RBS 6 Nations: Why Rob Howley needs help

first_imgPORIRUA, NEW ZEALAND – SEPTEMBER 04: (R-L) Warren Gatland the Wales coach and Rob Howley the Wales assistant coach look on during the official IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 Wales team welcome ceremony at Te Rauparaha Arena on September 4, 2011 in Porirua, New Zealand. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) Isolated: Rob Howley is out in the cold during a Welsh training session at Vale Resort, CardiffBy Karl JonesTHE ONE shred of positivity in the autumn for Wales was that in the face of four straight home losses – now a record five defeats after last week’s defeat to Ireland – the bigger picture remained clear, a firm belief in youth. Jack Dixon, the teenage heir apparent was being groomed to join Wales’ midfield, alongside Ospreys lock, Lloyd Peers, who were both introduced to the senior national set-up whilst in Poland in October. Warren Gatland’s obsessive pursuit of strength-in-depth has been almost as admirable as his duo of Grand Slam successes. Where Wales once had sleepless nights wondering how they could replace Martyn Williams, now Rob Howley endures a different kind of problem as vociferous public opinion demands that Justin Tipuric dethrone captain Sam Warburton. Yet while the player pool has expanded one thing is clear: it is the lifeguard who needs help.Grenade: Shaun Edwards may incite reactionHowley’s situation as ‘interim” head coach is nothing new; it retells the story often found with No 2s in sport. Gatland, during his six-year tenure, felt compelled to criticise players publically and used the media to remind transgressing players of their responsibility. Howley, a renowned former player is moving into new territory as No 1. Formerly the peacemaker, and antidote to Wales’ good cop, bad cop duo, his record suggests luck has not been an easy bedfellow, with six of his eight-matches, lost by eight points or less. A cold-hearted look at his record would suggest the softly-spoken successor lacks the capacity to take the top job and there is no shame in that. However, a promising Welsh coach’s Test career teeters over the precipice and the shame would be that he didn’t receive the requisite support. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Mentored: Howley with Warren Gatland during RWC 2011The long-term goals for the Wales squad remain consistent; to claim Southern Hemisphere scalps and continue to unearth talent that has seen Wales nurture top-quality players in spite of the commercial pressures its regions are under. While the Dragons have been cautious with Dixon, the national setup has earmarked him for exposure at the highest level. At coaching level, a Gatland-mentored coach, is under threat. Howley can seek solace in statistics, and three fourth-placed finishes from Gatland, neatly sandwiched between recent Grand Slam victories, but the Kiwi had the nous to adroitly navigate away from murky waters.As Wales walk out at the Stade de France in less than 24hrs time, they will be aware that a record 11 consecutive defeats is advancing. Howley’s pragmatism, in public at least, since being installed as the top suggests a verbal volley would be out of character, but when stood in the firing line a retort would come in handy, and what better way than taking the pin out of Edwards and throwing him into the changing room. Wales assistant coach, Shaun Edwards’ remains a key figure in the camp, but London Irish’s points against column suggests the feted drift defence misfiring at the moment. Edwards is fiercely proud of his art, yet he was under scrutiny long before Wales’ blitz defence was nullified by Jonathan Sexton persistently maintaining his depth. Two similarly painful, personal defeats – the British and Irish Lions Test loss in South Africa in 2009 and Wales’ Rugby World Cup semi-final exit to France – had fuelled the fires. Now instead Gatland’s long-trusted hand right-hand man is distanced – out of the Lions reckoning and an understudy on Wales’ summer tour to Japan.last_img read more

Read More →

Metallica Members Play National Anthem, Throw First Pitch At The San Francisco Giants’ “Metallica Night” [Video]

