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Can George Ford’s return to fitness mask England’s Manu Tuilagi-shaped hole in their attack against Ireland?



Ben Youngs, George Ford playing football on a field


© Provided by The Independent


Ireland will take on England for the first time in nearly a decade without Johnny Sexton or Conor Murray in their starting line-up on Saturday after Andy Farrell named an inexperienced half-back combination for Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup showdown, but the absence of another high-profile player could well come to dictate how the encounter plays out.

The absence of Irish captain Sexton, forced by a hamstring strain suffered in last week’s win over Wales, and 89-Test veteran Conor Murray, who is left among the replacements, means Leinster fly-half Ross Byrne is trusted to marshall Ireland outside club colleague Jamison Gibson-Park, a pairing that have just two Test starts between them.

It is an area that England may look to expose by pressuring them in defence, just as they have done so in their last three outings. Earlier this year they secured a dominant 24-12 victory at Twickenham that could and should have been far larger given the dominance Eddie Jones’s side enjoyed, with the Six Nations victory coming six months after a record 57-15 thrashing in their World Cup warm up. The two wins came off the back of the victory that set England’s wheels in motion towards the Rugby World Cup final that year, with their 2019 Six Nations triumph in Dublin one of the performances of the Eddie Jones era to knock off the then-defending champions on their own turf.

But on all three of those occasions, England had a not-so-secret weapon: Manu Tuilagi.

The centre has featured six times against Ireland since his first appearance back in 2011, in a World Cup warm-up where he certainly made his presence felt. Tuilagi scored that day and nearly bagged another from an interception on his own 22, though Irish fans will also remember the painful memory of the tackle that ended David Wallace’s career that day.

READ MORE: How to watch Autumn Nations Cup on Amazon Prime

But rather notably, when Tuilagi plays, England win. Ireland have not won when the Sale Sharks midfielder has been involved, and given their back-to-back losses to the Irish in 2017 and 2018, his return to fitness 18 months ago and England’s sudden dominance in this fixture are no coincidence. Both sides operate on gainline success, and the presence of a 111kg powerhouse centre certainly helps to produce that.

Which is why his absence this week, and indeed through the whole of the Autumn Nations Cup and Six Nations next year due to a ruptured Achilles, provides the greatest intrigue of Saturday’s Twickenham encounter: can England beat Ireland without Tuilagi?

The answer is of course yes, but whether they have yet worked out how to do so remains a mystery. Though England have won their last two games by a cumulative 74-5, they did come against Italy and Georgia – tier two sides as both Eddie Jones and forwards coach Matt Proudfoot have hammered home in complete disregard of Italy’s efforts of late. Against an Irish side that

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fitness

Gabriel Jesus hoping to prove fitness for a Man City return against Olympiacos

Gabriel Jesus is hoping to prove his fitness for Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Olympiacos on Tuesday.

The Brazil striker has been of action since suffering a thigh injury in City’s first Premier League match of the season at Wolves in September.

The 23-year-old is now back in training and, with Sergio Aguero also sidelined, a potential return against the Greeks would give City a lift.

City have played without a specialist centre forward in recent games, with winger Ferran Torres filling in in the position against Marseille last week and Sheffield United on Saturday.

Manager Pep Guardiola was still unsure whether Jesus would be ready as he held his pre-match press conference on Monday lunchtime.

He said: “It’s too early to know. We’ll see the last training session. He did one training session with part of the team but we are happy he is back.

“We are waiting for Sergio but we are happy with Ferran so we have an alternative.”

Winger Ferran Torres has played as a makeshift striker (Rui Vieira/PA)

Guardiola insisted Sunday’s looming encounter with Premier League champions Liverpool would not affect his thinking for the Olympiacos game.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “You cannot make a false step in the Champions League because after that you struggle. We have an incredible opportunity to make a huge step to qualify for the next round.”

City have opened their Champions League Group C campaign with back-to-back victories over Porto and Marseille and Guardiola wants to maintain the momentum to wrap up qualification for the knock-out stages as soon as possible.

He said: “We are only in the beginning of the season. November, December, January is very demanding in this country so tomorrow is incredibly important to go onto nine points, and be incredibly close, and then we can handle this competition with the Premier League a little bit better.”

