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Issue 243 | February 10 2012


in cinemas now


TM & © 2012 LucasfiLM LTd. aLL RighTs ReseRved. used undeR auThoRizaTion.


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issue 243, february 10 2012 radar 06 Caught on camera Some of the best sports pictures of the past year at the Sony World Photography Awards

08 Out of Africa Three star players who have lit up the Africa Cup of Nations and could do the same in England

28

10 Being Zlatan The enigmatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic prepares to meet Arsenal – complete loon or superstar? to do this coming week features

17 The Barcelona blueprint

Cover: hitandrunmedia.com. This page: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images, David Rogers/Getty Images

17

58

How the greatest club in world football was built in five simple(ish) steps

22 Champions League It’s back! And this time with two English teams, not four...

25 Darren Bent Aston Villa’s hitman is gunning for an England starting spot

28 Six Nations Each of this weekend’s games previewed in full

extra Time 50 Kit Rugby training gear to get you in tip-top (not tip tackle) condition

54 Gadgets Another collection of the latest shiny stuff on the market

56 Grooming

A scent named after Sport? Why, you shouldn’t ha... oh...

58 Travel Why the Orient Express is one of life’s great pleasures

60 Entertainment Not for the faint-hearted. And it’s not even Hallowe’en

| February 10 2012 | 05


p08 – Pocket-size PS3

Hot shots A

blur of boat boys paddling for their lives... the world’s most over-crowded diving board... and a filthy-looking, foot. What connects these seemingly disparate shots, besides their mild sporting bent, is that they’ve each been shortlisted in the prestigious 2012 Sony World Photography Awards.

06 | February 10 2012 | Sport

Plucked from a longlist of 112,000, all three are up for The Big Prize (a vase, probably) at a glitzy awards ceremony on April 26. Should you wish to view the very best of them, check out a sneak preview on worldphoto.org. Alternatively, you can appreciate them while stroking your chin and mumbling on about the juxtaposition by heading for the World Photo London exhibition, Somerset House, April 27-30.

p10 – Understanding Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Samuel Chan, Robin Utrecht, Adam Pretty/Sony World Photography Awards 2012

Radar

p08 – Africa’s rough diamonds


Radar

Dolce Vita I

t might have taken them a few goes and a few years to perfect, but the big brains in Sony’s Japan HQ have finally achieved the seemingly impossible. Not the ever-lasting sandwich (at least not yet), but the monumental feat of squeezing a PlayStation 3 on to a console tiny enough to fit into your trouser pocket. For Sony’s Vita is upon us this very month. It is, in other words, a PS3 you can hold in the palm of your hand. Granted, you’d need MC Hammer’s trousers for it to fit into the pocket, but that’s just nit-picking. As the visuals here testify, the Vita also offers some premium gaming, with Fifa 12, Everybody’s Golf, Virtua Tennis and numerous other top-tier sports games available from launch, all of them (Top

Darts aside, probably), pushing the Vita’s graphics to the limit of its capabilities. The action is played out on a 5-inch touch (and swipe) screen, with a second touch pad on the back for extra control, plus two nubby little analog control sticks – all the options you’ll find on a PS3, and more. On top of that minor gaming miracle, you can factor in WiFi and 3G connectivity options for ‘anytime, anywhere’ social gaming/web browsing/locating of likeminded would-be rioters. There’s also front and rear video cameras, GPS, a ‘Live Area’ dashboard for staying connected to friends, plus a built-in teasmade and toaster. Obviously that last bit’s not strictly true, but they’re working on it for the upgrade. Out February 22, £229.99, uk.playstation.com

As the Africa Cup of Nations comes to a close with Sunday’s final, we pick three stars for the future... EmmanuEl mayuka, 21, Zambia Scored two vital goals to help Zambia top their group, including a lovely hooked volley equaliser against Libya. Currently plying his trade for BSC Young Boys in Switzerland, the forward is reportedly keen to move to a more prestigious league. Linked with African striker-hoarding Newcastle late last year.

08 | February 10 2012 |

PiErrE-EmErick aubamEyang, 22, gabon Scored in each of Gabon’s group games, but missed the crucial penalty in their exit to Mali. Not what you’d expect from a typical number nine – Aubameyang pulls wide, creating problems for full backs. Came through the AC Milan youth system but signed a permanent deal with Ligue 1 St Etienne in December.

mohamEd ahmEd bashir, 24, sudan Headed in Sudan’s first Africa Cup of Nations goals for over 30 years in their draw with Angola. Also known as Bisha, the wiry forward has scored 22 goals in 40 games for his club in Sudan. According to Wikipedia, Bisha has been linked with Leyton Orient and Arsenal. We suspect he may have added that bit himself.

Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images, Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

African gems


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Radar

Caddie cool kay, so it doesn’t swear like Tiger’s infamous ex-bagman Steve Williams (and won’t take the credit for your best golf either), but the new Voice GPS Range Finder from Golf Buddy does talk to you – just like a caddie. Press the button on the face and the hi-tec satellite and audio system tells you the precise distances to the front, middle and back of every green on more than 33,000 free worldwide courses. Just 1.7ins wide and weighing less than 1oz, it clips easily to a cap or – if you’re Williams’ current employer Adam Scott – placed neatly in the mouth of your real caddie to muffle any potentially humiliating outbursts. Available mid-March, priced £159 from gpsgolfbuddy.eu

O

Understanding Zlatan

he recalls: “(Guardiola) was staring at me and I lost it. I thought, 'There is my enemy, scratching his bald head!’. I yelled to him: ‘You have no balls!’ and probably worse things than that.” (via whoateallthepies.tv).

Showpony. Genius. Lunatic. We give you the lowdown on AC Milan danger man Zlatan Ibrahimovic before Arsenal's Champions League trip to the San Siro next week... While playing for Ajax, young Ibrahimovic took it upon himself to impersonate a police officer and attempt to arrest a man searching out business in Amsterdam's red light district. Who says Zlatan can't be effective against the English in Europe?

Hot streak Ibra has won the league in his past eight consecutive seasons with five different clubs: an Eredivisie with Ajax, La Liga with Barcelona and six Serie A titles with Juventus, Inter and AC Milan (two with Juve were revoked due to the Calciopoli scandal, but we're guessing he's still got the medals).

numbers game Goals: 219 in 463 club games (21 in 25 this season). Wages: €12m per year (more than the entire Napoli squad, apparently). Total career transfer fees: €150,600,000, making him the most expensive footballer in history. Didn't that used to be David Platt?

barceLona brat Fell out with Barcelona boss, Pep Guardiola, who he contemptuously refers to as 'the professor'. In his autobiography, I am Zlatan,

10 | February 10 2012 |

kicking off In 2010, the 6ft 5in, Taekwondo-trained Zlatan was caught on video leaning back and taking a lazy kick at the back of AC Milan teammate Rodney Strasser in the middle of a training ground team talk, for no apparent reason. He sauntered away from a baffled Strasser to be hugged by Ronaldinho.

in quotes On Mario Balotelli: “He said he was better than me. He must have been joking. I also like fireworks but I let them off in the garden. I don’t burn the house down.” On criticism he received from John Carew: “What Carew does with a football, I can do with an orange.” On himself: “An injured Zlatan is a pretty serious thing for any team.”

HeeL turn Zlatan has also scored some of the most spectacular backheeled goals we've ever seen (see our top three via the free Sport magazine iPad app). Arsenal will hope the big man does the thing he’s most often accused of doing and leaves all that in his locker for the Champions League knock-out stages.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images, Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Law enforcement


Radar Editor’s letter Leading question: should England’s manager have been consulted? www.sport-magazine.co.uk @sportmaguk facebook.com/sportmaguk

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We need to talk...

COMMERCIAL

At least the FA and Fabio Capello do, if they’re to get themselves out of yet another mess

Editor-in-chief Simon Caney @simoncaney

But that’s what bothers me: why didn’t they have a chat in the first place? Regardless of whether the FA was right to take the captaincy away from Terry, surely they should have discussed the matter, at some length, with Capello. He has not done himself any favours by speaking out against the decision, and there have been plenty of calls for him to get the heave-ho before Euro 2012 begins (Les Reed awaits the call). But the whole thing smacks of a relationship that knows it is on its last legs regardless, with neither side really caring enough about the other to come to the correct conclusion. For what it’s worth: a) I’m not entirely sure Terry warrants a place in the starting 11, and b) the captaincy is little more than an ambassadorial role. In that case, give it to Scott Parker, who embodies all that’s good about the game.

There was indignation in the Twitter ranks when I suggested this week that Liverpool had not covered themselves in glory on Monday night. First, the rapturous applause for the returning Luis Suarez stuck in the craw, while Kenny Dalglish’s dismissive, practically rude, response to questioning once again undermined his legendary status among neutral football fans. I get that he is trying to build a siege mentality, but it all seems very depressing. Andy Flower is a man I admire enormously, and takes the lion’s share of credit for getting England to the number one spot in Test cricket. He has done so by sheer hard work, and insisting his players give him the same. But all the hard work in the world won’t help England’s batsmen if they simply don’t have the tools – ability, in other words – to play certain types of bowling. Tough times ahead.

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Reader comments of the week I don’t think your views about England’s cricket team are especially constructive. They need to stick together, not start in-fighting.

@simoncaney I love @Sportmaguk but instead of featuring a semi naked woman every week, mix it up & give us a male #thinkofyourfemalereaders.

England’s most valuable asset this year will be the MEDIA... get behind the #roses don’t demoralise off the field @simoncaney.

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12 | February 10 2012 |

Not sure what you were thinking of with two pages of stereotyped-girlienonsense Valentine’s presents. My wife’s getting a football and a Hull Kingston Rovers shirt Mick, via email

@Sportmaguk any chance of a job... I can’t write articles, but I can drink beer and play pool.

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A

h, it wouldn’t be England if we didn’t head to a major tournament on the back of some kind of crisis, would it? Normally it’s injury-related – remember the terror induced by first Beckham’s foot and then Rooney’s? But of late, it’s become John Terry-related too. Somehow, he has the ability to get the captaincy of the national team and then have it taken from him in the most creative of ways. And this time it appears to have driven a wedge between his national manager and the FA. The problem with writing this column a couple of days before you read it is that events will have moved on. So there is a possibility that Les Reed is now England manager – but I’m taking a punt that’s unlikely. Far more probable is that Fabio Capello and his employers have had a little chat and drawn a veil over the issue.

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Radar Frozen in time

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class and spent a little less time carving knockers and knobs into the school woodwork, maybe now we’d have some insightful knowledge to impress you with on these wonderful sedi... er... mentary, like, rock formation things. But we didn’t, so now can only point out that chap in the pants on the left and tell you that he’s taking part in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, in Sydney, Austria. No, wait, is Sydney in Australia? Truth be told we could probably have tried a bit harder in geography as well, but those Panini stickers don’t just trade themselves.

