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Former England wing McConnochie in Scotland Six Nations squad

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Former England wing McConnochie in Scotland Six Nations squad

Former England wing Ruaridh McConnochie was named in Scotland s 40-man squad for the Six Nations on Tuesday, with Ireland under-20 international Ben Healy also among a group of four uncapped players.

McConnochie, 31, was capped twice by England in 2019, featuring against the United States at the World Cup in Japan.

But World Rugby s eligibility rules allow a capped player to switch allegiance to another country for which they are eligible following a three-year cooling-off period.

The Bath back s change of allegiance follows a similar switch by former Australia-turned-Scotland international Jack Dempsey, who made his Dark Blues debut earlier this season, with McConnochie now opting to represent the nation of his father s birth.

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With fellow wing Darcy Graham injured, McConnochie has a chance of making his Scotland debut against England in the team s Six Nations opener — a Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham on February 4.

Uncapped Munster fly-half Healy is also in Gregor Townsend s squad, together with Glasgow centre Stafford McDowall and Leicester lock Cameron Henderson.

Healy, qualified to play for Scotland through his maternal grandparents, has been called up following an injury to Adam Hastings.

The 23-year-old will be competing for the No 10 shirt with Finn Russell and Blair Kinghorn.

Healy, born and raised in Tipperary, is a former Ireland under-20 international but with Joey Carbery and Jack Crowley blocking his path at provincial level, he has decided to pursue a career in Scotland and is joining Edinburgh next season.

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He could face Ireland in the fourth round of this season s Six Nations and at the World Cup in France, with the two Celtic nations in the same pool.

Experienced backs Sean Maitland and Huw Jones have both been recalled, with back-row forward Jamie Ritchie continuing as Scotland captain.

Scotland squad:

Backs

Chris Harris (Gloucester/ENG), Ben Healy (Munster/IRL), Stuart Hogg (Exeter/ENG), George Horne (Glasgow), Huw Jones (Glasgow), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Sean Maitland (Saracens/ENG), Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath/ENG), Stafford McDowell (Glasgow), Ali Price, Cameron Redpath (Bath/ENG), Finn Russell (Racing 92/FRA), Ollie Smith (Glasgow), Kyle Steyn (Glasgow), Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh), Ben White (London Irish/ENG)

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Forwards

Ewan Ashman (Sale/ENG), Josh Bayliss (Bath/ENG), Simon Berghan (Glasgow), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow), Fraser Brown (Glasgow), Dave Cherry (Edinburgh), Andy Christie (Saracens/ENG), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh), Jack Dempsey (Glasgow), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Exeter), Richie Gray (Glasgow), Cameron Henderson (Leicester/ENG), WP Nel (Edinburgh), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh, capt), Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh), Javan Sebastian (Scarlets/WAL), Sam Skinner (Edinburgh) Rory Sutherland (Ulster/IRL), George Turner (Glasgow), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh)

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Sinisterra signs long-term deal with Bournemouth

Sinisterra signs long-term deal with Bournemouth

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Sinisterra signs long-term deal with Bournemouth

Luis Sinisterra has made his move to AFC Bournemouth from Leeds United permanent, signing a long-term deal with the Premier League team on Friday.

Bournemouth reportedly agreed to a £20 million fee with Championship (second-tier) side Leeds.

The 24-year-old Colombian had been impressive since joining Bournemouth in September on a loan spell from Leeds United, with three goals and three assists in his 17 appearances.

“I’m really happy to make this move. I’m excited to play for Bournemouth for the long term,” Sinisterra said. “I feel really comfortable here and the fans are really nice. When I meet them in the streets, they show the love.”

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Andoni Iraola’s team are 12th in the table on 27 points, but are winless in their last four games. They play Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday. 

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Son and Bissouma ready for Spurs game with Brighton

Son and Bissouma ready for Spurs game with Brighton

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Son and Bissouma ready for Spurs game with Brighton

 Son Heung-min and Yves Bissouma returned to Tottenham Hotspur this week from international duty, and both are ready for Spurs’ game with Brighton & Hove Albion, manager Ange Postecoglou said on Friday.

Son was involved with South Korea at the Asian Cup where they lost to Jordan in the semi-final on Tuesday while Bissouma’s Mali exited the Africa Cup of Nations last weekend at the quarter-final stage.

Spurs, fifth in the standings on 44 points, host Brighton on Saturday, with Roberto De Zerbi’s side in eighth place on 35 points.

“Sonny and Biss they trained well. Sonny did recovery on Thursday and trained today,” Postecoglou told a press conference.

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“He is very disappointed for Korea’s exit, at the semi-final stage you feel so close. But he gave everything for his nation, no-one could question his commitment.

“I spoke to him after and he was keen to be back, so no surprise he was back training straight away.”

The manager also played down concerns over Bissouma, after media reports that he had played through the illness with malaria at the tournament.

“No, that’s not right. He had a slight form of malaria before the tournament, but it cleared up by the start of tournament. He’s 100 percent now.”

Manor Solomon hasn’t played since September and Postecoglou confirmed that the winger had another procedure on his knee earlier this week and is still another two or three weeks away from a return.

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Another injury concern was Giovani Lo Celso who missed the last three league games for Spurs.

“Lo Celso trained all week but he’s missed a fair bit of football so we’ll see whether he needs another week or not,” the manager said.

“It’s probably, for want of a better word, the healthiest squad we’ve had for quite a while anyway.”

Spurs conceded an added-time equaliser at Everton last weekend and lost to a late Nathan Ake goal against Manchester City in the FA Cup, but conceding late is not something that overly concerns their manager.

“It’s disappointing to concede goals at any point. People will want to analyse it,” Postecoglou said.

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“I’m sorry but we’re going to be a team that will score or concede goals late. The way we want to close out games is by trying to score goals late on.

“One thing we’re not going to do is jump at shadows and try to fix the latest thing being analysed.” 

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Fils ends ‘great champion’ Gasquet’s 956 weeks in top 100

Fils ends ‘great champion’ Gasquet’s 956 weeks in top 100

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Fils ends 'great champion' Gasquet's 956 weeks in top 100

 Rising star Arthur Fils beat fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet at the Auckland Classic on Tuesday to end the veteran’s run of more than 18 years in the world’s top 100.

The 19-year-old Fils cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory against the 37-year-old Gasquet, who had enjoyed a remarkable 956 consecutive weeks in the top 100, peaking at number seven in July 2007.

Gasquet was defending the Auckland title and points he won 12 months ago, so the first-round defeat will see him slide down from 76th in the world when new rankings are released next week.

Fils, with a booming serve that produced nine aces, broke at 2-2 in the first set and at 1-1 in the second and applauded Gasquet as he left the court.

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“He’s a great champion. He did an unbelievable career so I’m really happy to play on the court with him,” said Fils, who reached the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open last week.

“But it was a nice match for my part and I’m really happy.”

In other action, Canada’s Denis Shapovalov looked rusty in his first match since Wimbledon last year, losing Austria’s Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 6-2.

Roberto Bautista Agut was beaten by fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 6-4 and eighth seed Max Purcell of Australia overcame New Zealand’s 716th-ranked wildcard Kiranpal Pannu 6-4, 6-4.

The top four seeds, Ben Shelton, Cameron Norrie, Francisco Cerundolo and Felix Auger-Aliassime, all had first-round byes. 

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