulder/back injury sorted so he can arrive fresh into next season.


5 games, 290 mins, 33.5 km

A reliable performer who sets a strong standard for a fit Trent Alexander-Arnold to match.


7 games, 655 mins, 83.0 km

Possibly the discovery of the tournament. Not fazed by anything. Undroppable.


3 games, 191 mins, 19.4 km

Dependable in the group stages while Maguire was getting to full fitness. Good squad member.


3 games, 97 mins, 12.1 km

Barely given a chance then fluffed his penalty. Attitude was questioned – a big season ahead.


2 games, 18 mins, 2.8 km

Always eager but often thwarted. Perhaps Southgate could have used his Plan B strengths more.


5 games, 464 mins, 50.4 km

The COVID isolation seemed to rob him of his energy as he struggled to emulate Chelsea form.


3 games, 159 mins, 19.8 km

Different tournament if shot against Croatia hadn’t hit the post. World beater in the making still.


1 game, 90 mins, 9.0 km

A 99 per cent pass completion rate showed one thing – he was too timid to take the risks needed.


4 games, 272 mins, 31.4 km

As popular as he is dangerous. Will recover from penalty miss – he’s only 19 for goodness sake.


3 games, 56 mins, 7.9 km

Just a few tantalising glimpses of his capabilities showed just what a prospect he is for the future.


White, Coady and keepers along for the ride. Massive miss for Champions League-winning Chilwell.

Football’s coming home? England’s Euro 2020 hopes rated as Germany tie set up – Big Debate

Euro 2020 briefing: England face Germany in last 16 clash

England will face Germany in the last 16 of Euro 2020 next week – and the Three Lions now know their path to glory if they are to win a first trophy since 1966. In our latest Big Debate, the Express Sport team assess the Three Lions’ prospects of international glory this summer as Gareth Southgate and co. look to get long-awaited revenge for Euro 1996.

Englands Euro 2020 hopes rated as Germany tie set up
Football’s coming home? England’s Euro 2020 chances rated before Germany tie – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Simon Head

If we’re judging England’s chances solely on their performances so far at Euro 2020, it’s hard to say that it will be ‘Coming Home’ for the Three Lions this summer. But, as we all know, tournament football isn’t about how you start, it’s about how you finish.

England started slowly in Italia 90 – indeed, there were calls to ‘bring them home’ after the Republic of Ireland game – and Euro 96 started with an off-key 1-1 draw with Switzerland. Even our victorious 1966 World Cup side started slowly.

But we’re at the business end of the tournament now, where it’s time for the continent’s big guns to lay their cards on the table and see who has the best hand. And, on paper, England have plenty to be confident about.

Gareth Southgate’s squad is packed with young, vibrant attacking talent, and possesses one of Europe’s top finishers. But he’s not let his players off the leash yet. Now we’re in the knockout stages, it’s time he should.

In all of our group performances there’s been an element of a safety-first mentality. Full-backs known for bombing on have been turning back and playing square, while our overall build-up play has been pretty slow. That can’t continue against Germany on Tuesday night.

With the games being played in the late afternoon and evening from now on, the temperatures should be more favourable to playing at a higher tempo, and when England play at pace, they can be contenders.

It’s “win or go home” time, and Southgate needs to unleash his stars against Germany on Tuesday. After the group stages, few will be hugely enthused about our chances. But, if we wake up on Wednesday morning with England still in the tournament, the country will start to believe.

Sam Smith

Gareth Southgate knows that positive pragmatism is key to a successful tournament campaign. England will not be the most exciting team at Euro 2020 but that will be a necessary sacrifice if they advance to the latter stages.

The Three Lions head coach was part of four tournament squads as a player. As a manager, he guided the U21s to Toulon success in 2017 and is now into his second tournament with the senior side. How he navigated England to a World Cup semi-final in 2018, despite a generous draw, was evidence of his knockout competition experience.

When judging England’s campaign so far, it should be considered that no team has been entirely convincing. Southgate’s side have largely played well – Scotland aside – and much of the criticism has been unfair. Matches are tense and often low-scoring.

