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Ireland waiting on key duo

first_img O’Driscoll and Sexton are struggling with respective calf and hamstring problems and are rated doubtful for Sunday’s Aviva Stadium showdown with the All Blacks. Forwards coach John Plumtree insists time is on the duo’s side as they seek to recover for Ireland’s final match of the year. “We were very average against Australia and we’re very disappointed with that performance. We scrummed poorly,” Plumtree said. “We conceded a soft try from their drive which the boys are fuming at. “We knew it was coming, but we didn’t execute the plan we had in place, which makes it doubly irritating. “There’s been an extra edge in the forwards this week and there has to be. “We’re playing against probably the best side in the world and the pack needs to front up big time. “As a pack New Zealand are the ultimate test. It doesn’t get any tougher than this and we were irritated with our performance last week.” Brian O’Driscoll and Jonathan Sexton missed training on Wednesday but Ireland remain hopeful they will be passed fit for the climax to the Guinness Series against New Zealand. “It’s hard to say if they’ll be available. The nice thing is that we’ve got a long turnaround this week,” Plumtree said. “It’s only Wednesday, so they’ve got a day off on Thursday and then come in on Friday. “We’ve got that extra day which is great and hopefully by the time they come in on Friday they’ll be feeling a lot better.” O’Driscoll’s absence would be a bitter pill to swallow for both player and country given it will be his last chance to play New Zealand before retiring at the end of the season. There was more promising news over the availability of full-back Rob Kearney, who was able to train on Wednesday as he continues his rehabilitation from a rib problem. “Rob trained all right. I’m not sure how he’s feeling afterwards, but he took part full in the session, which was good. I’m sure he’ll be all right,” Plumtree said. The British and Irish Lions trio played in Saturday’s 32-15 defeat by Australia, a bitterly disappointing result and performance that saw Ireland beaten 4-0 on the try count. Plumtree was angry with the display of his pack and warned them a substantial improvement is required if they are to compete with the All Blacks. Press Associationlast_img read more


Central Ark. looks to sweep McNeese St.

first_img Associated Press Central Ark. looks to sweep McNeese St. LEADING THE WAY: The do-everything Sha’markus Kennedy has averaged a double-double (17.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and three blocks) to lead the charge for the Cowboys. A.J. Lawson is also a key facilitator, producing 16.3 points and four assists per game. The Bears are led by Rylan Bergersen, who is averaging 14.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.DIALING IT UP A NOTCH: The Bears have scored 80.3 points per game and allowed 78 points per game against Southland opponents. Those are both nice improvements over the 68.8 points scored and 94.8 points allowed per game to non-conference opponents.OFFENSIVE THREAT: Lawson has accounted for 43 percent of all McNeese State field goals over the last three games. The junior guard has 19 field goals and 18 assists in those games.WINNING WHEN: McNeese State is a perfect 7-0 when it turns the ball over 13 times or fewer. The Cowboys are 5-11 when they record more than 13 turnovers. Central Arkansas has forced 14.3 turnovers per game in conference play and 15 per game over its last three.THREAT BEHIND THE ARC: McNeese State’s Dru Kuxhausen has attempted 188 3-pointers and connected on 50.5 percent of them, and is 17 for 33 over the last five games. February 6, 2020center_img Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditCentral Arkansas (7-16, 6-6) vs. McNeese State (12-11, 7-5)H&HP Complex, Lake Charles, Louisiana; Saturday, 4 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: McNeese State seeks revenge on Central Arkansas after dropping the first matchup in Conway. The teams last played on Jan. 4, when the Bears outshot McNeese State from the field 48.1 percent to 41.7 percent and hit five more 3-pointers en route to a 10-point victory. DID YOU KNOW: The McNeese State offense has scored 80.9 points per game this season, ranking the Cowboys 12th nationally. The Central Arkansas defense has allowed 84.1 points per game to opponents (ranked 321st).___For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25___This was generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.comlast_img read more