Zone Blitz: Marley, JFF must work out differences

By George Dave, Mariah Ramharack&Lance Whittaker July 12, 2019

Jamaica Reggae Girlz patron Cedella Marley recently expressed strong disapproval of how the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) handles funding.

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  • Bairstow left out of England Test squad for New Zealand tour Bairstow left out of England Test squad for New Zealand tour

    Jonny Bairstow has been left out of England's Test squad for the tour of New Zealand in November.

    The Yorkshire batsman is in the 15-man Twenty20 group but misses out on the two-match series against the Black Caps, having failed to impress during the 2-2 Ashes draw with Australia on home soil.

    Dominic Sibley has won a first call-up after an exceptional County Championship with Warwickshire, alongside Matt Parkinson, Zak Crawley and Saqib Mahmood.

    Lancashire's Parkinson and Worcestershire seamer Pat Brown are included in the T20 squad for the first time, as is Tom Banton, who hit 549 runs for Somerset in the Vitality Blast.

    Injured trio James Anderson, Mark Wood and Olly Stone are left out, the former now working on being fit for the tour of South Africa, which starts in December.

    The two Tests against New Zealand, due to start on November 21 and 29, do not form part of the ICC World Test Championship.

    The five-match T20I series gets underway in Christchurch on November 1.

    England Test squad:

    Joe Root (captain), Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Dominic Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

    England T20 squad:

    Eoin Morgan (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, James Vince.

  • Folau to make Rugby League return with Tonga Folau to make Rugby League return with Tonga

    Israel Folau will return to Rugby League to play for Tonga after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for posts on social media.

    Folau had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in April, with the 30-year-old - a devout Christian - having expressed views which breached the team's code of conduct on his official social media channels.

    He posted "hell awaits... drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters".

    The Wallabies and club side New South Wales Waratahs sacked Folau in May.

    However, Folau - who in July opened court proceedings against his former employers - has now announced his return to rugby, albeit in a cross-code switch to League, the sport in which he made his name with NRL sides Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos.

    Folau, if fit, will be in Tonga's squad for Tests against the Great Britain Lions in Hamilton on October 26 and the November 2 against Australia in the Oceania Cup.

    "I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to represent God, my family, my heritage and the people of Tonga," said Folau in a statement released by the Tongan National Rugby League.

    "I don't want to bring any of my personal matters into this and I am grateful that the RLIF [Rugby League International Federation] have endorsed my availability.

    "What I will do now is focus on playing great rugby league and do my talking on the field."

    Tonga have also confirmed Folau's brother John - who quit Super Rugby side the Waratahs earlier this year - has been called up.

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: It's not in the spirit of the game – Cheika criticises Fiji over Hodge referral Rugby World Cup 2019: It's not in the spirit of the game – Cheika criticises Fiji over Hodge referral

    Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika criticised Fiji for referring an incident involving Reece Hodge that could see the wing suspended.

    Hodge has been cited for a tackle that saw Peceli Yato concussed during the first half of Australia's 39-21 win at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday.

    Fiji referred the incident to see Hodge cited, with the 25-year-old set to face a hearing in Tokyo.

    Cheika questioned Fiji over their approach, saying he was upset about their decision to refer Hodge.

    "Probably the most disappointing thing was the Fijians," he told a news conference on Monday.

    "I think after the game we had a lot of friendly discussion with myself and the coach, he talked to our other coaches. There was no mention of anything and then to get a referral from them in the way it was referred, that was really disappointing.

    "I don't find that the way they brought that in the spirit of the game at all, which is something you know from Fiji. So, the coaching staff I was really quite surprised with the way they brought their own referral post-match. That would've been a little disappointing to me from the spirit of rugby point of view.

    "I'd prefer they come up to me and get upset with me if they were really upset about it, not to talk to me in that nice sort of friendly chitty chat way and then go behind your back and put in a referral. I don't think I've ever referred anyone."

    However, Cheika is confident Hodge will be cleared based on meetings coaches had with the referees' boss, citing commissioners' boss and judiciary committee boss last week.

    "I think it was pretty clear that all the officials dealt with it on the day and I think if you've seen form the conjecture around the majority of footballers, rugby players from the past have said it's not an illegal tackle," he said.

    "It's not clear and obvious even in that point of view so I was surprised that it was cited. Like I said after the game, I personally didn't even notice it, I didn't even see it in the game, I thought 'Hodgey' was actually lucky to get up, he got slammed.

    "I'm confident that, especially after listening to the boss of the judiciaries, I think we'll get a very fair hearing, hopefully we'll get it as quickly as possible so we can get our preparations right for this week and that Reece will be free to play."

    The Wallabies face Wales in a blockbuster clash in Chofu on Sunday.

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