The 26-year-old’s new central contract is a clear boost to the Irish Rugby Football Union, which confirmed the news in a tweet. The union had feared losing the imposing back-rower to the Top 14. O’Brien was a guest at Toulon’s Heineken Cup clash with Cardiff in Nice on Saturday as he weighed up a lucrative offer to join the cash-rich French giants. Press Association Instead he has pledged his future to home province Leinster and the Ireland national team. Ireland bosses will now turn their attention to O’Brien’s Leinster team-mate Jamie Heaslip, with the 30-year-old out of contract in the summer and also considering an offer from Toulon. O’Brien will miss the upcoming RBS 6 Nations with a shoulder injury, but his renewed commitment will increase IRFU confidence it can now convince Heaslip to follow suit. Ireland and Lions fly-half Johnny Sexton joined Racing Metro in the summer, leaving his national team bosses with no say on how frequently he plays. The 28-year-old was put through 13 games in 10 weeks in the build-up to Ireland’s autumn series, culminating in a hamstring injury that left head coach Joe Schmidt admitting Ireland had “lost control” of the player. O’Brien’s decision to stay put is another shot in the arm for Irish home comforts, with the IRFU proud of its player welfare initiatives that ensure its top stars are carefully managed to peak for international action. The IRFU announced that O’Brien has agreed a two-year deal that will see him remain at Leinster until at least June 2016. O’Brien said: “It is flattering to find yourself the subject of interest from some of the biggest rugby clubs in the world, but in the end I made a decision based on the standard mix of professional and personal considerations. Flanker Sean O’Brien has rejected the advances of Toulon to sign a new contract to stay with Leinster. “It was a very difficult decision but, with a World Cup next year and the fact that I believe Leinster can continue to win trophies, I have decided to commit my immediate future to the club. “I am very excited about what Ireland can achieve under Joe Schmidt, and I am confident that, under Matt O’Connor, Leinster will remain the power in Europe it has been over the past five or six years. “I want to acknowledge the professionalism of all those involved, including the overseas clubs with whom I had discussions, and thank Leinster and the IRFU for their commitment to me. “Finally, a word about the Leinster fans because their ‘voice’ represents an important consideration for players like me when it comes to making big career decisions such as this.” IRFU chief executive Philip Browne added: “Sean is one of world rugby’s stand-out talents. “He has proven for Leinster, Ireland and the Lions that he is world-class player, and we are delighted that Sean has committed his future to Leinster and Ireland for the next two years.” And Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson said: “We are delighted that Sean has signed a new IRFU contract which keeps him at Leinster up to the end of the 2016 season. “We were always hopeful that the environment we have created here at Leinster and the ambition of the club would be a strong factor in Sean’s decision. “He is a truly world-class player, and we are delighted that his future has now been put to rest.”
… Santos, Police play for third placeTHE 2019/2020 champions of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Super 16 Cup would be crowned tonight and would be $2M richer. Set to battle for the historic Brass Aluminum & Cast Iron Foundry (BACIF)-minted trophy are reigning Elite League Champions Fruta Conquerors and the Guyana Defence Force.Tonight’s third-place match features the losing semi-finalists Santos Football Club and the Guyana Police Force.Not taking anything away from the Santos/Police clash, all eyes would be on the grand finale which is anticipated to be a humdinger of a clash between two sides who play a very fast-pace game. Fitness at this final hurdle would be critical in deciding which of the two gladiators would be lifting the first-of-its-kind trophy.Bragging rights for the next 12 months are also at stake and it would be down to the level of fruitful offensive maneouvres created or executed by both teams that would make the difference tonight.Conquerors, like GDF, would have scored a total of ten goals in their three matches to date with the former conceding the least, just a single goal while the soldiers’ goal have been breached on three occasions.Both captains have expressed confidence in winning tonight and while that’s commendable, the reality is that only one team will walk away smiling, with the $2M cheque; the losers would not leave empty-handed as they would be collecting $1M.The huge task of delivering their fourth consecutive win in this knockout tournament for the Tucville-based Conquerors would be resting on the tournament’s leading goalscorer to date, Delon Lanferman, who has distinction of being the only