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Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Solid as a rock Had we paid a little more attention in geology


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Build it liKe BArÇA

Any teAm – within reAson – cAn copy the success Fc BArcelonA hAs hAd in recent seAsons, providing they Follow Five simple steps. As spAnish FootBAll JournAlist grAhAm hunter explAins...

| February 10 2012 | 17


Build it like Barca

hether they have done damage to your team in the Champions League, your ’other’ team happens to be Real Madrid or you simply yearn for somebody else to dominate European football, you will be in an infinitesimally small minority if you are unable to accept that FC Barcelona have recently set a template for some of the most aesthetically delightful football ever seen. Taking Manchester United apart with clinical elegance at Wembley last May, blowing Santos out of the water in the FIFA Club World Cup or selling Real Madrid their shirts back during 6-2 and 5-0 defeats – Barça under Pep Guardiola have redefined the beautiful game. What will remain interesting long beyond the natural lifespan of this Barça team is the question of how they did it – and whether other clubs, with vision, intelligence and ambition, can successfully copy them. While researching and writing my book, Barça: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World I was frequently approached by scouts, managers and directors from clubs around England and Scotland. ‘Can we come and study Barcelona’s training?’ they asked; ‘What is their secret?’; ‘How do they develop their youth talents?’. It’s an admirable thirst for knowledge, but one that is too frequently undermined by a piecemeal approach at home. Having been challenged by Sport to break the Catalan side’s success down into the five key components, here I present a guide on how to build it like Barça.

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1. ESTABLISH A FooTBALL CREdo And BUILd EvERyTHInG ARoUnd IT This is where most clubs simply fall at the first hurdle. FC Barcelona are not, by any means, a perfect club – but they are currently reaping the benefits of policies that began to be instituted as far back as 1988. The club has been through relatively great peaks and troughs since then but, largely, the basic football credo has remained unaltered – at least as far as development is concerned. Johan Cruyff took over in 1988 and applied what can loosely be called the ‘Ajax’ brand of football from top to bottom. Charly Rexach, then Cruyff’s assistant, explained to me that the Camp Nou crowd initially booed if the ball wasn’t moved forward quickly, if possession appeared to be going nowhere or if a winger chose to pause and recycle possession instead of crossing into the box – irrespective of whether there was a teammate there or not. Cruyff taught that the ball was king. Possession, he said, was essential. And that passing, vision, technique, commitment to attack, balance and intelligence were indispensable components of Barça’s new style. Once the Dutchman was sacked – after the most successful reign of any coach in the club’s history – the first team naturally flirted with other styles. But the youth system, from top to bottom, was coached to the same playing formation, using the same criteria. Consequently, it was producing ideal footballers for the style promoted by Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola over the past eight years (which have delivered three Champions Leagues, five Ligas, two Club World Cups and eight other trophies).

no QUICK FIX Johan Cruyff’s arrival in 1988 saw instant succÇess, but FCB’s domination has been two decades in the making...

1988-89

1989-90


Fabregas 5’10” villa 5’9” alves 5’8” iniesta 5’7”

xavi 5’7”

2. Put an emPhasis on – and excellence in – the youth system

3. accentuate technique and skill over strength and size

Again, many clubs make mouth music on this subject, but do not commit themselves fully to the project or actually, deep down, believe in it. The only – I repeat, only – reason Barça were able to field a Champions Leaguewinning side at Wembley with seven of the starting 11 (and 11 of the 18 man squad) their own youth products, plus fuel the Spain World Cup winning side with six Barça-bred starters, is that they place absolute emphasis on producing top-class Camp Nou-educated footballers year after year. For example, by the time Cruyff was sacked in 1996, Xavi, Valdés, Puyol and Iniesta were either in the Barça youth system or contracted to be. Within a couple of seasons so were Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Piqué (above). Success has been a long time in the making. But all of these footballers are not only taught a playing ethos: they fundamentally believe they are a stronger, more cogent group because they have evolved together and are defending a club that not only pays them handsomely but is ‘theirs’. Think Beckham, the Neville brothers, Giggs, Butt and Scholes, but multiply it by a couple of successive generations. NB: Barça scouts emphasise that selecting kids ‘correctly’ aged eight, nine or 10 is the key. They often find themselves selecting youngsters that other clubs at the same match are not interested in.

Dotted through the modern history of British football are the ‘wee’ men who played like giants: Jimmy Greaves, Billy Bremner, Denis Law, Jimmy Johnstone and Kevin Keegan through to Paul Scholes, Gianfranco Zola and Luka Modric. But somehow, in recent seasons, that has been widely exchanged for a premium on pace, power and height. Barcelona’s recent excellence has owed enormous amounts to their willingness to avoid the modern trend for 6ft 2in robo-athletes. There is no harm in choosing a credo like Stoke’s or that of the Wimbledon of old. But should a club wish to mimic Barcelona, it is important to take a firm leap of faith. Look at the size of Deco, Gio Van Bronckhorst, Sylvinho, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro, Cuenca, Villa, Fabregas, Alves, Bojan and Alexis as examples. Time and again, modern Barcelona teams have come up against sides that are bigger, taller and stronger – and they have won. Both Rijkaard (admittedly to a lesser extent) and Guardiola choose first on technical ability, second on personality and never on height and power. >

1990-91

1991-92

1992-93

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PA Photos, Action Images/Cordon Press/Anna Roig, Getty Images

messi 5’6”

1996-97 | 19


Build it like Barca

4. Make the ball a friend, not an eneMy Most who have enjoyed Barcelona’s zest and panache recently would pick on their pass-pass-pass rhythm as the most identifiable team tactic. It’s never used in a negative sense – always with the idea of creating superiority in midfield or up front and making a chance or scoring. Always. But one key factor that I firmly believe is absolutely underestimated in British soccer is what Barça know as the ‘Rondo’. Yes, we use the idea of a circle of seven or eight players with one or two team mates in the middle trying to win the ball back from those in the circle. But in the UK it has traditionally been a laugh, a loosener, a discardable adjunct to training. At Barça it’s a religion.

1997-98

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1998-99

The ball moves at the speed of an ice hockey puck, an almost infinite number of rules (one touch, diagonal passing, lateral passing, etc) are introduced to calibrate difficulty and it’s as competitive as hell. The man (men) in the middle are learning to harass and press and everyone involved augments both fitness and team spirit. Nothing you have ever seen before a match in the warm up resembles this at full pace. It’s so clinical that even the other Spain players, when on national duty, struggle to match the Rondo technique exhibited by the Barça players. Over their careers they will do tens of thousands of these. Used properly, it can be effectively copied.

1999-00

2000-01

2001-02

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2004-05

2005-06


5. Get Lucky

Michael Regan/Getty Images, David Ramos/Getty Images

Even though my book attempts to deconstruct the intelligence, strategy, continuity, vision and consistency that has constructed the greatest team in the world, there is another factor: luck. That this club can call upon two generations including Valdés, Xavi, Guardiola, Puyol, plus Piqué, Iniesta, Messi, Pedro, Busquets and Fabregas. And that they can use them all in their various roles across a handful of seasons is, partly, good fortune. They nearly didn’t recognize Messi’s ability to supersede his growth problem. They nearly sold Xavi. They might have appointed Mourinho, not Guardiola. They originally let Piqué and Fabregas slip away. And, above all, Messi is a one-off. A genius. Copying him is one part that will be beyond any and every other team. Barça: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World, by Graham Hunter, is available as an ebook now and published in paperback from February 17 – see backpagepress.co.uk

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

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Champions League

Sweet sixteen AC Milan v Arsenal Wednesday, ITV1 7.45pm All through their trials and tribulations in the league, Arsenal have performed in Europe, and were the first English team to confirm their place in the knockout stages. The draw threw up a tasty tie with AC Milan, opening with a visit to the cauldron of the San Siro. Despite its reputation for a fiery atmosphere, this has actually been a not-unpleasant place for English teams to visit of late. Milan have been knocked out by English opponents at this stage for the past three seasons, including a 2-0 aggregate defeat by Arsenal in 2008. Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor got the goals late into the away leg of that tie, and it’s a sign of the change that Arsenal have undergone since then that only three of the starting 11 remain at the club, with none of them available for selection on Wednesday. Milan are also an entirely different proposition – they have shed their retirement home reputation somewhat under Massimo Allegri and lifted the Serie A title last season for the first time in eight years. Allegri has the team playing positively – they are the league’s top scorers by some distance, and although there is still an experienced spine provided by veterans Clarence Seedorf and Alessandro Nesta, their mobile attack of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Robinho and Pato provide for the prolific Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is always a threat (except against English teams).

PlAyers to wAtch Theo Walcott aC milan’s central defensive pair of Thiago silva and alessandro nesta aren’t the quickest. If they play a high line then arsenal’s pace – particularly Walcott’s – could rip them apart Zlatan Ibrahimovic He hasn’t historically been able to do it against english teams, but per mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny aren’t the most robust defenders, and Ibracadabra’s physicality could cause them real problems

The Italian Job 01/02 Juventus W L 3-1 1-0

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02/03 ROMA W D 1-3 1-1

Arsenal have done jobs in Italy for seven of the past 10 seasons, so Arsene Wenger should have some idea on how to steal an away goal

03/04 INTER L W 0-3 1-5

05/06 JUVENTUS W D 2-0 0-0

07/08 MILAN D W 0-0 0-2

08/09 ROMA W L 1-0 1-0

11/12 UDINESE W W 1-0 1-2


Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona

Lyon v Apoel Nicosia

Zenit St Petersburg v Benfica

It’s a case of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object as Barcelona, who won all their away group games, meet Bayer Leverkusen, who won all three of their home games. Something has to give – and it’s probably going to be Leverkusen’s defence, given that Barcelona scored 12 goals in those three away wins, and 20 in total. The height and physicality of Eren Derdiyok could cause Puyol and Pique problems, as it did when Switzerland beat Spain at the World Cup. Puyol was actually in the team the last time these teams played, as were Xavi and Andre Iniesta – way back in the ill-fated second group stage in 2002. Barcelona won 2-1 away and 2-0 at home then, and it’s difficult to see a different outcome this time around. Leverkusen equipped themselves well in their first Champions League outing for seven years – finishing second in Chelsea’s group. A clean sheet here will feel like a win and, given the Germans’ poor away record, even that will probably not be enough to see them through against Lionel Messi and co.

the cypriot champions apoel Nicosia became the first team from their country to reach the knockout stages, finishing above Zenit St Petersburg in surely one of the weakest groups in Champions League history. They will face Lyon, who made it through the group stages at Ajax’s expense thanks to a highly improbable eight-goal swing in goal difference in the final group game. Lyon are the vastly more experienced side – this is the ninth season in a row that they’ve made it past the group stage. But they are also experts at getting knocked out at this point, so Apoel will fancy their chances. Lyon have only progressed further than the second round once in the past five years. The Cypriots have a good record on their travels in the competition, though – they’ve lost just one of the six away games they’ve played this year (including qualifying rounds), and conceded just three goals.

the russian champions will rouse themselves from their winter hibernation for this game against Benfica, who topped a difficult group and caused Man Utd all sorts of trouble with their fluid attacking play. Despite their positive approach and the creative talents of Oscar Cardozo, Nicolas Gaitan and the ageing but still gifted Pablo Aimar, Benfica didn’t actually score that many goals in the group stages. In fact, they converted just eight of their 66 attempts. It’s never easy travelling to Russia, especially in the depths of a bleak winter, and Zenit have got a good record against Portuguese teams of late, having collected four points from their two group stage games against Porto. What’s more, they haven’t lost at home in Europe since September 2008, so it’s difficult to see Benfica coming away with a win.

