Thursday Evening Sports Update

ANTI-DOPING

The suspension of Russia’s anti-doping agency has been lifted despite widespread opposition.

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s executive committee have ended a three-year-suspension which followed a major doping scandal.


Wada president Sir Craig Reedie says Russia’s reinstatement is ‘subject to strict conditions’.

Leading athletes and Wada’s vice-president Linda Helleland (pron: hell-land) have opposed the move.

A lawyer for Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov has labelled today’s decision “the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history”.

RUGBY

Castleisland-man JJ Hanrahan is back in the Munster team at full-back for tomorrow’s Pro 14 match against the Cardiff Blues in Wales.

In all there are six changes to the side that beat Ospreys last week as Hanrahan joins Andrew Conway and Darren Sweetnam in the back three.

CJ Stander also returns to the flank and Taghe Beirne is retained at lock.

However, Munster will be without Keith Earls once again after he picked up a knock during the week.

Cardiff have lost all three of their fixtures so far this season

Munster coach Johann van Grann says they still can’t be taken lightly.


England rugby union head coach Eddie Jones says Danny Cipriani has been left out of the Autumn internationals for rugby related reasons.

Cipriani admitted assault and resisting arrest last month – putting his place in the squad at risk.

Jones thinks there are stronger players to choose from.

GOLF

2012 winner Shane Lowry’s made a strong start to his opening round at golf’s Portugal Masters.

He’s five-under-par after 11 holes and two strokes behind clubhouse leaders Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperell.

Paul Dunne’s two-under after 12 holes with Padraig Harrington two-over after 11.

Robin Dawson’s signed for a three-over round of 74.  

Rory McIlroy faces an uphill battle to win the FedEx Cup at the season ending Tour Championship, which gets underway in Georgia later.

The Ulster man lies 17th in the play-off standings ahead of teeing off this evening.

Meanwhile, with the Ryder Cup only a week away, and most of the European players are in action this weekend either in Portugal or Georgia.

Padraig Harrington, who is one of the vice-captains for Europe, says preparations are going well for his team.

SOCCER

There’s no Eden Hazard for Chelsea as they start their Europa League campaign in Greece later.

He’s been rested for the clash with PAOK (pron: pow-k)

His hat-trick against Cardiff added to the tiredness of the Belgian forward, according to his manager Maurizio Sarri.

Kick-off is at five-to-six with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers at Villarreal at the same time.

At 8pm, Arsenal take on Vorskla (pron: vore-scla), while it’s Celtic at home to Rosenborg. 

Two teams share number the one spot in the FIFA world rankings for the first time.

Belgium have moved to top spot alongside the World Cup winners France.

England stay 6th having reached the World Cup semi-finals.

The Republic of Ireland drop one place to 30th.

Cristiano Ronaldo could miss a Champions League return to Old Trafford with Juventus next month.

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings after the World Player of the Year was sent-off in the Italian champions’ win at Valencia last night.

Ronaldo received the red card after appearing to put his hand on the head of the Spanish club’s defender Jeison Murillo.

He’s received an automatic one-match ban which cannot be appealed, and European football’s governing body has announced it will now consider whether to extend the suspension when they convene on the 27th of September.

GAELIC GAMES

Armagh could have forward Jamie Clarke back for 2019.

Clarke played for New York in their one-point defeat to Leitrim in the Connacht Championship this summer and Gaelic Life report that the Crossmaglen clubman is set to move home and link up with Kieran McGeeney’s panel next term.

Stefan Campbell is also expected to return from America and rejoin the Armagh panel.

BOXING

British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua will use Wembley to his advantage in his fight against Alexander Povetkin.

Saturday’s world title bout sees AJ return to the venue where he beat Wladimir Klitschko last year.

He says the stadium’s become a second home.

RACING

Kew Gardens looks poised to tackle the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on October 7 after Aidan O’Brien pointed the way towards Longchamp for his recent Doncaster St Leger winner.

The multiple champion trainer said the Arc was the only race he had in mind for the son of Galileo, who gave O’Brien his third British Classic of the season when defeating Lah Ti Dar by two-and-a-half lengths last Saturday.