Monthly Archives: February 2019

Rio Ferdinand insists there should be no concerns about Manchester United’s pre-season form even though Sevilla condemned the Premier League champions to a third defeat in seven games.


United manager David Moyes has endured a difficult opening few weeks in charge, with an indifferent set of results adding to the anxiety caused by Wayne Rooney’s desire to leave Old Trafford and the failure to add new signings.

England striker Rooney, 27, trained with the reserves on Thursday and Friday, undergoing more intensive sessions rather than working with the players that were set to feature in Ferdinand’s testimonial against Sevilla on Friday.

Rooney returned from the pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia after one day with a hamstring injury and missed Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Swedish side AIK with a shoulder problem.

He was not even at the ground for Ferdinand’s match, which saw Moyes’ side beaten 3-1 in his first match in charge at Old Trafford, making it 13 goals conceded in his first seven games.

United now have just Sunday’s Community Shield against Wigan at Wembley before starting the defence of their Premier League title at Swansea next weekend.

After that they face a difficult run of matches, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City providing the opposition in three of the next four games.

But centre-back Ferdinand, 34, maintains there is no reason to worry despite the underwhelming early results under Moyes, who replaced the retired Alex Ferguson at the end of last season.

“There is a frustration. We want to win every game so to lose is disappointing but it’s lucky there weren’t three points at stake,” he said.

“The Community Shield is a big game and it’s a chance to win silverware so we want to win.

“But the most important game coming up is the Swansea game because we want to retain our league title.”

Sevilla were in Europa League action on Thursday, but just 24 hours later they were the sharper side at Old Trafford, with Diego Perotti cutting the United defence open for Vitolo to open the scoring and Vitolo laying on a goal for on-loan Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin.

Antonio Valencia pulled one back when he finished off a cross to the far post from Adnan Januzaj, but Bryan Labello scored a third for the visitors from a Kevin Gameiro pass.

Although issues such as Rooney’s future continue to dominate, Moyes cannot fail to have been impressed with the form of Belgian youngster Januzaj in pre-season, while Jesse Lingard has also staked a claim for permanent involvement in the first-team squad with a string of good performances.

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A student magazine has brought Australia’s censorship laws into public debate, after its front cover, featuring uncensored photos of 18 students’ vaginas, was deemed a criminal offense.


To see a censored version of the cover, scroll down (NSFW).

Sydney University’s Honi Soit magazine is named after French motto: Honi soit qui mal y pense or ‘Shame upon he who thinks evil of it’. The phrase has become particularly significant as the magazine editors and Student Representative Council (SRC) debate whether the cover, which was intended to “empower” women about their bodies, should be censored.

Update: all the Honis on campus are being seized by the SRC, guillotining pending because of the transparency of the black bars #vaginasoit

— Honi Soit (@honi_soit) August 21, 2013

The university’s SRC says by displaying “indecent articles”, the Honi Soit’s cover is in breach of section 578 of the Crimes Act; a criminal offence punishable by up to 12 months in prison.

Women’s blog, Mamamia, writes that after being advised by the SRC, the magazine editors decided to publish the cover with opaque black boxes over the most ‘indecent articles’.

But a printing error meant that the boxes came out as transparent, prompting the SRC to cease all 4000 copies.

In a statement on the magazine’s Facebook page, the editors said the purpose of the cover was allow women to see their bodies in a non-sexualised way.

We are tired of vaginas being either artificially sexualised (see: porn) or stigmatised (see: censorship and airbrushing). We are tired of being pressured to be sexual, and then being shamed for being sexual.

The editors go on to say that women are not exposed to “normal” vaginas and are therefore uncomfortable with their own.

“We believe that the fact that more than 1200 Australian women a year get labioplasty is a symptom of a serious problem. How can society both refuse to look at our body part, call it offensive, and then demand it look a certain way?”

The controversy, which has been dubbed #Vaginasoit on Twitter has become a topic of public debate with singer and feminist Amanda Palmer voicing her support of the cover in her blog (photo NSFW).

“Speaking as a vulva-owner with a labia the size of rhode island, i think it’s very nice to see vulvas portrayed in their natural states,” she writes.

“Since porn images generally depict such a skewed view, where else are women going to see reality, if not…on tumblr?”


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Losing their tails gave early birds an evolutionary leg-up that helped them compete with their dinosaur cousins, research has shown.


Birds only developed a versatile, adaptive range of hind limbs after radical shortening of their bony reptilian tails, according to a fossil study.

The change triggered a burst of evolution that enabled birds to adapt to different habitats and lifestyles 155 to 120 million years ago.

Today they still carry the results of that transformation in the form of talons, tall stilts, perching claws and webbed paddles.

Development of such a different array of legs was a bigger driver of bird evolution than powered flight, scientists believe.

“These early birds were not as sophisticated as the birds we know today,” said study leader Dr Roger Benson, from Oxford University’s Department of Earth Sciences.

“If modern birds have evolved to be like stealth bombers then these were more like biplanes.

“Yet what surprised us was that despite some still having primitive traits, such as teeth, these early birds display an incredibly diverse array of versatile legs.”

