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Issue 246 | March 2 2012

CHARLES VAN COMMENEE

London 2012: FAILURE IS noT An oPTIon


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issue 246, march 2 2012 radar 06 21st century toy The table tennis table of the future – but not quite the present

08 Board to death? Perilous snowboard gaming in the newest incarnation of SSX

10 Formula 1: All the Races A new tome that does exactly what it says on the, er, cover

11 Insider knowledge Cheltenham Festival tips from a man who has all the stats oFeatures this coming week

Cover illustration by Joe Wilson. This page: Andy Hooper/Associated Newspapers/Rex Features

16 Charles van Commenee

23

16 06

The laconic Dutchman in charge of British athletics gives Sport an open and honest interview

23 Perri Shakes-Drayton The Mile End hurdler planning her big trip to, well, Stratford

27 Six Nations Ireland are back in Paris – and we talk to Jamie Heaslip

31 Champions League Why have English clubs suddenly fallen from their lofty perch?

38 Joanne Jackson The Olympic swimming medallist has her eyes set on London 2012

60

extra Time 50 Grooming The unsung hero of every man’s shaving regime: the noble balm

52 Watch special No fewer than four pages of quality timepieces. Yes, four!

58 Ellie Jenas

31

The lady comforting Jermaine through his latest injury

60 Entertainment Lots of top-rate music, plus Matt Damon fighting a bug | March 2 2012 | 05


Radar

p08 – It’s the Zlat App

p10 – Every F1 season. Ever

p11 – Very useful Cheltenham Festival trends

Ping pong prognosis H

ere it is: the table tennis table of tomorrow. A multitouch surface that records where a ping pong ball has landed, a ‘net’ with embedded sensors to show info on whether a ball has touched it, automatic scorekeeping and even an emotionless auto-ref that adjudicates the game for you (and also possibly harbours secret, Hal-type plans to kill you stone dead, Dave). During and after the game, the table also offers you a diverse range of statistical information. For example, players can compare the hit areas (each ball’s touch is

shown by a circle and contains info such as speed and trajectory). All data is stored and can be visualised on devices such as tablets and smartphones. Plus, purists fear not: the table surface is coated in soft acrylic that offers a smooth, low-friction playing area for a true bounce. If it all sounds far too good to be true, that’s because – unfortunately – it is. The next-generation Waldner table is, at present, a concept created by Swedish design studio Designchapel/North Kingdom to illustrate how advancing technology will impact on sports such as table tennis. The good news is we’re reliably told that, given the right financial backing, this could one day be put into real-life production. So what are you waiting for, Roman Abramovich? Quit wasting your money on washed-up strikers, firing managers and ropey haircuts, and invest in this instead. Images and info at designchapel.com/blog

Scores are automatically updated, but never fear, cheaters: you can still make manual ‘corrections’

The surface can record where each shot lands, storing speed and trajectory data

06 | March 2 2012 |


Radar

Zlatapp! I

n London next week to see if he can run the show at the Emirates as he did against Arsenal at the San Siro last month, AC Milan’s genius-come-loon has released an app that contains his outspoken autobiography, plus plenty of extra content. Like the man himself, it isn’t small and it doesn’t come cheap – but it does contain: • Interactive tattoo guide. Something sadly lacking from Tony Blair’s autobiog, this in-depth guide allows you to tap on Ibra’s ink and he’ll talk you through the story behind each one – our favourite being the fact that he has his name tattooed across his stomach (in white, so that it’s barely visible. Perfect). • Goals on film. Some of Zlatan’s favourite strikes – such as his backheel lob for Sweden against Italy, a backheel for Inter that saw Ibra win the Capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer) and even some non-backheeled efforts. All here for you to watch in awe. • Boot views. A guide to the stories behind some of Zlatan’s fancy footwear, such as the gold Nikes he wore during Euro 2004 or the more, erm, understated red and gold boots he switched to four years later (see the Sport iPad app for a quick demo). I Am Zlatan is out now via iTunes, £13.49

Pixel perfect

Zatlapp!

U

FC Undisputed 3 hits shelves today, providing the traditional dose of violent action kids love, plus a range of improvements including a reworked submission system (think Mercy with analog sticks), new online features, and all-new Pride Mode, where you <strikethrough>fight for the right to marry a same-sex partner</ strikethrough> compete in the brutal Japanese mixed martial arts Pride league, which has even fewer rules than UFC, so you're allowed to do head stomps, and

08 | March 2 2012 |

Snow drop T

he best snowboarding game yet made carves through the imitators and arrives in icy glory today. While massive, gravity-defying tricks are key, the new SSX also gives you the option of playing mountain ranges so treacherous that Sherpa Tenzing Norgay would brown his snowpants in awe of them. Flee from avalanches and survive insane drops, all at breakneck speed (you’ll pass out in the thin air if you dally too long). Dark, deadly and spectacular fun. SSX is out now on PS3 and Xbox 360


Racing past E

10 | March 2 2012 |

Jim Clark won seven of that season’s 10 races in his 1963 Lotus 25. Poop and, indeed, poop

All images: Alain Baudouin

very season, driver, car and all 858 F1 races are covered in Roger Smith’s epic new book, which is both a stat fan’s wet dream and a fascinating guide to the story behind each World Championship season. We know what you’re (quite probably) thinking: Roger, dude. What about Wikipedia? But you’re wrong to think that. You’re wronger than Bernie Ecclestone’s wig. The level of detail here is incredible. Each race is broken down with pole position times, weather, fastest laps and more, while punchy prose at the start and end of each chapter picks out the key battles and developments to sum up that racing year. Tightly written editorial: there’s something you won’t find on the internet in a million years. To top it off, there’s wonderful illustrations of all 192 cars – and you can read the author’s guide to his top 10 F1 cars by downloading the Sport iPad app now. Formula 1: All The Races, £30, haynes.co.uk


Radar

Trend setting Champion Hurdle Given that 24 of the past 28 winners won last time out, that five-year-olds have only one win since 1985, and that the past 17 winners had won during the calendar year, the field cuts down to a shortlist including hot favourite Hurricane Fly. Better value, however, may be former winner Binocular (each-way).

Europe (right). These two races are by far the best guides and he is even better now, so can beat second favourite Big Zeb – who, at 11, would have to defy the stat that there has only been one winner over 10 since 1977. Arkle Trophy Sprinter Sacre v Peddlers Cross, to determine the champion novice two-mile chaser, could be the race of the festival. The former is being talked up as the next Pegasus, but Peddlers Cross is officially the best hurdler in the field – as were five of the past 11 Arkle winners. There is hope he can reverse Kempton form with the winner over a course he prefers.

Gold Cup Hearts will be with 12-year-old Kauto Star, but no winner has been aged over 10 since 1969. Given that the past 12 winners had won a Grade 1 race and nine of those ran in the King George VI Chase, it’s hard to get away from defending champ Long Run (King George second), who can win it again.

RSA Chase Grands Crus will be favourite if running here instead of the Gold Cup, but all 17 winners of the Feltham Chase at Kempton have been beaten in the RSA Chase. Five beaten horses reversed the places at Cheltenham, which is a very different course – Bobs Worth adores Cheltenham, and could easily be the sixth.

Champion Chase The Irish had the first four home last year, and a strong 2012 contingent is headed by 2011 hero and Tingle Creek winner Sizing

Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide 2012, £14.95, weatherbysshop.co.uk

Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

W

ith the Cheltenham Festival now less than a fortnight away, we’re on the scrounge for tips. Lucky we came across trends expert Paul Jones and his Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide 2012, then. The tome is full of stats and facts about all 27 races at the festival – but, being lazy, we asked Paul to pick out some high-profile nuggets.


Radar Editor’s letter Two out of three ain’t bad: Lancaster has moulded an impressive unit since taking the helm

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EDITORIAL

Lancaster has X factor Still he remains the interim head coach, but the RFU need to get their man in full time

Editor-in-chief Simon Caney @simoncaney

But if they judged it on leadership, rugby nous and that intangible sense that one man is well on his way to single-handedly righting the English rugby ship, then Lancaster has to get the job full-time. The World Cup was a disaster, on and off the pitch, for England. The RFU has been in utter disarray. Yet out of this, Lancaster appears to have generated a real sense of team spirit among his young charges, and at Twickenham last weekend there was a definite feeling of a new dawn. The past is forgotten – let’s give this team a chance. And while they have a lot to learn, the early signs are good. The backs are more exciting than ever, while this bunch of forwards have real promise – finally an England side that can both control the ball and recycle it at pace. In a very short time, Lancaster has worked wonders. Let him continue.

Next week I shall be at the Global Sports Forum in Barcelona. I know, it’s a tough job. This magazine is media partner for the GSF, which has a sparkling line-up of guest speakers on a range of subjects that affect everyone who is interested in sport. It will be fascinating to see what transpires. Now, more than ever, those who run our sports need to speak to each other, learn from each other and help each other – and us, the paying public who keep them in business. Speakers include Lord Coe, Oscar Pistorius, Eric Cantona, ICC chief Haroon Lorgat and Juan Antonio Samaranch of the IOC, to name a few. Sport readers can still get a 30 per cent discount to attend – go to globalsportsforum.mediactive.fr and enter the code GSF12QBBU3ST. We’d love to see you there.

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12 | March 2 2012 |

Boxers fighting - whatever next? Not like MPs fighting

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rue, the record on paper so far is uninspiring. Two wins (over poor opposition) and one defeat, against a better team. But nonetheless, there is every indication that Stuart Lancaster may have hit on something as England rugby’s head coach. Call it an X factor. Because if – and forgive me for stretching this point rather further than it warrants – Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and that one out of Destiny’s Child were deciding who should get the job long term, they would do much worse than stick with the man currently in situ. They might cite a lack of star quality, and wonder how they could get him on the front page of the tabloids in a bid to drum up publicity. And they might, possibly with reason, wonder whether his voice was really quite good enough. But then Louis would stand him in front of some bongos and it’d all be fine.