first_imgOn Friday, the San Francisco Giants celebrated their seventh annual “Metallica Night” at their home field, Oracle Park during a game against the New York Yankees. Metallica, a group of metal “giants” in their own right, has called San Francisco home for the majority of their decades-long career.The band was on hand to help celebrate the tradition. First, guitarists James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett took the pitchers mound clad in Giants jerseys to perform the traditional pre-game rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in instrumental metal fashion on gear decked out in Giants orange and black. You can watch a close-up video of Hetfield and Hammett’s National Anthem performance below:James Hetfield & Kirk Hammett of Metallica Play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Oracle Park[Video: MetallicaTV]Once Hetfield and Hammett finished their dual-guitar version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, drummer Lars Ulrich took the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The band also announced the teams’ starting lineups. You can watch a clip of the full opening ceremony featuring members of Metallica below:James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett Play National Anthem, Lars Ulrich Throws First Pitch at Oracle Park[Video: NJ.com]As Blabbermouth reports, the San Francisco Giants-themed guitars used by Hetfield and Hammett for the anthem were each signed by the entire band and will be raffled off for charity.Related:Metallica To Reunite With San Francisco Symphony To Open San Francisco’s Chase CenterIn May, Metallica will head out on an extensive European tour. For a full list of Metallica’s upcoming tour dates, head to the band’s website here.[H/T Rolling Stone]last_img read more

Read More →

Creditors to Place STX Offshore under Court Receivership Again

first_imgSouth Korean shipbuilder STX Offshore & Shipbuilding is to be put under court receivership as its union failed to accept the company’s restructuring plan.The shipbuilder’s creditors, led by the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), said that they would place the financially troubled company under court receivership “in principle”, according to Yonhap News Agency.The creditors previously intended to issue refund guarantees for new ships and keep the company afloat, provided that STX Offshore and its labor union agree on the restructuring measures that included a 75 percent reduction in workforce. The shipbuilder was given a deadline, which expired at midnight Monday.Although STX Offshore’s labor union, which earlier staged strike actions, managed to reach an agreement on a voluntary retirement program and other reductions in work benefits, it refused to agree on the workforce cuts.The cash-strapped shipbuilder previously filed for court receivership with the Seoul Central District Court on May 27, 2016.In mid-2017, the Seoul Bankruptcy Court decided to finalize the shipbuilder’s receivership process as STX made considerable progress in its economic recovery and managed to adhere to the debt payment schedule proposed under its previous rescue plan.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Read More →

EPL: Saints face Sheffield United test

first_imgSouthampton vs. Sheffield United Venue: St Mary’s Stadium Kick off: 4PMSheffield United bring down the curtain on a memorable 2019-20 Premier League campaign with a trip to Southampton this afternoon. The Blades are eighth in the table heading into this clash with Southampton, who have gone six games without defeat to climb into 12th.Finishing in the top four, or at least challenging for a Europa League spot, was a realistic possibility for United when the competition shut down for three months in March.Chris Wilder’s men were fifth in the table at that point, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and in front of the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.Three wins in 10 post-lockdown has killed off those European aspirations, though, and United can now finish no higher than their current position of eighth on the final weekend.Four defeats in their last eight matches, most recently losing back-to-back against Leicester City and Everton without scoring, is as many as they suffered in their previous 22. Still, 2019-20 will long live in the memory of United supporters given that they were tipped by many to go straight back down following last year’s promotion.This season has hardly been a vintage one for opponents Southampton, although results and performances have at least picked up in the second half of the campaign and there is plenty of hope for the future.The Saints’ board deserve praise for sticking with boss Ralph Hasenhuttl on the back of October’s 9-0 loss to Leicester City – a record home defeat in a top-flight fixture.Hasenhuttl has now got his players playing the way he wants and Southampton have one of the best records in the division since football resumed in June.In their eight matches since the three-month hiatus, the Saints have won four, drawn three and lost one in a run that includes a 1-0 win over dethroned champions Man City. Last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth made it six games without defeat – Southampton’s best run since August 2016 – and Hasenhuttl will now be looking to end the campaign on a high.However, they have won just 18 of their 49 Premier League points in home games this season (37%).Only Crystal Palace have won a lower share of their points in a single campaign in the competition at home (33% in 1997-98).Southampton have also won only one of their last nine final-day fixtures in the Premier League, losing five of those, so recent history is not exactly on their side.RelatedPosts EPL: Saints tackle Mourinho’s Spurs Arsenal reject £3m bid for Balogun Eberechi Eze debuts for Crystal Palace as Eagles thump Southampton Southampton possible XI: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Redmond, Ings, Long. Sheffield United possible XI: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, McBurnie, McGoldrick.Tags: Sheffield UnitedSouthamptonSt. Mary’s Stadiumlast_img read more

Read More →