O’Connor takes control at Leinster

first_img O’Connor, who currently holds the same role with Aviva Premiership club Leicester, has agreed a three-year deal and will link up with Leinster on July 1. He will succeed Joe Schmidt, who was recently appointed as the new Ireland coach in succession to Declan Kidney. Leinster have announced the appointment of Australian Matt O’Connor as their new head coach. O’Connor, 42, is a former Australian international who coached Australia A before joining the Leicester staff in 2009. During his time at Welford Road, Leicester have won two Premiership titles and reached the 2010 Heineken Cup final. Tigers are also through to this season’s title play-offs and will play Harlequins next Saturday. O’Connor said: “I am delighted to join Leinster. The playing staff, coaching team and facilities are first-class, and I have been hugely encouraged by the hunger within the province to push on despite enjoying an unprecedented period of success on the field in recent years. “I look forward to working with the province’s established and burgeoning talent from the renowned Leinster academy, and I am also pleased to work with the current coaching team who have played such a key part in the province’s success over the last four years. “At this time my focus remains with Leicester, but I would like to thank the Leinster board for this vote of confidence. My family and I are hugely excited about starting this new chapter in our lives.” And Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson added: “We are delighted that Matt has agreed to become head coach, and we believe that he will be carry on the fine work which has been done over the course of the last eight years. “Matt joins Leinster with an impressive pedigree. We were impressed by his vision for Leinster Rugby, and speaking to him it is clear that he is excited about the opportunity. We look forward to working with him over the coming years. “Obviously, we are still in contention for three trophies – the Amlin Challenge Cup, RaboDirect PRO12 and British & Irish Cup, and all of our focus will be on trying to end the season on a high in all three competitions.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Badgers come from behind, earn trip to Frozen Four semifinals

first_imgTrailing 1-0 with 40 minutes remaining in Saturday night’s NCAA quarterfinal game against Minnesota-Duluth, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team was staring the end of its season right in the eyes.To begin the second period, head coach Mark Johnson opted to combine his best three scorers on the same line in an attempt to stoke the Badgers’ offense.The line, consisting of Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight, went on to score two goals and lead Wisconsin (35-2-2) to its fifth Frozen Four appearance in program history.“Obviously those two are powerhouse forwards and incredible players,” Duggan said. “And I think, throw the three of us together, we can create some energy for the team and make things happen.”However, it wasn’t just the play of Wisconsin’s three leading scorers that helped them move on to the Frozen Four.Freshman net minder Alex Rigsby (25-1-2) put forth one of her best games of the season, stopping 29 of 30 UMD shots.The win gives Rigsby her fifth postseason victory in as many tries and nine consecutive wins overall.“Alex has played well all season,” Johnson said. “She’s gotten better since day one and certainly has played well in the playoffs up to this point. I’m very happy with her performance tonight against a very good Duluth team.”Nerves appeared to permeate through both Wisconsin and Minnesota-Duluth in the early stretches of the game as each group had trouble creating quality scoring opportunities.Yet, towards the end of the first period, Duluth struck first just as their initial power play of the game ended, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 advantage heading into the break.Less than three minutes into the second period, Minnesota Duluth’s Tara Gray took a penalty, and before the PA announcer could finish giving the crowd the details, Hilary Knight blasted a shot from the high slot past Duluth goaltender Kim Martin to tie the game at one.At the 7:34 mark of the third period, the Badgers struck once again.“I was trailing the play a little bit,” Duggan said. “Decker had moved the puck up to Hilary [Knight], and the with the way Duluth plays, if we turn over the puck, we can catch them on odd-man rushes pretty often. I saw Hilary take the puck down the left side and I just fell into that three position and she delivered the puck to me nice, and I just wacked it.”The goal gave Wisconsin a 2-1 advantage and proved to be the game-winner. Duluth had several scoring chances down the stretch, eventually pulling Martin with about a minute to play, but Rigsby was too tough.The win propels the Badgers to Erie, Pa. for the semifinal round of the Frozen Four against Boston College, who beat Minnesota on Saturday in their own quarterfinal matchup.For senior captain Meghan Duggan, who was recently named one of three finalists for the 2011 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, the game was likely bittersweet as it marked the last of her career as a Badger under the Kohl Center lights.“I wouldn’t want to leave it any other way,” Duggan said. “I think a loss would have been pretty painful. But I’m just excited for our team. I think we battled hard for that one tonight.”Fortunately for the senior, she still has at least one more game to play in the Badger red and white.“We’re ready, we’re a passionate team we’re competitive and we’re going to fight until the end.”last_img read more