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Radar Frozen in time

14 | March 2 2012 |


It is perhaps a testament to the awe-inspiring scenery on hand throughout the 375-mile Patagonian Expedition Race in Chile that the greyest, most monotone double-page spread we’ve ever run in Sport still manages to catch the eye. Here we see four small men in boats wondering, not unreasonably, how the buggery they’re going to paddle up the vast mountain of ice they see before them. Luckily, Londoner Nick Gracie had the answer – he just got out, clambered over and led his intrepid team home first. Their prize was a surely ironic wooden spoon. Well done, crazy men.

| 15

Tony Hoare, PatagonianExpeditionRace.com

River deep...


Charles van Commenee

The buck sTops here.

Ahead of next weekend’s World Indoor Championships – the last global athletics competition before the Olympics – Sport talks to the no-nonsense Dutchman charged with bringing the golden days of athletics back to Britain

W

hen a high-profile football team underperforms, the first shots fired are in the direction of one man – the manager. As the head coach of UK Athletics, the exact same scenario awaits Dutchman Charles van Commenee – should Britain’s track-and-field athletes not live up to expectations in London this summer. It’s something over which he loses not a minute of sleep. For van Commenee, it makes perfect sense that he should live or die by what happens in the Olympic Stadium this summer. For success and failure are the outcomes by which everything else should be measured. It’s black and white. The grey areas that once infected British athletics with an air of mediocrity have long gone, replaced by a team of athletes who know exactly what’s expected of them – and what they can expect if they don’t deliver.

16 | March 2 2012 |

In Beijing they delivered four track-andfield medals, a total among the poorest returns from one of Britain’s richest Olympic sports. UK Athletics knew a sea change was needed if the Olympics’ marquee sport was to be anything other than an embarrassment for Team GB at their home Games. With a proven record of coaching athletes on to the podium (Denise Lewis’ heptathlon gold in Sydney and Kelly Sotherton’s bronze in Athens both came under his guidance) and a reputation for demanding excellence at every turn, van Commenee was their man. Now, with D-Day approaching, the 53-yearold head coach is sharpening his focus. Each athlete’s every movement, stretch and niggle are analysed only in Olympic terms. But there is plenty of work to be done before Stratford becomes the centre of the sporting world – starting in Istanbul, where the World Indoor Championships take place next weekend... >


Joe Wilson

| 64

Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images, www.alexphoto.it


Charles van Commenee

Is there a medal target for the championships? “No, I won’t set any targets for these championships. The number of medals we win in Istanbul won’t change anything for me. Normally you set a target for a reason – it’s an incentive to learn or to change. There’s also an accountability factor in it. But this time I’m not going to change anything because, whatever the results will be in Istanbul, we’re heading in the right direction.” So British athletics is where you’d hoped it would be at this stage, leading up to 2012? “Yes. We made good progress over the past two years, and that upward movement has not stopped. With five months to go, that’s a good place to be. We still need those months to improve, but if we WOrlD InDOOr could have looked ahead CHAMPIOnSHIPS in time two years ago CHANNEL 4 and said ‘these are the AND BrITISH performances, these are EuroSporT | the athletes you will have MArCH 9-11 at the start of 2012 – are you happy?’ I’d say yes.” At last summer’s worlds there were silver medals for Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon and Phillips Idowu in the triple jump – both had been gold-medal favourites. Are those disappointments worrying the year before the Olympics? “It would be worrying if they were finishing fifth, but they’re close. Silver is probably the best medal you can win a year before the Games, actually, because it tells you that you’re competitive for a gold medal. You are close, but you will never be complacent because you want that gold medal. Winning is great, but the next day, the next week or the next month, I think that alertness and that mindset of the number two is a better thing to have.” Does your role as head coach change at all as the Games get closer? “When I started this job, I implemented a few structures that changed things across the board. Now, all those structures are in place and it’s really about helping individual athletes to identify and address their weaknesses and keep their strengths in place. You can appreciate that I don’t necessarily want to identify individual weaknesses of people, but it’s an individual approach. For some, it’s better technique they need to focus on; others, better tactics, conditioning or mental preparation.”

18 | March 2 2012 |

“Hitting tHe target or not Hitting tHe target sHould Have an effect on me, because i Have to lead by example” Mo Farah made great strides in 2011. How much is that down to his move to the US, to train with Alberto Salazar? “It’s difficult to say, because he had another 15 years of training in his body. Would he not have had that, he would not have had the results that he’s having. So everything that happened before he moved also contributed to his success. He has been dedicated and motivated for many years, but 2011 was the year of breakthrough. He’s in a good place, has good training partners and a knowledgable coach – but it’s impossible to say what percentage difference the move has made. If it was one per cent, how important are the other 99 per cent?”

He was beaten in a two-mile race in Birmingham last month, and struggled to explain why he was “heavy legged”. That must be a little concerning? “It’s quite normal that athletes get beaten – its actually quite healthy as well, five months before the Games, so there’s no reason to be concerned. If athletes stay unbeaten for a number of years, the moment they get beaten is coming closer every day, so that’s out of the way now. There is this assumption that Mo is unbeatable, but that assumption is only in Britain. I don’t think that in Kenya or Ethiopia people take the same views on that. It will happen every now and again, as we saw in Daegu in the 10,000m.” >

Andy Hooper/Associated Newspapers/Rex Features

In an Olympic year, just how important is the World Indoor Championships? “I find it a useful event to see how athletes perform on that stage, but it’s not the beginning and end of all things – it’s not an event that people peak for. It’s not like if the team does great in Istanbul then we’ll be over the moon and ready for London. At the same time, if we don’t do great then it’s also not a reason to panic. I’ve seen enough this indoor season to be confident and optimistic for the summer.”

Looking ahead: van Commenee says silver is the best medal to win before the Games because ‘you will never be complacent’


Charles van Commenee In October last year, UK Athletics announced which athletes would be lottery-funded for the Olympic season and who would lose their funding. When you make those decisions, what are your hopes and expectations for those athletes who lose their funding? “I hope that they want to prove me wrong. I don’t want to lose them from the sport. It’s one of my responsibilities to make sure that public money is well spent, so these athletes as a minimum must have a realistic chance to make the top eight. If I can’t justify that, I owe it to the people who give me the money to exit people from the programme. For a lot of athletes that is heartbreaking and it changes their lives, so it’s not a decision easily made. But I hope they don’t leave the sport and that they get better, so that they give me another choice to take them on.”

Can you see yourself staying on as head coach for Rio in 2016? “I live in four-year cycles, and a lot depends on success and failure. I may not have a choice – if there’s no success, then there’s no place for me here. We are a very results-driven business. I will not offer contracts to coaches before the Games because I want to see the results first, and that applies to myself as well. If we have a high degree of accountability – and we have replaced coaches and other staff over the past few years – then hitting the target or not hitting the target should have an effect on me as well, because I have to lead by example.”

You’re in possibly the most high-profile Olympic coaching role there is. What are the good and bad things about being in the spotlight? “The minus is that I know that we do this with a group of people and I, as the face of UK Athletics, get all the glory. I feel sometimes uncomfortable that all the hard work that others do here is not seen or recognised – almost like I steal some of the glory that others deserve. The plus? That’s a tough one. I'm not driven at all by attention and publicity. I prefer to be able to walk around anonymously, so being the face...well, it is one of those things that comes with the job. It has to be done and I understand and accept that, as a head coach, it is part of what you have to do.”

Running it close: van Commenee (above, right) is laid-back about Chambers’ (above) ban, and says Ennis (right) and Farah (below) coming second in recent meets will keep them hungry

Being pictured on the cover of Sport isn’t something you’re over the moon about, then... “I’m indifferent about it, and that’s not an attempt at false modesty or anything like that. I am just a private person. My best day is when I’m with one or two friends eating out or if I am out somewhere on my bike – I just don’t necessarily enjoy big groups or being the centre of attention.” Sarah Shephard @sarahsportmag

“There is This assumpTion ThaT mo is unbeaTable, buT ThaT assumpTion is only in briTain” 20 | March 2 2012 |

Stu Forster/Getty Images, Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for Aviva, Jamie McDonald/Getty Images, Michael Steele/Getty Images

The dispute between the BOA and WADA over the lifetime Olympic ban for British athletes caught doping means you still don’t know for sure which athletes will be available for selection this summer. Do you find that frustrating? “Not so much, because frustration usually comes from expectation and I don’t expect much. I just live by the reality – and the reality is that, currently, Dwain Chambers and Carl Myerscough cannot compete. If that changes, then I adjust. I have always had that laidback approach.”


Perri Shakes-Drayton

Local hero

Mile End Park Stadium might be best known for hosting a huge Blur gig in the mid-1990s, but Perri Shakes-Drayton could change all that this summer... “I’ve been coming here for about 12 years now,” says 400m hurdler Perri Shakes-Drayton of the Mile End track where she trains every day. We’re sitting in a prison cell of a room that’s tucked away in between the toilets and changing rooms in the facility’s main building. “This building never used to be here,” she explains. “The place was quite crusty, really, but now it’s been refurbished with a new sports hall and gym facility. I still use the old gym though – it’s basic, but it does the job.” The same could be said of the track in comparison to the high-performance centre at Lee Valley, replete with indoor track, strength training areas and physiotherapy suite, where most of Shakes-Drayton’s GB teammates train. “But why travel all that way when Mile End is a five-minute walk from my house?” she asks. “The only reason I occasionally do is to see the physio or if the weather’s so bad that we need to train indoors. You’ll nearly always find me here, even training in the snow – it toughens me up.” >

| March 2 2012 | 23


Perri Shakes-Drayton

SENIOR ARRIVAL Born and raised in east London, 23-year-old Shakes-Drayton is being billed as one of the most local heroes of 2012, with the Olympic Park in Stratford only a stone’s throw from her home in Bow. And after she put in a huge performance to snatch a bronze medal at the European Championships in Barcelona in 2010, she announced herself as a potential medallist, too. There was a motivational jolt at last summer’s World Championships, though, when she missed out on a place in the final by 0.01 seconds. “I was disappointed,” she admits. “But in 2009, I came seventh in the semis at the worlds, so to come third shows progression has happened. And I’ll still get better, so I just go with the flow – when it’s my time, it’s my time.” But the 400m hurdles generally isn’t conducive to success at a young age. Chris Zah, her coach, labelled it an “old girls’ event”. It is technical and incredibly tough, which Shakes-Drayton admits often has her wondering why she doesn’t do the 400m flat. It’s something she will get the chance to do next weekend, though, at the World Indoor Championships – where she’s been selected for the 4x400m relay squad. “It’s a good way to break up the season and get into the competitive spirit,” she says. “But me, with my long limbs, I ain’t really suited to the indoors. I need to be outdoors and let my legs do the biggest strides they can do.”

