first_img0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000A Kenyan sturdy contingent of 24 golfers has vowed to show their supremacy at the KCB Bank Uganda Open.The four-day golf event tees off from July 6-9, 2011 at the Uganda Golf Club in Kampala. The seventh leg of the KCB Regional tour and also the penultimate round has attracted over 38 professional golfers from the region, who will battle it out for the Kshs 1 million prize-fund.Uganda will be represented by a strong field of 14 players in the four rounds event that will be staged at Kampala Golf Club, which is the best course in Uganda. Deogratious Akope the Uganda Professional Golfers Association (UPGA) Captain will be among the players to watch in Kampala.last_img read more

Singer, Kidman marry

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Urban, 38, a Grammy-winning country music star, wore a black suit with a white rose in his lapel matching Kidman’s bouquet. They were expected to spend their wedding night in Sydney before leaving for what local media said would be a Fiji resort honeymoon. – Associated Press Church bells rang out over Nicole Kidman’s hometown of Sydney, Australia, Sunday to announce her marriage to country music star Keith Urban in a lavish but intimate ceremony attended by relatives, close friends and a smattering of Hollywood stars. The beaming bride wore a flowing white Balenciaga gown and pearl drop earrings. Her cream Rolls-Royce limousine drove from her waterfront mansion across the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge, through streets lined with cheering fans. Kidman, 39, accompanied by her father, Antony, smiled and waved to well-wishers outside the Gothic-style St. Patrick’s College building, which was dramatically floodlit for the evening ceremony. The nuptials were held in a small chapel on the compound atop cliffs overlooking a beach. last_img read more

Still no end in sight for Day Fire

first_imgCASTAIC – Hoping to contain the massive 15-day-old Day Fire, firefighters are constructing a 50-mile line around its flanks – defying walls of flame that are devouring wilderness as they charge toward a half-dozen communities. Tired to the bone, some 2,100 firefighters from 48 departments have fought what, so far, has been a losing battle against a blaze that on Monday was but 15 percent contained after charring rugged wilderness over an area larger than the city of Fresno. They battle from the ground and the air, but can’t keep up with Mother Nature, who has teased with cooler days and some drizzle only to come back with smashing winds, scorching heat and dry desert air. Some of this forest land hasn’t burned since the 1920s. “I’ve been on fires that are in worse terrain than this, but I haven’t been on one that burned as hot and as intensely as this,” said Firefighter Kyle Halstead, 21, of Quartz Hill. And they’ve seen flames swirl in the air and do things that you don’t see on every fire. By Monday afternoon, the fire had burned more than 70,000 acres of the Los Padres National Forest, about 10 miles northwest of Castaic. A fire this large covers huge ground because it’s burning on all sides. The Day Fire doubled in size Saturday, swept by Santa Ana winds that followed a few days of cooler weather in which firefighters had hoped to gain ground. Engine 37 crew was hiking Monday down into blackened terrain, putting out any lingering hot spots amid the burned brush. That was until they got a radio call sending them closer to the fire line. The fire advanced this time northeast toward state Route 138, the road to the town of Gorman. On the southern flank, residents of Piru, Fillmore, Santa Paula, Ojai and a handful of specks on Ventura County’s map have watched with a cautious eye as this relentless fire advances. Some have fled; others have stayed to protect their homes. This fire, still far enough from civilization, has had an impact much farther away. Choking smoke blanketed the city of Ventura when the winds shifted this weekend and residents were advised to stay inside. Last week, it was the Antelope Valley and eastern Santa Clarita Valley where ash and smoke spewed from a fire 30 miles to 50 miles away. Enormous brown clouds rise each day, visible from the San Fernando Valley to Bakersfield. The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District issued a smoke advisory Monday for much of Ventura County including Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Ventura and the Santa Clara River Valley, which links Valencia to Ventura. The district warned those with chronic health problems, such as asthma or heart disease, to avoid the smoky air. Some schools kept children indoors. Meanwhile, firefighters are working 16-hour days, sometimes a little more, Stanwood said. Often, they get no more than six hours of sleep at base camp – which is back at Castaic Lake, where tents for the firefighters are spread out on the grass. The crew members use cell phones to call their wives back home. At least they can get reception in the area – on past fires they’ve had to hike up a hill to make a call. Taking a shower back at base camp doesn’t seem worth it because of the long lines. So they’ve got another way to stay clean. “Gold Bond and baby wipes,” said Firefighter Matt Snyder, 24, of Lancaster. “It’s all you need.” Fires in the area normally burn for just a few days, but the Day Fire has burned for much longer because the steep terrain makes it hard to get to the flames. “If we could have gotten to it quicker – it was only a couple thousand acres the first couple of days – if we could have gotten to it then, we might have had a better chance at it,” said Firefighter Colby Stout, 27, of Palmdale. “But the country that it’s in is just nasty.” alex.dobuzinskis@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possiblecenter_img For Halstead and the rest of the crew of Engine 37, it’s about time to go home. His U.S. Forest Service engine team has been battling the Day Fire since Sept. 5, the day after it started. The Forest Service normally sends crews home after 14 days – so like many other firefighters, the Engine 37 crew is maxed out. “You get tired but you’ve still got to get the job done,” said Firefighter Adam Stanwood, 23, of Lancaster. “Everyone’s tired; you’re not the only one. And everyone else is still working so you’ve just got to keep pushing.” At least a few of the half-dozen crew members haven’t taken showers since arriving at base camp two weeks ago. A couple of them have grown beards, all of them have spent hours in food lines. They’ve been drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. A few of them have kept in the game by downing energy drinks. last_img read more

