Johnson will live to regret leaving Jonny on bench, says Horan

WORLD Cup hero Tim Horan has castigated England coach Martin Johnson for not selecting Jonny Wilkinson in the starting line-up for the Sydney Test tomorrow night, warning that leaving him on the bench is a decision he will regret.Horan, writing for the Herald’s rugbyheaven website as part of The Legends Call series, could not comprehend what Johnson ”is trying to achieve” by selecting former New Zealand league representative Shontayne Hape ahead of Wilkinson.England opted yesterday against the sentimental selection that would have enabled Wilkinson to start the Test on his first return to Homebush since he won the 2003 World Cup final over the Wallabies with a brilliant extra-time field goal.”Johnson should have picked the man who broke Australian hearts in the 2003 World Cup final and it’s a decision he’s likely to regret,” Horan wrote. ”Wilkinson would provide more stability to this English team, give them a fear factor, and have the Wallabies thinking about his presence in the back line during the 24-hour countdown to the game. And I don’t base my opinion on what Jonny did seven years ago at the same ground. His form simply warrants selection.”Horan, one of Australia’s greatest centres and an integral member of the Wallabies’ 1991 and 1999 World Cup triumphs, said he had been in contact with insiders at Wilkinson’s Toulon club, who have informed him that over the past year he has been in ”good shape, carrying no injuries and is close to his best form”.”Jonny should be starting for England, together with the man who will wear the No.10 jumper, Toby Flood. One of them could have played at inside centre and, in tandem, they would have given England two ball players as the Australians will have with Quade Cooper at No.10 and Matt Giteau at No.12,” Horan wrote.”Wilkinson has the ability to ignite this England back line. He has a presence and a passing game that would lift them for sure, as well as the ability to provide field position via his boot and capitalise on those territory gains by accumulating points.”Horan, the 1999 World Cup player of the tournament, said Wilkinson’s omission was just one of a number of confusing decisions Johnson had made on this tour.”Jonny hasn’t played in either touring match against the Australian Barbarians and he got five minutes in the first Test last weekend,” Horan said. ”What was the point in even bringing him out? If they were going to put him in cotton wool, or simply overlook him, then England might as well have left him at home. So who have they picked?”Shontayne Hape will wear the No.12 jersey alongside Flood. This is the same player who I think made three tackles in the first Test, missed a crucial one when Luke Burgess put Quade Cooper across for a try and, from memory, ran the ball once. It’s fair to say he didn’t show a lot. So if you were the England coach, wouldn’t you pick Wilkinson ahead of a rookie like Shontayne Hape?”If England lose on Saturday, the pressure will definitely be on Johnson, with the British media growing increasingly agitated by his unimpressive win-loss coaching record.Following the Perth defeat, comparisons were made with the previous England coach, Brian Ashton, who was ousted after taking the team to a World Cup final and was involved in 12 wins in 22 Tests. Johnson’s record stands at eight wins from 22 Tests.
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Stosur serves it up on her way into semis

EASTBOURNE: Samantha Stosur has delivered a serving masterclass to scorch into the semi-finals of the pre-Wimbledon event at Eastbourne.Contesting her seventh consecutive WTA quarter-final, Stosur thundered down 15 aces in an impressive 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-0 win over high-flying Scot Elena Baltacha.Victory set up a showdown on Friday with either 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova or fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.With Wimbledon just around the corner, Stosur said she’d been practising her serve ”over and over” to ensure she gets full value from her big kicker on the London lawns when the season’s third grand slam gets underway on Monday.”On the grass, it’s even more important,” Stosur said after highlighting her point in emphatic fashion yesterday.Living dangerously, Stosur probably didn’t need to fuel Baltacha’s confidence by handing her the opening set with a meek netted backhand in the tiebreaker.But the French Open runner-up was a completely different player from then on, banging winners from all parts of the court to blow Baltacha away.After breaking the Brit’s serve twice, Stosur unleashed a hat-trick of aces to grab a 4-0 lead before quickly going on to draw level at a set apiece.It was one-way traffic in the deciding set, the third-seeded Stosur refusing to drop a single game.Belgian Kim Clijsters, meantime, reached the quarter-finals, needing only 38 minutes to sweep aside Czech left-hander Lucie Safarova 6-1, 6-0 and continue her good form in the Wimbledon warm-up tournament.Clijsters, playing her first tournament since injuring her foot in a Fed Cup tie in April, has dropped only three games in her first two matches. She allowed Safarova only seven points in the second set.”It was a good one, quick and perfect,” Clijsters said.”I feel that I’m moving well. I feel that my foot is holding up good and obviously those were my main concerns, especially the foot, when I first got here.”? Meanwhile, Bernard Tomic has reached the Wimbledon men’s main draw with a final-round qualifying victory over talented Indian Prakash Amritraj.Tomic, a two-times grand slam junior champion, outclassed the Indian 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 6-4 yesterday.The 17-year-old prodigy joins 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt and fellow Australian Peter Luczak in the 128-man draw for the grasscourt grand slam starting on Monday.Carsten Ball and Matthew Ebden were hoping to further swell the Australian contingent when they contest their final-round qualifying matches later in the day.AP
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Full-time role means one selector will get dropped