Nations take a while to get up to speed, particularly after such a gruelling club season, and the group stages should effectively be considered as glorified warm-up friendlies for the real thing.

The players ignoring exterior excitement over the history between England and Germany will be important. They seemed distracted and even hindered by the furore of the Scotland fixture.

A famous win over the Germans, which is a possibility given that they don’t look as strong as previous tournaments, sets up a clear path to the final. Southgate’s knowhow will be crucial.

Football's coming home? England's Euro 2020 chances rated before Germany tie - Big Debate

Football’s coming home? England’s Euro 2020 chances rated before Germany tie – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Ryan Taylor

It’s not been pretty but you can’t hide away from the fact England are yet to concede at Euro 2020.

Goals win you games but clean sheets win your tournaments.

Germany are not to be feared but Gareth Southgate’s team selection will prove key. Does he match their 3-4-2-1 or stick with the 4-2-3-1?

That ultimately could be where the game is won or lost. Jack Grealish must start but I don’t envisage that happening. Bukayo Saka could well keep his place though.

If Southgate sets England up to win the game as opposed to not lose, the Three Lions have more than enough to get the job done and a big result here really could give them huge momentum on the favourable side of the draw.

Let’s just go for it.

Gareth Southgate hails ‘decisive’ England keeper Jordan Pickford
Jose Mourinho tears into England over glaring Euro 2020 problem
England’s Jack Grealish sets himself Gascoigne and Rooney target

Adam Goodwin

Unspectacular, at best. England’s three group games weren’t pretty but get used to it, folks.

Gareth Southgate clearly believes that being defensively solid gives us the best chance of winning Euro 2020, relying on the individual brilliance of the likes of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, or Harry Kane to nick games.

During Euro 2016, Portugal manager Fernando Santos said: “I prefer to play ugly and be here, rather than play pretty football and be at home.” I can’t argue with that.

That’s what we’ll try and do against Germany. I feel as though a defence containing Mats Hummels can be exploited, and our backline should have enough to stop the likes of Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, and – the so-far brilliant – Kai Havertz causing too much trouble.

Beyond that? If we beat Germany, I think we’ll have enough to reach the semi-finals, if not the final. And, with those games (hopefully) being at Wembley, it’d be tough to back against us.

England fans go wild as they celebrate Raheem Sterling goal

Alex Turk

England’s Euro 2020 so far has been received far less positively than it should have done. Yes, more goals would’ve added entertainment, but going into the knockout stages unbeaten with no goals conceded is a great start to the campaign.

Germany in the last-16, then. Probably the first real test Gareth Southgate’s side will have faced in both Euro 2020 qualifying and the group stage. A win against Joachim Low’s men would boost confidence and belief that football could actually ‘come home’ this summer.

This isn’t the German side of old, but there are still threats present throughout the team, threats made very clear in their recent rout over Portugal. The main battle will go down on the flanks, with Joshua Kimmich and Robin Gosens Germany’s main creators.

I think England will have enough to get past their old foes this year, though. Should they do that, it will most likely be Sweden and the Netherlands en route to the final. Sweden have been tough customers so far and were worthy of their place as Group E winners, but they must be considered favourable opposition.

The Netherlands are no joke, either, which England learned in the 2019 Nations League semi-finals. However, having 60,000 fans present at Wembley would help roar the Three Lions to victory and go one step away from European Championship glory.

The final would, naturally, provide England’s toughest test. In my likely popular opinion, it will be Italy or France awaiting at that stage. England would go in as the underdogs, but anything can happen in a cup final and the outcome is just too tough to call right now.

Simply put, Harry Kane and co. defeat the Germans on Tuesday and I think we’ll be seeing them make up the final on July 11. If they can eventually bring football home remains to be seen… for now.

Football's coming home? England's Euro 2020 chances rated before Germany tie - Big Debate

Football’s coming home? England’s Euro 2020 chances rated before Germany tie – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Charlie Malam

Germany. Then Sweden or Ukraine. Then Netherlands, Czech Republic, Wales or Denmark. That’s about as favourable a run to the Euro 2020 final as England might have hoped for, given it means they cannot face France, Italy, Portugal or Belgium until the July 11 showpiece.