Sergio Aguero has had an injury-hit start to the campaign (Paul Childs/PA)

Guardiola remains unsure when record goalscorer Aguero will be fit to return after a hamstring injury. The Argentinian has not been categorically ruled out of the Liverpool encounter but he seems more likely to back later in the month.

Guardiola said: “He’s getting better but I don’t know. We don’t want him to have a setback but he’s getting better.

“I don’t know about Liverpool but I think, for sure, after the international break he will be ready.”

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fitness

Hodgson receives boost as FIVE Crystal Palace players return to fitness ahead of trip to Wolves

Roy Hodgson receives major boost as FIVE Crystal Palace players including new signing Jack Butland return to fitness ahead of trip to Wolves

  • Gary Cahill and James Tomkins, who were both out with thigh injuries, are back
  • Jordan Ayew and summer signing Jack Butland are back after self-isolating
  • The striker and the new goalkeeper tested positive for coronavirus recently
  • James McCarthy is also back in training after picking up an injury with Ireland

Crystal Palace have received a significant injury boost ahead of Friday’s Premier League trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers, with manager Roy Hodgson confirming that five first-team players have returned to full fitness.

Defenders Gary Cahill and James Tomkins, who were both out with thigh injuries, are available for the game at Molineux, while striker Jordan Ayew and new goalkeeper Jack Butland are back after self-isolating following positive tests for COVID-19.

Central midfielder James McCarthy is also back in training after picking up an injury on international duty with Ireland.

Roy Hodgson has been boosted by the news of five Crystal Palace players returning to fitness

Roy Hodgson has been boosted by the news of five Crystal Palace players returning to fitness

New signing Jack Butland is back after the goalkeeper tested positive for coronavirus

New signing Jack Butland is back after the goalkeeper tested positive for coronavirus

Centre-back Gary Cahill also returns following a thigh injury to the former Chelsea defender

Centre-back Gary Cahill also returns following a thigh injury to the former Chelsea defender

‘We just need to assess Tyrick Mitchell before tomorrow who picked up a knock yesterday and Joel Ward,’ Hodgson told reporters on Thursday. 

‘But I’m not making too many complaints, the squad is as big and competitive as I’ve seen it.

‘I’m just trying to keep everybody as happy as possible. It might be the first time I’ve had to leave people out of an 18-man squad – that really is an unusual situation.’

Tomkins returns from a thigh injury

Ayew also tested positive for coronavirus but now returns from quarantine

James Tomkins (left) also returns from injury as does Jordan Ayew (right) does from quarantine

Midfielder James McCarthy is also back in training after picking up an injury with Ireland

Midfielder James McCarthy is also back in training after picking up an injury with Ireland

Palace beat bottom side Fulham 2-1 away last weekend and Hodgson said he expected a tight contest against Wolves, who are unbeaten in their last three Premier League games and ninth in the table, one place below Palace but level on points.

‘We’re expecting a very, very tough game. It’s nice to go there with 10 points and a bit of confidence, but so have they,’ Hodgson said.

‘We do know they have the ability to put you under the cosh for a long period of time, and it will be up to us to produce the quality to relieve that pressure.’

Hodgson also confirmed the club will assess Tyrick Mitchell ahead of the game against Wolves

Hodgson also confirmed the club will assess Tyrick Mitchell ahead of the game against Wolves

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fitness

Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier hand Tottenham a big fitness boost as they return to training

Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier hand Tottenham a big fitness boost as they return to training ahead of the Europa League clash with Antwerp

  • Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier have returned to Tottenham training 
  • Both players missed the win at Burnley on Monday with minor injuries 
  • Jose Mourinho’s side play Antwerp in the Europa League on Thursday

Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier are set to return for Tottenham’s Europa League clash with Antwerp after both players trained on Wednesday. 

The pair missed Monday’s win 1-0 at Burnley with what boss Jose Mourinho called ‘little injuries’, but they have given their manage a huge fitness boost ahead of Thursday’s game.

Bergwijn missed the 6-1 victory over Manchester United before the international break but returned for the 3-3 draw with West Ham last week, only to pick up a slight knock.

Steven Bergwijn will be available for Tottenham's Europa League clash with Antwerp

Steven Bergwijn will be available for Tottenham’s Europa League clash with Antwerp

Bergwijn and Serge Aurier (above) returned to training on Wednesday after small injuries

Bergwijn and Serge Aurier (above) returned to training on Wednesday after small injuries

Aurier started both games at right back after he was given the nod ahead of Matt Doherty, who was favoured in the opening three league matches.