24 | March 2 2012 |

“MY LONG LIMBS AIN’T SUITED TO THE INDOORS. I NEED TO LET MY LEGS DO THE BIGGEST STRIDES THEY cAN DO... ON THE TRAcK, I’M LIKE A BEAST” THE BEIJING EXPERIENCE It was those limbs that first convinced coach Zah that the 400m hurdles was perfect for Shakes-Drayton, when she first appeared at Mile End aged 11. “My primary school teacher sent me because I used to enjoy cross country,” she explains. “I was just doing athletics for fun then. I even tried the field events, but I was crap – I threw a javelin and hit my own head. But Chris was like: ‘You got some long legs – why haven’t you tried hurdles?’” It paid off. So much so that ShakesDrayton won the trials for the 2008 Olympic team. She was pipped to the only British spot, though, by the older, more experienced Tasha Danvers. Was she frustrated? “Not at all. I didn’t realise then how much the Olympics meant to people. I didn’t watch athletics then. I didn’t realise people got paid to be athletes and to travel to all these places – I was just happy I’d won the trials. “I got to go to the Games as a spectator though [the BOA took a group of talented young athletes], so went into the Village and got a feel for what the Games would be like. I was sitting there thinking: ‘I want to be a

part of this.’ If anything, I’ve grown from it and I understand now what the Olympics is about. I’m ready to be a part of it.” There’s a huge smile almost permanently fixed on the face of Shakes-Drayton away from the track. But on the track, you can forget it. ‘The Beast from the East’ is what her teammates call her... “because, on the track, I become like a beast”. The scowl is applied when athletes are gathered in the call room before being called to the track. “I’m focused then,” she says. “There’s no chatting. Headphones on and I’m visualising what I’m gonna do. Don’t talk to me then. Even when we was younger, girls would come up to me and chat: ‘What’s your PB?’; ‘I’m really scared’; or ‘I like your spikes’. I was like [she goes silent and stares straight ahead]. If I let my guard down, I think it will affect my race.” Those athletes coming to compete in London this summer shouldn’t expect too warm a welcome from Shakes-Drayton, then. Just one hell of a tussle for the finish line. Sarah Shephard @sarahsportmag Time to sign up at facebook.com/nikerunninguk. #makeitcount


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Jamie Heaslip

Super 8 After postponement a fortnight ago, Ireland return to France for their Six Nations clash this Sunday off the back of a 42-10 victory over Italy. Sport caught up with a quietly confident Jamie Heaslip

It was only 17-10 at half time. Were you worried, and what did Declan Kidney say? “Nothing too dramatic. We knew that our gameplan was working and that we had to keep going through the phases. They’re a hard team to break down and we just had to hold on to the ball and play in their half. I think we were just a bit guilty of trying to play too much in our own half in the first 40 minutes, and gifting them easy ball. In the second half,

we held on to it for longer, worked the phases in the right parts of the pitch and ended up working some very good tries.”

Is there a worry that there will be a lack of Irish support because people just can’t afford to make the journey again? “Well, our fans are known around the world for travelling and being really supportive. I still think the Irish are everywhere, so people in Ireland who can’t make it now might send their tickets on to friends and relatives in London or wherever, and they can jump on a train.”

You talk about going from deep too much. Is there a clear message within this squad to try and play a more exciting brand of rugby? “I don’t think so, no. When it’s on we’ll have a go, and when it’s not we won’t. It’s that simple. We play what’s in front of us and try to think our way out of problems. We have plans for all sorts of different situations, but we just play what we see – and the coaches are as happy with that style as we are.” From your point of view, how hard was the Paris situation two weeks ago? It must be tough having a game called off so late. “It wasn’t annoying from our point of view. We warmed up, we went through our routines and there was a bit of an anticlimax, of

Of the seven tries Jamie Heaslip has scored for his country, only one has come in a game Ireland went on to lose – that was in last season’s Six Nations defeat to, yes, France

The Irish fans do always seem to find a way... [Laughs] “Exactly. I think you’ll be surprised by the number who will still be there.” So are you travelling to Paris with confidence? “We’re very much focused on the next task. We said after the Italy game that we’ve got to bring that intensity and workrate to both >

| March 2 2012 | 27

Stu Forster/Getty Images

After the frustration of the late postponement in Paris, how nice was it to open up against Italy in the second half? “It was good, yeah. For a good few of us, we had to blow off a couple of cobwebs after two weekends with no games. On top of that, we also had to get through a good bit of work in the first half because we didn’t have much ball – so to open up in the second half was nice, and I think we executed it pretty well.”

course, but there was nothing we could really do about it. I feel sorry for the thousands of Irish fans who spent as much as €1,500 to come over for the weekend. For them to then be told the game was off so late was disappointing. From our own point of view, it wasn’t half as bad as it must have been for them.”


Jamie Heaslip training and the next game. We’re focusing on each day of training as opposed to planning too far forward. It was good to get some tries and work on our shape, but we know the challenge that’s ahead of us. Paris is not an easy place to go and get anything. It’s going to be tough.” How difficult was it to take the defeat to Wales? “Yeah, we kind of went hammer and tongs against each other and they just came out on top, so it was hard. We let in three tries in that game, which were probably soft tries by our own standards. We know we can’t afford to do that at international level, but fair play to Wales – they took the scores. I thought we worked the ball well at times ourselves and defended well in large parts, but we were particularly disappointed with the two late tries we let in. That’s a few weeks ago now, though. Jesus, we know we have to move on. Like everything in rugby, things move so quickly, so that’s all kind of done and dusted as far as we’re concerned now.”

ball in the Wales game. It comes sometimes, it doesn’t on other days. But, all in all, I’m really happy and working well with Sean [O’Brien] and Fez [Stephen Ferris].” The Irish back row is the strongest it’s been in years, but arguably so are the back rows of most of the other Six Nations sides. Why are there so many good back-row players right now? “I think everyone just wants to play in the back row! I was going to say it’s all the good-looking lads who get put there, but people might argue with that as well. I don’t know why, to be honest, but we really are blessed with back-row players in Ireland. I guess once you get a few good ones, everyone else in that position has to up their game.” Is the team missing Brian O’Driscoll? “No, not at all. Brian has big shoes to fill, obviously, but I also think guys have stepped up to the plate. We haven’t had Brian play for Leinster at all this season, so we’re quite used to it really. Keith Earls and Fergus McFadden are doing a job for the team at 13 so far, so I think we’re doing alright. Obviously, Brian is Brian, and Fergus and

Sunday France v Ireland Stade de France BBC One 3pm

Earlsy are their own lads, so it’s different and they play their own game. He’s obviously missed in terms of him being a great player, and [when he’s fit] he’s great to have both on the pitch and in the changing room. But we know we just have to get on without him, and I think we’re doing just that.” You’ve got three more games over the next three weeks. How much will that hinder you and help the other teams who have a break coming up? “I think it’s going to be great for us, to be honest. We had a two-week break that no one else had, and we got a chance to iron out our shape and really blow off the cobwebs in a tough game against Italy. I think it’s shaped us up well. We have a quick turnaround after the France game, yeah, and I suppose that might be a slight disadvantage, but there’s nothing we can do about it now. This is why we’ve got a strong squad, though – we’ll be pretty confident no matter which 15 are out on the pitch.” Mark Coughlan @coffers83 Jamie Heaslip wears PUMA v1.11 boots, available at prodirectrugby.com or facebook.com/pumarugby

Brian Lawless/Sportsfile

On a personal note, are you happy with your own form? “Yeah, working the gameplan that we have, sometimes you have to do a lot of grunt work and sometimes you get to run it a bit, so you do what you have to do. The way the game panned out last week, I probably would have liked a few more carries – but the game wasn’t really like that, whereas I got loads of

“AgAinst wAles, we kind of went hAmmer And tongs AgAinst eAch other And they just cAme out on top – so it wAs hArd”

28 | March 2 2012 |


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Champions League

ALL PLAYED OUT? For the first time in 17 seasons, the last eight of the Champions League looks set to be played without a single English team. So, is this a single-season blip or the beginning of a downward descent? We crunch the numbers to find out...

| March 2 2012 | 31


Champions League

arring the kind of miracle that even Lazarus would dismiss as far-fetched, at around 9.45pm on Wednesday March 14, English football will be pronounced dead. It is at that hour on that day, we expect with great certainty, that Chelsea will exit the Champions League – the final of England’s four teams to drop out with barely a whimper before the last eight. For the first time in 17 years, the quarter finals of European football’s premier cup competition will feature not a single English team. The last time such a thing could be said, Robson & Jerome were high in the Hit Parade (ask an adult, kids) and Blackburn Rovers were England’s best European hope. A necessary note of caution here, of course, because at the time of writing both Arsenal and Chelsea could yet make it into the last eight. All Arsenal need are five unanswered goals at home to AC Milan (this will not happen), while Chelsea just need to overturn a 3-1 away-leg defeat to Napoli (unlikely, given recent form, but not impossible). However, even if they do somehow scrape though, it won’t change the fact that English football appears to be on the slide where the Champions League is concerned. Ten of the past 20 semi-finalists have come from these shores – nine of 12 between 2007 and 2009. Now, we are looking for miracles just to get two sides through to the quarter finals. How quickly things change.

