The Boxing Binman: The rags to riches tale of Leicester’s breadline boxer

Rendall Munroe talks to Adam Rear about the highs and lows of boxing fame, fortune and failure.

Cheers, screams, boos, roars, music, tension, anticipation and, most importantly, an ocean of hi-visibility jackets. Money, pride and a European Super Bantam Title were on the line. Rendall Munroe knew this. He was ready. Life at that time was perfect for him, but his life inside and out of the ring didn’t always show the picturesque postcard of happiness.

Check out the full article on AdamRearBlogs here:

CHAMPION: Rendall Munroe achieved so much inside and outside the four corners of the ring

Rugby: Autumn Nations Cup Rd 3 – top two book Final places

With the group stages finished and the table standings secured, Matthew Childs summarises the enthralling matches of the weekend.

Here are the fixtures for the finals fixtures of the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup

Game 1 – Llanelli – Wales vs England

Score: 13 – 24

England travelled to Wales to face a weak, unstructured, squad in the hopes of confirming their place in the first Autumn Nations Cup final. Wales versus England has always been a rivalry that both teams desperately want to win. Regardless of their current form, Wales knew how important this match was and how much passion they needed to bring to give England a challenge.

Wales may not have won, but the match did show improvements from the Welsh squad, but also areas to focus development on. They attacked the English defence with strong carries, notably those from Johnny Williams, who scored the only Welsh try of the match.

Discipline errors were still prevalent for Wales, especially in the second half, which often lost them valuable territory. Part of the reason for this was due to a continuation of a strong defence from England, which meant that Wales struggled to convert possession into points. Wales also showed a very strong physical defence providing some huge dominant tackles against England and disrupted them from having complete control over the match, in the way we have seen from them in the tournament so far.

England’s physicality, discipline and team structure were a lot better than Wales’ which ultimately won them the match. The English squad has a very strong chemistry and they all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Eddie Jones made a good call in the squad selection to have two impressive creators in the middle of the pitch. Fly-half George Ford and captain and inside centre Owen Farrell allowed for a more attacking line up to create chances to break through the strong red line and gain territory.

Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola and Tom Curry put huge performances in to ensure that England made it into the final this weekend. Underhill played with determination and dominance to halt Welsh attacks and create turnovers for England, which won him Man of the Match. Billy Vunipola was also exceptional in not only defence, but attacking as well. With 17 carries (the highest in the match) making 83 metres (also the highest in the match) he earned the most territory for England and was equally worthy of Man of the Match.

England have now safely secured their strong lead at the top of group A, moving them to the final next weekend. Wales on the other hand, finished the group stages in third place. Next, they face Italy to play for 5th place in the tournament.

Game 2 – Paris – France vs Italy

Score: 36 – 5

An enthralling first half saw the beginning of a close match between Italy and France. This all changed in the second half when Italy lost their defensive structure to hold back a blistering attack from the French team. France came away from the match with a bonus point victory to see them into the final this weekend against England.

France fielded an inexperienced squad consisting of 11 uncapped players. It may have taken them the first half to settle into the game, resulting in Italy being able to score their first and only try of the match. Once France eventually did settle into the game there was no stopping them. The doubts about them being an inexperienced squad were soon lost when they were able to score three tries in eight minutes and glide past Italy with ease while on their way to the final this weekend.

With French rugby icon Christophe Dominici passing away last week at the age of 48, French passion was running high. The new generation of French players made light work of the Italian squad. Sharp passing, accurate kicks and set piece domination enabled France to capitalise on a poor Italian squad.

Italy did show some talent in their only try scored by Carlo Canna which put them in the lead for a small portion of the first half. After this point the team seemed to lose its structure and creativity. Handling errors and a lack of discipline resulted in valuable territory and points being conceded. Discipline errors eventually led to Italian winger Jacopo Trolla getting a yellow card on his debut. This allowed debutante Gabin Villiere to scythe his way through the Italian on the wing to get an impressive solo try.

This match also marked a historical landmark. Nigel Owens refereed his 100th test match, making him the first ever referee to achieve this. Owens is drawing to the end of his career so let’s hope we can see some more referees make such a positive impact on the game like we have seen from him for so many years.

Game 3 – Dublin – Ireland vs Georgia

Score: 23 -10

In a surprisingly close match in Dublin, Georgia showed that they do have the ability against a tier one nation. An unthreatening Irish squad struggled to get a victory over Georgia. Ireland looked more and more disjointed as the match went on. A promising first half saw Ireland with a 17 point lead at the break, but a phenomenal solo try from Georgia’s Giorgi Kveseladze was a reward for the visitors’ hard work and determination to not give up.