Players to watch Isaac Cuenca Hot off the La Maisa production line, this 20-year-old winger made three appearances in the group stage for Barca, providing three assists.

Tuesday, sKy sPORTs 4 7.45PM

Players to watch Bafetimbi Gomis He scored five goals in his six group stage appearances for Lyon, although the four he bagged against walkovers Zagreb in the final game did artificially inflate his total somewhat. Ailton The Brazilian forward is a real threat, with

Lars Bender At 22, was expected to be shunted to the

sidelines at Leverkusen with the arrival of Michael Ballack two years ago, but has instead revelled under pressure. His twin Sven plays for Dortmund – the Bender Twins could be the heart of Germany’s midfield future midfield.

seven goals in his past 10 Champions League games for the Cypriot champions.

Wednesday, sKy sPORTs 2 5PM

Players to watch Nicolas Gaitan The tricky Argentine is being watched by both Manchester clubs, and it’s a measure of his talent that Benfica have put a release clause of £37.5m in his contract. Top of the competition’s assists table with 5. Roman Shirokov Nominally a defensive midfielder, but the Russian international chipped in with three handy goals for Zenit during the group stages.

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Jamie McDonald/Getty Images, Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images, Sakis Savvides/AFP/Getty Images, Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images, Geoff Wilkinson / Rex Features

Tuesday, sKy sPORTs 2 7.45PM


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ON COURT TODAY


Darren Bent

THE HUNDRED CLUB Having notched 100 Premier League goals, Aston Villa and England striker Darren Bent talks to Sport about his Euro 2012 ambitions and why greed is good...

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t’s been just over a year since Darren Bent’s £24m transfer to Aston Villa from Sunderland. He proved his worth almost instantly for his new club, scoring the winner on his debut against Manchester City and netting a further eight times in 16 games for the Villains last season. This time around – under new manager Alex McLeish – has been a tougher test. Villa have become an organised, defensive unit with Bent often asked to play a more isolated role up front. But that hasn’t stopped him scoring nine times in 20 league starts, including the strike against QPR last week that made him the 21st member of the 100 Club – that prolific group who have bagged a ton of Premier League goals. His consistent scoring record even saw him linked with Liverpool in the January transfer window, but Bent is enjoying life at Villa and has his sights set firmly on Euro 2012... You’ve been with Aston Villa for a year now, how do you think it’s gone? “It’s been good. Obviously it’s been a bit hard this season, but we’re still playing quite well, still quite solid. The main thing is that we keep playing well, keep trying to progress and keep working hard, and it’ll get better.”

What are your personal aims for this year? Have you set yourself a target for goals? “My main goal is to get into the European Championships squad for England. If I can play well and get selected for that, then that’s probably my first goal and hopefully that will happen. I never set myself targets for goals – I just try and score as many as possible and do as well as I can.” >

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Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Are you happy with your own performances? “Yeah, it’s not been too bad. Obviously you always want to score more goals, being a striker, because it’s the greed inside us. But, yeah, I’m happy with the way things have gone and hopefully it will continue for me.”


Darren Bent

‘I lIke to be all-out attack, but we have a game-plan at vIlla and we stIck to It’ How has the way the team plays changed under the new manager? Does it suit you? “We’re just a lot more solid under Alex McLeish – we’re hard to beat, we don’t concede too many goals now. So that’s definitely the one thing he’s instilled. We’re concentrating more on counter-attacking than all-out attack this season. I’m a striker, so I like to be all-out attack, obviously. But the manager knows what he’s doing and has a game-plan. Everyone has to stick to that.” Is qualifying for the Champions League out of the question for a club like Villa? “Not for a club like Villa, ‘cause Villa are a big side. But I think we’re a bit away from that – I mean, there’s some hard sides in the division playing really well. Hopefully in a few years we can – we’ve finished fifth and sixth in the past few years, so we can get back to those times. We’ve certainly got the platform to do really well this season – the main thing is to keep working hard, keep trying to progress and maybe we can finish in the top eight.” Do you ever regret leaving Spurs when you did and missing out on the chance to play Champions League football? “Not really. Everyone’s time comes to an end, and I felt that was my time. I’ve passed it now and I wish them all the best and hopefully they can go and achieve good things.” Are Tottenham now genuine league title contenders? “Could be. They are playing really well at the moment – Harry Redknapp’s got some good good players in the side and there’s no reason why they can’t challenge Man United, Man City and Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool for the title.”

You’ve got a pretty good scoring record for all of your clubs – do you feel you get the credit you deserve from fans and the media? “I get asked that question all the time, and I always say the same thing: it is what it is. I just try to do what I do, keep scoring as many goals as I can and concentrate on that. It’s up to other people how they portray that and how they see me. But as long as I know I’m playing well, scoring goals and Aston Villa are winning, then that’s the main thing that matters to me, really.” You mentioned getting into the squad for the Euro 2012 being your main goal for the season – are you confident of getting that seat on the plane? “Yeah, you’ve gotta be. I mean, I’m not taking anything for granted because it could change in an instant. The thing for me is to keep playing well for Aston Villa and hopefully Fabio Capello will keep watching me, keep selecting me and I can keep doing the business.” You’ve spoken before about feeling you’re on trial when you play for England. Do you feel more comfortable now? “More so now, yeah. That probably stems from me playing five or six games in a row for England, because obviously when you’re in one squad and then you’re left out of the squad for the next one or two, when you come back you feel like you’re on trial. But I feel more relaxed now because I’ve been a lot more involved in the past few years.” Amit Katwala @amitkatwala Darren Bent was wearing the Official Sport Relief 2012 T-shirt. Buy and personalise yours at your local Sports Direct store or online at Sportsdirect.com

darren’s shorts best goal

“Probably Burnley away in 2004/05. I was at Ipswich Town at the time. I just cut in from the right and hit it as hard as I could with my left foot – which is my weaker foot – and it just flew into the top corner. Still to this day I don’t know how I did it but somehow it went in, so I’d probably pick that one.”

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worst mIss

“Boy, there have been a fair few! Let me think... Probably the one against Portsmouth in 2009 when I was at Spurs - it was a header that I should have scored. I was in the middle, in the six-yard box and I just put it wide.”

toughest defender

“Probably Ledley King, at Tottenham. I know he’s been very unlucky with injuries in his career, but when he’s fit he’s by far the hardest to play against. He’s quick and knows what you’re gonna do before you do it. He’s strong, good in the air, he reads the game really well and he’s big – so he’s got everything to be a top class defender.”

proudest moment

“Probably putting on an England shirt for the first time and making my debut against Uruguay at Anfield in 2006. Or scoring my first goal against Switzerland in 2010.”

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Six Nations 2012

Six Education Tip tackles, TMOs and England's new start. Julien Malzieu, David Denton and that incredible topsy-turvy encounter in Dublin. With just three games played – and 12 still to go – there is no shortage of talking points from the 2012 Six Nations. Ahead of round two, we cast our eye over the week gone by and preview the three contests coming our way...

1 England made just one clean line break in their 80 minutes against Scotland

Three Things we liked: round one

1 LionS 2013'S back row proSpEctS

With over a year to go until the Lions, the sheer number of quality back row players is salivatingly-good. The likes of Chris Robshaw, David Denton, Ross Rennie and Toby Faletau (to name but a few) looked indistinguishable from the more experienced heads of Tom Croft, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip and Ryan Jones (to name a few more).

2 SupEr Sunday in dubLin

After the two dire displays on Saturday, Sunday was a badly-needed tonic for this year's tournament. Blistering from the outset, the game saw both sides playing front-foot rugby and setting their stalls out as the most exciting duo in this year's Six Nations. And what a pleasure to see George North continue to stamp his authority on big games. The boy has some future.

3 EngLand'S nEw Start

Okay, the performance wasn't anything to write home about, and to say Scotland didn't get the rub of the green is like saying David Denton looks a bit like a Home & Away character, but the fact remains that England have played one and won one under the new regime. Just seeing the younger players take the field, play with a smile and enjoy themselves was something to get excited about.

Three Things we disliked: round one

1

tip tackLE inconSiStEncy

Reds or yellows aside, the simple fact is that Bradley Davies and Stephen Ferris' tackles were never an equal level of danger. Rugby is a sport in which big tackles are part of every game – the IRB therefore needs to lay down the law, and quickly. The longer the differing interpretations go on,

the more chance of someone getting a serious – potentially life-threatening – injury.

2 tMo in turMoiL

Referees are going upstairs too often, mistakes are being made and the man in the middle isn't always sure what question to ask. The whole referral system needs to be looked at before teams start to get too cute – if you don't believe us, just watch Connor Murray dive on top of the pile of bodies as Ryan Jones went for a try against the Irish.

3 thE boo boyS

While not every stadium in world rugby is going to recreate Thomond Park's eerie pre-kicking silence, the cacophony of noise that greeted kicks across the tournament – and the final whistle in Dublin – last weekend was a real shame. Rugby players are becoming more like footballers in many ways – let's not let rugby fans tread the same path.

blackberry.co.uk/bold

With a 1.2 GHz processor, 8GB of onboard memory and 720p HD video recording, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Bold 9790 offer the most powerful BlackBerry experience yet. Upgrade to our best-ever BlackBerry smartphones. © 2012 Research In Motion Limited. All rights reserved. BlackBerry,® RIM,® Research In Motion® and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of Research In Motion Limited and are registered and/ or used in the U.S. and countries around the world. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Devices shown above: BlackBerry ® Bold™ 9900 and BlackBerry® Bold™ 9790 smartphones.

