Munster make final prep for Stade Francais clash

first_imgThe Munster squad are continuing their preparations for the Champions Cup clash against Stade Francais in Paris on Saturday. Head coach Anthony Foley is due to name his starting team tomorrow…before the side fly out to the French capital. The province also confirmed that with Stephen Archer continuing his rehabilitation, Uruguayan international Mario Sagario has signed a contract extension that will see him remain with Munster until the end of the season.last_img

Jose Mourinho facing season-defining week at Chelsea

first_imgAs Chelsea enter the most pivotal week of Jose Mourinho’s second stint with the club, Dan Levene looks at how a defeat could perversely be the best outcome for the club, but the worst for its manager.If, as former Prime Minister Harold Wilson said, a week is a long time in politics, then a day is an age in football management. Even more so at Chelsea, where 90 minutes can often be an eternity for any coaching career. This week, Chelsea have a series of potentially season-defining matters and Jose Mourinho’s future could not be more in the balance.After the humiliation of home defeat to Bournemouth, the next seven days look set to lay out a pathway for the remainder of the season: with draws at home in the FA Cup, and in European club competitions as well as a trip to table-topping Leicester City in the Premier League.But it is Wednesday night’s visit to Stamford Bridge of Porto which is most crucial to the Blues’ season – standing, as it does, between Chelsea and progression in the Champions League. The permutations are many and complex. But the rule of thumb is pretty much this: win, and Chelsea top the group; lose, and they come third, and are bound for the Europa League.That would result in a big slice of humble pie for Mourinho, who shortly after his reappointment as Chelsea boss in 2013 insisted he didn’t want to win the Europa League, or even play in the competition.That was a clear slight at Rafael Benitez, whose achievement in bringing just that trophy back to Stamford Bridge from Amsterdam was so pivotal in assembling the interim coach’s CV for his present role at Real Madrid. But the Europa League is certainly Chelsea’s best opportunity of getting back into next season’s Champions League – with Mourinho having more or less admitted fourth place in the Premier League will be a leap too far.Mourinho knows and admits the luck involved in winning the Champions League itself, and he has had more opportunities to look back on that good and bad fortune than almost any boss in the game.But few can see past Barcelona, who now look an even better side than the one that romped to glory in Berlin’s Olympiastadion in June.They could await Chelsea in the knockout stages, should the Blues qualify – as could Paris Saint-Germain or Atletico Madrid, who ended their hopes in each of the last two seasons. Drop to the Europa League, and the options broaden to include Molde of Norway, possibly Midtjylland of Denmark, and a trip beyond the Black Sea to Krasnodar of Russia.Yet, in the eyes of UEFA now, the winners of the two trophies are equal – each earning a place in next season’s Champions League.One tough route to remain in the top club of European sides – with the income and attractiveness to players associated with it. One Thursday night meander around the broader continent’s also-ran title-holders, for the same ultimate prize.A no brainer in competitive terms – but what would defeat to Porto do to Mourinho’s immediate job prospects? Should he battle through that, there is the matter on Monday of motoring up the M1 to the King Power Stadium.The very man he first deposed as Blues boss, Claudio Ranieri, awaits with tables somewhat turned. Mourinho says he has given up on targets, and wants simply to win the next match. Given the stakes at play here, is impossible to know whether those who run Chelsea feel the same way about that. –last_img read more

Venezuelan soldiers opened fire on GGMC officials − Brigadier Phillips

first_imgThree mining officers of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) came under fire from the National Bolivarian Armed Forces while travelling in a boat in the Cuyuni River, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Guyana Defence Force Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips confirmed.Speaking to Guyana Times Monday evening, Brigadier Phillips said while his troops stationed at Eteringbang were still conducting investigations, the incident occurred.He said that much information is not yet available, however the incident was reported to the police at Eteringbang. Based on the police report troops were dispatched to conduct investigations.Police sources in Eteringbang told Guyana Times that shots were fired, however none of the mining officers, nor the captain of the boat were injured in the shooting incident.The source said the officers were carrying out inspections and monitoring of gold mining camps in the Cuyuni when the Venezuelan soldiers opened fire on them.The officers, the source said, were forced to seek cover by lying flat in the boat as the captain sought to get the attention of the Venezuelan troops with whom he is said to be familiar with.After recognising the captain, the Venezuelan troops ceased fire and asked the GGCM official to identify themselves before they were allowed to proceed.Brigadier Mark PhillipsAfter the frightful incident occurred the GGMC officers then proceeded to file a police report at the Eteringbang outpost.Top government officials including President David Granger have been briefed and reportedly were up to last Monday evening in contact with Venezuelan authorities.This is not the first time there has been tension at the Guyana/Venezuela border.In September last year, the Venezuelan military dispatched heavily armed troops as well as a gunboat and other heavy artillery to the Cuyuni area.Then in December, a Venezuelan helicopter landed at the Kaikan Airstrip, in the said Region Seven.Brigadier Phillips had told Guyana Times several Venezuelan military men dressed in uniform, who were armed, disembarked the aircraft.Reports indicated that the soldiers began to engage in conversations with two villagers and shortly after, they boarded the chopper and took off.Brigadier Phillips told this newspaper that the Venezuelan soldiers were inquiring from the villagers if they had landed in San Juan, Brazil. However, the villagers informed them that they landed in Kaikan, Guyana. Upon receiving this information, the soldiers boarded the helicopter and left.Relations between Guyana and Venezuela have been tense over the past few months after the Bolivarian Republic continues to lay claim over 2/3 of Guyana’s territory, even though an 1899 Arbitration panel awarded the disputed Essequibo region to Guyana.In February 1966, just before Guyana was granted Independence, in Geneva, Switzerland, the Governments of British Guiana, the United Kingdom and Venezuela signed an agreement to resolve its contentions, but Venezuela has sporadically raised the controversy it created.The controversy was reignited by Venezuela when the Government of Guyana granted access to the US-based oil exploration company ExxonMobil, allowing it to drill for oil in the Stabroek block offshore Essequibo.The Venezuelan Government was peeved at this move and made direct contact with the oil company, urging it to discontinue its attempt to carry out drilling activities in the area. Saying it had no part in the territorial issue, the oil company went ahead with its drilling activity.President Maduro later issued a decree on May 26, 2015, which purported to ratify maritime sovereignty over waters within 200 miles including the entire Atlantic Ocean off the Essequibo Coast as well as part of Suriname’s maritime territory and an area which is under dispute with Colombia.Guyana has been seeking the UN help in resolving the issue and has SOUGHT A juridical settlement if the UN process fails.last_img read more