Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

RACING

After record attendances for the first two days, another huge crowd is arriving at Cheltenham ahead of Day 3 of the Festival.

The Grade One J-L-T Novices’ Chase opens the day’s proceedings at Prestbury Park at 1.30.


Mike Vince has a preview.

With a detailed look at today’s card at Cheltenham, here’s Leo Powell from the Irish Field…

He fancies Defi Du Seuil in the first race…

RUGBY

Joe Schmidt and Warren Gatland are preparing to name their teams for Saturday’s Six Nations showdown between Ireland and Wales in Cardiff.

Ireland are aiming to end their tournament on a high and deny Wales the Grand Slam.

Johnny Sexton says both teams are under pressure.

England have made four changes for thier game against Scotland at Twickenham.

Jack Nowell, Ben Moon and Mark Wilson are recalled while Henry Slade replaces former Leinster centre Ben Te’o

France have recalled Wesley Fofana and Maxime Medard for their trip to play Italy in Rome.

The venues for the Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals have been confirmed.

Munster will play at the Aviva Stadium if they overcome Edinburgh and Glasgow beat Saracens.

Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh had been suggested as a potential venue, but it has problems with the pitch.

Munster will travel to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena if the English king pins are their last 4 opponents.

Lansdowne Road will also be the venue if Leinster or Ulster play Toulouse.

SOCCER

Arsenal trail Rennes by 2 goals heading into the second leg of their Europa League last 16 encounter at the Emirates Stadium tonight.

The Gunners are looking to become only the second team in the history of the competition to progress following a 3-1 defeat in the first leg of a knock out tie.

Chelsea lead Dynamo Kiev 3-nil ahead of the resumption of their tie in the Ukraine.

GOLF

Rory McIlroy will look to park his latest Sunday blues when he tees off at the Players’ Championship at Sawgrass this afternoon.

The Ulsterman heads into the unofficial “fifth Major” following a disappointing last round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Tiger Woods, Shane Lowry and Seamus Power are also in the field.