28 | February 10 2012 |


ItAly v englAnd

S

238

2012 Scotland made 238 passes in their match, an average of three per minute, but failed to cross England’s line. England, by comparison, made just 72

Italy have now conceded 2012 points in their 61 Six Nations matches, at an average of 33 points per game

All new ItAly, sAme old ItAly Italy have been improving year on year in the Six Nations, and this one looks to be no different, with last week's big defeat in Paris coming courtesy only of a second half brace. The Italian pack look as fearsome as ever, and Edoardo Gori's impressive performance behind the pack is certainly a positive step. The issue comes further out, where the Italian backs lacked any real penetration. Andrea Masi carried superbly despite his defensive frailties, but fly half Kris Burton faded after a good start, and he ended up trying to force the issue too often when the simple ball was on. If they stick to their patient play, Italy can cause problems. Brunel's revolution has arrived, but Italy need to make sure it's a building process as opposed to a radical new dawn.

Pressure Is off englAnd The other revolution, meanwhile, got off to a flying start. Questions still need to be

answered, but Lancaster and his troops prefer to concentrate on the positives – and why not? Charlie Hodgson and his back line put in a huge defensive performance, while their best move fell short only due to David Denton’s immense tackling. Lancaster has resisted making sweeping changes to his side this weekend, which breeds positivity and belief to the squad, but England know they will be in for another tough test. Chris Robshaw and his pack competed well, but the Scottish loose forwards were afforded too much time and space. England will know that cutting down this Italian pack early is key. Stop the forwards moving and Italy will get frustrated. Start playing rugby and England might just find the space to show the fans what this new-look side can do.

Saturday Italy v England | Stadio Olimpico | BBC 1 4pm

Stu Forster/Getty Images, David Rogers/Getty Images

tuart Lancaster's new-look England picked up a Calcutta Cup win last weekend, but another stern test awaits tomorrow with a much improved Italian side chasing the biggest scalp of them all...

Sport's PredIctIon At Stadio Olimpico for the first time, the Italians are desperate to pick up a massive win, and the key to that is getting the crowd fired up. Expect big carries up front, big hits around the fringes and not too much ball out wide. England, though, should have too much class when it comes to getting over the line. Expect a close one, but Lancaster's new era will read two from two come Saturday night.

blackberry.co.uk/bold

The new, fully-loaded BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Bold 9790 combine the accuracy of a QWERTY keyboard with the responsive control of a touchscreen. Upgrade to our best-ever BlackBerry smartphones. © 2012 Research In Motion Limited. All rights reserved. BlackBerry,® RIM,® Research In Motion® and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of Research In Motion Limited and are registered and/ or used in the U.S. and countries around the world. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Devices shown above: BlackBerry ® Bold™ 9900 and BlackBerry® Bold™ 9790 smartphones.

| 29


Six Nations 2012

wales v scotland W Power Play by wales The Welsh might count themselves fortunate to take victory away from Ireland, but defeat would have been harsh on the side that looked the most dangerous by miles on the opening weekend. The power in the Welsh backline is phenomenal, while Rhys Priestland is improving with each outing. The forwards might be short of numbers, but their malfunctioning lineout was cancelled out by an incredible performance around the park from every red shirt. Bradley Davies’ nailed-on suspension will be a blow, but Ryan Jones can step up and Wales will carry on fighting. Stop the backs and this side are beatable. But how do you stop the backs?

scots unlucky by design Andy Robinson is a man walking an employment tightrope after last week’s

defeat. Losing the Calcutta Cup is one thing, but losing it when you’ve had all the possession and play is quite another. Dan Parks – whose retirement will surely open the door for Greig Laidlaw and a more expansive game – will have nightmares about his charged-down kick, but the Scots brought it on themselves after going an extra phase for no reason. The tools are there to win games – David Denton, Ross Rennie and Max Evans were three of the best players on the field – but Scotland can’t get over the line in more ways than one. A good start might have them believing again.

Sunday Wales v Scotland | Millennium Stadium | BBC 1 3pm

Sport’s Prediction Scotland’s performance was genuinely promising last week, but promise alone isn’t going to save Andy Robinson. Huge – in every sense – though Wales were in Dublin, Warren Gatland’s side are a way off their potential. Slicker hands, stronger running and greater discipline will lead to bigger scores, and Scotland could be the first side on the end of that. Expect Wales to open up and put points on the Scots. >

Six NAtioNS flAShbACk

Wales 26-18 Scotland, 2000 The duo’s first ever Six Nations clash will be remembered more for the man in the Welsh number 11 shirt than the result itself. The Scots were unlucky, hitting the post on two occasions, and had Wales under pressure for long periods. But Shane Williams twice popped up with game-changing tries and the Scots had no reply.

Scotland 28-28 Wales, 2001 One year on and the Scots got their revenge. Finding themselves 25-6 down after just two minutes of the second half, Scotland shellshocked the Welsh with a powerful comeback, finally securing the draw – still the only one in the history of the fixture – with a 79th-minute try. Wales 31-24 Scotland, 2010 The greatest ending the Millennium Stadium has ever seen. Scotland led 24-14 with three minutes to go, when a Leigh Halfpenny try made it 24-21. A 79th-minute penalty levelled it at 24-24, then a Shane Williams try deep into injury time won it 31-24. Breathtaking. blackberry.co.uk/bold

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Bold 9790 come with a full Liquid Graphics touchscreen that enables you to work your way easily around apps, websites and messages. Upgrade to our best-ever BlackBerry smartphones. © 2012 Research In Motion Limited. All rights reserved. BlackBerry,® RIM,® Research In Motion® and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of Research In Motion Limited and are registered and/ or used in the U.S. and countries around the world. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Devices shown above: BlackBerry ® Bold™ 9900 and BlackBerry® Bold™ 9790 smartphones.

| February 10 2012 | 31

Alex Livesey/Getty Images, David Rogers/Getty Images

hile Wales pooped the party in Dublin last weekend, Scotland snatched Calcutta Cup defeat from the jaws of victory. Ahead of their clash on Sunday, we relive some classic encounters and look at what the Scots need to do to win...


Six Nations 2012

France v Ireland S French In FIrst gear Phillipe Saint-Andre’s first game in charge was everything he could have hoped for, with his side posting a comfortable 30-12 victory without showing their cards to the other sides. In the backs, Julien Malzieu returned to international rugby with a powerful and stylish performance and Wesley Fofana lived up to expectations. Elsewhere, William Servat led by example in the pack and Louis Picamoles repaid his coach’s faith. Questions remain over their fly half position, but a few tweaks could see this team becoming the force history hasn’t always shown them to be.

IrIsh FIred up by FaIlure Debatable refereeing decisions aside, Ireland deserved to lose last weekend simply because they kicked too much possession away and their defence wasn’t nearly

aggressive enough. Flashes of brilliance aside, Ireland are missing something in their play and the need to have their talismanic centre back is a worry for the future of the side. Fergus McFadden and Gordon D’Arcy created chances, but their defence was left wanting too often – that will be a worry against this French backline. Up front, the men in green shirts look as strong as ever, with Paul O’Connell leading a formidable pack that stood up to every test thrown at them.

Saturday France v Ireland | Stade de France | BBC 1 8pm

Sport’s predIctIon While strong ball carrying and disruption of France’s set piece will make Ireland a force to be reckoned with, the penetration in the midfield is lacking and France’s Julien Malzieu will have watched George North’s demolition job with interest. The French defence out wide is strong, so Ireland’s back row will need to punch holes through the middle to get the away team on the front foot, while fly half Jonathan Sexton’s kicking has to improve. The Irish love being underdogs, but without Brian O’Driscoll, they are likely to come up short again.

sIx natIons Flashback

France 25-27 Ireland, 2000 This was the game that launched a superstar as Ireland won in France for the first time since 1972 and a 21-year-old Brian O'Driscoll crossed for a hat-trick of tries in only his 10th international start. Ireland 17-20 France, 2007 The first rugby match ever held at Croke Park ended in heartbreak for Ireland. Ronan O'Gara's 77th minute penalty put them in sight of victory, but they failed to collect the restart and France gathered the loose ball before sending Vincent Clerc over between the posts in the last play to nick it. Ireland 22-25 France, 2011 Morgan Parra's boot proved the difference as France won despite being outscored by three tries to one. Ireland's late rally put them in striking distance and a blistering final play of the game saw them go almost the length of the field before a knock on with the tryline at their mercy handed the win to the French. blackberry.co.uk/bold

Take control of your life with the new BlackBerry Bold 9900, writing clear emails using the iconic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard – now even wider and easier to use. Upgrade to our best-ever BlackBerry smartphones. © 2012 Research In Motion Limited. All rights reserved. BlackBerry,® RIM,® Research In Motion® and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of Research In Motion Limited and are registered and/ or used in the U.S. and countries around the world. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Devices shown above: BlackBerry ® Bold™ 9900 and BlackBerry® Bold™ 9790 smartphones.

32 | February 10 2012 |

Alex Livesey/Getty Images, Scott Heavey/Getty Images

till reeling from defeat to Wales, Declan Kidney’s Ireland go to Paris looking to topple the World Cup finalists. We assess each side’s chances and dig out some classic Six Nations clashes for good measure...


Our customers can snap up the last few Priority tickets to the RBS 6 Nations England v Wales and England v Ireland matches at Twickenham. Tickets on sale 9am tomorrow.

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Bradley Wiggins

After a debut year that saw Team Sky flounder, Bradley Wiggins led them through a 2011 season that promised much. If his third year as team leader continues this upward trend, he could be collecting honours for team and country come the end of 2012...

S

ome men are born leaders. Others have leadership thrust upon them. It wasn’t long ago that Bradley Wiggins featured in this second category – one filled with men waiting nervously for the moment they’re ‘found out’ (a la Kevin Pietersen overseeing England’s 0-5 ODI tonking in India, 2008). Hired in 2009 to be Team Sky’s leading man, the triple Olympic gold medallist was positioned at the helm of Dave Brailsford’s hugely ambitious project to deliver a first British winner of the Tour de France. It’s a role Wiggins took time to settle into. But in coming through last season’s extreme highs (winning the biggest stage race of his career – the Dauphine) and gutting lows (smashing his collarbone on stage seven of the Tour), the 31-year-old proved beyond doubt he has the strength of character to do the job. When Sport sits down with Wiggins ahead of his biggest season yet at Team Sky, he appears at ease with the ‘leaders’ jersey’ Brailsford handed him. Ahead of seven months in which he could propel British cycling to a new level of success in road racing, his timing is superb. Your 2012 season starts with the Tour of the Algarve [next Wednesday], are you confident of carrying over your good form from the end of last season? “Its been the best winter I’ve had, actually. I’ve trained a lot harder than previous years and looked after meself better this winter. I used to let it all go and get fat, but as I’ve got older I’ve tried to get a bit more professional in that sense. I had a short break after the World Championships [last September] and then we were straight back on it again. The guys were pushing me and pushing me and we’re way ahead of where I’ve ever been at this time of year.” Which is not a bad way to begin an Olympic year... “For me, I don’t see how this is different to any other year. Okay, the Games are in London, but I don’t think that should change how you prepare for the season – the impetus you put into it or the way you approach it mentally. Recognising the Olympics is in London and all the added things that’s gonna bring is only negative. It could be anywhere. It just happens to be in London, which for me is easier because I can go home after the Tour de France and just drive down the M6 to the Olympics. I don’t have to fly off halfway around the world to acclimatise to another country, so in that sense it’s good.” The Olympic time trial is nine days after the end of the Tour de France. How difficult will it be to recover in time? “A lot of it depends on how you finish the Tour. But, in cycling terms, the proximity of the two competitions is actually a good thing.