But the Irishman returned to keep a clean sheet at Turf Moor in Aurier’s absence and could retain his place in the starting XI.  

Japhet Tanganga was the only absentee from training with the defender still battling a thigh problem.

Antwerp are arguably the toughest opponents Jose Mourinho's side will face in their group

Antwerp are arguably the toughest opponents Jose Mourinho’s side will face in their group

Spurs won their opening Europa League group game against LASK last week with an own goal and strikes from Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min ensuring a 3-0 victory.

Mourinho opted to rest captain Harry Kane for the game and could be tempted to start summer signing Carlos Vinicius once again with his side facing Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday.

However, Antwerp have made a strong start to the Belgian season and are arguably Tottenham’s toughest opponents in Group J. They currently sit top of their domestic table with six wins in 10 games.

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health

Coronavirus tally in D.C. region hits two-month high; Hogan says earlier restrictions unlikely to return

The tally of coronavirus caseloads in the greater Washington region jumped Tuesday, sending the average number of new daily infections to its highest level since mid-August.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia reported daily numbers above their recent averages, with each jurisdiction seeing a rise this month. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday that he expects the pandemic to worsen this fall in his state but added that he has no plans to bring back the type of restrictions put in place earlier this year.

The seven-day average of new infections across the region stands at 1,874 cases, the highest since Aug. 13, when it stood at 1,916. The number of new cases reported Tuesday in D.C., Maryland and Virginia surpassed 2,000 for the fourth time this month, mirroring a rise seen across much of the country.

Hogan said Tuesday during a WBAL radio interview that the pandemic will probably get worse before it gets better, but that it’s unlikely that restrictions imposed during the height of the pandemic will return to Maryland.

[Coronavirus cases and metrics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia]

“I don’t anticipate going back to some of the measures we took before,” he said.

In March, hoping to stop the spread of the virus, Hogan issued a stay-at-home order that prohibited residents from leaving their houses unless they worked at an essential job or were buying groceries or medicine. Six weeks later he began lifting some of those restrictions.

His gradual reopening of the state did not sit well with many members of the state’s Republican Party, some of whom wanted it to occur more quickly. ReOpen Maryland held rallies across the state and in Annapolis demanding an end to coronavirus-related restrictions.

A poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Media Strategies, released Tuesday, shows more than a quarter of Republicans say the governor has done a fair or poor job handling the crisis, while 66 percent think he has handled it well. Meanwhile, 82 percent of Democrats give Hogan high marks for his handling of the virus.

Hogan said the state is “ready” for another wave.

“We do anticipate it getting worse in the fall, having a hospital surge, which is why we built 6,000 new hospital beds,” Hogan said of preparations taken earlier this year.

[Maryland coronavirus plan says 14 percent of residents eligible for early vaccine when available]

He said Marylanders should also brace themselves for the effect a second wave could have on the state’s economy as people become less comfortable with going to large gatherings, entertainment venues and eating inside restaurants.

The Gonzales poll found that 41 percent of Marylanders feel comfortable returning to their regular routine, while 57 percent say they do not feel comfortable resuming their pre-pandemic life.

“Maryland has been one of the few that has kind of avoided [a big uptick in metrics] so far, but we don’t have any magic wall that’s going to keep the virus out of our state,” he said.

The 897 new cases reported

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fitness

Hearts talisman Peter Haring opens up on Hampden return, current fitness state and life in Edinburgh

Peter Haring is approaching full fitness after so long on the sidelines.
Peter Haring is approaching full fitness after so long on the sidelines.

The Jambos’ powerhouse midfielder played for the club in the 2019 final against Celtic, on the field for 81 minutes before finally succumbing to a persistent groin injury. It took him 16 long months to return to action.

At times, there were fears Haring might never play again as he tried to get to the root of the problem. Operations, specialists, rest. You name it, the 27-year-old tried it. It was tough for him, even miserable at times. But now, approaching full fitness after such a lengthy time on the sidelines, Haring is raring to go again.

His comeback match was against Inverness earlier in the month, when he came on for eight minutes. His first start since that gut-wrenching 2-1 Hampden loss to Celtic arrived a week later against Raith Rovers, when he captained the team and played the full 90 minutes in a 3-1 win. Only appearances from the bench have come thereafter, but manager Robbie Neilson is clearly easing him back in. He is a key man for the Hearts boss.