Will Rocky Delgadillo disappear in 3 years?

first_imgFor the first time in his public life, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo finds himself at loose ends, with no clear goals beyond his current job and uncertain what the future holds. “I do love my job. I do love public service,” Delgadillo said in a recent interview. “I don’t see myself doing anything else. And I’m not thinking beyond this job. “I am doing what I have always done before: I am applying myself to do the best I can, and things will work out.” It’s a somewhat odd statement coming from Delgadillo, who laid out his path to the City Attorney’s Office several years before he first ran for the job in 2001 and scored an upset victory over then-Councilman Mike Feuer. But Delgadillo, who easily won re-election last year, will be termed out of his $175,000-a-year office in 2009, and experts agree his future remains unclear in a changing political landscape. “If you look at the coalition he built in his first election, when he came from nowhere to win, a lot of us thought he was the future of Latino politics,” said Jaime Regalado, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute at California State University, Los Angeles. “He still does have a future, but I’m not sure where he goes. In a sense, he’s a victim of term limits and the ‘Antonio factor.’” It was Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s election last year that eclipsed almost all local politicians and set in motion a new dynamic, with a number of up-and-coming politicians. “For Rocky, the timing couldn’t be worse,” Regalado said. “He has about three years left before he is termed out and there are no real offices out there for him to run for to remain visible to the public. “And if you’re not in office, you are conceding a lot of attention to people who are there, the people like Alex Padilla or Fabian Nu?ez, who are building their own bases of support.” Since being elected, Delgadillo has maintained a relatively low-key demeanor at City Hall, driving the third-largest public legal office in the state — behind the attorney general and Los Angeles County district attorney — and overseeing a staff of 800 and an annual budget of $86 million. But that changed this year as Delgadillo found himself embroiled in a series of high-profile setbacks, including a losing bid for state attorney general, criticism from City Controller Laura Chick and the ire of the City Council over his legal opinion questioning the legality of their effort to extend their possible terms in office to three. With the city controller, Delgadillo came under fire for his department’s policies in hiring outside law firms. But Delgadillo maintains he has saved the city money and sought outside advice only when special expertise was needed. Under Delgadillo, the amounts paid by the city in liability cases have gone down nearly every year. Just months later, however, Delgadillo found himself at odds with the City Council when he issued a legal opinion questioning council members’ combining of an ethics-reform package with an extension of City Council term limits in a measure on the Nov. 7 ballot. While a Superior Court judge agreed with Delgadillo, an appeals court has set a hearing on the issue Tuesday. Still, Delgadillo’s opinion drew angry rebukes from some council members, who said they never asked for his opinion on the issue. “I was doing my job,” Delgadillo responds. “I am an elected official of this city with an obligation to advise the City Council on what is legal.” But perhaps the biggest blow to Delgadillo, who some former aides said harbors ambitions to be president one day, was his decisive loss to Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown in the Democratic primary for attorney general. It was