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25.10.2018 07:55
Defending champions Saracens begin their title defence against three-time champions Toulon while Sale and Scarlets will be out t Antworten

Defending champions Saracens begin their title defence against three-time champions Toulon while Sale and Scarlets will be out to prove theyre not just there to make up the numbers. Ivan Provorov Jersey . Watch NOW TV Watch Sky Sports for just £6.99. No contract. The double winners returned to the top of the Premiership with victory over Wasps on Sunday and that puts them in good stead ahead of Saturdays trip to the Stade Felix Mayol.Jonathan Davies return to Parc y Scarlets, along with the signing of Super Rugby star Johnny McNicholl, have bolstered the Welsh regions backline, but Sale have shown they can mix it with the best in the Premiership when theyre in the mood. Saracens Saracens have won five of their opening six games of the season Champions Cup record: P73 W49 D0 L24Best finish: Winners (2015-16)Whats hot: Defending champions both in Europe and in the Premiership, Saracens are the team to beat in every competition. They have made a good start to the defence of their Premiership title, with a defeat to Harlequins at the Stoop the sole negative of their domestic season. Alistair Hargreaves retired after seeking medical advice Whats not: The departure of former captain Alistair Hargreaves, who last week announced he has been forced to retire from the game on doctors orders following a concussion injury.Whats changed: With the departure of Charlie Hodgson, Alex Lozowski was brought in as an understudy to Owen Farell. However, with Farrells ongoing back problems, Lozowski has been given the No 10 jersey and has done a superb job of pulling the strings. The youngster was rewarded for his composure with a call-up to Eddie Jones England training squad.One to watch: Schalk Burger has been brought in to fill the void of recently-retired tackle enthusiast Jacques Burger, and the South African has already made a literal and figurative impact at the club. The Springbok will add value to Saracens already burgeoning pack throughout their campaign.Toulon Leigh Halfpenny has impressed for Toulon since returning from injury Champions Cup record: P41 W33 D0 L8Best finish: Winners (2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15)Whats hot: Francois Trinh-Ducs arrival has forced Toulon to adjust their style of play but Mike Ford could be the man to get their backline firing. It would be foolish to write off a side that includes a plethora of stars such as Samu Manoa, Duane Vermuelen and Leigh Halfpenny. Mamuka Gorgodze has scored some crucial tries for Toulon this season Whats not: Toulon are sorely missing Matt Giteau, both on and off the field. They are in rebuild mode after losing the likes of Bakkies Botha, Carl Hayman and the Armitage brothers - people who knew what the club was about - and the pressure placed on the squad by their mad owner, Mourad Boudjellal, doesnt help matters.Whats changed: There were plenty of comings and goings during the off-season as the Toulon rebuild begins. Liam Gill arrives from Super Rugby with South Africa forwards Juandre Kruger and Marcel van der Merwe also moving to the Stade Mayol.One to watch: Georgia international Mamuka Gorgodze has been immense for Toulon this season.Scarlets Wales centre Jonathan Davies is back at the Scarlets following a stint in France Champions Cup record: P129 W60 D2 L67Best finish: Semi-finals (1999-2000, 2006-07)Whats hot: The arrival of a host of star names to the club; the Welsh region has spent heavily during the off season in a bid for silverware. After a poor start, the Scarlets have won their last three PRO12 fixtures Whats not: Scarlets strength on paper is not being replicated on the pitch; they lost their first three PRO12 games this season. They have since snapped out of the losing streak by beating Connacht, Treviso and the Dragons in succession but have only played in fits and bursts.Whats changed: Lions centre Jonathan Davies has joined brother James in the squad, while Springbok prop Werner Kruger and Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders have also been brought into the fold.One to watch: Johnny McNicholl has been carving up defences in Super Rugby for some time and will be eager to start life at his new home with similar antics.Sale Sharks Former Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips has joined Sale from Racing 92 Champions Cup record: P49 W18 D0 L31Best finish: Quarter-finals (2005-06)Whats hot: Josh Beaumonts stock in English rugby is rising and with the task of leading a relatively inexperienced squad causing no apparent burden to the No 8, his contribution to the Sharks cause will be vital. Beaumont was recently part of Eddie Jones training squad so they 24-year-old is learning his trade at the top.Whats not: Injuries to key players. Rob Webber broke his arm on debut for the Sharks last month, while scrum-half Peter Stringer recently suffered the same injury to add to their woes. Sale do not have the kind of depth that other clubs can rely on and will be hoping the injuries dont derail their season early on. Josh Charnley is switching to rugby union after winning the Super League Grand Final with Wigan Whats changed: The loss of Danny Cipriani to Wasps is a big hole for Sale to fill but the arrival of AJ MacGinty from Connacht goes a long way to plugging that gap. Another big signing is that of Mike Phillips from Racing 92, who will have to step up in the absence of Stringer.One to watch: Josh Charnley is the latest rugby league player to cross the divide to try his hand at union. The Wigan winger recently starred for the Warriors in the Super League Grand Final and has promised more of the same pace and finishing at his new club.You can watch Champions Cup Rugby, Premier