Failing to score in a match before this one, Georgia certainly made up for it against Ireland. Ireland’s fly-half Billy Burns, who unfortunately got injured in the second half, was by far the best player for Ireland until his departure. Scoring 15 points in the first half he was determined to ensure that they made their way into the third place playoff.

Iain Henderson was rewarded man of the match for Ireland due to his defensive efforts, however, Georgia’s Kveseladze was equally deserving of the award for not only his try of the tournament so far, but also an excellent defensive tackle on Irish brute CJ Stander to prevent him from scoring a try after the clock had turned red.

Ireland had very few positives, apart from the win, to take into this weekend’s third place playoff against Scotland. They conceded far too many penalties and had very little control over the match. With Burns adding to the list of injured fly-halves, it adds worry about who will play fly-half this weekend. With no Sexton or Burns, the Irish attack may lack the creativity it needs to beat Scotland.

Georgia did not only show talent in attacking runs, but defensively as well. They successfully disrupted the Irish set piece by putting a lot of pressure on Ireland in the scums especially and in the process they won a few penalties with only one being converted by Abzhandadze.

Unlike Ireland, Georgia have a lot of positives to take away from this remarkable performance in the hope of playing Fiji this week (providing that Fiji have no coronavirus cases).

Game 4 – Edingburgh – Scotland vs Fiji

Score: 28 – 0

Just like all the other matches, Fiji is still facing punishment for allowing Coronavirus into the camp, which forced the cancellation of this game. It’s a shame that we have been unable to see them play, but hopefully they will be able to play this week in the last place playoff against Georgia.

Scotland face a fragile and unconfident Irish squad in the hope of claiming third place in the tournament.

Final Round fixtures:

1st place final: London – England vs France

3rd place final: Dublin – Ireland vs Scotland

5th place final: Llanelli – Wales vs Itlay

7th place final: Edingburgh – Georgia vs Fiji

Rugby: Autumn Nations Cup – Round 2 summary

With the second round finished, Matthew Childs takes a look at the performances of the international teams.

Here is a look at the line ups for each team in round two against their respective teams

Game 1 – London – England vs Ireland

Score: 18 – 7

The biggest match of the weekend took place at Twickenham between the 2020 Six Nations champions and a strong Ireland squad. In a game that was always going to be a challenge for each team, England showed that defence is the best offence.

England made a total of 208 tackles compared to a mere 76 from Ireland. The hosts knew that they didn’t need the ball for most of the match but when they did get it they made sure to come out with some points on the board.

Ireland simply couldn’t break down England’s high pressure defence. Even though Ireland had more possession and more metres carried it was clear to see that England dominated the game defensively and that Ireland lacked the strategy to trouble the perfect England squad.

Johnny May scored two tries for England with one being an immense solo try. Maro Itoje also performed remarkably earning him Man of the Match for his defensive work and ability to upset the Ireland attack.

Ireland will be annoyed by this loss and they definitely suffered by not having Johnny Sexton or Rob Henshaw on the field due to injuries. However, it is hard to believe that they would have made a significant difference to this scoreline if they had been on the pitch.

England now sit comfortably at the top of Group A with nine points. Although they lost, Ireland have kept their second place position in the table above Wales and Georgia.

England face an improved Welsh squad this Saturday, away. In their current form it is hard to believe that any team can beat them, while Ireland will be happy to have an easier game against Georgia on Sunday.

Game 2 – Llanelli – Wales vs Georgia

Score: 18 – 0

This was a must win match for Wales to bring back some hope to the future of the Welsh squad. Knowing this, Wayne Pivac decided to field a team that was younger and less experienced, to show some variety and new possibilities for the Welsh squad. Wales gave four debuts against Georgia, showing that Pivac wanted to test a new squad.

Although it was a win, this match was a chance for Wales to make up for a loss in the first round by getting a bonus point victory. Unfortunately, they didn’t achieve that and Georgia deserve some of the credit for consistent defence that caused problems for the Welsh attack.

A stand-out performance from 19-year-old Louis Rees Zammit earned him his first ever international try. His natural talent has been shown in his prolific try scoring success with Premiership team Gloucester. Now with an international try to his name as well, it is clear to see that he will be in the Welsh squad for years to come.

The performances from the Welsh players this week were an improvement from what we have seen so far, but there were still a lot of mistakes being made. That could not be said, however, for back row Aaron Wainwright. His performance earned him Man of the Match due to a very consistent performance at ensuring every breakdown was secured and ready for the scrum half and earning some turnovers along the way.

Wales will be gutted to lose Justin Tipuric to a nasty head injury. Luckily they have a lot of back row options that are just as capable and can fill his spot this weekend when they play against the in-form England. For Georgia, it’s a journey to Dublin to face Ireland.