a post that Delgadillo had long staked out. “I ran for attorney general because it is one of the greatest offices in the land,” Delgadillo said. “As city attorney, I realized that being the people’s lawyer, having immediate access to the justice system, gives you a special place to impact people’s lives. I thought as attorney general, I could do even more.” However, the reality of going up against Brown — a former governor whose family has one of the best-known names in California politics — proved too much. “I think, going for that office, Rocky did about as well as could be expected,” said Alice Borden, who served as Delgadillo’s fundraiser and political strategist in the June primary. “The fact is, he was going up against a political icon who still has a lot of support in this state. I think, for a first-time candidate on a statewide level, Rocky did well. And I think he can do whatever he puts his mind to in the future.” Borden said she came to that conclusion when she and Delgadillo returned to Delgadillo’s high school campus to film a political commercial. “He was like a hero to the people there,” Borden said. “He has an amazing story.” Delgadillo grew up in Highland Park, where he says being a fast runner kept him out of gang violence. It also was his speed and size that won him a football scholarship to Harvard University and took him to Columbia Law School. From there, he landed at the prestigious law firm of O’Melveney and Myers, where he eventually worked with former Secretary of State Warren Christopher and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. Delgadillo left the law firm after the Los Angeles riots to work for Rebuild L.A. And when Riordan was elected mayor in 1993, he came to City Hall as a deputy mayor, responsible for luring business and investment to the city. During his tenure, Delgadillo created one of the most popular and successful programs in the city with his neighborhood prosecutor program. Under the program, deputy city attorneys are assigned to communities where they work with residents, businesses and police to try to head off problems. “They are like our cavalry,” Delgadillo said. “They spot problems as they develop so we can react to them. When I came here, I saw that we were just a reactive agency. Cases would come to us and we would deal with them like we always had. “I kept thinking there had to be a way to deal with these issues ahead of time, before they landed on our desk as a criminal matter.” It was along the same lines that he developed Operation Bright Future, working at middle schools with students and their parents to make sure the kids remain in class. “What we found is that 70 percent of the kids stayed in school and are graduating,” Delgadillo said. “That’s seven out of 10 kids who aren’t in gangs, who aren’t roaming the streets, who aren’t in jail.” Delgadillo said he has been able to back it up with an aggressive anti-truancy program in which parents are held responsible if their kids are not in school. “We have only had to prosecute 12 cases,” Delgadillo said. “A lot of it is just explaining to parents what their rights and responsibilities are and what we expect of them.” Now, as for his future, Delgadillo said he doesn’t think about it. “As a kid growing up in Highland Park and given the chances I was given, I realized my future was determined by what I was doing day by day, by doing the work on my desk. So I am doing the work on my desk as best as I can and the future will take care of itself. … “We still have a lot to do here and I am going to push to do all that we can.” — Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 rick.orlov@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Everton ‘hold talks with free agent’ just released by relegated Premier League club

