Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Who should captain the Lions in South Africa?



The Six Nations provided a stirring finale and a lifetime of memories for Ireland fans but few watching from South Africa will have been left quaking in their boots ahead of this year’s British and Irish Lions tour.

That is exactly how wily Lions coach Ian McGeechan will want it as he plots a repeat of 1997 when his unfancied group triumphed there in the first Lions tour of the professional era.

Then, just as now, South Africa were world champions and oozed power, class and experience in every position.

Then, just as now, only half a dozen or so players could be said to be certain Lions starters.

You can beat Europe’s top teams but you can’t beat the Six Nations


odriscolSouthern hemisphere fans might scoff at the quality of Europe’s premier rugby competition but, yet again, the Six Nations championship has proved itself unrivalled when it comes to unpredictability and excitement.

Having waited 61 years for their second grand slam, Ireland were within seconds of having it cruelly ripped from their grasp, only for Stephen Jones’s last-minute penalty to fall short in Saturday’s nail-gnawingly tense Cardiff finale.

Ambitious French rugby clubs seem immune to crisis


Brive-bound Riki Flutey (R)

Gone are the days when top French rugby players such as Philippe Sella, Thomas Castaignede and Raphael Ibanez were crossing the Channel to improve their skills and make their fortunes, writes Jean-Paul Couret.

French clubs, seemingly immune to the global economic crisis, have reversed the tide and are now threatening to plunder the English Premiership.

This glorious, unpredictable northern festival


Wales' Leigh Halfpenny celebrates his try against England with Andy Powell during their Six Nations rugby union match in CardiffYou wouldn’t have got great odds on Wales and France coming out on top against England and Scotland respectively on the first day of the second weekend of the Six Nations.

But England beating Wales in the try count at the Millennium Stadium and Scotland taking the game to the French the way they did in St Denis were not forecasts I’d read anywhere.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Another passport probe shows system needs review

Sportspeople have been shifting nationalities to suit their careers for years, and most of it has been legal.

Controversies have occurred, however, with the latest incident again happening in French soccer.

Is the credibility of women’s skiing at stake?


Thursday’s women’s giant slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Val d’Isere is more than just a race for gold, writes Francois Thomazeau.

The very credibility of women’s skiing is at stake after organisers decided to hold the race on a Bellevarde piste often described as too tough by their male counterparts.