France have plans to stop Chris Ashton in Six Nations
LONDON // France defence coach Dave Ellis has revealed plans are already in place to stop Chris Ashton, England's free-scroing winger, in Saturday's Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
Ellis is confident France have the defensive resources to stymie the supply to 23-year-old Ashton, who has scored six tries in his last two Test matches, as they did with a previous England try machine.
"Ashton can be stopped," Ellis said in the Daily Telegraph. "We used to stop Jason Robinson from scoring. You've just got to make sure that he doesn't get the ball when he wants it.
"It's not just about closing one man down. If you concentrate on doing that, then it only takes away your focus from elsewhere.
"Ashton is a finisher, just like Jason was, or Shaun Edwards and Ellery Hanley were in rugby league before them. It's inbred in rugby league players."
Australia predicts Russia to top London Olympic medal table
SYDNEY // Russia will win the most medals at the 2012 Olympic Games ahead of the United States and China, according to an Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) projection released today.
China won the most golds (51) at its Beijing Olympics but the US won the most medals with 110 to China’s 100, while Russia came in third among the sporting superpowers with 72.
The AOC benchmark, based on the results of world championships, world cup and other major international events in 2010, projected that Russia would win 97 medals in London ahead of the US (94) and China (93).
Hosts Great Britain are predicted to garner the fourth-largest haul with 48 medals, one more than they won in Beijing for fourth place on the medals table.
Germany (47), France (45) and Japan (43) are predicted to follow close behind, ahead of Australia in eighth place with a forecast 42 medals.
Chilean miner Pena plans to run Tokyo Marathon
TOKYO // Edison Pena, one of the Chilean miners rescued in October, plans to run the Tokyo Marathon, his second such race since he was among the 33 men to be saved.
Pena, 35, jogged through tunnels while trapped underground, and word of his dedication inspired New York City Marathon organisers to invite him to watch the race. Instead, he asked to run it. Pena ran and walked on bad knees to finish in 5 hours, 40 minutes on November 7.
Executives from Remo System, a Japanese maker of shoe inserts and other training products, were in New York for the marathon and were moved to invite him to Tokyo. They worked with Fuji TV to get him into Sunday's race.
Pena has been training more than six miles a day. Remo plans to donate 2,000 pairs of shoes to needy Chileans in his honour. A big Elvis Presley fan, Pena was treated to visits to Memphis, Tennessee, and Las Vegas last month.
West Ham reach FA Cup quarter-finals
LONDON // Carlton Cole scored twice in three minutes to help West Ham rout Burnley 5-1 and reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
Thomas Hitzlsperger scored on his debut to give West Ham the lead with one of his trademark long-range shots in the 23rd minute, while Cole decided the game with two quick strikes shortly after the break.
Winston Reid headed in the fourth in the 59th before Jay Rodriguez scored a consolation goal for Burnley in the 71st. Reid then prevented another goal in injury time, clearing the ball off the goal-line with a diving header that bounced off the bar and left post, and Freddie Sears completed the rout at the other end moments later. West Ham will travel to Stoke in the next round.
Woman pitches to Cleveland Indians
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA // Justine Siegal became the first woman to pitch batting practice in a major league spring training camp when she threw to the Cleveland Indians.
Siegal, a Cleveland native, wore a patch honouring Christina Taylor, the nine-year-old granddaughter of former major league manager Dallas Green, who was killed in last month's shootings in Tucson.
Siegal, 36, was the first woman to coach first base in men's professional baseball for the Brockton Rox, an independent league team in Massachusetts, in 2009.
She spent three years as the only female college baseball coach in the country, when she was an assistant coach at Springfield College in Massachusetts from 2007 to 2010. Siegal, who throws right-handed, is scheduled to throw batting practice in the Oakland Athletics camp later this week.