first_imgFantastic performance today @joelcoleman33 👊🏼 what a way to do your debut – congrats ! Leaving my last game for Town with a good feeling; 1 point, a great team effort and an incredible memory of our fans – what an atmosphere you created today 👏🏼👏🏼— Jonas Lössl (@JonasLoessl) May 12, 2019Lossl played every minute of Huddersfield’s 2017/18 season as the Terriers preserved their Premier League status. Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT shining Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars REVEALED Jonas Lossl conceded 54 Premier League goals in the 2018/19 campaign 1 LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS REPLY Getty Everton have held talks over a proposed move for free agent Jonas Lossl, reports claim.The Toffees are looking for back-up for No.1 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Lossl has just been released by Huddersfield. huge blow Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card center_img Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury no dice The 30-year-old played 31 times and kept just five clean sheets as the Terriers finished bottom in the Premier League.Despite current No.2 Maarten Stekelenburg having one more year to go on his deal, the Daily Mail say Lossl is one of Everton’s transfer targets this summer.The Dane was left out of Huddersfield’s matchday squad for their 1-1 final-day draw with Southampton as Joel Coleman made his Premier League debut.Lossl tweeted: “Fantastic performance today @joelcoleman33 what a way to do your debut – congrats ! Leaving my last game for Town with a good feeling; 1 point, a great team effort and an incredible memory of our fans – what an atmosphere you created today.” tense LATEST gameday cracker Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ deals Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Man United transfer news live: Haaland ‘wants a change’, two players off in January ADVICE But they could not defy the odds for a second successive campaign after winning just three league games.Huddersfield reportedly want Sheffield Wednesday stopper Keiren Westwood as a replacement for Lossl, but the Republic of Ireland international is likely to stay at Hillsborough.last_img read more

Africa’s resources key to unlocking its wealth

first_imgAndre Groenewald from the Department of International Relations said if Africa takes advantage of its vast natural resources, the continent can reach $13-trillion by 2050. (Image: Ndaba Dlamini)• Sandisiwe GugushePublic RelationsBrand South Africa +27 11 712 5007sandisiweg@brandsouthafrica.comNdaba DlaminiAfrica, it seems, is on the rise. The size of the economies of most countries on the continent is growing and economists are predicting that by 2050, Africa’s economy will reach $13-trillion.African countries have to take advantage of these positive developments and communicate the enormous potential that lies within the continent to the world, said Andre Groenewald, director of diplomatic training at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.Groenewald was speaking at a seminar organised by Brand South Africa and the Department of Trade and Industry at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research on Thursday, 27 March. The seminar, attended by African diplomats based in South Africa, focused on, among other issues, Africa’s competitiveness and how strong nation brands contribute to improving the continent’s image.Groenewald said considering the size of the continent “there is room for growth and room for markets in Africa”.He said, “We are the only continent remaining with resources. There was a study done in the UK at the London University where they found out that for an economy to grow to an average of $13 000 income per year per person, that country will use exponential amounts of steel.”Many countries, including India and China, are far off this benchmark. Steel, said Groenewald, “will remain a big issue and there is lots of iron ore resources on the continent”. In this regard, opportunities abound, he said.In addition, a recent study by the World Bank predicts that Africa’s GDP will grow by 6% in 2015. In the past five to 10 years, the continent has been recording a growth of 5% per annum. The only region ahead of Africa in terms of growth is China.“We are the second-fastest growing region in the world. And this says a lot. If you link this to the population and the resources then Africa is indeed rising,” Groenewald said.In 2013, the World Bank also established that among the 15 economies with the biggest improvements in their economies since 2005, five – one third – are in sub-Saharan Africa.“This is a significant finding for the sub-region indicating improving conditions for doing business in a period when negotiations regarding the establishment of a trilateral free trade area encompassing the Southern African Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the East African Community are taking place.”This free trade area, according to Groenewald, will create an integrated market of more than650 million people, and double that number in the US and the European Union.Groenewald said Africa’s poverty rate has also dropped from roughly 44% to 22% in recent years. “While we are not doing well on the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals], we have halved the poverty and this shows that Africa is making progress.”There is “incredible economic activity going on in Africa”, according to Groenewald. In Kenya, for example, a software banking application recently developed has become so popular that there are more banking transactions per year done through the software than that government’s budget.One of the most notable things about Africa is cellphone usage. Groenewald said 71% of adults in Nigeria own cellphones, 62% in Botswana and more than half the population of Ghana and Kenya; a great opportunity for investment in the sector.In addition, the African diaspora contributes $60-billion per annum back to Africa; this is 10 times more than the $6-billion donor money per annum from the International Monetary Fund and six times more than the some $10-billion Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa.“All these are opportunities that Africa needs to brand as a continent. We need to tell the outside world about this,” said Groenewald, adding that South Africa is one good example where there are many good news stories to tell.There are two big growth opportunities that Africa has missed, something that shouldn’t happen again. The first is agriculture, where Africa has the best competitive advantage in the world, according to Groenewald. “Kenya is a good example. They have over the past 10 years become the biggest exporters of flowers. If we can farm flowers then we can farm about anything.”Also, Africa should take advantage of its huge natural energy reserves and market itself competitively to the whole world, said Groenewald.last_img read more

