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July 2, 2013 / ultrafox1963

This Week’s 5 Biggest Sporting Topics

Manu Tuilagi -  the man to see Lions over the line?

Manu Tuilagi – the man to see Lions over the line?

Aussie series still on knife-edge

A series victory remains within the grasp of the British and Irish Lions as they prepare for the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday. The loss of skipper Sam Warburton through injury is a severe blow, but Brian O’Driscoll, a veteran of previous tours, is a more than able deputy. In addition, the introduction of Manu Tuilagi for his debut appearance could give the Lions the attacking strength they often lacked during their 16-15 defeat in Melbourne. Both previous Tests have gone down to the very last kick and it would be no surprise to see this one follow a similar pattern.

An abominable, appalling, agenda-driven judgement

While the attentions of the rugby world are focused on events down under, in England the RFU seem determined to wreck the season of its premier club before it has even begun. They have hit Tigers coach Richard Cockerill with a NINE-game ban, preventing him from ALL forms of matchday activity, following his altercation with a match official at last season’s Premiership final. This draconian disciplinary action is grossly disproportionate, especially in comparison to the treatment dished out by the same body to other players and coaches for far worse transgressions. Would a coach from the home counties have faced such punishment? Many rugby fans suspect not..

Are Brazil really back?

Brazil retained their grip on the Confederations Cup in awe-inspiring fashion with a 3-0 demolition of world champions Spain in the final at a packed and delirious Maracana. Several players, including Barcelona-bound striker Neymar, looked particularly impressive both during the game and the tournament in general. However it remains to be seen whether they will again be able to exploit home-field advantage so effectively during next summer’s World Cup. In particular, a defence which has struggled twice against England this year should expect a strong challenge from the likes of Argentina and Germany.

Another epic encounter beckons

The early departures of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer has increased the likelihood of another clash between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in Sunday’s Wimbledon men’s singles final. If the players can match the quality displayed in their previous clashes in New York (where Murray emerged triumphant) and Melbourne (when Djokovic exacted revenge), the Centre Court crowd will be in for a treat. Murray will face significant pressure from expectations on him to become the first British male to lift the crown in 76 years. But the confidence gained from his Olympic triumph at this venue may prove decisive.

Bye bye Beckford

The imminent move by Leicester City striker Jermaine Beckford to Championship rivals Bolton represents the end of a largely undistinguished chapter in the Jamaican international’s career. Widely viewed as a “panic buy” at the end of the summer 2011 transfer window, Beckford never truly settled at Filbert Way and often looked ill at ease with his team-mates. But his exploits during the 2012 FA Cup run, which earned him the competition’s golden boot, revealed glimpses of his talent. If Dougie Freedman can harness this on a regular basis, the Foxes’ loss could prove to be the Trotters’ gain.

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