League football and the British Masters on Sky Sports. Upgrade now and enjoy three months at half price! Radko Gudas Jersey .A. Dickey, even though he was coming off a Cy Young Award in 2012. Many felt the Jays would regret giving up righthanded pitcher prospect Noah Syndergaard and catcher Travis DArnaud over the long haul. Robert Hagg Jersey . The Opening Day starter played 53 games this season hitting .192 with nine home runs and 25 RBI. Red Sox manager John Farrell has decided to start Jose Iglesias at third base as of late instead of Middlebrooks. . Its the second time this season that Milan has been sanctioned by the league judge, after fans also subjected Napoli supporters to discriminatory chants. The ban will come into effect for Milans next match, against Udinese on Oct.TORONTO - For over a month Nando De Colo was Torontos forgotten man, an afterthought at the bottom of a playoff-bound roster, a masked phantom lurking on the end of the Raptors bench. Who was he and why was he brought here? As the visitors locker room cleared out after Saturdays win in Milwaukee, a reporter approached De Colo, who was suddenly making an impact in an expanded role for his new, undermanned club. Curious about the origins of his first name, which isnt a traditional French moniker, said reporter asked the Raptors guard where it came from. "It came from my parents," he replied, straight-faced, flaunting a quick wit we didnt know he had. Up until last week we didnt know much about him at all. The acquisition of De Colo, trickling in minutes after the trade deadline passed, went under the radar. A player from the end of one bench exchanged for a player on the end of another. Masai Ujiri opted to hold onto Kyle Lowry and keep the band together, that was the headline. Austin Daye for De Colo was a footnote. Now, six weeks later, the move is owed some belated acknowledgement. Ujiri was familiar with De Colo having seen him play overseas and with the Spurs. He knew what he was getting. Dwane Casey was less acquainted with the second-year combo guard but was equally as intrigued by his intangibles and has been looking for a way to find him more playing time. With Lowry resting a sore knee, Casey has been provided that opportunity and De Colo, to his credit, is taking advantage of it. "Its what I was expecting and what we needed and wanted, as far as another ball handler," Casey told "That was the main thing we saw. We needed another guy that can handle the ball, to create, to be a passer, a facilitator, a transporter of the ball, to get it across the court. "Hes done that." In extended minutes, backing up and playing alongside temporary starter Greivis Vasquez, De Colo has been a sparkplug coming in off the bench to begin the month of April. Over the last two games hes tallied 11 assists to just three turnovers in 42 minutes of action. After easing into his new surroundings, De Colo no longer appears reluctant to let it fly. Hes shooting and scoring with confidence, something he lacked upon arriving in Toronto, playing sporadically last month. "Hes still learning our system," said Casey, "still getting comfortable and the more he gets comfortable the more hes going to knock down shots. I think were seeing that now." The easy explanation for his confidence boost is the increased playing time that has come as a result of Lowrys injury. Jaromir Jagr Jersey. "Im finding a rhythm," said De Colo, who has attempted 16 shots over the last three games, the same number he hoisted in his first 14 contests with the Raptors. "Im in shape after adjusting to find a rhythm of the game with a new team. Now I just try to play my game, try to be aggressive like everybody wants on the team and since then Ive been good." Since arriving from the Spurs, De Colo has been touted for his basketball intellect and decision-making ability. Teammates and coaches have cited his time playing for the venerable Gregg Popovich with a world-class organization in San Antonio, as well as his experience overseas - where he competed professionally from the age of 19 - and with the French national team. In a year and a half with the Spurs he was sent back and forth from the NBA Development League an astonishing total of nine times, a product of the close proximity between San Antonio and its D-League affiliate in Austin. More so than the path hes traveled to get here, De Colo credits his approach. "I think its something Ive always had in my game," he said. "I try to see what happens and make good decisions. I know I can pass the ball. I must be aggressive on this kind of team and I have to take the open shot." Casey has entrusted De Colo to run his offence, immediately vaulting him over the young Julyan Stone and Dwight Buycks in Torontos backcourt rotation. When Lowry makes his return - hes expected to be cleared this week - the Raptors head coach has a decision to make. Can he afford to juggle minutes for three point guards going into the playoffs or does De Colo go back to the end of the bench? Although Casey has been most impressed with him as the primary ball handler, its conceivable that the Raptors could feature more two point guard lineups in the postseason, when the defence is likely to apply more pressure on Lowry. Of equal importance, the Raptors need to find out what they have in De Colo, a free agent at the end of the season. If Lowry is retained this summer and Vasquez - a restricted free agent - proves too expensive, De Colo may make more sense as an affordable backup, assuming he continues to impress. All of a sudden, De Colo has become more than late-season bench fodder. The Raptors under-the-radar deadline acquisition has helped keep them afloat in the absence of their most important player and could continue paying out come playoff time, and beyond. Nando is a name worth remembering. 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