The team conducted measurements of the legs of ancient birds and their dinosaur relatives to compare their rate of evolution.

Changes occurred faster in the birds, examples of which included Confuciusornis, Eoenantiornis and Hongshanornis.

The findings appear in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Our work shows that, whilst they may have started off as just another type of dinosaur, birds quickly made a rather special evolutionary breakthrough that gave them abilities and advantages that their dinosaur cousins didn’t have,” said Benson.

“Key to this special ‘birdness’ was losing the long bony dinosaur tail. As soon as this happened it freed up their legs to evolve to become highly versatile and adaptable tools that opened up new ecological niches.”

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The All Blacks will target uncapped five-eighth Matt Toomua in a bid to starve Australia’s hungry backs and ultimately deny the Wallabies first blood in the Bledisloe Cup opener on Saturday night.


New Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has surprisingly thrust Toomua into the playmaking hot seat, leaving Quade Cooper to wait for his chance off the bench, and the All Blacks are making no secret of their intentions to make life as difficult as possible for the Test rookie.

Back for his first Test in almost nine months after a well-earned sabbatical, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw on Friday said the world champions needed to shut down Toomua to cut off Australia’s ball supply to match-winning winger Israel Folau.

“I have been impressed with the way he led the Brumbies around the park,” McCaw said after New Zealand’s brief captain’s run at ANZ Stadium.

“We have to make sure we don’t allow him to do that. It’s up to us to deny him time and good ball and put him under pressure. That’s one of our jobs.

“Test rugby is different, but you look across the skills of those guys and there’s no reason why they can’t do a job if it’s put on a plate for them.”

Wallabies vice-captain Will Genia, who will partner Toomua in the halves, has no doubts the 23-year-old will handle himself in the Bledisloe cauldron.

“He’s a very composed sort of guy,” Genia said.

“He’s been thrown the five-eighth jumper for his first Test against the All Blacks, but he’s taken it in his stride throughout the week and I’ll be expecting nothing less tomorrow.”

Folau has enjoyed a spectacular first season in the code, bagging a tryscoring double on his Test debut against the British and Irish Lions before being crowned Australia’s Super Rugby rookie of the year last week.

McCaw said the dual international must be contained.

“He’s a skilful athlete. He’s a big man. His skills under the high ball and what-not is pretty good but, again, if we don’t give him much time to show those, hopefully we can limit his impact,” McCaw said.

McCaw’s only game time since New Zealand suffered a shock loss to England at Twickenham last November has been an 80-minute club match, two late bench appearances for the Crusaders and half a game against Canterbury in an All Blacks squad hitout last Friday.

Yet the ironman flanker was still preparing to last the full 80 minutes in his 118th Test match.

“I feel mentally in a good shape and I’ve done a lot of training,” he said.

He admitted the All Blacks would miss destructive blindside flanker Liam Messam, a late scratching with a hamstring strain, and said the onus was on him and his replacement Steven Luatua to step up.

“The way he’s played this year, especially with the Chiefs and what he did for us last year, he definitely brings a real physical edge and not having him there, I guess he’s left a bit of a hole,” McCaw said.

The All Blacks arrived an hour and a half late for their captain’s run and only spent 20 minutes getting a feel for the stadium during a light run on match eve.

“We did a few lineouts in a gym nearby,” McCaw said.

“We thought we would do it away from prying eyes.”

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Mark Harvey didn’t want another head coaching job, nor an AFL milestone, but he’s getting both at the Brisbane Lions with the added irony of a showdown with his “wily old fox” of a mentor on Saturday night.


Harvey has been thrust into a battle of wits with his former Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy at the Gabba on Saturday night after being handed the Lions top post for the rest of the season.

On top of 206 games over 14 years as a player, the triple-premiership winner spent eight seasons as an assistant to Sheedy at the Bombers.

Harvey laughs at the irony of his return to head coaching, two years after his sudden Fremantle exit, but doesn’t expect Sheedy’s Greater Western Sydney catching Brisbane by surprise.

“He’s a wily old fox and I know all his tricks,” Harvey said.

“I hope he’s progressed in his coaching the last couple of years since we departed.

“Otherwise we’ll get a shock (on Saturday).”

Harvey rates Sheedy, retiring at the end of the season, along with Ron Barassi as the best coaching visionary the game has seen.

But he can boast a 1-0 record over the four-time premiership coach, leading the Dockers to a 63-point win over Essendon in just his fourth game in charge in 2007 – Sheedy’s last season at Windy Hill.

After coaching Fremantle for 97 games from 2007 to 2011, the next three rounds will see the reluctant Harvey bring up his century of senior games as a coach.

And that’s where his record will stay after confirming on Friday that he sees himself better suited to the strategy and list management role of a senior assistant coach.

But he’s determined to ensure the improving Lions emphatically respond to the axing of Michael Voss with a strong performance against the underdog Giants and end the year in style.

“That will be interesting and you don’t really know that until tomorrow night,” said Harvey.

“We’ve got to get on with the job now.

“The players have showed a lot of promise this year, and we have to finish it off now.”

Veteran ruckman Dean Brogan will line up for GWS among five changes to the side which was thumped by 113 points to Fremantle last week.

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