Japan has reminded rugby of its core values; Liverpool fully focused on Genk

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

Japan and its people perhaps reminded rugby of some of its supposedly core values. Photograph: Getty Images

Japan and its people perhaps reminded rugby of some of its supposedly core values. Photograph: Getty Images

Five South Africans, four Englishmen, two All Blacks and two from the host nation Japan, as well as one apiece from Wales and Russia make up Gerry Thornley’s team of the Rugby World Cup. The Irish Times’ Rugby correspondent explains in his column this morning, Japan’s World Cup reminded rugby of its core values: “It reminded teams and supporters to treat each other with respect. Teams bowed out, literally, in fitting manner, and all visiting supporters, as well as Japanese ones, responded in kind. The 2019 World Cup was probably a different experience at home, and the angst and anger over Ireland’s exit was not reflected in the Irish fans.” South African centre Damian de Allende is to join Munster next season in a major coup for Johann van Graan’s team, the Irish province are holding a press conference later today where there should be some clarity given about their new signings. Leinster’s international contingent have returned to base - among them Johnny Sexton - and they are set to be involved in the Champions Cup opener in Lyon on November 23rd.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his team is fully focused on tonight’s Champions League encounter against Genk, despite the comments of Manchester City’s Catalan manager Pep Guardiola ahead of their clash at the weekend. Guardiola accused Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane of diving, a claim which Klopp was asked about in his pre-match press conference: “I am not sure if Pep spoke in that moment about Sadio or the team – both is not too nice to be honest. I am not too sure if I want to put oil on the fire. I am not interested in these kind of things. And I promise not to mention tactical fouls. That is maybe already too much.” Jorginho and Kovacic have both been liberated since Frank Lampard’s appointment by Chelsea, and they will again have a key role to play if the London club can take a big step towards the last 16 of the Champions League by beating Ajax at Stamford Bridge this evening.

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