Ralf Rangnick starts with a win; World Rugby lets Lavanini off easy

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

Ralf Rangnick, Manager of Manchester United acknowledges the fans after victory over Crystal Palace. Photograph:  Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Ralf Rangnick, Manager of Manchester United acknowledges the fans after victory over Crystal Palace. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

 

The Ralf Rangnick era is off and running with a win. The German has had only one training session so far with his new squad, but nonetheless he was impressed with how United managed to control the game in a 1-0 victory over Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace with Fred’s strike being the difference between the two teams. There was plenty of other Premier League action yesterday including a win for Aston Villa over Leicester as Steven Gerrard got one over on his former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, while up in Scotland, former Shamrock Rovers defender Liam Scales notched both his first Celtic appearance and maiden goal in a win over Dundee. In the FA Cup final, Katie McCabe’s Arsenal had a tough day out as they were swatted aside 0-3 by Chelsea. Ken Early’s column this morning looks at Der Klassiker, Germany’s signature rivalry between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. The latest instalment over the weekend was marred by a refereeing controversy, including some particularly spiky post-match comments from Jude Bellingham.

Tomas Lavanini received a five-match ban during the week for his terrible clean-out of Cian Healy during Ireland’s thumping in over Argentina last month. It’s safe to say that Owen Doyle is not happy about it as he tries to figure out how World Rugby’s disciplinary process came up with such a low number for a player who has one of the worst records in the game when it comes to cards. In the URC, Ulster came back to Earth with a bump over the weekend with a disappointing defeat away to Ospreys one week on from their upset of Leinster. It wasn’t ideal preparation for an upcoming daunting European opener away to Clermont, and skipper from the weekend Alan O’Connor admits that lessons will need to be learned in the physical exchanges up front ahead of the trip to France.

The GAA club championships are starting to reach the business end of the different provincial competitions. Plenty of action took place up and down the country yesterday, with highlights including a Paul Mannion-inspired Kilmacud Crokes overcoming Wolfe Tones in the Leinster football quarter-final. In Munster, Éire Óg scored just the two goals in extra time to end Loughmore-Castleiney’s season on the football front and reach the Munster semi-final. Seán Moran wraps up the best up the action this morning, with the highlight of the week off the pitch coming in Meath with Wolfe Tone’s Stephen Sheppard not allowing even his own wedding to derail his commitment to the club.

Irish racing only has itself to blame for negative stereotypes when it comes to drugs in the sport, according to Brian O’Connor. After Jim Bolger shook things up with his comments about the inevitability of a Lance Armstrong type figure at some point emerging, what is interesting is what has emerged from said shaking. Elsewhere, the incident-laden Saudi GP allowed Lewis Hamilton to draw level with Max Verstappen at the top of the World Championship standings, while in golf, Collin Morikawa handed over a five shot lead to Viktor Hovland who secured victory at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Rory McIlroy finished 18th after leading the tournament following the first round.

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