Friday 24 November 2017

IRFU's player ruling 'illegal'

RUGBY: A leading barrister claims that the IRFU will have to change its Player Succession Strategy because it is illegal on the grounds of discrimination.

The union is introducing measures in 2013/14 aimed at controlling the use of non-Irish eligible players (NIE) in the provinces, and barrister Tim O'Connor, who specialises in rugby, said there is potential for a huge legal fight as a result.

"It is a mess and certainly unlawful," said O'Connor. "The Bosman ruling established that it was unlawful under EU law to restrict players from another EU country from playing in the competitions -- including in Ireland -- on the grounds of nationality.

"Then Kolpak extended it; and Zambrano extended it further."

Meanwhile, Ireland are set to announce a new team manager to replace Paul McNaughton.

Trump into semis

SNOOKER: World champion John Higgins joined Judd Trump in the semi-finals of the Masters at Alexandra Palace with a 6-3 win over compatriot Graeme Dott.

Earlier, UK champion Judd Trump also made the last four with an impressive 6-2 win over Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Trump said: "I've come into it full of confidence and thinking I can win it, and the players are more under pressure playing me now than I am playing them."

Villegas in charge

GOLF: Colombia's Camilo Villegas led the way on nine under after the first round of the pro-am Humana Challenge at La Quinta Country Club in Marbella, Spain.

Villegas shot nine birdies -- five in his first seven holes, while American David Toms was a shot further back on eight under.

Strauss' rally call

CRICKET: Andrew Strauss spared his England team the lecture last night on what went wrong in their 10-wicket defeat against Pakistan in the first Test in Dubai.

But they can expect some home truths today from a captain who will rally his men to show the ability and strength of character to fight back in this series.

Loeb extends lead

MOTOR RACING: Eight-time reigning champion Sebastien Loeb won five of yesterday's six stages to extend his lead on the second day of the World Rally Championship's season-opening event in Monte Carlo.

The French Citroen driver, who held a one minutes four second advantage over Dani Sordo (Mini) overnight, moved 1min 37secs clear of the Spaniard and 1min 40secs in front of third-placed Petter Solberg (Ford).

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