B

Rise and Fall The slide can be traced back to May 21 2008, the night Manchester United faced Chelsea in the Champions League final, a game that illustrated the growing dominance of the Premier League’s elite. Three of the four semi-finalists that season came from England, just as they had the previous season. For the first time since Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa won six successive European Cups between 1977 and 1982, English clubs were the dominant force in European football. But far from being a sign of things to come, that night in Moscow proved to be the pinnacle – from the top of the world, gravity slowly had its way. The following season, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United reached the semi finals.

United would have faced Chelsea again in a second successive final, but for the antics of Tom Henning Ovrebo, who turned down several clear-cut penalties and watched Barcelona score at the death to go through on away goals. As laughable as it seems now, United went into the final in Rome as favourites against the Catalans – a position that lasted all of 10 minutes, until Samuel Eto’o scored. United spent the remaining 80 minutes waving white flags, Lionel Messi added a second and Sir Alex Ferguson begrudgingly admitted the better team won. What we didn’t realise then, despite Ferguson predicting his team would come back stronger than before, was that a new European order had been established. The following season, United and Arsenal could reach only the last eight, Chelsea the last 16 and Liverpool couldn’t even escape the group. Normal service was resumed the following season, as Manchester United reached their third final in four seasons, beating Chelsea in the semi to set up a rematch with Barcelona (who beat Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid in the other semi final) – but the chasm between Europe’s and England’s finest was growing ever wider. United were run into the Wembley ground by a blur of blaugrana-clad midgets. This time, Ferguson acknowledged that the game had changed. “No one has given us a hiding like that,” he mumbled. The suspicion was that England’s time was up, and that whoever came through that all-Spanish semi final would have won at Wembley – although hindsight is a wonderful thing.

PEAKS AND TROUGHS 2010-11 (Barcelona win) England: 780pts Spain: 995pts Germany: 305pts Italy: 375pts

2007-08 (Man Utd) England: 1,500pts Spain: 385pts Germany: 150pts Italy: 285pts

2004-05 (Liverpool) England: 1,060pts Spain: 210pts Germany: 260pts Italy: 725pts

The Cycle of Life As the great football philosopher W. Axl Rose once noted, nothing lasts for ever, and we all know UEFA’s coefficients rankings can change. And so it has proven. European football moves in short cycles: teams, and leagues, often enjoy short bursts of success. In the 1950s, when the European Cup was born, Spain (well, Real Madrid) won the first four instalments. The Italians did the same in the 1960s, the Dutch in the 1970s and the English in the 1980s. Spain dominated in the noughties, winning four titles, until the English came again, for a short while. Barcelona’s dismantling of Manchester United last May convinced most neutral

2001-02 (Real Madrid) England: 350pts Spain: 1,025pts Germany: 625pts Italy: 140pts

Points for prizes how we worked them out

“for the first time since robson & jerome were high in the hit parade, the quarter finals won’t feature a single english side” 32 | March 2 2012 |

Winners: 700pts

2nd group stage: 50pts

Beaten finalists: 500pts

1st group stage: 25pts

Semi finalists: 200pts

3rd playoffs: 15pts

Quarter finalists: 100pts

2nd playoffs: 10pts

Last 16: 80pts

1st playoffs: 5pts


2009-10 (Inter) England: 305pts Spain: 385pts Germany: 605pts Italy: 885pts

2008-09 (Barcelona) England: 1,000pts Spain: 960pts Germany: 140pts Italy: 265pts

2006-07 (Milan) England: 980pts Spain: 275pts Germany: 150pts Italy: 895pts

2005-06 (Barcelona) England: 700pts Spain: 1,005pts Germany: 185pts Italy: 425pts

2003-04 (Porto) England: 395pts Spain: 460pts Germany: 175pts Italy: 230pts

2002-03 (Milan) England: 225pts Spain: 450pts Germany: 125pts Italy: 1,450pts

observers that Spain’s time had come again. But Sir Alex Ferguson has never been a neutral observer and wasted no time talking up his club’s chances when the draw for this season’s Champions League was made. Last September, no doubt buoyed by a set of hot balls that had seen them grouped with Benfica, FC Basel and Otelul Galati, Ferguson proclaimed: “We’re coming closer all the time to getting another [Champions League] trophy. The consistency has been very, very good over the last few years. That’s a good guide to the standard we are in Europe and also the progress we are making.” By October, Ferguson had woken up. When asked who would win the Champions League, he replied: “Barcelona and Real Madrid, without a doubt. But I think English teams like ourselves, Chelsea and Manchester City will make a good show of it.” Home and away wins against Otelul Galati were United’s only victories, and a 2-2 draw with Benfica in the penultimate group game left Ferguson’s men struggling to qualify. “Struggling? Thank you. Are you serious? We’re not struggling,” he said, before storming out of a press conference. Not struggling? A 2-1 defeat in Basle proved as much, and sealed their fate. As this season’s competition kicked off, however, the three other managers of English sides offered more realistic appraisals. Roberto Mancini claimed “reaching the knockout stages is our only target”. Arsene Wenger put Barcelona and Real Madrid on a pedestal and admitted “the rest (of us) have to catch up”. While, despite claiming his Chelsea side could beat Barcelona if their paths ever crossed, Andre Villas-Boas waved a white flag in predicting “our time will eventually come”. Their time may yet come this season, and they may yet end up playing and beating Barcelona as well, but few truly believe him. Barring that miracle we mentioned, Arsenal will be out next Tuesday, and Chelsea eight days later. That they’ve all fallen short is no surprise – not even to Mr Ferguson.

An Inquest TOTALS (FOR 10 SEASONS) Premier League 7,295pts La Liga 6,205pts Serie A 5,675pts Bundesliga* 2,570pts *Due to UEFA coefficients, Bundesliga receives three rather than four places – at Serie A’s expense, this will change next season

Of the four teams, only Manchester City can claim to have performed to expectations, having been pulled out alongside Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal. Had they parked their bus at 1-1 in Naples, that point would have taken them through. But, as Roberto Mancini reflected afterwards: “It is my opinion, next year, that if we play Champions League, we will do better.” The other three teams have no such excuse. Manchester United’s demise appears to have been caused by a combination of things. United We Stand editor Andy Mitten cites their home form and inexperience. “When you win just one of your three home games and just one away – both against a previously unknown team from Romania – you don’t deserve to go through,” he says. “Sir Alex Ferguson has cited playing too many younger, inexperienced players. >

| 33

Previous page: Claudio Villa/Getty Images, Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images. This page: all pictures Getty Images

A decade of ups and downs for the Premier League’s elite


Champions League

play reactive football,” he says. “Unlike their continental counterparts. Those used to a more patient approach are better equipped.”

End of an Era? According to our figures (see pages 32-33), this season represents the worst Champions League performance from English clubs in the past 10 years. Awarding points for their finishing positions, England’s current Champions League teams are on track to return just 185 points – the lowest in a decade and down from a 10-year high of 1,500 points in 2007-08. This is interesting, particularly for fans of rudimentary statistics, but also misleading. As we’ve established, football is a cyclical, capricious old dame – sometimes she smiles sweetly and sometimes she slaps your face. “We’ve had a great cycle in the Premier League for eight years with teams getting to semi finals and finals,” admits Ferguson. “I think the English teams will continue to be dominant... to my mind, it’s not definite that we’re on the slide.” According to Simpson, all four English teams have been lost in transition this season, to varying degrees. “Each of the managers, even Ferguson, are trying to build new teams – teams that will probably prosper in one, two, three years’ time, but obviously aren’t gelling at the moment and may not gel for a while yet,” he says. That the Premier League will rise and dominate in Europe again seems fairly certain, less so the four teams’ identities. Next season’s English representatives will almost certainly include Tottenham and could yet see Newcastle United return at the expense of Arsenal or Chelsea. Inevitably though, cold, hard cash will dictate, as it always has in the Champions League era.

“English teams will continue to dominate. It’s not definite that we’re on the slide”

“money talks. the wages paid in england are higher than in any country. english teams will be back” Diminishing Returns Season

English clubs’ goals per game in Europe

2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

1.83 1.61 1.73 1.85 1.58

Goals per game average in the Premier League this season. Between the Premier League’s 2004-05 and 2008-09 Euro peak, this dropped to 2.5. In the five previous seasons, when no English teams reached a final, it went above 2.65

Win percentage of England’s four Champions League clubs this season – the lowest since 2001-02. This could rise to 46.4% if Arsenal and Chelsea win their second legs, or drop to 39.2% if both lose

34 | March 2 2012 |

As ESPN’s Bundesliga expert Derek Rae says: “Money talks, and the wages paid by English clubs are higher than in any country, bar Barcelona and Real Madrid. For that reason, English teams will come back.” As The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson previously pointed out, break the Champions League down into three rough eras and Italian (1988-98), Spanish (1999-2004) and English (2005-2009) dominance corresponds with the ability of clubs in those countries to outstrip others in transfer spending. “Between 1984 and 2000, the world football transfer record was broken nine times by Italian clubs,” said Wilson. “The moves to Real Madrid of Luis Figo in 2000 and Zinedine Zidane in 2001 took the record to Spain, and ushered in their period of dominance. Transfer fees as a whole have dropped since then, but the four biggest moves since 2004 have all been to English clubs.” Since he wrote that, the record has been broken again by Cristiano Ronaldo moving from Manchester United to Real Madrid – the shift of European power personified. Any talk of finances is inevitably where Sheikh Mansour comes in. “Manchester City are the team most likely to mount the next challenge,” says Simpson, echoing the thoughts of most neutral observers. “They will have learnt a lot from this campaign, they have the players and – crucially – they have the income to strengthen their squad.” Rae agrees: “How well the others bounce back depends on how quickly and how well they rebuild. The default answer to who will bounce back first is ‘Manchester United’, because of their experience and the fact they are still an excellent team. But Man City are the team you’d say have the best chance because of the wealth of talent at the disposal of Mancini, and the fact their group next season will be easier than it was this.” With the game now at the whim of shadowy sheikhs, predicting football’s future is a game of guesswork – now more than ever with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play scheme starting to take hold. Names may change, but the Premier League will inevitably rise again. Rumours of its demise are both premature and greatly exaggerated.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images, Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