Leader of 34 | February 10 2012 |


‘the games being in London won’t change how i PrePare for the season’ Had there been a longer break, it becomes very difficult to juggle the recovery and the form. Last year in the Vuelta a España [where Wiggins finished third 10 days before winning silver at the World Championships time trial] I was getting better and better and I took that into the Worlds, so my form was just continually rising. This year it is unknown territory coming out of the Tour, but we know now that within nine days of a Grand Tour we can do a time trial and finish on the podium. It’s tried and tested. Whether it happens again is another thing, but that’s what we’re aiming to do.” Does the Olympic road race complicate matters? Will it be difficult to give your all for Mark Cavendish there knowing that three days later there’s a chance of your own gold medal in the time trial? “It is a complication – and it isn’t. I have to start the road race. But I only have to turn the pedals – I don’t have to finish. That’s obviously not gonna happen though, because there will be a role for me to play that day and that will be to help Mark Cavendish win the gold medal. What that role will consist of, at this stage, I don’t know – that’s for the management to decide and they will do so with the time trial in mind.”

Are you in the twilight of your career at 31, or can age actually be an advantage in the longer stage races? “I think these are the best years – certainly for riding for General Classification [the overall winner]. Lance Armstrong was nearly 38 when he got third in the Tour, so I’ve got another five to eight years at my peak. A lot of it is the mental thing – whether you can keep up that intensity of training. That becomes difficult – it’s what cracks a lot of people. But I think you get stronger mentally as you get older. >

Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty Images

Since Cavendish’s move to Team Sky was finalised, there has been speculation about whether the two of you can work together. Was it ever an issue for you? “I started talking to Cav about him coming to this team a year ago, in Qatar. It’s never been an issue because we have such a good relationship. It’s Cav coming back to where he really belongs. It doesn’t feel any different from the World Champs, really. And I think what we did for him there – with no gain whatsoever for ourselves, no financial gain, nothing – was purely for him to win the Worlds. That says a lot about where we are as a group of riders. His move was something we always spoke about. From day one I’d say to him “you’ll end up here”. I knew from the Tour onwards that he was going to sign, so it was no big shock.”

f the Pack | 35


Bradley Wiggins

‘i’ve had snippets of success. i want more, so i apply myself even more’ I certainly have. It’s different for different people though – Cav is relatively young and his mental strength has been his biggest asset over the past few years. But I certainly wasn’t like that at his age.” Does that mean you’re a different athlete to the one who joined Team Sky in 2009? “I’m a lot more mature and I have more self belief in what I’m capable of doing. I’ve had snippets of success and I want more of that, so I apply myself even more now. And I’ve got the balance right now. Instead of going gung-ho into something and cutting everything out of my life thinking that was the way to do it, over the past two years – since I’ve been doing this Tour stuff – I’ve found a really good balance in me life where I don’t just stop drinking completely and then go the other way in October and November. I’ve got to the point now where I’m happy and I know what I want out of the sport. It’s not like it’s desperate – life or death – if I don’t achieve it.” Cavendish has been in the spotlight a lot since last year’s Tour. Would you be comfortable with that kind of attention? “Mark’s in a different category altogether to me. I can still wander through Heathrow and no one bats an eyelid. That’s really nice because I’m able to concentrate on my day job without any of the distractions, which perhaps Mark has – photo shoots for magazine covers here and there, dinners and this sort of stuff. I’m quite happy in my own company, just getting on with it. Everyone thrives and is driven by different things though – there’s no right or wrong way.” What drives you, then? “ As always, it’s to see how far I can tighten the screw before it breaks. That’s a constant source of fascination for me because what I thought was my height two or three years ago was blown away at the end of last year. You just keep pushing it and seeing how far you can go with it and never dwelling on your success too much. You just forget about it and move on to the next thing, whatever that happens to be. I just love that – I love seeing how thin you can get or how much training you can do before you need to have a week off or before your body shuts down. Things like that are just fascinating, really.”

How much is realistically possible for Team Sky and British cycling this year? “If I win the Tour and the time trial at the Olympics, and Cav wins the Green Jersey and the Olympic road race then, er... who’s gonna win Sports Personality? [Laughs] I’d let him have it, to be honest, ‘cos I won’t go, I’ll pull meself out of the voting.” SARAH SHEPHARD @sarahsportmag

36 | February 10 2012 |

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

How do you summarise a year like 2011, which brought you huge highs and lows? “Just a breakthrough for me, really. In so many ways. I proved I could do it and that 2009 [when he finished fourth in the Tour] wasn’t a fluke. The one that most stands out for me, though, is the Worlds time trial. After breaking my collarbone and finishing third in the Vuelta and everything, that was the one performance where I thought ‘this is possible now for next year’ – it made me realise I could do both this year.”


Jody Cundy

Games master

B

y the age of 26, Jody Cundy had collected three Paralympic gold medals and the same number of World Championship titles. None of them, however, were won with the aid of a bike. Instead, it was in the pool where Cundy – who has had an artificial limb since the age of three – first found sporting success, winning a combined five medals at the Atlanta, Sydney and Athens Paralympic Games. “I’d pretty much got to the end of my swimming career after that,” says Cundy. “I was looking to maybe do one more World Championships and, if I was lucky, another Paralympics. But at the same time I’d moved to Swansea and found out about an open day at the Newport Velodrome. I’d always fancied having a go, so I went along and got talent-spotted by the coaches.”

Rapid rise The experts at Newport knew they were on to something good and, over the next 12 months, sent Cundy’s rapidly-improving times to British Cycling, whose interest was piqued when they noticed the former swimmer was outperforming one of the riders already on the team. “They offered me a trial and two days later I was competing for GB at a Paralympic World Cup,” he says. “In my first race, we broke the record in the team sprint and straight afterwards I was

38 | February 10 2012 |

offered a place on Team GB. It was a pretty amazing turnaround.” And it got even better at Cundy’s first Paralympics as a track cyclist in Beijing, where he won a further two gold medals in the kilo and team sprint. He goes to LA as one of GB’s main medal hopes, then. But with tomorrow marking 200 days to go until the opening ceremony of his fifth Paralympics, the Worlds have even more significance than usual. “It’s a dress rehearsal for London,” says Cundy. “It’s a marker to find out where other riders are at, a marker to find out where we’re at and also a last opportunity for GB to qualify points for the squad in London, which is important because the more points we score, the more people we can take to the Games.”

Mixing things up One of those people will almost certainly be seven-time Paralympic champion Sarah Storey. Like Cundy, Storey started her Paralympic career as a swimmer. That link could come in handy this weekend, as they form two-thirds of the GB team sprint trio. “The mixed team has been available since the rules in para-cycling team sprint changed in 2009,” Cundy explains. “But we had always had a faster team with three guys until we ran a trial in Newport a few weeks back when the team with myself, Darren Kenny and Sarah was the fastest

combination we could come up with for LA. Depending on how things go there, it could be the team we run in London, too.” If it works in the Paralympics, could mixed teams cross over to the Olympics? Cundy doesn’t think so. “Because of the speed the men go – the women simply wouldn’t get on the wheel,” he says. “It works in Paralympic sport because you’ve got different disabilities – a male C3 isn’t as fast as the female C5, so you can all get on the wheels. I can’t imagine it working in Olympic cycling.” One crucial issue Cundy needs resolving before the Paralympics is that of his artificial right leg. Over the past few months he’s been consulting with Ossur – the designers of his prosthetic – over the development of a new limb. “The prosthetic developed for Beijing is still the leg I’m using at the moment,” Cundy explains. “I have no back up or spare, so we needed to develop a new one. We’re working on alignments, fit and all the other pieces. Once it’s finalised, that will be my London leg and the Beijing leg will be my backup.” Before it can be semi-retired though, the Beijing leg will be required to perform in LA – and help Cundy add to his 15 world titles. Sarah Shephard @sarahsportmag

Jody Cundy is one of 10 Paralympians starring in ‘Sainsbury’s and Channel 4 Present’ – catch Jody tonight on Channel 4, 7.30pm

Andrew Matthews/PA Photos

Jody Cundy will be looking to add to his 15 world and Paralympic titles at this weekend’s Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles. But, he tells Sport, not all of them have come in the saddle....


168 Days to go

Focus 2012

Marathon THE VENUE In the beginning, when London 2012 was contained in an A4 binder full of plans drawn up by Lord Coe and pals, the Olympic marathon was originally intended to reach its climax in the Olympic Stadium – as is traditional at the Games. But in October 2010, LOCOG announced a change to that plan. Instead of the route starting at Tower Bridge and ending in Stratford, the race would begin and end on The Mall. East London authorities voiced their displeasure at having a showpiece event of the Games taken away from their rejuvenated area, but there was to be no backtracking from LOCOG. Their explanation for the alteration? “The new route provides a better operational solution without causing a high risk of disruption to the many other sports taking place at the same time in the Olympic Park and across London,” said the organisers. That sound you can hear? It’s Lord Coe firmly putting his shiny-shoed foot down. THE EVENT While some 36,000 runners of hugely varied ability take part in the annual London Marathon, the Olympic version is a good deal smaller, with around 80 athletes taking part in the men’s and women’s races. The finalised route comprises an eight-mile loop around central London and the narrow

40 | February 10 2012 |

streets of the City that runners will complete three times, meaning spectators get multiple sightings of them. The only murmurs of discontent about the race from runners so far has been with regards to the timing. Both the men’s and women’s marathons start at 11am, which is a late start for long distance runners used to completing their runs early in the day. But for spectators and TV audiences who aren’t used to getting their fill of sporting enjoyment before elevenses, it’s definitely a sensible decision. TEAM GB’S PROGRESS Charles van Commenee, UK athletics head coach, said: “I’m pleased to name Scott Overall, Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi in the first marathon selection for London 2012. Scott’s debut marathon performance bodes well for the future [the 28-year-old finished fifth in Berlin in September], while Mara, who was sixth at the Beijing Olympics and Paula, the marathon world record holder, are both on their way back to the high standards they set themselves previously. I expect them to represent Team GB well in London.” MARATHON AT LONDON 2012 DATES August 5 (women) and August 12 (men) SEATING Limited temporary seating on The Mall HOW TO GET THERE National Rail, Tube

GB hopeful

Mara Yamauchi AGE IN 2012 38 MEDAL RECORD Commonwealth Games bronze 2006 (10,000m) Having equalled the best performance by a British woman in the Olympic marathon by finishing sixth in Beijing, Mara Yamauchi will be looking to reach the podium in London...