Dilshan asked Randiv to bowl no ball to Sehwag: Reports

first_imgTilakaratne Dilshan had reportedly asked Suraj Randiv to bowl a no ball to deny Indian opener Virender Sehwag a century in the third ODI on Monday, Sri Lankan media has reported. Even as Randiv draws flak from all quarters and reports of captain Kumar Sangakkara being suspended do the rounds, the Lankan media on Wednesday reported that it was Dilshan who actually provoked Randiv. Sources told Headlines Today that Dilshan, who was fielding at cover point, shouted in Sinhalese asking Randiv to deliver the no ball. Dilshan said: “Oney nam, no ball ekak danna puluwan” which means “if you want, you can bowl a no ball”. Strangely, no other Sri Lankan cricketer on the field reacted to Dilshan’s advice to Randiv. Sangakkara at the post-match press conference had in fact indicated that someone might have asked Randiv to bowl a no ball. Interestingly, Dilshan and Sehwag are team-mates in Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Delhi team, Delhi Daredevils. Sehwah was batting at 99 and India needed only 1 run to win the tie when Randiv alleged bowled a deliberate no ball. Though Sehwag hit a six on this last delivery of the match, it wasn’t considered according to the ICC rules as India had already won the match with an extra run.last_img read more

In 2003, it has been a golden year for Indian sport

first_imgIndian sport has always been the frontier of the Freak. Every decade or so a lone ranger turns up, performing feats previously not dreamed of.So when the one-offs like P.T. Usha or Prakash Padukone, Milkha Singh or Viswanathan Anand, or the children of freak families like the Amritrajs, Krishnans and,Indian sport has always been the frontier of the Freak. Every decade or so a lone ranger turns up, performing feats previously not dreamed of.So when the one-offs like P.T. Usha or Prakash Padukone, Milkha Singh or Viswanathan Anand, or the children of freak families like the Amritrajs, Krishnans and Paeses come along, Indians jump to their feet and let their cheering drown everything but the sound of welcome appreciation. India’s sporting structure is not built to produce champions. It is built to place hurdles like maladjusted officials and diversions like public-sector jobs in front of the athletes. But today in our young, something is stirring. Collectively, culturally. In 2003 Indian sport, perhaps more than any other activity, can claim that this has been a golden year. Not for that unwieldy, lumpy, moth-ridden, corrupt, gravy train conglomerate of government and federation we call Indian sport. But Indian sport as defined by the individual athlete who dared to be different. It was the year when not one but many Freaks decided it was high time they flew. This was the year of the path-finder, the dreamer, the risk-taker.It was a golden year for Indian sport – in achievement, in aspiration, in attitude. For achievement, look only to long jumper Anju Bobby George, who did not let the scramble for government aid, visa clearances, illness and the comfort zone of the Commonwealth and Asian Games medals stop her from understanding what world standards meant. Truly global, that meant Paris and the World Championships. On her way to becoming India’s first World Athletics Championships medallist, George fouled some jumps, not because she was hesitant but simply because she was going for broke. She shot for the moon and closed her fist around a star.For aspiration, look at a growing smattering of triers. Arjun Atwal could have stayed just another rich kid from Kolkata but he wanted to be a kid from Kolkata who could take a crack at Tiger Woods and Co. He has hammered the doors down on the richest and toughest sporting circuit in the world and will finally play on the US Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour. Squash player Ritwik Bhattacharya – the first Indian to win a pro title ever – threw open the door for others saying, “I couldn’t accept that the highest an Indian had ever got in pro squash was No. 72.” No wonder Pankaj Advani cannot be satisfied being World Amateur Snooker Champion. It is the pros he wants. For attitude, look only at the Indian cricket team in Australia. They were outweighed by history, convention, judgement but they refused to be outpointed in the field. Everything the Australians threw at them came back with double the intensity, triple the intent. They may win the Test series, they may not. But they have shown desire and fight. It is all a country can ask. The numbers keep growing. India has too many of these pioneers to consider them freaks of nature any more.advertisementlast_img read more