He’s learned that you get punished if you play them, even in the group stages of the Champions League.” Basle midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri laughed at United’s demise. “They underestimated us,” he tweeted. “They weren’t fully focused and I’m not even sure a United player made even one sprint.” Most oddly, the two teams in transition and turmoil are the last two standing. Wenger knew the whole thing would come crashing down, so attempted to dampen any expectation last September by refusing to say that Arsenal could win this season’s Champions League. “I don’t think anyone would believe it,” he shrugged. Meanwhile, the massive overhaul of an ageing squad – and ensuing fall-out – put paid to any realistic hopes Chelsea had of finally winning the Champions League this season. According to Paul Simpson, the editor of Champions magazine, both London teams have been undone by tactical naivety. “They’ve been surprised by some of the movement and running off the ball and also particularly with Napoli’s very fast counterattacking game,” he says. “In some of the games, player for player, you’d often pick the English team to win. But they’ve been outdone because the opposition have been tactically smarter. I think we’re back at the same kind of stage we were after the European ban in the 1980s – it took English clubs a long time to adjust. I don’t think it’s a case of going back to where we were right at the beginning, but there is some tactical learning do to – particularly for the English players.” Master tactician Michael Cox, writing for The Guardian, echoes that theory and points out that English teams have forgotten how to defend. “None of the top sides want to be submissive, to be seen as the underdog and


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Champions League The Last 16 Part I

Miracle required Arsenal v AC Milan

Tuesday 7.45PM, sky sPorTs 2 It’s a cruel quirk of two-legged knockout ties when teams are forced out to battle when the war has already been lost. Arsene Wenger, pride still wounded from that 4-0 massacre at the San Siro, must rouse his weary troops and send them out to again face Massimo Allegri’s ruthless killing machine. The second leg at the Emirates is sandwiched between two important Premier League ties against Liverpool and Newcastle, with both teams trying to invade Arsenal’s traditional top-four territory. A more pragmatic manager would probably be tempted to rest key players with those juicy domestic points in mind, but Arsene the Idealist will no doubt field a strong side in an attempt to try and do the impossible and score five (unlikely, as AC Milan have the second best defence in Serie A and Arsenal have failed to score in either of their home games against them) without conceding (unlikely, given the state of Arsenal’s defence). Overturning the deficit seems impossible, and Arsenal will have to improve drastically if they are even to come away with a home win. Previously, English teams didn’t really have to worry about trying to stop Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Champions League. That’s changed now – the big Swede put in a directorial performance a fortnight ago, pulling the strings with two assists and a goal from the penalty spot. All things considered, it’s difficult to predict anything other than another Milan victory. Last tIme: aC mILan 4-0 arsenaL Arsenal went into the tie with a strong record against Italian teams, but Kevin-Prince Boateng shattered their hopes just 15 minutes in, controlling a ball on his chest just inside the area and firing past Wojciech Szczesny. Zlatan Ibrahimovic crossed for Robinho to head in from close range with after 38 minutes, before repeating the trick the other side of half time, teeing up the Brazilian to strike from the edge of the area. After creating two for his teammate, Zlatan won a penalty for himself and duly converted to add shine to a 4-0 rout.

36 | March 2 2012 |


Benfica v Zenit St Petersburg

Apoel Nicosia v Lyon

Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen

If you’d offered Benfica coach Jorge Jesus two away goals ahead of his side’s visit to the Petrovsky Stadium in St Petersburg two weeks ago, he would have bitten your hand off – the Russians haven’t lost a European home game since 2008. The next day, while you were having the wound cauterised at a local hospital, he would storm into the ward, furious that you had declined to mention the three goals his team would concede. Still, once his rage had subsided, he probably wouldn’t have been too distraught – Benfica’s excellent European home record makes them the favourites, despite the 3-2 away defeat. The Reds have lost just one of their previous 19 European games at the Estadio de Luz. Meanwhile Zenit, so formidable at home, haven’t won any of their previous five European away games – although midfielder Roman Shirokov will be a threat regardless of the location, as demonstrated by his two goals in the first leg. We’d probably opt for a 2-1 Benfica win, but we won’t be offering their manager anything, lest we lose another hand.

Probably the most finely balanced of this week’s ties – on paper at least – but it really shouldn’t be. Lyon will be wondering how they’re flying to Cyprus with just the one goal in their hand luggage – although perhaps if they’d scored any more they would have had to pay exorbitant check-in luggage fees, so it might be a blessing in disguise. The French side dominated their home leg, enjoying 63 per cent of possession and restricting the Cypriots to just one shot during the whole game. Meanwhile, they created chance after chance, but were wasteful. Lyon racked up 15 attempts, but only a third of those troubled Apoel keeper Dionisios Chiotis. Apoel are in uncharted territory – the first team from their country to make it through to the knockout stages, they’re tough to beat at home. Prior to a 2-0 defeat against Shakhtar once qualification had been secured, they had previously gone nine home games undefeated. Lyon’s away record in Europe isn’t great – before that freak 7-1 win at Zagreb, they’d lost four and drawn two of their previous six away fixtures.

The task facing Leverkusen may be half that of Arsenal’s if you look at it mathematically, but somehow this seems even more impossible. Yes, Barcelona have been struggling in the league this season and are some way behind Real Madrid in the title race. But they’re not in the business of letting advantages like this slip. Of the 33 times Barcelona have won an away first leg in Europe, they’ve failed to go through just twice, while Leverkusen have lost the first leg at home on seven occasions and gone out every time. What’s more, if the German team get through after their visit to the Nou Camp, it will be their first away victory in Europe for nearly a decade, and Barcelona’s first home defeat in Europe for almost three years. Leverkusen’s only hope is complacency – Pep Guardiola might be tempted to release some of the academy graduates from the dungeon where they’re kept until the age of 18 and made to play rondo after rondo until their feet bleed and the weaker ones drop dead from exhaustion. Still, if they’re even a quarter as good as the current set, they’ll have no problem.

Last time: Zenit 3-2 Benfica The Portuguese side opened the scoring through Maxi Pereira before a volley by Shirokov made it 1-1 at the break. Sergei Semak backheeled in after a fine Zenit move to give them the lead, but they were pegged back by Oscar Cardozo, who tapped in a rebound with just three minutes left. The Russians had the last laugh only a minute later, however, as a defensive error by Pereira allowed Shirokov to bag his second. Still all to play for in this one.

Last time: Lyon 1-0 aPoeL Lyon went into the first leg with nine consecutive seasons of last-16 experience under their belts, while Apoel were making their first knockout stage appearance. The home side started brightly, unsettling the opposition defence with the smart movement of Lisandro and Michel Bastos. The Cypriots frustrated Lyon’s attack for almost an hour, relying on luck and a fine goalkeeping display from Dionisis Chiotis, who was desperately unlucky to concede the game’s only goal.

Last time: Leverkusen 1-3 BarceLona The hosts managed to frustrate the defending champions for 41 minutes, until they were sliced open by Lionel Messi setting up Alexis Sanchez for his first Champions League goal. To their credit, Leverkusen didn’t open up after conceding, and even had the temerity to equalise seven minutes into the second period, Michal Kadlec heading in. But Sanchez soon added a slick second before Messi – who else? – put the result, and the tie, beyond doubt with a tap-in.

Wednesday 7.45PM, sky sPorTs 2

Wednesday 7.45PM, ITV1

| 37

Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images, Kirill Kudryadtsev/AFP/Getty Images, Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images, Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images

Tuesday 7.45PM, sky sPorTs 4


Joanne Jackson

I

t had been 24 years since a British woman won an Olympic swimming medal as Jo Jackson lined up at the National Aquatics Centre ahead of the 400m freestyle final in Beijing alongside Rebecca Adlington. Just four minutes later that had all changed, with Adlington and Jackson claiming gold and bronze respectively. But while Adlington has become British swimming’s golden girl after following up that triumph with victory in the 800m a few days later, it’s been a tough few years for Jackson, who has struggled to hit such similar heights after battling with asthma. However, as the 25-year-old from north Yorkshire told Sport, she is back to full health – and ready to fight for her place in the London Olympics at next week’s trials. How have you been preparing for the trials? “I’ve had a full winter’s training, which is really good because I’ve not done that for a few years. We were out in Florida for five weeks before Christmas and then we were in Tenerife for three weeks, so it was really nice to get out there and have a bit of sun. Training has been going really well. When we go away training it’s pretty full on – we get a few sessions off here and there, but it’s nice swimming in the sun.” You’ve struggled with asthma for the past few years – have you always had problems with it? “I’ve always had sports-induced asthma, but I got flu in one of the winters and I carried on training through it, which probably wasn’t the best idea. It really set my asthma off and weakened all my muscles, and that’s what caused the problems. It’s my own fault for training through an illness, but you do that just wanting to keep your fitness up. Every winter I get bad asthma and really bad flu and bronchitis, but this is the first winter for the past few years that I have been abroad on a training camp. It makes you feel a lot more positive going into trials, when you’ve put all the work in.”

38 | March 2 2012 |

How did it affect your performances, and are you fully back up to speed now? “When you push yourself in training you obviously get tired, but when I used to push myself I’d start having an asthma attack. So you kind of stop pushing a little because you don’t want to be putting yourself through things like that, and you’ve kind of got it in the back of your head all the time. I haven’t had any issues with my asthma now for over a year, so I can push myself in training and have no worries or issues, which is really good. “I can definitely be a lot more positive and look forward to racing. Some of the training sets I’ve done have been just as good as what I’ve done years prior to all this, which is fantastic – I’ve just got to keep a level head, keep focused and, once trials start, get in there and win races.” Are you confident of securing your Olympic place, then? “Definitely. Obviously it is a bit of a nerveracking time – everyone’s getting really excited about the Olympics, but we have to qualify first. I’m really excited knowing that I’m at the best level of fitness I’ve been for a long time, and looking forward to racing the other girls. There is a lot that I have to do to qualify, but it’s definitely within my reach.” Who are your main rivals for those places? “Well there’s Becky [Adlington] and Jazz [Carlin], and then there’s Keri-Anne [Payne], who has already qualified for the 10k at the Olympics. They’re all in the 400m, and then in the 200m there’s Caitlin [McClatchley] as well. There’s a lot of younger ones pushing through in that event, so it should be interesting.” Is it a friendly rivalry? “We all get on really well. Obviously once we’re in the pool we all want to beat each other, but I’m good friends with most of the people on the team, and I call some of them my best friends.

