Thursday Evening Sports Update

RUGBY

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has rung the changes for Saturday’s Test with Argentina at the Aviva.

Only Jordan Larmour, Jacob Stockdale and Bundee Aki are retained from the starting fifteen that thrashed Italy in Chicago.


The likes of Rory Best, CJ Stander, Peter O’Mahony and Jonathan Sexton all return to the side.

While Schmidt says Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose will both be fit for the All Blacks, despite missing the Pumas game through injury.

Schmidt is pleased with Ireland’s progress in the year before the World Cup, but knows they are a long way off the finished product:


Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has made five changes to the side that lost 45-34 to Australia in the final round of the Rugby Championship.

There’s a surprise in the team with lock Guido Petti named to start at openside.

Matias Alemanno slots into the second row.

Props Santiago Medrano and Santiago Garcia Botta both come into the side.

And in the backs, there are starts for scrum-half Tomas Cubelli and wing Bautista Delguy.


Chris Ashton will start an England game for the first time in four-years on Saturday.

The Sale wing has been named in Eddie Jones’ side to face the All Blacks at Twickenham.

In the other changes from the side that edged out the Springboks, Ben Moon starts at loosehead, with Sam Underhill at openside flanker.


SOCCER

Stoke manager Gary Rowett says James McClean has received death threats following last Saturday’s draw with Middlesbrough.

The Republic of Ireland winger was involved in an altercation with his own fans over his decision not to wear the Remembrance poppy.

That altercation resulted in McClean calling those fans “undeducated cavemen” on social media, something that earned him a warning from the F-A.

But Rowett says death threats and packages have been sent to McClean.

The Potters manager says McClean’s reaction to the abuse was “ill-judged”, while the P-F-A have offered their full support.

Steven Reid says he’d be interested in the vacant Republic of Ireland under-21 job.

The former international midfielder holds a UEFA Pro Licence, and was recently on the coaching staff of Premier League side Crystal Palace.

Noel King retired from the position yesterday after eight years in charge.

Chelsea can secure their place in the last-32 of the Europa League tonight.

Eden Hazard starts for Maurizio Sarri’s side away to BATE (PR: Bah-Tay) Borisov.

That’s a 5.55 start in Belarus.

Another early start sees Rangers take their unbeaten start in Group G to Spartak Moscow.

Arsenal are another side that could relax after tonight, with Unai Emery’s side at home to Sporting.

Celtic badly need a win when R-B Leipzig visit Parkhead in Group B.


Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson has received his first England call up for the games against USA and Croatia. He’s scored 7 goals so far this season.

Everton defender Michael Keane has also been recalled after his impressive recent form.

Wayne Rooney is included in the squad for the USA friendly only and will win his 120th cap.

Tottenham will be without Moussa Dembele until the new year.

The Belgian midfielder suffered ankle ligament damage in the Premier League win over Wolves.

Steven Beattie has signed for USL League One side, Chattanooga Red Wolves.

The forward left Cork City yesterday after 4-and-a-half years on Leeside.

GOLF

Shane Lowry is best of the Irish at the Irish at the end of the opening day of the Nedbank Challenge.

The Clara golfer shot a 1-under par round of 71, but is still seven-shots adrift of Sergio Garcia.

The Spaniard is four-shots clear of the field on 8-under par following a flawless opening round of 64.

Rory McIlroy is level, with Padraig Harrington on 1-over par.

Paul Dunne had a disastrous opening round – ending the day on 6-over following a 78 in Sun City.