HTC One X9 teased in high-resolution photos

first_imgTaiwanese company HTC maybe working on a follow-up to its One A9 phone already. In fact, rumour has it that the company may launch the phone — touted as the One X9 — soon enough. The alleged One X9 has been leaked in a series of high-resolution images by a Chinese publication . Meanwhile, another Chinese website has gone ahead and published what seems to be a full review of the yet-to-be-announced device, along with more pictures and a video as well. HTC recently took to Chinese social media website Weibo to tease the launch of its next phone. That phone may just be the One X9, so it seems now. As it is a follow-up to the One A9, the One X9 sports a more or less similar design on the face of it. It’s sporting the same full-metal unibody design as the One A9. But there are changes. For one, the front now has physical capacitive keys and a pair of speakers, probably BoomSound. Meanwhile, the One A9’s characteristic physical home button housing the fingerprint scanner is nowhere in sight. On the back, the biggest change is the addition of a horizontal strip – much like in the Nexus 6P – that houses the camera module and dualLED flash.It’s not clear whether the One X9 will be priced lower or higher than the One A9. As far as specifications are concerned, the One X9 is said to come with a 5.5-inch FullHD display and an octa-core MediaTek Helio X10 processor with 2GB of RAM. It is said to come with 16GB of inbuilt storage which will be expandable via microSD. On the camera front, the One X9 is expected to have a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with optical image stabilisation. On the front it is likely to come with an UltraPixel camera. It is said to use a 3,000mAh battery. advertisementlast_img read more