British Gas Swimming Championships Saturday, BBC One 1.30pm

So you support each other and you want them to do well, but you want yourself to do well too. It’s great at the end of a race when you can chat about it and congratulate each other.” If you qualify, London will be your third Olympics – how useful will your experience be? “That makes me sound old! I’ve been through Olympic trials before, so hopefully I’ve got the experience to know what it’s like – and having been to two Olympics I know what that’s about as well. Hopefully I can stay focused and not get too nervous, because that’s definitely important.” That bronze medal in Beijing must be a high point of your career so far – can you remember it well? “It’s definitely one of them – it was such a great achievement for me. It was just such an amazing few weeks. The whole Olympics they put on was just incredible. They did so well with it all, and the whole of the British squad did really well, which I think made it even more special. It’s a bit of a blur – I can remember finishing and me and Becky getting really excited and cuddling each other. It was just such an amazing moment for us both to get a medal – Britain didn’t ever get that many medals in the pool at swimming at the Olympics, so for the two of us to get them at the same time in the same event was just fantastic.” Do you think the home crowd will help you replicate that success in London, or will there be more pressure on you? “I watched the cycling the other weekend, and it was incredible how the home crowd got behind them. If it’s like that at the Olympics, it will be amazing. There will be a bit of pressure, but it’s more exciting than anything else. Trials for us is just as nerve-racking, because we’ve not yet made the team. Once we’ve qualified, we can really start to think about the summer.” Amit Katwala @amitkatwala

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Trial by water

This week’s British Gas Swimming Championships at the London Aquatics Centre will decide who gets to take to the pool in the colours of Team GB this summer. Ahead of the trials, we caught up with 400m freestyle Olympic medallist Jo Jackson...


147 Days to go

Focus 2012

Rowing

THE VENUE With Windsor Castle nearby and London some 25 miles away, Eton Dorney Rowing Centre is perhaps the most green and pleasant of all the Olympic venues. Established long before Lord Coe and pals secured this summer’s spectacular, the lake was constructed in the 1960s to act as a watery play area for masters at Eton College, who wanted somewhere calmer than the choppy Thames. The centre has undergone something of a facelift, however, and is now ready to host the eight-lane rowing course for the Games. New warm-up areas have been constructed, including a permanent new bridge across the lake and cut-through links for competitors between the main rowing lake and the parallel ‘return’ lake. Having already successfully hosted a World Rowing Championships in 2006, there’s little for LOCOG to worry about. THE EVENT Over eight days of rowing competition this summer, 14 gold medals will be decided on the 2,200m course – eight for men and six for women. Across two divisions – lightweight and heavyweight – rowers compete either as scullers or sweep rowers. Scullers use two oars and compete either alone, in doubles or in quads, while sweep rowers use a single oar and form crews of either two, four or eight.

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All rowing events begin with heats, from which the fastest boats qualify for the next round. For those who don’t make it through first time round, there is a second chance in the repechage. The chances are there won’t be too many Brits in the repechage though, with rowing at the Olympic Games having earned Great Britain a total of 22 gold medals, 18 silvers and eight bronzes over the years. If there’s such thing as a ‘banker’ event in the Olympics, this one is surely Britain’s. TEAM GB’S PROGRESS David Tanner, GB rowing team performance director, says: “We had a strong World Championships in September 2011, with medals in 10 Olympic and two Paralympic events. This helped Great Britain to qualify 47 from a possible 48 Olympic rowers and eight from a possible nine Paralympic rowers for the London Games – our best ever. We are an ambitious team and know that the rest of the world will raise their game in London, so winning medals will be tough. As host nation, and a leading rowing nation, we will be a target for the rest of the world.” ROWING AT LONDON 2012 DATES July 28-August 4 CAPACITY 30,000 HOW TO GET THERE National Rail, Park and ride

GB hopeful

Katherine Grainger AGe In 2012 36 MedAl ReCoRd World Championships gold (double sculls) 2010, 2011; World Championships gold (women’s quad) 2005, 2006, 2007; World Championships gold (coxless pair) 2003; Olympic silver (quadruple sculls) 2000, 2008; Olympic silver (coxless pair) 2004 Perhaps the most overqualified Olympic rower ever, Katherine Grainger is aiming to go one better than her three Olympic silver medals in 2012...

Both in academic and rowing terms, the Glasgow-born Grainger is something of an overachiever. With a CV that includes six world titles, a law degree and a Master of Philosophy degree in medical law, one might think she’d be fairly satisfied. But Grainger’s face as she collected her third Olympic silver medal in Beijing revealed otherwise. She has compared the weeks and months that followed the Games to a grieving process, but emerged from it to find her desire to win Olympic gold was as strong as ever. Alongside double scull teammate Anna Watkins, the pair dominated the World Championships last year, winning gold and being named world female crew of the year. Oh, and she’s also studying for a PhD in homicide. With that kind of drive, and in that kind of form, that elusive Olympic gold is surely hers for the taking this time around.

KEY EVENTS BEFORE LONDON 2012 GB Rowing Team Senior Trials March 8-11, Dorney Lake, Eton World Rowing Cup I May 4-6, Belgrade, Serbia World Rowing Cup II May 25-27, Lucerne, Switzerland

Clive Mason/Getty Images, Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Britain’s rowers topped the medal table in Beijing, so expectations are as high as they can be this summer...


7 Days OUR PICK OF THE ACTION FROM THE SPORTING WEEK AHEAD

MARHIGHLIGHTS 2–MAR 8 » Football: Tottenham v Man Utd » p44 » Rugby Union: Newcastle v Harlequins » p46 » Football: Cardiff v West Ham » p46 » Swimming: British Championships » p48 » Best of the Rest » p48

THURSDAY > GOLF | WGC-CADILLAC CHAMPIONSHIP | TPC BLUE MONSTER AT DORAL, FLORIDA | SKY SPORTS 2 7PM

Say what you like about American golf courses, but there’s no denying they have great names. And next week, all eyes are on the one with the very best name of all: the Blue Monster. A regular PGA Tour stop since 1962, it is now the venue for the WGC-Cadillac Championship – and, going on tournament and course form, only one man really need turn up. The event has had six homes in its 13 years, and Tiger Woods has won at every single one of those locations. He lifted this impressive trophy at Valderrama (1999), Mount Juliet (2002), Capital City (2003), Harding Park (2005), The Grove (2006) and Doral (2007). Not only that, but he also won the old Ford Open at the Blue Monster in 2005 and 2006. Tiger’s fans will point to recent form too – he is starting to look like the player of old, even if not enough putts are dropping. But with a winner’s purse of $1.4m, he won’t have it all his own way when he steps on to the Monster’s first tee. Luke Donald (still clinging on to the world number one spot) and Rory McIlroy (hunting Donald down) are both committed to playing. Indeed, for all that he is yet to win in 2012, McIlroy has played the best, most consistent golf – and the Blue Monster is set up perfectly for him. At 7,334 yards, it’s not the longest on tour – but traditionally big hitters have done well here. Its roll of honour includes Woods, last year’s champion Nick Watney, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, even going as far back as Greg Norman in the 1990s; players who could not only give the ball a fierce whack, but who could keep it straight too. Nobody does that better than the young Northern Irishman. And when it comes to the crunch, at the 18th – statistically one of the hardest finishing holes on tour – more than anything they will need bottle, something McIlroy has never been short of. With a narrow landing area for drives (which are invariably into a headwind) and a green bordered by water, it needs a steely nerve. Watney deserved credit for getting the job done on the final hole last year after double-bogeying it the previous day. It takes stones like that to slay the monster.

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6 The number of players who have won more than one WGC event: Tiger Woods, Geoff Ogilvy, Darren Clarke, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Hunter Mahan

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Monster monster


7 Days SUNDAY premier league | TOTTeNHam v maNcHesTer uNiTeD | WHiTe HarT laNe | sKY spOrTs 1 4.10pm

Title talk Tottenham’s relinquishing of a two-goal lead in the north London derby last weekend shows that they perhaps don’t have the mental steel required for a title chase, despite a marked improvement in their ruthlessness in the long run under Harry Redknapp. The 5-2 defeat at the Emirates was the eighth time in Premier League history that Spurs have thrown away a lead of two goals or more – a record for the division. Two of those capitulations have come against Manchester United, this weekend’s opponents – and a team that Tottenham could learn a lot from regarding the strength required at the season’s sharp end. Les Ferdinand was on the scoresheet the last time Spurs actually managed to beat United, back in 2001. In the next fixture, they raced into a 3-0 half time lead before five second-half United goals, and it’s been pretty much downhill from there – of 24 league and cup games since, they’ve lost 18 and drawn six. On the plus side, they have made the Lane into something of a fortress this season, their only defeat coming at the hands of Man City. United have been quietly going about their business in their usual post-Christmas manner, meanwhile. Since a 3-2 defeat to Blackburn on New Year’s Eve, they’ve

44 | March 2 2012 |

collected 19 of 21 points available, although they haven’t always looked convincing and needed goals from old boys Paul Scholes (below) and Ryan Giggs to beat Norwich last week. The Red Devils won the reverse fixture 3-0 in the second game of the season, with an unsettled Luka Modric missing from the Spurs line-up after being strongly linked with a £30m move to Old Trafford. Spurs were uncharacteristically poor against Arsenal – with Aaron Lennon on the bench and Gareth Bale cutting inside, they lacked their trademark pace down the flanks. However, with Modric pulling the strings, and the blossoming partnership between Emanuel Adebayor and Louis Saha, Spurs have enough quality to challenge a United defence that has looked far from comfortable of late.