Don’t be fooled, though, it will still take an enormous amount of effort to make that final.

Gareth Southgate and co. must continue to do what they did well defensively in the group stages in the knockout rounds but they need to be sharper in the final third, too, if they are to advance to the last match. Against the top nations is when England’s cutting edge will be called into question and they must be more clinical.

It’s a finely balanced game against Germany, although Joachim Low’s side have arguably shown greater weaknesses this summer. They look susceptible defensively having leaked two to both Portugal and Hungary and if England can start strong and with a high tempo, backed by a vociferous 40,000-strong Wembley crowd, it’s no question they have the talent to put Die Mannschaft to the sword.

Yet it’s also so easy to see it being a tight and tense affair which goes all the way to extra time or even penalties, and there’s another narrative lying in wait which sees Kai Havertz or Timo Werner – ribbed throughout the recent Premier League season when they had some struggles at Chelsea – step up to kill England’s dreams.

Still, if they can get beyond the reigning world champions, England are big favourites in the quarter-finals, and again probably the favourites in the semis even if they face Netherlands. Get to that final four and regardless of the manner of the performances, the country can dare to dream.

It might be a profitable few weeks for David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds.

Football's coming home? England's Euro 2020 chances rated before Germany tie - Big Debate

Football’s coming home? England’s Euro 2020 chances rated before Germany tie – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Matthew Dunn

In the mayhem of Wednesday night’s Group F action, it was hard to tell if France, Germany, Portugal and Hungary were trying to avoid England or play us.

As it is Germany inevitably filled the berth – the match-up that Gareth Southgate’s managerial career has been building up to ever since he swapped fluffing penalties for managing the national team.

Football's coming home? England's Euro 2020 chances rated before Germany tie - Big Debate

Football’s coming home? England’s Euro 2020 chances rated before Germany tie – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Charlie Gordon

England have generally underwhelmed at Euro 2020 so far, but they managed to see out nervy results against Croatia and Czech Republic who are no pushovers.

With plenty more to come from the likes of Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, the Three Lions have plenty of potential, it’s simply a case of whether it can be unlocked in time.

We should be going into the tie with Germany as narrow underdogs as, despite scraping through their tricky group, the performances from Joachim Low’s side have generally been impressive.

If, and it’s a big if, England manage to surpass Germany at Wembley, the way the draw has shaped up dictates that Gareth Southgate’s side have a great chance of going all the way to the final.

Only then will I join in with chants of ‘It’s coming home!’.

Joachim Loew says England’s style will suit Germany

Felix Keith

It’s been an odd group stage for England, who have managed to both underwhelm and make confident, steady progress simultaneously.

Despite possessing an array of attacking talents, there hasn’t been much to get excited about – and yet Gareth Southgate’s side have topped the group without conceding.

I was one of those up in arms after the Scotland stalemate, but now – with the benefit of the last-16 draw in front of me – I am feeling much more positive.

England have kept five straight clean sheets over the last three weeks. They have conceded just once in their last 11 games. The style of play may not be exciting, but it is undeniably efficient and effective.

Germany are no longer a ruthless mechanical winning machine. There is little fluency in their possession or clarity in game plan. Their progression against Hungary stemmed from a late goal crafted through pure desperation.

Mats Hummels is a rusting oil tanker waiting to be sunk by England’s third-man runs from midfield, pace and direct passing. Once Germany are out of the way the friendlier side of the draw is there to be enjoyed.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express

Video: The 21 Best NES Games Of All Time, As Rated By The Nintendo Life Community

Back in the ’80s, Nintendo released the NES. It saw the rise of a generation of gamers – shifting millions of units worldwide and kickstarting the careers of many video game icons.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what the best games are on this system, you’ve come to the right place. Our American-based video producer Zion Grassl has put together a list of the top titles based on a list curated by readers here on Nintendo Life.

The video features these games in no particular order, and if you aren’t entirely happy with what’s on display – you can have your own say. Of course, the video above is “forever” in Zion’s words, but you could potentially change the course of future videos – like the “best games list” for the Game Boy Color.