Ruled out for much of last year with various injuries, Yamauchi had feared she’d struggle to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. But she headed to last November’s Yokohama Marathon with just one goal – to run the qualifying time and secure her spot. Despite not having run a 26.2 mile race for more than a year, the diplomat (Yamauchi worked at the British Embassy in Japan until 2002) crossed the finish line in a time of 2:27.24, well inside the required 2:31 Olympic standard.

KEY EVENTS BEFORE LONDON 2012 New York Half Marathon March 18, London Marathon April 22

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images, Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

London’s streets are used to taking a pounding, but this summer they will be beaten into submission...


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

FEB HIGHLIGHTS 10–FEB 16 » Football: Man Utd v Liverpool » p44 » Football: Blackburn v QPR » p45 » World Rally Championship: Sweden » p48 » Tennis: Great Britain v Slovakia » p48 » Best of the Rest » p48

Following their shock 20-16 home defeat to a below strength Huddersfield Giants in their opening league fixture on Sunday, new Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane will be desperate for his team to make amends at the DW Stadium on Saturday evening against the Super League champions. Wigan beat the Rhinos – who won their season opener against Hull Kingston Rovers last weekend - in the Carnegie Challenge Cup last season, but the Yorkshire side improved

42 | February 10 2012 |

steadily after that to win the Grand Final at Old Trafford. Wane, said he was “gutted” after the Huddersfield defeat and clearly feels the weight of expectation from a demanding public. “The players are as distraught as me, which I’m glad about,” he said. “Five or six performances weren’t up to scratch.” And you can bet he’ll have worked his squad hard this week, because a second successive home defeat at the start of a new campaign would be unthinkable. Form usually goes out of the window when these two giants of the game clash – and they rarely disappoint. They drew 22-22 at Headingley last season while the Warriors edged a 26-24 thriller at the DW Stadium.

Gripping opener: Wigan’s Pat Richards on his – and his team’s – way down last week

Even in their Wembley meeting, Wigan stormed into an impressive lead only for the Rhinos to finish strongly before going down 28-18. Both sides are littered with star performers with the likes of Wigan full back Sam Tomkins, skipper Sean O’Loughlin and goal kicking wing Pat Richards pitted against Leeds legend Kevin Sinfield, electric scrum half Rob Burrow and wing Ryan Hall, who proved himself one of the best finishers in the game following his spectacular touchdowns for England in the autumn. At the same time as Wigan and Leeds go head to head, the much-fancied Catalans Dragons will be hoping to follow up their victory at Bradford with a win over Hull FC in Perpignan. And on Sunday the new look London Broncos will be hoping to erase memories of last season’s 82-6 thrashing at the Halliwell Jones Stadium when they visit the Warrington Wolves, surprisingly held to a 20-20 draw at Hull last week.

Chris Mangnall/swpix.com

SATURDAY RUGBY LEAGUE | STOBART SUPER LEAGUE: WIGAN WARRIORS V LEEDS RHINOS | DW STADIUM | SKY SPORTS 1 5.45PM


ALL THE ACTION ALL WEEKEND AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS FINAL 12 FEBRUARY DAVIS CUP 10 – 12 FEBRUARY GREAT BRITAIN v SLOVAK REP and SWITZERLAND v USA

Watch all the action LIVE on British Eurosport British Eurosport is available via Sky and Virgin Media Also available online and on mobile with Eurosport Player


7 Days SATURDAY PREMIER LEAGUE | MANCHESTER UNITED V LIVERPOOL | OLD TRAFFORD | SKY SPORTS 2 12.45PM

Red rage Monday’s stalemate between Liverpool and Tottenham might not have ranked highly on the entertainment scale, but it played its part in ramping up the tension surrounding tomorrow’s early kick off at Old Trafford. The game saw Luis Suarez return from an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra to be greeted by rapturous applause from the home fans. The Uruguayan’s most notable contribution, though, was a wild kick into Scott Parker’s midriff. Cue Wayne Rooney choosing Twitter to air his opinion that Suarez should have seen red for leaving Parker in agony, while Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was offering his grim-faced view that Suarez “should never have been out in the first place”. Can you feel that temperature rising? Dalglish treated with equal disdain Liverpool’s chance-conversion rate for the season, which Opta measure at just 8.5 per cent. “There’s not another team that’s constructed as many chances as us,” he said. Maybe, but Alex Ferguson is hardly going to fear Liverpool creating chances if their odds of making any of them count are as low as those of the Stretford End welcoming Suarez with flowers and chocolates.

44 | February 10 2012 |

Only six teams in the league have scored fewer goals than Liverpool this season, although they’ve also conceded three fewer than United. While the final flourish is missing from the Merseysider’s campaign, United’s absent X-factor has been elsewhere. Missing the colossus that is Nemanja Vidic, United have relied upon a plethora of defensive pairings. Coupled with the fact that David de Gea has endured a shaky start to life in Manchester, the juggling of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones with an ageing Rio Ferdinand has caused problems. Cue a three-goal deficit at Stamford Bridge last weekend, where the renowned fighting spirit of Ferguson’s side – particularly Wayne Rooney – hauled them back level. The England striker seemed on a one-man mission to retrieve some respectability from the scoreline, his harrying and hurrying encapsulating why United remain so hard to beat, despite displaying the defensive frailty that led to them being three goals down in the first place.

Manchester United have been awarded more penalties this season than any other team

Cat calls to come? Suarez and Evra are set to face off again on Saturday

Around the grounds

Bolton v Wigan Reebok Stadium, Saturday 3pm EVERTON V CHELSEA Goodison Park, Saturday 3pm FULHAM V STOKE Craven Cottage, Saturday 3pm SUNDERLAND V ARSENAL Stadium of Light, Saturday 3pm SWANSEA V NORWICH Liberty Stadium, Saturday 3pm TOTTENHAM V NEWCASTLE White Hart Lane, Saturday 5.30pm (ESPN) ASTON VILLA V MANCHESTER CITY Villa Park, Sunday 4pm (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 Chelsea Newcastle Arsenal Liverpool Sunderland Norwich Swansea Everton Stoke Aston Villa Fulham West Brom QPR Wolves Bolton Blackburn Wigan

P 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24

W 18 17 15 12 12 12 10 9 8 7 8 8 6 6 7 5 5 6 4 3

D 3 4 5 7 6 4 9 6 8 9 6 6 10 9 5 6 6 2 6 7

L 3 3 4 5 6 8 5 9 8 8 10 10 8 9 12 13 13 16 14 14

F 63 59 44 44 36 46 28 33 34 26 24 23 29 29 24 25 27 28 34 21

A Pts 19 57 24 55 25 50 29 43 31 42 34 40 21 39 24 33 39 32 29 30 27 30 36 30 33 28 35 27 34 26 41 21 44 21 49 20 54 18 49 16


A big week for... Sunday Premier League | woLves v west Brom | moLineux | sky sPorts 1 1.30Pm

1. Adel Taarabt

2. Liam Ridgewell

The Moroccan dominated the Championship last year, scoring 19 goals and providing 16 assists, but has struggled to perform to the same level in the Premier League and was dropped by Neil Warnock for several games in the latter half of last year. He looked reinvigorated in his first game under new manager Mark Hughes, however,

After a promising run of results to end 2011, West Brom have endured a terrible time at the start of 2012. Roy Hodgson’s team have won just one of their past seven games, and are in danger of slipping further into the mire of a relegation battle. Part of their problem is defending. Against Swansea last Saturday they

and was unplayable at times during last week’s defeat to Wolves, playing a role in QPR’s goal and twice testing Wayne Hennessey from range with vicious drives. On Saturday’s visit to fellow relegation strugglers Blackburn, Taarabt will get the chance to show that he can perform consistently at the top level. If he can, it could make all the difference to QPR’s hopes of avoiding the drop.

dominated for much of the game, but conceded two goals in five second-half minutes after taking the lead. Former Birmingham captain Liam Ridgewell was the Baggies’ main bit of business in January, and the defender could make his debut on Saturday. Hodgson will be hoping he can shore up a defence that has kept only four league clean sheets all season.

Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images, Shaun Botterill/Getty Images, Michael Steele/Getty Images, Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images, Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Saturday Premier League | BLackBurn v QPr | ewood Park, 3Pm


7 Days Thursday > Football | Europa lEaguE

Thursday nights, Channel Five Probably the most nightmarish phrase in the English language that, especially if you happen to be from Manchester. The trips to obscure European backwaters hinted at by the draw haven’t materialised (except perhaps, in Valencia’s case), and all three English sides face some pretty tricky encounters if they’re going to get through to the last 16... Ajax v Man Utd, Amsterdam ArenA, Channel 5, 6PM The Thursday night action kicks off with Manchester United. As well as the trauma of getting knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages for only the second time in 16 years, the Red Devils also have the ignominy of a tea-time kick off – the slot normally reserved in Five's schedules for Home & Away. Happily, the die-hard United faithful and bewildered Aussie soap fans who tune in should be treated to a good game – Ajax have an exciting young team with the talents of Christian Eriksen and Miralem Sulejmani a particular threat. Their attacking play will provide a worthy challenge to Fergie's aspirations of completing a clean sweep of European trophies (if, indeed, he has any). Porto v Man City, Estadio Dragao, ITV1 8.05PM Man City will also line up against Champions League dropouts a little later on Thursday.

Porto won the Europa League last season, as part of a trio of trophies picked up under Andre Villas-Boas. Under new boss Vitor Pereira, however, Porto disappointed in what should have been a straightforward group. City’s inexperience cost them a knockout place, and they have won just one of their past seven European away games. Roberto Mancini will be well aware of this, and will look to take his team back to Manchester with Joe Hart’s goal intact. He could face an uphill battle if striker Hulk continues his Champions League form, with four in six games. Stoke City v Valencia, Britannia Stadium, ESPN, 8.05PM While the competition might be a chore for the Premier League’s big boys, it’s a delight for Stoke, who will relish the opportunity to see whether Valencia can mix it on a cold weekday night. Few teams have managed it so far – Stoke are unbeaten at home in Europe, with five wins and two draws.