Number of Tottenham managers since they last beat United. Glenn Hoddle was in charge for their last win – 3-1 in May 2001

Pulling the strings: Modric and Scholes (below) go toe to toe for the first time this season

Around the grounds

BLACKBURN v ASTON VILLA ewood park, saturday 3pm MAN CITY v BOLTON etihad stadium, saturday 3pm QPR v EVERTON loftus road, saturday 3pm STOKE v NORWICH Britannia stadium, saturday 3pm WEST BROM v CHELSEA The Hawthorns, saturday 3pm WIGAN v SWANSEA DW stadium, saturday 3pm FULHAM v WOLVES craven cottage, sunday 2.05pm, sky sports 1

Premier League table 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Man City Man Utd Tottenham Arsenal Chelsea Newcastle Liverpool Norwich Sunderland Everton Fulham Stoke West Brom Swansea Aston Villa Wolves QPR Blackburn Bolton Wigan

P 26 26 26 26 26 26 25 26 26 25 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26

W 20 19 16 14 13 12 10 9 9 9 8 9 9 7 6 5 5 5 6 4

D 3 4 5 4 7 7 9 8 6 6 9 6 5 9 11 7 6 6 2 8

L 3 3 5 8 6 7 6 9 11 10 9 11 12 10 9 14 15 15 18 14

F 67 63 51 53 47 38 29 38 34 26 32 26 33 28 29 30 27 37 29 23

A Pts 19 63 26 61 30 53 37 46 31 46 38 43 23 39 43 35 30 33 27 33 36 33 38 33 35 32 34 30 34 29 51 22 45 21 59 21 54 20 50 20


SATURDAY LIVERPOOL v ARSENAL | ANFIELD | SKY SPORTS 2 12.45PM

1. The fight for fourth Despite the fact that this game will probably end up being a draw (Liverpool rarely record any other result at Anfield these days), it remains a significant one in the tussle for Champions League football next season. Liverpool’s Carling Cup win has left many predicting their first silverware in six years will spur them on to greater things in the league this

season, while the Gunners’ emphatic victory in the north London derby should inject some much-needed self-belief back into Arsene Wenger’s side. Both teams will seek to capitalise on their recent success, but the stats say this game has been drawn for three of the past four seasons – a result the visitors would be happy with, the home fans probably not so much.

SUNDAY NEWCASTLE v SUNDERLAND | SPORTS DIRECT ARENA | ESPN 12PM

2. Martin’s hairdryer Having seen his side pick up 22 points from their first 11 games under his tenure, Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill won’t have been too impressed by the 4-0 thrashing the Black Cats were subjected to at the hands of West Brom last weekend. “We have to try and digest this game and see where we can improve,” he said after the defeat. He then followed up

with the veiled threat: “Maybe we will turn up next time.” The Northern Irishman will have let his players know exactly what they can expect from him should they fail to turn up again. And any further motivational kicks they need can be easily found in the scoreline from their previous visit to the home of their northeast rivals, when the Magpies ran out 5-1 winners.

Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images, Clive Rose/Getty Images, Michael Regan/Getty Images, John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images, Clive Mason/Getty Images, Graham Stuart/AFP/Getty Images

A big weekend for...


7 Days Friday Rugby union | aviva pRemieRship: newcastle v haRlequins | Kingston paRK | espn 7.45pm

Falcons look to kick on Whisper it, but Newcastle’s recent resurgence and Wasps’ dreadful form has opened up a chink of light for the team bottom of the Aviva Premiership table. Newcastle’s newest man in charge, Gary Gold, has brought with him new belief to a side previously shorn of it. And, as long as Jimmy Gopperth (right) is fit and firing, there’s always hope of survival. That said, the cold facts show that Newcastle currently sit six points adrift of Wasps at the foot of the table, and tonight’s visitors hold a six-point margin of their own at the top of the standings. As if that wasn’t bad enough, last week’s 42-15 dismantling by Leicester came just at the wrong time for a resurgent Falcons side; they’ll need something from tonight’s game to prevent that slip becoming a slide. Harlequins slipped up themselves last week, though. After watching Saracens succumb to Worcester on Friday night – a match that will surely act as a warning to Conor O’Shea’s men, if nothing else – the Londoners were undone by Gloucester’s impressive backline and picked up just a losing bonus point for their troubles. A lot will

depend on the fly half battle tonight, with Nick Evans and Gopperth very much the key cogs in their respective sides’ engines. With six points separating both sides from their closest challengers, something has to give – and it would take a brave man to bet against the visitors leaving with at least four points. Elsewhere, Sunday afternoon’s doubleheader will go a long way to shaping the playoff picture below Quins. First up, Leicester welcome Gloucester to Welford Road with just four points between them. The hosts are defending an unbeaten home run stretching back to October, but Gloucester have notched up five wins in their past six games and come into this one high on confidence after that victory over Quins. Later in the day, Northampton travel to London to face Saracens. Two defeats on the bounce for Sarries, coupled with last week’s late victory for the Saints over London Irish, means Jim Mallinder’s side can leapfrog the Premiership champions with a win here. With nine points separating second place from fifth, the table come Sunday evening could make interesting reading.

Sunday football | championship: caRdiff city v west ham | caRdiff city stadium | bbc one 12.45pm

Scott Heavey/Getty Images, Action Images/Peter Cziborra Livepic

Recovery position

46 | March 2 2012 |

By the time Charlie Adam’s Carling Cup final penalty had landed in a Neasden garden, Cardiff’s players were halfway down the M4, bitterly disappointed after falling just short of pulling off a famous victory over Liverpool. Malky Mackay’s team were hugely impressive against Premier League opposition, and will hope they can take some impetus from their performance as they seek to play sides of that calibre more regularly next season. The Bluebirds have made the playoffs for the past two years and they’re in the zone at the moment, edging out Brighton for sixth place on goal difference. On Sunday, though, they welcome a West Ham side sat second (a single point behind Southampton, with a game in hand), and on track for promotion at the first time of asking. The Hammers will be boosted by the return of captain Kevin Nolan after a three-game ban and are the form side – Cardiff have lost three of their past four league games, while West Ham have collected eight points from the same period (mostly with 10 men). The reverse fixture, on the opening day, ended in defeat for Big Sam in his first game as Kenny Miller scored an injury-time winner at Upton Park. Allardyce’s fortunes have since changed, and a win will lift his side top if Southampton fail to beat Leeds.


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7 Days SATURDAY > SWIMMING | BRITISH GAS SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS | OLYMPIC PARK AQUATICS CENTRE | BBC ONE 1.30PM

SATURDAY BOxING | KLITSCHKO v MORMECK DUSSELDORF | SKY SPORTS 1 8PM

French fancy Double olympic and world champion Rebecca Adlington has repeatedly met claims that she’s a favourite for gold at London 2012 by pointing out the fact that she has yet to qualify for the British team. Not to pile on the pressure, but the time has come when she can do just that. The British Gas Swimming Championships take place over the next eight days, doubling as selection trials for the GB Olympic and Paralympic swimming team. They will also be held in the very same pool where the medals will be won this summer, giving the Aquatics Centre in Stratford’s Olympic Park a taste of the drama to come. Adlington, who won 800m freestyle gold at the 2011 World Championships, is joined by Jo Jackson (interviewed

BEST OF THE REST

FRIDAY RUGBY UNION Super Rugby: Lions v Hurricanes, Ellis Park, Sky Sports 4 5pm

FOOTBALL Championship: Blackpool v Hull City, Bloomfield Road, Sky Sports 2 7.45pm RUGBY LEAGUE Super League: Castleford v Leeds, The Probiz Coliseum, Sky Sports 1 8pm WINTER SPORTS Alpine Skiing World Cup: Men’s Super G, Kvitfjell, Norway, Eurosport 6pm

SATURDAY CRICKET New Zealand v South Africa: 3rd ODI, Auckland, Sky Sports 1 1am FOOTBALL SPL: Aberdeen v Celtic Pittodrie, ESPN 11.15am TENNIS Dubai Tennis Championships: Day 6, Dubai, Sky Sports 1 3pm FOOTBALL Championship: Leeds v Southampton, Elland Road, Sky Sports 2 5.20pm RUGBY LEAGUE Super League: Bradford v Warrington, Odsal Stadium, Sky Sports 1 5.45pm FOOTBALL La Liga: Barcelona v Sporting Gijon, Camp Nou, Sky Sports 4 7pm

48 | March 2 2012 |

on page 38) and Britain’s two other gold-medallists from last summer – Liam Tancock (50m backstroke) and Keri-Anne Payne (10km open water). While Payne was the first GB athlete to qualify for the Games by winning open water gold, she also harbours hopes of competing in the pool at London 2012. The 400m individual medley and 800m freestyle are the events she’s most likely to contest – the latter of which will put her in direct competition with close friend Adlington. A maximum of two swimmers from each nation are allowed in each event, so both could make it. And with six current world medallists in contention for GB’s Olympic squad, it’s fair to say competition is spectacularly tough. Only the very strongest will make it through.

