Dusautoir: Sexton is not a target

first_imgFrance captain Thierry Dusautoir has attempted to downplay Les Bleus’ determination to single out fit-again Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton in Dublin on Saturday. France spent the early part of the week heaping the pressure on Sexton – but took an almost coordinated step backwards on Friday, with assistant coach Yannick Bru echoing Dusautoir’s sentiments. “I don’t view him as a target,” said France skipper Dusautoir, ahead of Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations clash against Ireland in Dublin. “This Ireland team has far too many threats and good players to focus solely on one. “He wouldn’t be playing if he hadn’t met all the concussion demands. “He’s not the only player with experience and power returning either: they have Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien back, so I wouldn’t want to concentrate on one man like that. “It’s a team that has huge experience returning after Italy. “There’s a lot of strength in there; Sexton adds a lot of strength at half-back.” Former France international Laurent Benezech has labelled Ireland’s decision to pitch Sexton straight back into action after his enforced concussion absence as “a big mistake”. Toulouse flanker Dusautoir claimed the 29-year-old British and Irish Lion is not being seen as a target, despite France boss Philippe Saint-Andre telling his side to expose any weakness in Sexton, who returns after a 12-week concussion lay-off. Ireland have steadfastly maintained the position that Sexton is fine to return after his three-month absence for suffering four concussions in 12 months. France flanker Bernard Le Roux joked his Racing Metro club-mate Sexton should “wear a helmet” in Saturday’s Aviva Stadium battle. Les Bleus boss Saint-Andre was not being light-hearted when pledging to send wrecking-ball centre Mathieu Bastareaud straight down Sexton’s channel from the off this weekend. When it came to the turn of Dusautoir and Bru however, on Irish soil amid eve-of-match fervour, the France duo chose to diffuse what they could of the steadily-building intensity. “We respect him a great deal, he is a huge character – and we will not target him, we will just concentrate on our game, on our efficiency,” said France assistant coach Bru. “Obviously first of all it’s very bad news for us that Johnny Sexton is playing in this game, because it’s a different Ireland team with him than without him, as we saw last week. “To target him would be to forget that Joe Schmidt is very clever. “So we will play the game as though Johnny was not there. “We’ve worked a lot on what we can control: so with Johnny, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip back fit: it’s good news for Ireland but bad news for us.” France will face a former Clermont coach for the second time in as many Six Nations weeks, after seeing off Vern Cotter’s Scotland 15-8 in Paris last weekend. Former Toulouse hooker Bru admitted France’s players “expect to be surprised” by wily Ireland boss Schmidt’s ever-expanding repertoire of set plays, that he adapts according to each opponent. “He’s clever and he works well, he’s a tough coach,” said Bru of Schmidt. “The guys know that they will be surprised. “We are arriving at a place where he will want to attack us. “We know him as a coach, and the guys expect to be surprised.” Press Associationlast_img read more

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Kene Chukwuka’s path from Sweden brought him to Pittsburgh