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‘Zero regrets’

Neilson may be tempted to start Haring against a more dangerous opponent in Hibs. He adds so much to the Hearts midfield. If the Austrian does play, he won’t have negative thoughts of previous visits to Hampden. He classes his last visit there as one of the highlights of his career.

“Zero regrets, absolutely,” says Haring when asked, in an exclusive interview with the Evening News, if he wishes he hadn’t played in that final. “I was talking to our gaffer at that time, Craig Levein, quite a lot and I even wanted to play the week before when we played Celtic in the league. I was desperate to play that game, but he said no, you’re only playing the cup final which was probably a good decision from him. But I’ve got absolutely zero regrets – it’s one of my best memories I’ve got in my football career so far.

“I didn’t obviously think it would take this long to come back. Even when I was injured, I always thought, ‘it can’t take much longer’, and it always did, so you never know what is going to happen, but overall I’ve got really good memories about Hampden. Even though we lost the final, it’s still a great memory in my head. It was a good game from us as well, against Celtic. It’s the third time for me going to Hampden, it will be very different because of the circumstances. It’s going to be a totally different game again and it’s going to be a derby in the cup semi. so there’s nothing better than that really.”

Current state and his ‘big moment’

Hearts fans can take comfort from the fact that Haring feels back to near peak condition. His journey has been arduous, exacerbated by the club’s

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health

Idaho governor orders return to some COVID-19 restrictions

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Monday ordered a return to some restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus as intertwined health care systems across the state showed early signs of buckling.

The Republican governor returned the state to stage 3 of his four-stage reopening plan and said indoor gatherings will be limited to 50 people or fewer, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25% of capacity.

“Idaho is at a critical juncture,” Little declared during the Statehouse news conference with a heavy police presence as protestors could be heard shouting in the hallway. “This is unacceptable and we must do more.”


Little, who wears a mask in public and encourages others to do so also, didn’t order a statewide mask mandate, something many health care professionals have sought. But many residents in red-state Idaho oppose such a mandate.

State officials continue reporting surging infections daily, with 650 more on Sunday for a total approaching 60,000 along with 573 deaths.

The state’s positivity test rate is fourth-worst in the nation, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The restrictions announced Monday also include a mask mandate for all long-term care facilities and physical distancing for gatherings of all types. Employers should continue allowing teleworking for at-risk workers or make special accommodations in the workplace.

St. Luke’s, with hospitals in southwestern and central Idaho, is reporting that 20% of hospitalized patients are suffering from COVID-19. Its hospital in Twin Falls is postponing elective surgeries and sending children in need of medical care to Boise. On Monday, St. Luke’s told people to stop coming to its emergency rooms for COVID-19 testing.

Dr. Joshua Kern, vice president of medical affairs for St. Luke’s Magic Valley and Jerome, said the surge of patients in that area is approaching a level the hospital might not be able to handle, meaning deciding who gets treatment.

“That’s not good for our staff, having to decide who lives and dies, and it’s not good for the patients,” he said. “The natural outcome of not controlling the virus will be unnecessary deaths.”

State epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn said some hospitals are in what’s called a contingency stage, one step below moving into a crisis stage that could lead to the scenario described by Kern.

Primary Health Medical Group, the largest independent medical group in Idaho, has had to close two of its 19 urgent care clinics in southwestern Idaho because of sick or quarantined staff. The clinics are a buffer keeping hospital emergency rooms in the region from getting clogged with patients not needing emergency-level care.

“This surge, this disease today, right now is out of control,” said Dr. David Peterman, a pediatrician and the CEO of Primary Health Medical Group.

The group reports that the positivity rate is up to nearly 7% among 5- to 12- year-olds, and nearly 11% for teenagers. Peterman said it’s not clear if a return to school for teenagers is causing a surge of infections in local communities or

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medicine

DVIDS – News – Aerospace Medicine Implements Return to Flight Duty Status Guidelines for Aircrew Affected by COVID-19


As much of the military works to maintain readiness in the face of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Aerospace medicine providers are working to implement a guideline with a set of return to flight duty status protocols. The guideline describes how Service members who are in a ‘down’ flight status may safely return to an ‘up’ flight status after close contact or contracting COVID-19.