BIATHLON World Championships: Women’s Pursuit, Ruhpolding, Germany, Eurosport 3pm

CRICKET New Zealand v South Africa: 1st Test Day 1 , Auckland, Sky Sports 3 9.30pm

SUNDAY

BASKETBALL NBA: Dallas Mavericks v New York Knicks, American Airlines Center, ESPN 1.30am

CYCLING Paris-Nice Stage 1, Paris, British Eurosport 2 12.35pm RUGBY UNION Aviva Premiership: Leicester v Gloucester, Welford Road, Sky Sports 2 1pm RUGBY UNION Aviva Premiership: Saracens v Northampton, Vicarage Road, ESPN 3pm GOLF Honda Classic: Day 4, Florida, Sky Sports 3 6pm SNOOKER World Open, China, British Eurosport 7pm FOOTBALL La Liga: Real Madrid v Espanyol, Bernabeu, Sky Sports 1 8.30pm

BIATHLON World Championships: Men’s Individual, Ruhpolding, Germany, Eurosport 2pm CYCLING: Paris-Nice Stage 3, Eurosport 2 2pm

WEDNESDAY CYCLING Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1, Tirreno, British Eurosport 2 3.30pm FOOTBALL FA Cup Fifth Round Replay: Tottenham v Stevenage, White Hart Lane, ESPN 7pm

moNDAY

ThURSDAY

SNOOKER, World Open Final, China, Eurosport 11am

CYCLING Paris-Nice Stage 5, Eurosport 1.45pm

SNOWBOARDING World Cup, Parallel Slalom, Moscow, Eurosport 2 8am

CYCLING Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3, Eurosport 2 2pm

TUESDAY

FOOTBALL Europa League: Round of 16 ESPN 8pm

FOOTBALL FA Cup Fifth Round Replay: Birmingham v Chelsea, St Andrew’s, ITV1 7.30pm

Clive Rose/Getty Images for British Gas, Sandra Montanez/Bongarts/Getty Images, Chris Trotman/Getty Images

only the strong survive

Fed up with slapping, spitting, bottling Brits, the brothers Klitschko have decided to pick on a more palatable nation this weekend. They’ve gone for – of all people – a Frenchman. This time it’s the turn of ‘little brother’, 6ft 6ins Wladimir – the more stylish but traditionally more vulnerable of the pair. His challenge is not an intimidating one. Jean-Marc Mormeck’s previous highprofile fight was as long ago as 2007, at cruiserweight, where the then 35-year-old lost his world titles to Britain’s favourite fugitive, David Haye, by knockout. He’s now larger, older, but probably not much better and undoubtedly still seven inches shorter than the man generally thought of as the world’s best heavyweight. Unless Wladimir has been training on cocktails, cigars and Mr Kipling, this will be a cakewalk for him.


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P60 Sean Bean is a good boy and dies, probably, in Game of Thrones

Extra time Grooming

Making the most of your time and money

Balmy times Underused and underrated, the humble balm can be the secret weapon in a man’s shaving regime. Here’s our pick of the current crop

Can be used before or after shaving, but we prefer after for a tangy sharpness brought about by tropical limes. Zesty. £14.50 | nivenandjoshua.com

Bulldog Original After Shave Balm All-natural male skincare brand offers a nourishing balm that includes green tea and rosehip oil among its ingredients. £5.79 | meetthebulldog.com

Gillette Series Intense Cooling Balm Immediate and intense cooling relief from the rock-solid masters of shaving. £6.99 | 00800 44 55 38 83

Prada for Men Aftershave Balm

Tom Ford Grey Vetiver After Shave Balm

L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Aftershave Balm

Prada’s signature male scent in soothing balm form – we like the stylish bottle, too. £33.50 | johnlewis.com

We’re still not sure what vetiver actually is, but who cares when it smells so good? £30 | 0870 034 2566

Fresh and creamy balm imbued with the excellent Issey Miyake fragrance. £32 | harrods.com

50 | March 2 2012 |

Vitaman After Shave Balm A light and calm balm that will relieve shaved skin of irritation and redness. £35.50 | vitamangrooming.co.uk

Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men Sport Aftershave Balm D&G have shoved their impressive new scent into a variety of related products – and this soothing balm is one of them. £32 | escentual.com

Full Stop Photography

Geo F Trumper Extract of West Indian Limes Skin Food


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Extra time Timepiece special

Watch this space There’s a little something for everyone in this four-page feature dedicated to the finest men’s watches on the market...

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o t so t i s s Tis 85 |

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ro £ 4 , 3 no s w i ss 75 | chr o Timem no s wiss aster C .c o m hr | 019 onogr 0 4 6 aph D 79 7 a 07 te

4 61 6 2 4 5 . 9 5 G1 5 2 ion | 084 t i d h Tra t.c


PER FECT TI M I N G

EQW-M1100DB The solar powered EdiďŹ ce EQW-M1100DB offers a lifetime of use without a change of battery, a 3D chronograph and is equipped with Wave Ceptor multi-band 6 radio-controlled technology for perfect timing wherever you are. For stockist information please visit casioracing.co.uk

www.casioracing.co.uk


Extra time Timepiece special 6

1. Meccaniche Veloci Quattro Valvole Power Reserve £1,100 | meccanicheveloci.com | 01904 679 707

2. Graham Chronofighter Oversize GMT £7,690 | nuval.co.uk | 0121 233 4680

5

3. Tendence Gulliver Sport £250 | tendencewatches.co.uk | 0121 436 1200

4. TechnoMarine UF6 Magnum £1,350 | technomarine.com | 0121 233 4680

5. Seiko Sportura Alarm Chronograph £350 | seiko.co.uk | 01628 770 988

6. Rotary Aquaspeed Gents Black Case Watch £189 | rotarywatches.com | 020 7434 7546

4

3

2

1

54 | March 2 2012 |


12

11

10

9

8 7. Citizen Nighthawk £279 | citizenwatch.com | 0118 936 8844

8. Jorg Gray JG9100 £795 | jorggray.co.uk | 020 8420 6605

9. Bulova Precisionist Champlain £450 | bulova.com | 01923 226 936

10. Certina DS Podium Big Size £540 | certina.com | 0845 899 1888

11. G-Shock Premium

Wilson Hennessy

7

£400 | g-shock.co.uk | 020 8208 9530

12. Dreyfuss & Co 1953 Chronograph £529 | dreyfussandco.com | 020 7434 7544

| 55


Extra time Timepiece special

1. Philip Stein Classic Signature with Alligator Strap £745 | philipstein.com | 0121 233 4680

2. GueSS Men’s Slim Watch £105 | guesswatches.com | 01604 678 940

3. Dreyfuss & Co 1974 Silver Style £499 | dreyfussandco.com | 020 7434 7544

4. BOSS Black Rectangular Men’s Watch £129 | bosswatches.co.uk | 01428 664 700

56 | March 2 2012 |

2

3

4

Wilson Hennessy. Thanks to Highams Park Fencing Club, www.hpfc.org.uk

1


Swiss movement, English heart

C8 PILOT MKII VINTAGE EDITION ÂŁ365.00

Swiss made / 26 jewel automatic movement / 38 hour power reserve / Balance wheel viewing window / Old radium superluminova hands and indices Diameter: 44mm / Calibre: Sellita SW200-1. E XC LU S I V E LY AVA I L A B L E AT

christopherward.co.uk


W

e know what you’re thinking (no, not that): just how on earth do you approach a girl like Ellie Jenas here? Fortunately, her other half, Tottenham’s erstwhile vice-captain Jermaine Jenas, told OK! magazine about the ins and outs of his first meeting with his now wife shortly after their engagement. Unfortunately, he is now her husband. “It was in a club,” said Jermaine. “I was sitting down and I turned around to see this lady and I thought to myself: ‘Yes please!’ I plucked up the courage to speak to her, but she didn’t give me the time of day.” That classic opener eventually forged the path to a happy marriage, however. In fact, if Jermaine has used this tactic with such startling success, we don’t know why millions of blokes up and down the country don’t embrace the same approach: sit, leer, speak, get ignored. In fact, why not try it on the Tube this morning? We’re giving you until Earl’s Court to have sealed the deal. Good luck.

Are you OK! Ellie?

Extra time Ellie Jenas

58 | March 2 2012 | Celebrity Pictures


| 59


Extra time Entertainment

Bang for your buck

MUSIC

The Boss, a Bird and Chiddy Bang mean the upcoming week is a musical treat BlU-Ray

Game of Thrones Season One

Breakfast Chiddy Bang

HBO does swords and sorcery with spectacular results in this 2011 TV hit with epic production values. Based on a series of fantasy novels, Game of Thrones throws out more than a few knowing winks in the direction of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and cunningly casts Sean Bean (who could look gritty in a top hat and tails) as King Eddard Stark. With political intrigue, violence, a vicious twist and an even more vicious dwarf, however, there’s much more to this than just a Tolkien clone. Out on Monday.

Philadelphia duo Chiddy Bang are clearly from the Kanye West school of hip hop. First, take a catchy pop song. Second, sample it in the most obvious way possible. Voila! You have yourself a catchy hit single. Congratulations! However, while their breakthrough track Opposite of Adults does rely a little too blatantly on its MGMT Kids sample, it’d be churlish not to enjoy this feisty, high-energy, sugar rush of a song with lyrics that reference everything from parking meters to Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy. The rest of the album follows in similar spirit, with beats taken from a diverse range of sources and playfully self-aggrandising rhymes. Overall, Breakfast is – appropriately enough – a peppy starting point to your day. We also now know Mr Spock approves (see above right).

BOOK

MUSIC

Wonder RJ Palacio

Wrecking Ball Bruce Springsteen

The story of a 10-yearold boy with a facial deformity might not sound the most uplifting pre-work read, but this is the novel you’ll see all over Tube carriages in 2012. A huge US and UK critical hit, Wonder runs the gamut from funny to sad to thoughtprovokingly profound.

Contagion

Break It Yourself Andrew Bird

Panic and paranoia spreads almost as fast as the disease in Steven Soderbergh’s pandemic thriller (out on DVD from Monday). As usual, the director uses an ensemble cast of star names – including Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Jude Law and Marion Cotillard – but it’s the film’s ultra-realistic accuracy that earned critical praise and makes it ring all too true for the viewer. Infectiously engrossing.

He’s so talented that he should probably be playing violin in some highfalutin orchestra, but we’re glad that Andrew Bird wastes his time making indie pop music instead. Because he’s amazing at it. Single Eyeoneye – a swirl of melodies, instruments and impassioned vocals – show he’s still packing more ideas into one song than most musicians do into 10 tracks. The album is out on Monday. We can hardly wait.

60 | March 2 2012 |

MUSIC The Boss may be 62 years old, but he’s still kicking it to The Man in this new album that covers the economic climate. His worn, throaty voice captures the weariness perfectly, but such themes perhaps don’t match his famously big riffs, which are a bit too few and far between here. That aside, a strong outing.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images, Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

DVD


Sport Magazine Issue 246  

Sport Magazine Issue 246

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