Track stars London’s brand new 6,000 seater Olympic velodrome gets its competitive debut next week as the final leg of the Track Cycling World Cup Classics arrives in town. The event is doubling up as the Olympic test event, which explains why British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford has selected a squad bursting with Olympic pedigree. In fact, five of GB’s Olympic champions from Beijing have been named in the squad, with Chris Hoy (left) and Victoria Pendleton leading an all-star cast list. Brailsford sees the event as a “learning opportunity”, but with Australia also naming a full strength line up, it’s also a chance for some of GB’s riders to see how their main rivals are shaping up. Famed for their meticulous preparation, British Cycling will leave no stone unturned in their investigations of the Olympic Velodrome next week. So if there’s an advantage to be had from the nose around, Brailsford will find it. 46 | February 10 2012 |

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images, Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images, Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

THURSDAY > traCK CYClINg | uCI traCK CYClINg WorlD Cup ClaSSIC: loNDoN | FrIDaY bbC oNE 7pM


7 Days FRIDAY > MOTORSPORT | WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP: ROUND 2 | SWEDEN

SATURDAY > TENNIS | DAVIS CUP: GREAT BRITAIN V SLOVAKIA | GLASGOW | BRITISH EUROSPORT 2 12.45PM Without Andy Murray, Britain’s Davis Cup team go into their first round Europe/Africa Zone 1 tie against the Slovak Republic in Scotland this weekend as the undisputed underdogs. The British number one is taking some time off after picking up a few niggles on his run to the semi finals of the Australian Open, leaving GB Davis Cup captain Leon Smith with world number 155, James Ward (below), as his top singles player. Daniel Evans (world ranking 276) will fill the second singles role while Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins team up in the doubles. It’s the GB side’s first match in the Euro/ Africa Zone Group 1 since they secured promotion with a Murray-inspired 5-0 victory over Hungary last year and is a significant step up in standard, with world number 65 Lukas Lacko leading the Slovak challenge.

Missing Murray

Frozen Planet

BEST OF THE REST

FRIDAY CRICKET CB Series Third ODI: Australia v Sri Lanka, Perth, Sky Sports 2 4am

GOLF Omega Dubai Desert Classic: Day Two, Dubai, Sky Sports 1 6am RUGBY UNION Aviva Premiership: Sale v Worcester, Edgeley Park, Sky Sports 2 7pm

FOOTBALL Championship: Blackpool v Portsmouth, Bloomfield Road, Sky Sports 2 5.20pm FOOTBALL Africa Cup of Nations: Third place play-off, Malabo, British Eurosport 6.30pm FOOTBALL La Liga: Osasuna v Barcelona Reyno de Navarra, Sky Sports 4 7pm

SUNDAY RUGBY LEAGUE Super League: St Helens v Salford City Reds, Langtree Stadium, Sky Sports 1 7.30pm NBA New York Knicks v LA Lakers, Madison Square Garden, ESPN 1am

SATURDAY FOOTBALL SPL: Dunfermline v Rangers, East End Park, ESPN 11.15am RUGBY UNION Aviva Premiership: Gloucester v Northampton, Kingsholm Stadium, ESPN 2pm

48 | February 10 2012 |

CRICKET CB Series Fourth ODI: Australia v India, Adelaide, Sky Sports 2 3am RUGBY UNION Aviva Premiership: Wasps v Saracens, Adams Park, ESPN 12.30pm TENNIS WTA Open GDF Suez: Final, Paris, British Eurosport 2.30pm

MONDAY CRICKET Pakistan v England: First ODI, Abu Dhabi, Sky Sports 1 10.30am FOOTBALL League Two: Gillingham v Southend, Priestfield, Sky Sports 1 7.45pm

TUESDAY CRICKET CB Series Fifth ODI: India v Sri Lanka, Adelaide, Sky Sports 1 3am

WEDNESDAY CRICKET Pakistan v England: Second ODI, Abu Dhabi, Sky Sports 1 10.30am

THURSDAY FOOTBALL Africa Cup of Nations Final, Libreville, British Eurosport 6.45pm FOOTBALL La Liga: Real Madrid v Levante, Bernabeu, Sky Sports 1 8.30pm

TENNIS ATP Rotterdam: Day One Ahoy Rotterdam, Sky Sports 4 10am FOOTBALL Europa League: Lazio v Atletico Madrid, Stadio Olimpico, ESPN 5.30pm

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images, Scott Heavey/Getty Images

“We use snowbanks to help us. We let the back-end lean on the banks on the exit of Sky News motorsport expert Jon Desborough the corner and that gives us more speed.” on round two of the World Rally Championship British rallying is crying out for a Former British champion Alister McRae heads champion. It is 17 years since McRae’s elder into one of motorsport’s frozen wonderlands brother Colin became the youngest World this morning for his first appearance at the Champion and 11 years since Englishman World Rally Championship since 2007. Richard Burns took the crown. Temperatures for Rally Sweden can McRae thinks the Swedes have found a way plummet to minus 25 degrees and the snowy of producing champions that Britain can competitive stages look like Christmas cards follow: “Finance is the big stumbling block,” he – but car speeds could still top 100 mph. says. “Sweden is now concentrating on “It’s good fun,” says McRae, who returns as assisting one driver as opposed to helping a rallying’s Asia-Pacific champion. “The speeds number of drivers – this may be the way to go.“ on the snow and ice are very high. But if we Sweden is one of three events on the world get fresh snow, the studded tyre often can’t stage McRae will tackle this year, taking on cope and means the car moves around a bit championship favourite Sebastien Loeb. more than on the gravel. Follow WRC Rally Sweden on worldrallyradio.com


Rules of The massive £40 divot taken out of the price of an hour on our game-changing simulators must be replaced by March. Until then an hour’s golf for you and three mates costs just £10.

Offer excludes Thursdays. For full terms and conditions, go to www.urbangolf.co.uk/tenner

Email ....................................................................................................

Name ....................................................................................................

From now until February 29, you and three mates can enjoy an hour on one of our brand new aboutGolf™ simulators for just £10, instead of £50. Over sixty of the world’s finest courses, including Pebble Beach, Sawgrass, and St Andrews, in a golf revolution. So lifelike it’s what world number one, Luke Donald, practices on. Now there are 22 simulators exclusive to Urban Golf Soho, Smithfield and Kensington. Visit www.urbangolf.co.uk/tenner for full details and bring this coupon along when you come to play. Urban Golf rules.

Rule 54 - Divots


P54 The ultra-thin, ultra-good-looking, Toshiba Ultrabook

Extra time Kit

Making the most of your time and money

Tool up for training

1

2

3

4

5

6

The Six Nations is under way, so what better time to kit out your midweek training session with all the best gear?

1 Pro Direct Diamond Speed Parachute

Clip on the padded belt and train with this on your back. The resistance helps you to work harder when trying to reach speed, thus building leg strength and offering you more explosive power. £15 | prodirectrugby.com

2 Canterbury water bottle

This nifty device takes photos of you while you train and uploads them to Facebook, as well as giving you the latest weather forecast and locating your car in the car park after training. No, not really. It’s just a water bottle. £6 | surfdome.com

3 Pro Direct Diamond Training Hurdle

Plyometric training is huge in rugby at the moment, and these are great for getting the legs going. The front row boys won’t thank you for it, but a few of these in a row are great for getting the body working hard. £7 | prodirectrugby.com

4 Gilbert Training Senior Wedge

So you’re not as good as the first choice centre partnership? At least you can hold this and let them smash into you. If all else fails, use it to practise your tip tackles. They’re allowed now, right? What? Oh. £65 | prodirectrugby.com

5 Precision Training tag belt

One for the less physical sessions – or for training younger groups – these are a great stop gap between touch rugby and contact. The velcro straps hang either side of the waist, encouraging players to ‘tackle’ low. £3 | precisiontraining.uk.com

6 Sondico training cones

Combine with training hurdles, speed agility ladders and more to set up your own training drill. Whatever level you play at, this will help your agility. £7 | sportsdirect.com

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Extra time Sophie Leigh-Anderson

52 | February 10 2012 |


| 53

H

ow far would you go for Sophie LeighAnderson? Because her fiance, Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam, actually did as his fellow Scots The Proclaimers suggested and went 500 miles – reportedly to accompany her on a round trip to get her hair done. These things are important when you hold the title of Miss Fylde Coast 2011 (it’s the 13-mile stretch between the Ribble estuary and Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, since you ask). The former Miss England contestant dragged her husband-to-be with her all the way from their Merseyside home to Glasgow for some extensions, apparently. And very nice they look, too. So just count yourself lucky the next time you’re left hanging around waiting for your other half in Westfield – and remember the lengths Charlie would go to. Da da la-da...

500 miles... CELEBRITY PICTURES


Extra time Gadgets

Office space

Toshiba Ultrabook Z830

A selection of gadgets for actually getting some work done, including a printer you hopefully won’t want to smash up with baseball bats

£899 | toshiba.co.uk

We’re not convinced that there’s that much difference between an ultrabook, a netbook and a plain old ‘laptop’. We feel, therefore, that Toshiba have missed a trick by not calling this the UltraHyperMegaNetBook. Unlike other lightweight netbooks, which can sacrifice connectivity to stay thin, this machine is like that guy you know with the high metabolism, who eats loads but never puts on weight – it crams in 3 USB ports, an SD card reader and weighs just 1.12kg. Will soften the blow when you have to go ahead and er, come in on Sunday...

Doxie Go Smart Scanner If you’re the kind of person who does their ‘work’ from the local Starbucks, then you need to take a long, hard look at yourself. Also, get one of these – it’s super-portable, and can scan anything from expenses receipts to the manuscript for that novel you’ve been working on. £170 | firebox.com

HP Officejet 8600 Plus e-All-in-One

Samsung 27” Full HD 3D LED-Backlit Monitor

This is one smart printer. It has AirPrint technology that lets you print wirelessly from your iDevices and its own e-mail address, so you can send stuff to be printed from anywhere in the world. It’s probably a bit too smart for its own good – in fact it’s sitting in our office right now, printing out page after page of perfectly weighted prose and silently mocking us.

Veering slightly away from the productivity theme here – this is probably a bit much for the day job, unless you’re a 3D film reviewer (in which case we hate you and want your job). Although, if you are using one, don’t your eyes hurt? Worth swapping your stapler for. £599 | pcworld.co.uk

£270 | hp.com/uk

Pebble Pro Netbook Charger If your laptop, tablet or phone runs out of battery, you might have to read a book or – heaven forbid – make eye contact with strangers. Ensure that never happens with this portable battery pack, which can charge a laptop for up to five hours. £70 | firebox.com

54 | February 10 2012 |


Unlock your phone with a smile

With Face Unlock on the Galaxy Nexus, there’s one less password to remember. Just switch on your phone and look into the camera.