player to have scored in every match. He has five goals including a hat-trick.Ryan ‘Bum Bum’ Hackett, with three to date inclusive of a double, will be another key component of the Conquerors attack as will Nicholas McArthur and Eon Alleyne, the other goalscorers. Captain Vurlon Mills’ role in midfield as the chief engine room operator would be critical to Conquerors’ ambition of winning to seal the double having won the league.Akel Clarke’s role in goal would not be easy tonight as the Army players would surely be firing shots in abundance; Trevor Jones, Quincy Adams, Jahall Greaves and Raphael Edwards would all have to step up and be formidable in the defensive third if they are to keep the GDF at bay.The experience of Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson would be called upon to help seal a win for the Fruta boys.At the other end of the pitch, GDF have shown that even if they are put on the back foot, they possess enough firepower to come out all shots firing on the homestretch with lethal implications for their opponents.They’ll be banking heavily on the likes of Benjamin Opara who is just one goal behind Lanferman in the race for the highest goalscorer and possibly the MVP prize which is one Honda 125cc motorcycle compliments of Marics Honda.Opara has also scored a hat-trick. The other registered in the tournament came off the boot of Buxton United’s Dillon Wright. The GDF has shown some depth in terms of the number of players on target, which stands at seven (7) so far.It means that Opara has able support that’ll come from Sherwin Caesar, Delon and Delroy Fraser, Olvis Mitchell, Colin Nelson and Travis Henry. The respective coaches, both with National experience, Sampson Gilbert (Conquerors) and Joseph ‘Bill’ Wilson (GDF) would no doubt be conjuring up the perfect plan that must be executed on the pitch in order to yield victory and the top prize.The third place match is expected to have its fair share of fanfare with the combatants, Santos and the Guyana Police Force eyeing the winning prize of $500 000 apart from ending the tournament on a high having both encountered one blemish, having lost their semi-final matches.Santos would take confidence from the fact that, apart from Conquerors’ one goal conceded, they have conceded just two while the Law Enforcement Officers’ goal has been breached seven times.Orin Yarde, Kester Jacobs and Lavaughn Eniss all have two goals apiece and will hope to increase that in taking their team to victory. Combining with them would be Stephen Reynolds, Marcus Wilson, captain Kevin Dundas, Ryan Dowding and Sheldon Holder.Police will depend on Daniel Wilson, Trayon Bobb, Pernel Schultz and Jamal Harvey all with a pair of goals to date, as well as Colwyn Adams, Darren Benjamin, Jermain Junior, Stephan Ramsey, Travis Jones, Trevon Lythcott, Jamal Harvey and Kavis Fraser. Kick-off time tonight is 19:00hrs. Sponsors who have contributed to the success of the tournament are MACORP, NAMILCO, Tourism & Hospitality Association of Guyana, EC Vieira Investments, BACIF, Pegasus Hotel, BK International, Bakewell, Marics Honda, Impressions, China Harbour, 94.1 Boom FM, MVP Sports, Xtra Beer, BK International, Radar Security Service and Supplies and Sleepin International Hotel.
Story from iahsbb.comDES MOINES — The top-ranked and top-seeded Newman Catholic Knights moved a step closer to a third straight state title with a 10-0 five-inning victory over fourth-seeded Don Bosco in the Class 1A semifinals Thursday at Principal Park. The Knights (37-3) will seek their eighth state title overall as they advance to Saturday’s championship game.Josh Fitzgerald went 4-for-4 with three RBIs to lead Newman. He had two triples and a double — all to deep left-center — in addition to a bunt single. The 8-9 hitters — Doug Taylor and George Schmit — both went 2-for-3.Evan Paulus (8-1) went the distance for Newman. He allowed four hits, struck out five and walked one.Newman jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first on a lead-off triple by Fitzgerald, an RBI single by Merritt McCardle and a balk.The Knights added two more runs in the second on a double by Taylor, an RBI triple by Fitzgerald and a RBI double by Max Burt. An intentional walk and hit batter followed, but Newman left the bases loaded.Newman padded its lead to 7-0 with three runs in the fourth. A lead-off single by Schmit, a bunt single by Fitzgerald set the stage for runs to score on a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Jacob Schutt. The Knights left the bases loaded for the second time — a total of nine LOB for the game.The Knights ended the game with three runs in the fifth. Taylor and Schmit led off with singles, and both scored on a double by Fitzgerald. The game ended on a walk-off bases-loaded walk.The Knights are in the title game for the 12th time. Newman has won 35 state tournament games — second only to Assumption.The Dons — ranked sixth in the final poll — end the season at 29-5.