These protocols were developed in response to Navy and Marine Corps Aerospace Medicine COVID-19 cases and are promulgated to synchronize the community’s approach to medical evaluation when returning aircrew to flight duty status. The protocols within the guideline are reviewed biweekly to incorporate the most updated national guidelines and current published research.

“The return to flight duty status guideline is critical to maintaining operational readiness amongst our aircrew and return them safely to the cockpit,” said CDR Allen Hoffman, Branch Head of Aerospace Medicine Programs at the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

These protocols provide a basic framework for our squadron flight surgeons who will also use their sound clinical judgement when comprehensively evaluating each patient. The guideline details step by step how aircrew can return to flight duty status if they are determined to have contracted the virus or had close contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19.

“There are important clinical criteria for aerospace providers to follow if aircrew contracts COVID-19. For example, it is imperative that the provider follow-up with the infected individual once they have recovered to determine if they have optimal respiratory function and returned to a the physical fitness level necessary to safely operate in the flight environment,” said CDR Hoffman.

To know whether affected aircrew are able to safely operate an aircraft, they must meet set physical standards during a series of tests, including a physical exercise tolerance test. Some of those tests help determine if there are still any remaining functionally limiting damage caused by COVID-19.

“The medical evaluation and information in the guidance will ensure our aircrew are ready to fly after contracting COVID-19. Their health and safety is our first and foremost mission in supporting the warfighter,” said CDR Hoffman.

The official guidance will be published in the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute’s, Aerospace Reference and Waiver Guide by mid-November.

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel that provide health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.

For more information about Navy Medicine, visit www.med.navy.mil





Date Taken: 10.20.2020
Date Posted: 10.20.2020 15:19
Story ID: 381341
Location: FALLS CHURCH, VA, US 




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Mayor Lori Lightfoot Warns Some Phase 3 Restrictions May Return As COVID-19 Cases Rise Sharply

CHICAGO (CBS) — Facing a “very concerning increase” in COVID-19 cases not only in Chicago but across the country, Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned that the city might be forced to move back to some Phase 3 restrictions soon if the city can’t get get the outbreak under better control.

“Make no mistake. We are in the second surge,” Lightfoot said Monday morning.

Lightfoot said, over past two weeks, the number of confirmed daily cases of COVID-19 in Chicago has risen more than 50%, to more than 500 per day. She said that’s the highest number of daily cases Chicago has seen since the tail end of the first spike of cases in May.

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, the city’s 7-day average positivity rate is up 29% in the past week, rising from 4.2% to 5.4%. Lightfoot said the city also has seen a “worrying increase” in hospitalizations.

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the COVID-19 hospitalizations in Chicago have risen 25% since late September.

“These numbers are extremely troubling, and are consistent with what we’ve been seeing across Illinois, and really across the country and world,” Lightfoot said.

Also From CBS Chicago:

Arwady said new COVID-19 cases have increased dramatically across all age groups, races, and ethnicities. She said the overall rate of new cases is increasing at a rate similar to the start of the first wave of cases in March, April, and May.

“We are sounding this alarm because the increase is real,” she said.

Lightfoot said, if the city doesn’t see those rates begin to drop soon, she will be forced to reinstate some COVID-19 restrictions that were lifted earlier this year.

“If we don’t see a dramatic turnaround in our numbers, and soon, we will not hesitate to take the steps that are necessary to save our city, to save our residents, and even if that means going back to some of our Phase Three restrictions,” she said.

The mayor did not specify what Phase 3 restrictions she might put back into place, but under Phase 3 of the city’s reopening plan, bars and restaurants were not allowed to serve customers indoors. Many stores and businesses were allowed to be open at 50% capacity, but non-essential businesses were limited to 25% capacity. Theaters, cinemas, and other performing arts venues were closed under Phase 3. Gyms and healthclubs were limited to outdoor classes or one-on-one training. Public gatherings were limited to 10 people or fewer.

The mayor said she realizes resuming some Phase 3 restrictions would be potentially devastating for businesses that already have been struggling during the pandemic, but she said if COVID cases continue to surge, she will have no choice.

“I don’t want to go there, particularly for those who are in business; the small businesses who have already suffered through a very difficult year. This would be a tragedy for many of them, but I’ve got to do what is right to protect us from this

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