Premiership’s faltering form in Europe could spell trouble for England

While Exeter and Saracens can still secure an away quarter-final if they win their final pool fixtures against Glasgow and Northampton respectively, they are battling a continental tide that has swept away Saints, Harlequins and Leicester.Barring a late reprieve, Bath and Wasps are probably heading the same way. If the English decline is entirely a coincidence it is a striking one.Anyone who watched the Scarlets paint the Recreation Ground red on Friday night will certainly suspect otherwise. Both with ball in hand and around the breakdown, the Welsh region made Bath – a Premiership top-six side, albeit reliably inconsistent – look plodding and mediocre. At scrum‑half Gareth Davies looked every inch a top-class nine, the Irish lock Tadhg Beirne and his second-row partner David Bulbring were colossal and Rhys Patchell and Hadleigh Parkes gave the national selectors a monumental nudge.The sureness of the handling, the accuracy of the passing and offloading, the support running and defensive steel were also a huge tribute to the coaching of Wayne Pivac, Stephen Jones and Byron Hayward, all of whom must be rising up the queue to take control of Wales when Warren Gatland and his current team step aside. If Gatland’s squad perform half as fluently as the elusive Scarlets in the upcoming Six Nations they will generate a whole lot of love.It would also further query the received wisdom that European form and Six Nations success are two different things. That cosy assumption is beginning to feel outdated; how can, say, Ireland’s national management be anything other than upbeat when their three competing provinces are so competitive in the Champions Cup and Leinster are positively rampant? Is it entirely a fluke England have won the last two Six Nations titles in the same years that Saracens have scooped successive European crowns?Which begs the next big question: might the Premiership’s faltering form in Europe and the rising confidence of the Pro14’s leading lights spell trouble for England and Eddie Jones over the next two months? Even if Billy Vunipola recovers swiftly from his fractured forearm, Jones’s side are going to encounter a revitalised bunch of opponents heartened by what they have seen in Europe of late. Even the Europe-conquering Saracens have not won in Wales on their last two visits, while the only English clubs to score a cross-border win away in this season’s Champions Cup have been Exeter in Montpellier and Bath in a deluge in Llanelli. Munster’s Conor Murray (right) has played in only five Pro14 games this season. Photograph: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images Facebook Reuse this content Topics Share on Twitter Twitter Saracens’ title defence out of their hands after Biggar earns Ospreys draw Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Share on Messenger Read more Since you’re here… features Pro14 Champions Cup Read more Sportblog Premiership Saracens, meanwhile, could still be stranded even if they conclude with another points landslide against their recent whipping boys Northampton. An Ospreys win in Clermont will slam the door whatever happens.In that event the English will be staring at their leanest season in Europe since 2011-12, when Saracens were the only Premiership representatives in the last eight and ended up losing 22-3 at home to Clermont. The only previous time England have failed to supply a single quarter-finalist was in 1999, the year they boycotted the competition entirely. John Pullin’s famous line after England’s defeat by Ireland in Dublin in 1973 – “We may not be much good but at least we turn up” – may soon have to be revisited. Rugby union Support The Guardian Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Amid all the myriad European pool permutations and head-scratching arithmetic it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture out on the wintry fields. This has been a Champions Cup season of vivid, gripping contrasts in which the Pro14 sides are teaching their wealthy English and French league counterparts an increasing lesson in humility.Even if the Premiership sides, in particular, stage a last-gasp resurrection they are already scrabbling for quarter-final crumbs. It could be that England has only one representative – or possibly none – in a last eight that could contain five Pro14 sides. Two years ago there were five Premiership quarter‑finalists and none at all from the then Pro12. The pendulum has swung. Billy Vunipola set to miss England’s Six Nations campaign after arm break Share on Facebook England rugby union team Pinterest Privately, leading Premiership coaches continue to argue the relentless nature of their league exacts a mental toll that makes it harder for their teams to get up consistently even for big Europe dates. One illustration: Munster’s outstanding Lions scrum-half Conor Murray has played only five Pro14 games this season while his English counterpart Ben Youngs has already started twice as many Premiership fixtures for Leicester.The all-consuming nature of England’s training camps, as Jones seeks to drive his squad ever onwards, has also clearly made it tough for certain players to satisfy two masters, with the threat of relegation a constricting factor for some. There is a big difference between being battle-hardened and overplayed, and too many English players still operate on the wrong side of that line.At the same time, though, there is no disputing the increasing quality of the coaching in the Pro14. Pivac, Jones, Dave Rennie, Stuart Lancaster, Rassie Erasmus, Johann van Graan, Bernard Jackman, Richard Cockerill: all have coached in more than one country and their desire to outwit each other is raising standards across the board.All of which leaves the Premiership trying to polish something potentially rather nasty, despite Northampton’s brave win against an injury-wracked Clermont and Harlequins’ late showstopper against Wasps. Dai Young’s side will need a bonus-point victory – and deny Ulster a losing bonus point – in Coventry next Sunday to remain mathematically afloat, while Bath’s fate is in others’ hands, even if they win big in Italy against Benetton on Saturday.Exeter may well also require a bonus-point success in Glasgow, even if their six-try demolition of the French league leaders Montpellier on Saturday again underlined their quality in adversity. … we have a small favour to ask. 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