What do you think of all the NES games featured in the above video? Tell us down below.

This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Latest News

Roger Federer's Wimbledon chances rated by Boris Becker after French Open withdrawal

Tennis legend Boris Becker has backed Roger Federer to perform at Wimbledon following his French Open withdrawal. Federer prematurely departed Roland Garros earlier this month due to fitness concerns after reaching the fourth round.

Federer defeated Dominik Koepfer in a third-round affair that ran past midnight in front of an empty Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris.

A day later, he announced his withdrawal after feeling the effects of two knee surgeries in the build-up to the tournament.

“After discussions with my team, I have decided I will need to pull out of Roland-Garros today,” Federer stated.

“After two knee surgeries and over two years of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery.

“I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court.”

JUST IN: Nadal explains ‘negative thing’ about facing Djokovic in French semi

Former world number one and three-time French Open semi-finalist Boris Becker has had his say on Federer’s decision.

Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Becker explains that you can’t write off Federer’s chances of more Wimbledon glory despite his French Open withdrawal.

He said: “As we thought before this tournament, Roger Federer has his sights set very much on Wimbledon. Was his withdrawal mid-tournament out of order?

“I think he made a mistake in being so direct in his press conference immediately after his last match by saying he was contemplating it.

“If anything, he was too honest. Some players would have spun a line about being injured, but Federer has very little track record of pulling out because of physical issues and chose to tell it how it is.

“He is Roger Federer, and I think he has probably earned the right at his age to do things his way.

“I also saw enough of him and the way he moved to think it would be very foolish to write off his chances at Wimbledon.”


Novak Djokovic forces Berrettini to dig into pockets like Federer did [NEWS]
Rafael Nadal shows he’s ready for Novak Djokovic in French Open win [NEWS]
Federer may have dealt Djokovic major French Open blow today [NEWS]

Federer recently arrived in Germany to start preparations for Halle 2021, ahead of the grass-court season.

The Swiss superstar has dominated the tournament in recent years, winning five of the last seven editions.

Halle is his preferred preparation for Wimbledon, where he is also the record singles winner with eight successes.

The 2021 edition starts on Monday before Wimbledon kicks off later this month.

With Nadal in the French Open semi-finals and heavily favoured to win a record-extending 14th title, Federer could have a lot to play for at the upcoming grass-court Grand Slam.

Nadal would overtake the 39-year-old on 21 Grand Slam titles by lifting the trophy at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Federer should be determined to level the scores at his preferred major this summer.

Hopefully, his knee won’t stifle those hopes, and a ninth Wimbledon success will make his French Open withdrawal look like a masterstroke.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

A New Super Monkey Ball Game Just Got Rated In Australia

Super Monkey Ball.original

Get yer ‘nanas and your monkey balls ready, because it looks like a new Super Monkey Ball might be a-rollin’ over the horizon.

A Twitter account that documents the latest in Australian video game classifications just posted the cryptic news that a game called SUPER MONKEY BALL BANANA MANIA (all caps, apparently?) was just rated PG.

Last year, Monkey Ball creator Toshihiro Nagoshi – who also helped create the Yakuza series, which gives is an impressive range – hinted at something Monkey Ball-flavoured in the works. We could be about to see what he was talking about.

Online multiplayer Monkey Target, please
Online multiplayer Monkey Target, please

Super Monkey Ball has long been tied to Nintendo platforms, having been initially released on the GameCube, and although this rating only lists “multi platform” as its eventual destination, we’re going to assume that includes the Nintendo Switch. It’s also worth noting that Banana Mania will involve mild violence (gosh) and online interactivity (heck), which are what being the rating up from E for Everyone to a Parental Guidance.

We can, of course, only speculate at this point – but it would be nice to see the HD Rumble-enabled ball-counting game from 1-2-Switch (which is similar to the nut-counting game in Super Mario Party) make it into Super Monkey Ball. Put the balls inside the controller already, cowards!

The last Super Monkey Ball game was Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD on Switch in 2019, a remake of the 2006 version which launched on Wii.

Are you hype for new Super Monkey Ball? Let us know in the comments.

This article originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Latest News