World Cup power rankings; Leinster wary of Racing 92′s set-piece prowess

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Katie McCabe’s Arsenal team are a step closer to progression from the Champions League group stage after last night’s 1-0 win over Juventus. Arsenal remain top of Group C, three points ahead of Lyon, who beat FC Zürich 4-0, and five points clear of Juventus. It’s a second day without games at the World Cup, with the quarter-finals beginning tomorrow. Check out the World Cup 2022 power rankings: how the remaining eight teams shape up.

Ciarán Murphy asks in his column this morning if any GAA player has trashed their reputation as badly as Cristiano Ronaldo? “I know of one multiple All Star winning forward,” he writes, “who as he moved into his mid-thirties was presented by an incoming intercounty manager with a proposition which the new man thought could be mutually beneficial – that he become an impact substitute. His reply? “Well, let me be the first to congratulate you on winning next year’s All-Ireland. Because if you’ve six better forwards than me lined up, there’ll be no beating ye.”

To rugby and Gerry Thornley is looking ahead to Leinster’s Champions Cup clash this weekend, speaking to Irish prop Andrew Porter who says he is wary of Racing 92′s set-piece prowess: “They are a bit different compared to a lot of other French packs. They are obviously big men but they are big athletic men that can get around the park. It’s a huge challenge for us this week, especially over in France.” Talking to the media ahead of Munster’s clash against Toulouse, head coach Graham Rowntree admits his spirit sank when French scrumhalf Antoine Dupont was cleared to play.

Meanwhile, Gaby Lewis has been named the The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month for November. The young Dubliner played a pivotal role as Ireland’s cricketers secured a first-ever series victory over Pakistan.