Game 3 – Edinburgh – Scotland vs France

Score: 15 – 22

Scotland on a winning streak of five games got their hopes shattered by France in a close match from start to finish at Murrayfield. Scotland set out to beat the in-form and talented French squad in what turned out to be the closest match of the weekend, not only through the scoreline but physically as well. It was a match-up where, until the latter parts of the second half, it could have gone either way.

Wayne Barnes may have been a strict referee in this match but he was a fair one. Both teams conceded a lot of penalties that were capitalised on by the opposing kickers. Scotland and France both showed strengths in attack but discipline mistakes cost them vital territory and point-earning penalties. With Scotland scoring no tries, all of their points came from penalty kicks.

Both teams showed their kicking ability from penalties, for territorial gain or in the case of France, the dying art of the drop goal. Scotland’s fly half Duncan Weir showed his threat as a kicking force and a viable replacement for Finn Russell by scoring all 15 points for Scotland from penalties. France also proved their kicking strength with full back Thomas Ramos scoring 14 points ( four penalty kicks and one conversion) alongside a spectacular drop goal from Matthieu Jalibert in the first half.

Scotland were still rewarded for their efforts with a bonus point due to finishing within seven points of France.

Scotland were set to face Fiji at Murrayfield on Saturday, however several positive coronavirus tests in the visiting squad has forced the game to be cancelled. France on the other hand host Italy.

Game 4 – Florence – Italy vs Fiji

Score: 28 – 0

Again, just like the previous week, Fiji have suffered another automatic bonus point defeat to Italy due to having too many positive cases of coronavirus in their team.

Italy will be happy as it is the first game they have technically won since beating Canada in the World Cup in 2019. Italy face France away on Saturday and will be hoping the form they showed against Scotland two weeks ago hasn’t gone away so they can challenge a strong France team.

As it stands, England are at the top of group A with nine points. Wales and Ireland are in joint second place with four points each but Ireland are ahead based on points difference. Georgia sit at the bottom, yet to score any tournament points.

Group B sees France at the top of the table with nine points as well. Scotland sit in second with six points after getting a bonus point this week which put them just ahead of Italy on five points after been given the win against bottom of the table Fiji. It’s a shame that Fiji have not taken precautions seriously enough as they might have caused upsets to some of the northern hemisphere teams but for now they sit at the bottom on zero points.

Rugby: Autumn Nations Cup – Round 1 summary

Matthew Childs summarises round 1 of the first ever Autumn Nations Cup

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 115258199_captains.jpg
The home nation captains. From left to right: Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) Stuart Hogg (Scotland) Owen Farrell (England) and Jonathan Sexton (Ireland)

With the first ever Autumn Nations Cup underway, it is a good test of the rugby teams after a long break because of Coronavirus. The cup consists of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, Georgia and Fiji.

Considering these teams it is basically another Six Nations with the addition of the flying Fijians and the Lelos (Georgians) to provide some variety to what we see every year and as it suggests there is a trophy on the line for the champions.

Game 1 – Dublin- Ireland vs Wales

Score – 32-9

The weekend opened the tournament with a group A match between Wales and Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Wales enter this game on a losing streak of five hoping to turn things around and Ireland go into the match after losing to France which destroyed their chances of winning the 2020 Six Nations.

Wales played a poor game and have suffered their sixth loss in a row under new head coach Wayne Pivac, creating concerns about the future of the now tier 3 Welsh team and the remaining games in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Not all the blame can be put on Wayne Pivac, the players didn’t play as they are known to and a lack of discipline cost Wales far too many penalties. Ireland capitalised on these and scored a total of six penalties (18 points) equalling more than Wales’ pitiful 9 points.

A great performance from Ireland ensured the victory, but unfortunately not enough to secure them a bonus point victory. Playing against a weak Welsh squad allowed them to produce good ball for the backs to spread the Welsh defence and create opportunities for their strong runners to break through the game line.

An excellent performance from debut winger James Lowe saw him vigorously involved in the first half of the match making solid strong runs through the Welsh defence. He was rewarded for his efforts with a try in the closing minutes of the match.

Ireland suffered injuries to two of their most influential players. Captain Jonathan Sexton suffered a hamstring injury in the match and Robbie Henshaw also got a muscle injury. This is a big loss for Ireland and will weaken their side to face a very strong English team next week.

Game 2 – London- England vs Georgia

Score – 40-0

The second group A match of the tournament was almost certain to be an England whitewash. Knowing this, head coach Eddie Jones saw this match as a chance to test the England forwards against one of the most physical professional teams. This match was a good chance to ensure that England’s scrummaging is at the ability it needs to be to face Ireland next week.