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D’Tigress Crush DR Congo to Reach AfroBasket Semi final

first_imgDR Congo, a very athletic and physical team, put the agility of the 19th placed team to the test but D’Tigress proved capable of soaking all they had in their armory.D’Tigress started the first quarter on a slow note with DR Congo getting the first basket of the quarter, commanding the tempo of the game.Nigeria’s senior women’s team Coach Otis Hughley however was unfazed as he conjured up tricks that got D’Tigress together, stepped up the game and took commanding lead of the first two quarters.The first quarter was however the biggest scoring run of 14 points (22) – (06), the first and second quarter ended (22) – (09) and (38) – (23), respectively.Half way through the quarter final game, D’Tigress came out smoking with top performance from Ezinne Kalu leading the pack. She commanded the floor, ending up with 18% efficiency, 17points, 5 Steals and 2 Assists.Her teammates Victoria Macaulay and Adaora Elonu also puts up 14 points and 11 points respectively to ensure Nigeria was cruising to the last two stage of the tournament.Thirty-three points difference between Nigeria and DR Congo tell the story of the determination of D’Tigress to secure a semi final.With third and fourth quarter ending (61) – (32) and (79) – (46) respectively, no one needed to be told that Nigeria has a mission in Dakar.D’Tigress whipped Tunisia 75-26 in the group’s opening match and also in the second match, the 2017 AfroBasket defending champions walloped Cameroon 106-39 to book the quarter final place in the continental basketball competition against DR Congo.D’Tigress are to face either Mali or Ivory Coast in one of the semi finals.Meanwhile, Captain of Nigeria’s senior men’s team, Ike Diogu, has revealed that the current players in the team are pumped up to give a good account of themselves at the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup in China.With all 15 players in camp set to make their World Cup debut if selected as part of the final 12-man rooster, Diogu said the chance to be in China means everything to the members of the squad.“It means a lot because none of us has played in the World Cup before. The one time we had a chance of qualifying was in 2013 and we lost in the quarter finals of the men’s Afrobasket. This is the first time for us all and we want to make sure we do something special.”He thumbed up the high quality of training programme for the team which he said has really improved the team’s overall performance as evident in the four friendlies played so far.“We have got a lot of good young players and we are all excited to represent Nigeria in the right way. We are preparing very well and we expect to have a successful outing at the World Cup.”Diogu said that the series of friendlies and the training camps in New York, Canada and Lagos have given the team ample time to blend and get familiar with each other“We just have to make sure we play as a team. Individually we know how good we are. We have a good collection of NBA talents and high level Europe-based talents. We just have to play collectively as a group and I guess we should be fine against everybody else.”Nigeria made her debut at the 1998 World Cup in Athens, Greece while the last appearance was in 2006 where the team got eliminated in the Round of 16.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Diogu says the men’s team fired up to make impact at the World CupDuro IkhazuagbeDefending champions D’Tigress of Nigeria continued their good run at the ongoing FIBA Women’s AfroBasket Tournament in Dakar, Senegal yesterday morning, defeating Democratic Republic of Congo 79-46 to book a semi final spot.The Nigerian ladies consolidated on their two Group B victories over Tunisia and Cameroon with the defeat of the Congolese yesterday.last_img read more

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