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 15, 2018 at 7:13 pm Contact Kaci: klwasile@syr.edu In high school, Kene Chukwuka spent about three hours a day on YouTube. He’d get home from school and watch until it was time for basketball practice.Some days, it was Kobe Bryant highlights. Other times, it was documentaries on Michael Jordan or Dennis Rodman. During the NBA season, he would watch highlights from the previous night’s games as the time difference made it difficult for him to watch them live.Chukwuka grew up in Sweden, a country not known for its basketball prowess. Sweden has produced three NBA players since the 1946-47 season including current Utah Jazz forward Jonas Jerebko. Now, Chukwuka is one of 12 Swedish players currently in Division I, featuring as a reserve center for Pittsburgh (8-10, 0-5 Atlantic Coast). Chukwuka will find himself in the Carrier Dome when the Panthers take on Syracuse (12-6, 1-4) on Tuesday night.“In Sweden, sports isn’t that big, I mean it was always school that was the main focus,” Chukwuka said. “But basketball … I just started putting work into it and stuff and it really started to turn into a way of life.”Chukwuka first got into basketball when he moved from Stockholm to the south of Sweden. The friends he made there were into the sport so he decided to try it out. Chukwuka played for a club team, since no high schools had a team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor the 2015-16 season, he played for BG Fryshuset Stockholm where he averaged nearly 10 points and two blocks a game. Prior to that, he played for the Trelleborg Pirates, averaging 30 points a game by his final season.When it was time for him to choose a college, Chukwuka decided he wanted to play basketball in the United States. Asking a friend of his, who was at the time committed to Montana State, for help, and got in contact with one of the MSU coaches late in the summer.“In America, everybody’s trying to reach the top in whatever they do,” Chukwuka said. “I like the whole you chase your dream thing.”In the summer of 2016, too late for Chukwuka to receive a scholarship offer, he was put in contact with junior college coaches, including Brian Lohrey of New Mexico Junior College where Chukwuka later committed.In the first non-exhibition game of the season against Trinidad State Junior College, Chukwuka was under the basket when a shot missed. He bent his knees, preparing to jump to gather the rebound. But as he did, another player ran into him, injuring his right hip.Against Trinidad State, Chukwuka was on the floor for 21 minutes. The rest of the season, following his injury, he averaged fewer than 10 minutes per game. He ended the season with 95 rebounds and 79 points.“I had a tough season over there,” Chukwuka said. “I didn’t put up the stats to really back up who I was as a player.”Used to the slower nature of Swedish hoops, he had to get used to the faster pace of the game as well as the sheer size of the players in the U.S. In Sweden, his 6-foot, 9-inch frame was advantageous, unlike in America where he regularly plays with and against guys that are the same size or taller.Despite his injury and adapting to a different style of play, Chukwuka was invited to a JUCO top 100 showcase in Wichita, Kansas, the summer after his 2016-17 season. In his first game, he put up 16 points and the NCAA offers started rolling in. When Pittsburgh called, he liked the coach and the team camaraderie. On Aug. 8, 2017, Chukwuka committed, completing Pitt’s 2017 recruiting class.“(Chukwuka) always tries hard, he always plays hard,” Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings said after the Panthers played Duke on Jan. 10, “but sometimes he just gets going too fast in his mind and it’s a process for him, slowing the game down.”This season, the center is second on the team in blocks (nine) and has 43 rebounds (12 offensive boards and 31 defensive rebounds). In the span of about one minute at the end of the first half against Duke, Chukwuka retrieved four offensive rebounds. He started the second half and made his only shot in the half from behind the arc to add to his three-point basket from the first half. He finished the game 3-3 from the field for eight points.“I’ve seen him do it in practice, get five offensive rebounds in a row and keep going,” Pitt guard/forward Jared Wilson-Frame said after the loss to Duke. “He’ll be wheezing next to me and I’ll be like ‘Kene, you good?’ and he’ll be like ‘yeah, let’s go.’ That’s just who he is and we really appreciate that.” Commentslast_img read more

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Public hearings for Yellow Cabs application commence at Pomeroy

first_imgTeco Taxi plans to present evidence from drivers and dispatchers, and a legal representative for the company argued against Yellow Cabs’ use of petitions and complaints to demonstrate a need for another taxi company.Today, the panel heard from representatives with the City of Fort St. John, Tourism Fort St. John, the North Peace Regional Airport, and the Pomeroy Hotel.Director with the Fort St. John Tourism Board, Adam Reaburn, told the panel that hotels and many bars in Fort St. John have hired shuttles to pick up their guests due to unreliability from cabs currently.The panel also heard from Moira Green, the City of Fort St. John’s Director of Strategist Services. She agreed that healthy competition is beneficial to a community, otherwise the money is spent in other communities.Advertisement FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Today is the first day of three in which the Yellow Cabs’ application to enter the Fort St. John will be heard before a panel.The panel includes representatives from the Passenger Transportation Board, Teco Taxi, Bernard’s Taxi, and several organizations around town to act as witnesses.In December, Mayor Lori Ackerman sent the Board a letter, stating that the City supported the idea of bringing more cabs to the City.- Advertisement -Based out of Grande Prairie, Yellow Cabs started their application with the Board almost a year ago, in May 2015. To accept the application and approve it, the Board requires a demonstration of public need, that the applicant is fit and proper to operate, and that the applicant will promote economic conditions.If approved, Yellow Cabs would add 21 vehicles to local roads.According to their opening statements, the company is looking for provide healthy competition, stating that it is ‘long overdue.’Advertisement She referenced what the addition of WestJet to the North Peace Regional Airport did, as the airport primarily only had Air Canada service before.Managing Director of the North Peace Regional Airport, Mike Whalley, told the panel that passengers who park their cars can expect to pay less parking it there for a week then they would paying for a cab to and from the airport. He agreed that the most common complaint the airport receives is after-hour service, and said patrons are spending 45 minutes to an hour waiting for taxi service.The hearings continue Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pomeroy Hotel.last_img read more

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