With their ability shown in the opening phases of the match, it was simply time to rack up the points. To show the forwards ability throughout the match, England’s hooker Jamie George scored a hat-trick of try’s making him the first ever hooker to achieve this in a match. For his outstanding performance Jamie George was also rightly awarded man of the match. England end the match with a bonus point victory putting them at the top of Group A. England’s ability will be truly tested next week when they face Ireland at home.

The Georgian team may be physically strong but they lacked composure and ability to face the inform England squad. The Georgians believe they are able to replace Italy in the Six Nations. However, with this performance it is hard to understand why. Hopefully we will see more of their ability when they face a very weak Wales squad in round two.

Game 3 – Florence – Italy vs Scotland

Score – 17-28

Group B kicked off with Italy at home facing Scotland. Although the score line doesn’t show it Italy played their performance of the year so far. They dominated vast episodes of the match and the kicking game from flyhalf Paolo Garbisi allowed Italy to control territory and show that they deserve to remain as the sixth team in the Six Nations.

Italian prop Danilo Fiscetti played a magnificent game. Strong runs, solid scrummaging and sturdy jackeling allowed him to win Italy a fair few turnovers and penalties to lead halftime 14-7

Ultimately, though Scotland performed well and were switched on in the second half to ensure that they came out of the game with a bonus point victory. The tired Italian team were unable to withstand the Scottish side, but they shouldn’t be disheartened by the result as the way they played has been an improvement from what we have seen in this years Six Nations.

This match also saw the debut of another winger, Duhan Van Der Merwe for Scotland. The South African born player showed his ability, speed and strength to not only get a try, but also get man of the match as well.

Scotland will face a very strong French team next week at home. Their performance will have to be refined for the fierce French squad. On the other hand Italy will face Fiji next week, providing that Fiji is cleared of all coronavirus cases.

Game 4 – Paris – France vs Fiji

Score – 28-0

Unfortunately, this match was called off due to there being a coronavirus outbreak within the Fijian camp. Hopefully their cases will go soon so we can see them in action against the northern hemisphere teams for the first time since the 2019 World Cup.

Since Fiji broke coronavirus restrictions and have positive cases, they have now been penalised. This has meant they have lost the match against France. France walk away from this match with a bonus point victory putting them at the top of group B

France will face Scotland away next week. With an excellent performance by them in the Six Nations, will their form continue in the Autumn Nations Cup?

For the Fijians, an improving Italy squad will stand in their way next week, again providing that the coronavirus cases go, however, this match will most likely be cancelled as well.

As it stands England are at the top of group A with Ireland not far behind. Wales and Georgia at the bottom of the table hoping to improve in the next round and come away with some points.

In group B France are at the top of the table with Scotland on the same amount of points. Italy is third with Fiji sitting at the bottom of the group.

How do bombshell talks of a European premier league impact Leicester City?

By Harry Shellard

Earlier this week talks have begun over a new £4.6bn European premier league, which is set to involve the elite clubs from across the continent.

After discussions over ‘Project big picture’ were turned down last week, new proposals have been made to make those at the top financially benefit even further.

Wall Street bank JP Morgan have been in talks to financially back the proceedings with a $6bn (£4.6bn) loan that would be repaid through TV rights payments.

The competition, which would be backed by FIFA, would be set to rival and even replace the current UEFA champions league.

As many as 5 premier league clubs could be involved, with founding members of the competition set to receive hundreds of millions, as well as huge prize money up for grabs for going the distance in the competition.

So how does this impact Leicester city’s Future?

Since winning the premier League, Leicester city have been quietly improving their squad and have yearly ambitions of upsetting the traditional top 6 clubs in the country.

Leicester aren’t exactly big spenders in the league but instead adopt an approach of bringing through youth players and making smart transfer decisions to allow the club to compete against the giants of the country.

However, with the European premier league looming, TV rights money and sponsorship deals will be given to the elite clubs in these competitions, meaning the financial gap between the average premier league teams and the elite, will once again grow exponentially.

This will mean outcomes like Leicester city’s title win in 2015-16 will become almost an impossibility because of the huge financial gap between clubs.

Attracting top calibre players will become even harder for clubs like Leicester, and teams who get promoted to the premier league won’t stand much of a chance of staying up.

Many have said these plans are taking football away from the fans and into the hands of the rich.

This week, social media has erupted with fans across the country showing their discontent.

Gary Neville was quick to slam the plans in an interview with sky sports.

‘I’m for progression of football, with new competitions and new formats, but we have got to look after the fabric of the game and what it means to the communities in this country.’ He said.