Calling all pretty faces www.google.co.uk/nexus Android is a trademark of Google Inc


Extra time Grooming the fragrance

sport on the brain

the lotion

Palmer’s Men’s Body & Face Lotion It’s about time the ever-popular Palmer’s Cocoa Butter released a formula designed specifically for men, and this month has seen them do just that in the form of this Body & Face Lotion. Available in a 400ml pump or 250ml bottle (both pictured below), it will leave your skin feeling smooth and smelling very nice indeed. For once. boots.com

That would be the new Dolce & Gabbana launch, obviously

Dolce & Gabbana The One Sport

£56, 100ml

You can imagine the excitement at Sport Towers when the spanking-new men’s scent from Italian purveyors of style Dolce & Gabbana dropped on our doorstep. By God, we exclaimed, you know you’ve arrived when this lot are naming something after you. Turns out we were mistaken, of course. We called up to say thanks and they claimed never to have heard of us, less still to have created an eau de toilette in our honour. Like the fragrance, though, we’re not bitter. Rosemary, sequoia wood and patchouli are the subtly dominant notes in a scent that is as light and fresh as it is unobtrusive. Launched in winter but with the versatility to endure through spring and into summer, The One Sport is proof that the modern man can smell good without knocking people over. Available nationwide February 15

the solution

£5.27

£54 £3.97

Sa el

the eyecare

Marks & Spencer Valentine’s Flowers Shirts for work, those tubs of chocolate nibbles, underwear for biddies. Marks & Spencer do a number of things very well, but to that list you can now add getting you out of right shtook ahead of Valentine’s Day. So, if you haven’t yet sorted flowers for your special one, get online and take your pick from their extensive selection of specially designed bouquets. Now! marksandspencer.com

56 | February 10 2012 |

Bulldog Original Eye Roll-On £9.99

The ever-increasing number of options for men wanting to take proper care of the delicate area around their eyes has risen by one more in February, with the launch of the Original Eye Roll-on from natural male skincare brand Bulldog. Coming in at a penny short of a tenner (actually pretty good value for the use you’ll get from it), the cooling rollerball application is largely reminiscent of L’Oreal’s Hydra Energetic Eye Roll-On. But Bulldog can always fall back on the natural ingredients card, with Brazilian ginseng root extract and muira puama bark extract working to fight against the appearance of dark circles, and millet seed and oak apple tannins helping to reduce those dreaded fine lines and wrinkles. Also enriched with avocado, borage and cucumber oils to hydrate around your eyes, the Original Eye Roll-On is definitely worth a try. And it’s almost impossible to blind yourself when using it – always a bonus. meetthebulldog.com


Extra time Travel

Training days If you’re long on cash but short on ideas for Valentine’s Day this year, there is still time to organise one extravagantly overblown romantic gesture. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you a luxurious trip for two aboard the Royal Scotsman

o any one of the hundreds upon thousands of rail commuters who endure the daily pain of crawling in and out of London, the idea of spending large amounts of their hard-earned salaries on further train travel might provoke the kind of expletivefilled response a family magazine such as this simply cannot publish. You wouldn’t blame them. For all our proud heritage as the home of the locomotive, the nation that brought the world Stephenson’s Rocket, the Flying Scotsman and Thomas the Tank Engine has more recently earned itself something of a reputation as the poor relations of Europe. Soaring fares, crippling delays and apparently endless engineering works have combined to bring a network to its knees. A country of train lovers we might once have been, but the truth is that we’re seeking a fast-track divorce.

T

Back on track But, for all the doom and gloom, the romance does live on – and it does so in the family of luxury Orient-Express trains now operating throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

58 | February 10 2012 |

Perhaps most renowned as the most sumptuous setting for one of Agatha Christie’s many tales of murder, the modern-day Orient-Express offers a much more genteel experience aimed at people looking to inject a little bit of old-fashioned glamour into their travel. The classic Paris-Istanbul route of the original Orient Express (a long-distance passenger train that ran between 1883 and 2009) remains very much alive in the modern company – the six-day, five-night journey can be yours from a mere £5,380 per person – but it is to one of its sister trains that we are going to more readily direct you. Highland games A journey on the Royal Scotsman, so its website tells us, ‘is regarded as one of the world’s great travel experiences’. Now our horizons may not be the widest – the traditional Saturday noon trek from bedroom to sofa for Soccer Saturday is about as far as we often get here at Sport – but having been on board for one of the train’s two-night Highland Journey trips last

Top: authentic local entertainment is provided after dinner each evening (you don’t have to wear a kilt); Left: the cabins are beautifully furnished and proper cosy


Exercise hike Should the views not be enough, the carefully-planned itinerary allows for a surprisingly full range of activities away from the train. Even on the two-night Highland Journey, for example, guests will enjoy no fewer than three separate outings: a tour and whisky tasting at the, ahem, aromatic Dalwhinnie Distillery; a visit to the breathtaking Rothiemurchus Estate in the heart of the Cairngorms, at which you can indulge in a spot of fly fishing or clay-pigeon shooting; and a private tour of Culloden Battlefield, where you get to hear all about how the terrible English (and some pretty awful Scots) massacred the brave and noble Jacobite troops of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Ach well.

Sport in style

A

s a magazine with more than a passing interest in sport, we should probably report on the fact that you can enjoy a range of high-class UK sporting events as a guest of one of the Orient-Express’ fleet of luxury trains. As with the Royal Scotsman, such an experience doesn’t come cheap – but while saving for a rainy day continues to be so difficult, you may as well spend on a sunny one. Here are our picks of the bunch.

Wimbledon Centre Court on the northern belle Tuesday July 3, £985 per person Departing one of four locations (Manchester, Wilmslow, Stafford or Birmingham), the trip to Wimbledon begins with an on-board brunch with Bellini. Then it’s a coach to the All England club, Centre Court seats with lounge pass, an Orient-Express hamper to take in with you, and dinner with champagne on the Northern Belle on the way home. You need to be swift with this one, though – it may only be February, but there is limited availability already. A hugely popular option, despite the price.

‘SomE of thE viEwS from thE train’S opEn-dEck obSErvation carriagE arE SpEctacular to thE point of pricElESS’ It’s all rather much to digest in the space of a couple of days, but the journeys still allow for you to do so – either at your leisure, or in the company of others during one of the numerous luxury feeds in one of the Royal Scotsman’s two dining cars. All food and drink is included within the price, which will come as a relief when you hear just how good some of the expertlyselected wine is. And, well, all that leaves you to do is wonder just how a dedicated but small kitchen staff drum up such excellent grub in the confined surroundings of the train’s tiny kitchen... and then drift safely off to sleep under a clear Highland night. It’s okay, there are no Jacobites left.

CheltenhAm Gold Cup on the british pullmAn Friday March 16, £495 per person Travelling from London Victoria at 7am, you will be served brunch with Bellini on the outward journey. Following a coach transfer to Cheltenham Racecourse, you will view the best horses from England and Ireland do battle in the showcase event of the whole National Hunt season, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The return trip to London aboard the British Pullman features the small matter of a five-course dinner with champagne and wine. Tasty.

The Orient-Express Royal Scotsman offers a variety of fully inclusive itineraries around Scotland, ranging from two to seven nights. Prices start from £2,350 per person. For further information or reservations, see royalscotsman.com

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Images courtesy of Orient-Express Hotels (UK) Ltd/Matt Hind & Ryan Davies, Paul Gilham/Getty Images, Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

year, we can report that it is most definitely something special. At £2,350 per person for one of the Royal Scotsman’s unequivocally quaint twin cabins, this is the kind of Valentine’s treat you won’t be able to repeat every year (bottle of plonk and cuddly toy will do fine for 2013, don’t you worry) – but some of the views you can enjoy from the train’s open-deck observation carriage are spectacular to the point of priceless. Travelling from Edinburgh Waverley, as every Royal Scotsman voyage does, you will pass through (and sit in awe of) Scotland’s ever-changing landscapes of sweeping glens, towering peaks and mirror-calm lochs. Whether you’re on the Highland Journey, the three-night Western Journey or even the week-long Grand North Western Journey (just the £6,990, that one), there is enough stunning countryside and coastline to keep you totally and utterly absorbed.


Extra time Entertainment

Horror show

FILM

A macabre shoot ‘em up, a hook-nosed blue chicken-fancier and Harry Potter faces a haunting. Dark times ahead GAME

The Muppets

A welcome sequel to the ghoulish, violent, 2007 original arrives in all its brutal majesty today. The twist on the Darkness series is that, rather than just slaughtering demonic monsters, you are a demonic monster: Jackie Estacado, a hitman who is possessed by an horrific power (called ‘the darkness’). For the player, this means ‘quad-wielding gameplay’ – ie you can pull your enemies apart using two tentacles while simultaneously firing a pair of weapons. It’s gloriously gory and the new cel-shaded visuals add to the comic book feel. Heaps of gruesome fun.

It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights, it’s time to meet the muppets – all over again! That’s right, Kermit, Gonzo, Rowlf, the Swedish Chef, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Animal and the rest (this could go on all day otherwise) are back, and they’ve roped in serial puppet fan Jason Segel to help them in their first (decent) big screen appearance since Muppets From Space in 1999. This plot sees Gary (Segel) and his brother Walter (a muppet, naturally) trying to reunite the original gang for a one-off special and raise the funds needed to save the Muppet Theater. All this is simply a tool used to relaunch the furry fellas back into our hearts. All-singing, all-dancing, and epic fun. Just try to watch it without a grin on your face. And don’t you dare tell us it’s just for kids.

EXHIBITION

Picasso and Modern British Art Pablo Picasso, the cubist heavyweight who‘s rearranged more faces than Mike Tyson, has a suitably weighty exhibition at Tate Britain opening next Wednesday. Picasso and Modern British Art celebrates the Spanish artist’s relationship with Britain and his powerful influence on the UK art scene. As such, this collection brings together over 60 pieces of Picasso’s own work (such as Still Life with Mandolin, above) alongside pieces by Francis Bacon, David Hockney and more. Perfecto.

60 | February 10 2012 |

MUSIC

FILM

MUSIC

Making Mirrors Gotye

Young & Old Tennis

He’s a bit too middle of the road to deserve his ‘Australian Beck’ tag, but there’s an addictive appeal to Gotye’s quirky (but huge) viral hit, Somebody That I Used to Know. Based on that song alone, this Monday release will sell loads. Do say: he’s Lana Del Rey minus the industry push. Don’t say: his name (we have no idea how to pronounce it).

A Valentine’s Day release for this second album from the US boy-girl indie band who do a fine line in fuzzy, catchy, surf-pop. Alaina Moore’s babyish, Motown-esque vocals are a highlight, while the production by Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney adds a bit of weight. If you’ll | forgive us the pun, Tennis have served up an ace here. Ouch.

The Woman in Black Most famous for getting his old chap out on stage – oh, and for playing some kind of wizard – Daniel Radcliffe keeps his wand securely in his pants in this old-school Brit horror. He plays a young lawyer sent to stay in a house with a mysterious history, with predictably ghostly consequences. Low on gore, but high on scares and in cinemas from today.

Succession Picasso/DACS 2011 © Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

The Darkness II (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)


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Sport Magazine Issue 243