THE full-time selector Cricket Australia has needed for years will be appointed before the Ashes campaign, with one of Jamie Cox, David Boon or Merv Hughes set to lose their job.The trio’s performances will be assessed by chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch and CA’s general manager of cricket operations, Michael Brown, before one is likely to be asked for his resignation. Brown said one of the three could yet land the full-time role – titled national talent manager – and therefore no change would be made to the four-man panel as it stands, but the fact CA are set to advertise for the position next week makes it unlikely.The new selector would be in charge of liaising with state talent managers, national players and fielding media inquiries – much of which has been ignored in the past few years.”This is a huge step,” Brown told the Herald last night. ”This is really strongly supported by the states and they are very important stakeholders. We need to professionalise the game of cricket, to do that we have strong recommendations that cricket enter a full-time era, yet the selectors are still part-time.”So we need to professionalise the selections process. We wanted to improve talent management and leadership – soccer and AFL have done this really well.”Hilditch is contracted as chairman of selectors until the end of next year’s World Cup and will retain his position as the panel’s head.Brown said for the time being he saw the need for only one full-time selector, so Adelaide lawyer Hilditch and the remaining two would hold their primary occupations.Cox has previously been accused of having a conflict of interest because he retains his role as South Australia’s director of cricket, with the eastern states particularly aggrieved at the seemingly 50-50 calls that went to Redbacks and Tasmanian players recently.Boon is a marketing executive with Cricket Tasmania.Hughes has been criticised for running overseas tour group operations while working as touring selector and players have privately expressed concern about his ability to make career-defining calls while entertaining clients.The entire selection panel was ridiculed following the Ashes defeat last year and Hilditch admitted that they misread The Oval pitch for the deciding Test when spinner Nathan Hauritz was left out. They were also under fire for hastily promoting, then dropping, young opening batsman Phillip Hughes. And the number of spinners tried in the past few years has been comical.But the coming Ashes campaign will certainly benefit from a full-time eye because questions have arisen over the amount of state cricket selectors are watching in between their occupational duty.Brown said the candidacy was open to all-comers – even state talent managers – but there are five qualities being sought. They must have international first-class experience, be skilled negotiators, have an ability to manage people, be effective communicators, and understand the identification of talent and manage it.Meanwhile, Australian captain Ricky Ponting has opposed Channel Nine’s proposal to restore all wickets in the second innings of the split-innings one-dayers to be played domestically this summer.”Personally, I wouldn’t like to see it go that way. I would like to see it remain as a traditional game of cricket,” Ponting said in Dublin before the ODI against Ireland.”Forty wickets in the game, it almost goes away from the game of cricket. I think what everybody is after with this game is having some point of difference between 20-over cricket and a 40-over game, which is the way it’s heading, and a 50-over game.”I think if you start bringing it back to 40 wickets in a game, the point of difference between a 20-over game and that concept is not very much.”
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Former Tiger calls for AFL indigenous role

