D’Arcy’s open letter to Eddie Jones; Remembering George Best’s stint at Cork Celtic

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

Gael Cholaiste Mhuire AG’s James Hannigan celebrates at the final whistle with teammates after they won the Subway U19A Boys All-Ireland Schools Cup Final yesterday. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Gael Cholaiste Mhuire AG’s James Hannigan celebrates at the final whistle with teammates after they won the Subway U19A Boys All-Ireland Schools Cup Final yesterday. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

What is Eddie Jones’ greatest fear? What most worries the England manager, particularly as we head into the Six Nations? Well, according to Gordon D’Arcy it is the lack of leadership within his team, coupled with the fact that Ireland have one of the best. In his column this morning, D’Arcy pens an open letter to the England coach whose latest verbal volley at Johnny Sexton only proves that the South African is desperate for someone like him in his team. “I reckon you showed your hand a little too much,” D’Arcy writes. “Come on, be honest, you’d give your right arm to have a captain who can speed dial a referee mid-game.” It’s certainly heating up now with Ireland’s opening game against England just around the corner so it’s time to get your thinking hat on and start putting together your Fantasy Rugby team to be in with a chance of winning €3,000. You can sign up and find all the details here. Meanwhile, Ireland will go into the under-20 Six Nations harbouring similar ambitions to those of the senior team and they will be captained by a man who has excelled not only on the rugby pitch but also with a hurl and a sliotar in his hand. David Hawkshaw was a Dublin minor hurler before switching full-time to rugby and John O’Sullivan spoke to him yesterday about choosing between the two sports and how his hurling has helped him when it comes to rugby.

On to soccer and Ruaidhrí Croke’s latest instalment of the From The Back Pages series looks at a strange time in the Irish domestic game when players such as Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst and Rodney Marsh came over to play for League of Ireland teams but the greatest draw of them all was none other than the great George Best. Just seven and a half years after a 22-year-old Best helped Manchester United to winning the European Cup, the Belfast boy lined out for Cork Celtic as his superstar lifestyle was beginning to spiral out of control despite the fact that he was still just 29 years old. Meanwhile, the search for the plane on which missing Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala was travelling will resume at sunrise this morning. The Argentine forward was on his way from Nantes to Wales to begin his career at Cardiff when the plane carrying just him and the pilot disappeared over the English Channel.

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