A round-up of today's other stories in brief
Wales make three changes to side for Scotland clash
RUGBY:Wales have recalled grand slam winning captain Sam Warburton to the starting lineup for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Scotland but retained Ryan Jones as skipper after two successive away victories.
Warburton, who started on the bench in the 26-9 win over Italy after missing the previous round victory over France with a shoulder injury, replaces Justin Tipuric at openside flanker to join Jones and number eight Toby Faletau in the backrow.
Lock Alun-Wyn Jones returns to the starting XV after injury to partner Ian Evans in place of Andrew Coombs, while Paul James takes over at loosehead prop from Gethin Jenkins, who has failed to recover from a calf injury sustained in the Italy match.
Rob Howley has named an unchanged backline as his side attempt to become the first Wales side to gain five successive away wins in the tournament.
WALES: L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, G North; D Biggar, M Phillips; P James, R Hibbard, A Jones, AW Jones, I Evans, R Jones (capt), S Warburton, T Faletau. Replacements: K Owens, S Andrews, R Bevington, A Coombs, J Tipuric, L Williams, J Hook, S Williams.
SCOTLAND: S Hogg; S Maitland, S Lamont, M Scott, T Visser; D Weir, G Laidlaw; R Grant, R Ford, E Murray, R Gray, J Hamilton, R Harley, K Brown, J Beattie. Replacements: D Hall, M Low, G Cross, A Kellock, R Wilson, H Pyrgos, R Jackson, M Evans .
Cork sign sponsorship deal worth almost €1 million
GAELIC GAMES:The Cork County Board have ended their anxious wait to secure a new sponsorship agreement with one of the most lucrative deals in the game, announcing a new three-year arrangement with Chill Insurance worth close to €1 million.
Chill Insurance, regarded as the fastest growing independent Irish insurance broker, will now sponsor both the Cork senior and under-21 football and hurling teams, similar to the O2 deal, which ended after a 14-year partnership last November.
Although under pressure to secure a new deal, Cork didn’t rush into it either, and while Cork chairman Bob Ryan indicated there were exploring a number of offers, was perfectly content with the Chill Insurance deal.
The Cork GAA deal is the company’s first major foray into sporting sponsorship at this level, although the brand has a number of other media links.
Recent Cork accounts revealed the O2 sponsorship to be worth almost €370,000 a year, a lift from €305,000 the previous year, and it is understand the Chill Insurance deal does closely match that. Dublin GAA are only other county board to demand such a deal, their agreement with Vodafone worth around €900,000 annually .
Leader crashes out as Roche stays safe in the bunch
CYCLING:On a day when a dramatic crash took down the race leader Nacer Bouhanni and forced the French road race champion to retire from the Paris-Nice race, Nicolas Roche stayed out of trouble and finished safely towards the front of the peloton at the finish in Cérilly.
The Irish Saxo Tinkoff rider rolled in 25th on the stage, and is now 57th in the general classification. He is 20 seconds behind the new race leader Elia Viviani but with the Italian expected to drop back once the race hits the hills, Roche is more focused on the other team leaders.
German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Argos Shimano) was quickest in the big bunch gallop to the line, beating Viviani.
The WorldTour race continues today with a lumpier 170.5 kilometre stage from Châtel-Guyon to Brioude. Paris-Nice becomes more difficult from this point on, with bigger climbs featuring later this week.
The race is Roche’s first main target of the year and he is determined to make the most of his leadership opportunity.