MICHAEL MITCHELL was offended and saddened by Mal Brown calling he and fellow indigenous footballers ”cannibals” but believes it merely highlights how much the AFL – and society – would benefit from having an indigenous commissioner.Mitchell, who described the comments, made at a football lunch, as belonging to another era ”that sadly still seems to linger”, said the percentage of indigenous players in the AFL warranted representation among the competition’s governing body.”It would have to be someone with good community knowledge, good corporate knowledge, but also with a vision – with the bigger picture in mind,” Mitchell said. ”Footy’s part of a bigger picture for indigenous folk and families; that’s how it should always be viewed, not as the picture.”As prominent figures from football, politics and across society condemned Brown’s comments yesterday, Mitchell said they presented an opportunity for positive change and for the AFL to back up its pride in its Aboriginal talent.”For 2 per cent of the population, the AFL has 11 per cent indigenous players – that’s 9 per cent over the numbers, and that puts a greater social responsibility on the AFL,” Mitchell said. ”There’s only a couple of organisations in the country that enjoy a positive over-representation of indigenous folk, according to population, and they do luxuriate in it.”There’s a greater requirement on them as an organisation to give back to indigenous folk, to ensure there are more and more indigenous folk given the opportunity to engage at that level – to not just aspire to that, but to see the steps necessary and genuinely be able to achieve it.”Mitchell, who played 81 games for Richmond and now works for the West Australian Department of Health establishing a statewide indigenous mental health service, believes representation on the commission would help to educate society that comments like Brown’s – even made in jest – are inappropriate.Mitchell has met Sam Mostyn, who became the AFL’s first female commissioner in 2005, followed two years later by Linda Dessau, and is enthusiastic about what the women brought to the game. He believes an indigenous commissioner would bring a similar level of education and broader understanding.”It’s needed at every tier, at every level,” he said. ”That ensures the organisation is culturally sound and is willing to demonstrate that as much as talking it up.”A Yamatji man who won a Sandover Medal in the WAFL while playing for Claremont, Mitchell was coached by Brown while playing state football for WA. He said Brown had done a lot not only for indigenous football but indigenous people, and as a pioneer at South Fremantle where he built a team around star Aboriginal players including Stephen Michael, Maurice Rioli, Benny Vigona and Basil Campbell.”He would say that sort of thing, but he’d say it straight to your face, he wouldn’t hide behind it,” Mitchell said of Brown, whom he said had been respected by his players. ”Coming from Mal, it wasn’t surprising. The good news is that he’s apologised and understands that he’s made a huge mistake.”The Marngrook Footy Show panel discussed inviting Brown onto last night’s show on Channel 31, but felt it may trivialise the issue. ”The view was people like that shouldn’t be on our show …,” host Grant Hansen said. ”We can educate people without having him there.”Panel member Ronnie Burns, the former Geelong and Adelaide star and the nephew of Benny Vigona, spoke to his uncle on Melville Island yesterday and said he was disappointed and shocked at Brown’s comments.
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Phones running hot after radiation warnings

LOS ANGELES: San Francisco is set to require mobile phone makers to warn customers that the gadgets are bathing them in radiation.The city’s Board of Supervisors has approved the unprecedented law in a 10-to-1 vote, and it is expected to be signed by the mayor, Gavin Newsom, who has endorsed the measure.The law requires makers of mobile phones to display in stores details of the levels of radiation emitted by different handsets in the same way that restaurants show the number of calories in food and drinks.Failure to comply will incur a $US300 ($347) fine.In particular, shoppers must be shown estimates of how much of the radio wave radiation from each mobile phone model is absorbed into the body of the person using it.If signed by Mr Newsom, the law would take effect early next year and be the first of its kind in the US.San Francisco, one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the US, was also the first big city in the country to ban plastic bags in supermarkets.Sophie Maxwell, the local politician who introduced the mobile phone law, said it was intended to ”help people make informed choices”.But opponents within the mobile phone industry said it would mislead customers into believing some mobile phones are safer than others.They argue that safety is already ensured by the regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, which imposes a maximum specific absorption rate of 1.6 watts a kilogram on all phones sold in the US.The debate over the health dangers of mobile phones remains unresolved.A $US24 million United Nations study released last month was considered inconclusive. Its authors said because cancers can take decades to develop there was no way to estimate the risk.Agence France-Presse; Telegraph, London
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