England head coach Eddie Jones said "someone is going to die" as he turned up the heat ahead of his side's Rugby World Cup blockbuster against Australia.

A spot in the World Cup semi-final will be up for grabs when England and rivals Australia meet in Oita on Saturday.

Expectations are high for England, who are led by former Wallabies coach Jones, and the 59-year-old Australian used ancient Japanese Warriors as a way to describe his team.

"How many samurai have we got: 23, mate. And we've got eight in the caves up there," Jones told reporters, pointing to the hills behind the England hotel in Beppu.

"That is where all the samurai lived. Every time the samurai fought, one lived, and one died. It will be the same on Saturday. Someone is going to live, and someone is going to die. That's what the game is about and that's the excitement. You get the best eight teams, all playing for their lives.

"The great thing about the World Cup is that every game is a knockout. No one has won a World Cup after losing a game and there is a reason for that. That's what I enjoy so much about a World Cup, every game is a knockout. Every game is potentially a knockout."

Jones, meanwhile, called on England skipper Owen Farrell to concentrate on himself after focusing on the team during the pool stage.

"The responsibility of being captain at the World Cup is much larger than normal test matches, because you're bringing a group of 31 players together for... how long have we been together now? Eight or nine weeks," Jones said.

"You get all the family issues. You go to the dinner table, one brother is happy, one brother is unhappy. Someone doesn't know if they are happy or not. He's the father of that group so to speak. His ability to delegate, to know what to say to players is a challenging experience for a young guy like him. He's coping with it really well. 

"I feel like sometimes, maybe earlier in the tournament, he spent too much time in the captaincy area and not enough on his own individual prep, but I've seen a real change in that this week.

"Why was [Australia cricket star] Steve Smith so successful in the Ashes? One of the reasons was he didn't have to worry about the bowling team, he didn't have to worry about setting fields. All he had to worry about was batting. It's much simpler when you're just a player. When you are captain, you've got more responsibilities, and as you go on as a captain you learn how to get the balance right.

"Owen is a warrior. He leads from the front, competes and he's tough. And that's what we've tried to produce in this team. We've got a tough team that competes hard and that's how we want to play. That's the England style of playing."

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the fastest player to reach 7,500 career passing yards in the NFL.

Chiefs star Mahomes made history after hitting the mark in only 24 games during Thursday's clash with the Denver Broncos.

Mahomes' 13-yard pass to Chiefs team-mate Travis Kelce saw him surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (27 games) for the record.

Reigning NFL MVP Mahomes etched himself into the history books prior to leaving the game with a knee injury.

Mahomes was ruled out for the remainder of the Chiefs-Broncos game after hurting his leg in the opening half in Denver.

The cart was initially called out for Mahomes, but he was able to walk off the field on his own power in the second quarter.

Mahomes had been dealing with an ankle injury coming into the game away to the Broncos.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel hailed "extraordinary" midfielder Marco Verratti after he wore the captain's armband for Italy during the international break.

PSG star Verratti captained Italy for the first time as the Azzurri routed Liechtenstein 5-0 in Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday.

Tuchel was full of praise for Verratti – who joined the French champions from Pescara in 2012 – ahead of Friday's Ligue 1 clash away to Nice.

"He deserved it [to captain Italy]," Tuchel told reporters. "He's a leader. Everybody can be a leader but not the way he does. The difference is in the little things.

"The five players I've been talking about [Marco Verratti, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe] are the leaders of our locker room and he does it in his own way with his spirit.

"He's always at 100 per cent and concerned about everybody's happiness. He shows great empathy. He can be a leader regarding that kind of things. On the pitch he has the skills.

"He plays fast and simple. He's amazing. He's an extraordinary player. We're very happy he's here with us."

Mbappe and Cavani are in the squad for PSG's trip to Nice, while world-record signing Neymar is absent due to a hamstring injury.

It is a boost for Tuchel, who could hand a start to PSG forward Mauro Icardi – who is on an initial loan deal from Inter.

"We can start to think about it [Cavani playing alongside Icardi] but it's different for Mauro," Tuchel said. "He hasn't reached 100 per cent yet but he has played with us in a few games.

"He showed that he could play in spite of some pain. He can play for us, he has defended and put intensity. He's very tactically disciplined. Now, he did two weeks with us, he wasn't with the Argentina team. It was good because he was able to be with us, we were able to work in terms of volume and intensity.

"It's difficult for him. We cannot make a full preparation for a single player now. It is not possible. He may have to play [Friday]. We cannot get him ready during two, three weeks, just for him, we cannot do that. It is a juggling exercise. Mauro can start without any doubt, he hasn't felt any pain for two weeks, he's ready I think."

Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes exited Thursday's NFL game against the Denver Broncos with a knee injury.

Reigning NFL MVP Mahomes appeared to hurt his leg after a quarterback sneak in the first half of the clash with the Broncos.

The cart was initially called out for Mahomes, but the Chiefs quarter was able to walk off the field on his own power in the second quarter.

Mahomes had been dealing with an ankle injury coming into the game at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver.

The Chiefs had lost their last two games to the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino played down reports of unrest at Spurs, highlighting his invitation to a team dinner.

Pochettino's future has come into question following Tottenham's poor start to the season following their memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League final.

There has been speculation that Tottenham players are unhappy with Pochettino's methods after just three wins from eight Premier League matches this term.

Spurs were also humiliated 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, while the club were stunned by League Two outfit Colchester United in the EFL Cup.

However, Pochettino said a dinner invitation from his players shows they are still behind him in London.

"When last week, you receive a text from the player inviting you and the coaching staff for a dinner only two things can happen," Pochettino said.

"Because they want to say goodbye. Or because they feel that they love you and they want to show that they are with you.

"And I think it's the second. They are not about to say goodbye to me. To say goodbye to me, say goodbye here. Not inviting me to dinner."

Tottenham host Watford on Saturday, with Spurs languishing in ninth position and 13 points off the pace.

Despite Tottenham's struggles and uncertainty over soon-to-be free agent Christian Eriksen, Pochettino is not expecting many departures or arrivals in January.

"I never was keen on January and I will not change now because it is a tough period or tough few games, I'm not going to change the way I think or see things," he said.

"We are not going to force anything because we believe the squad is a decent squad. Now we need to be strong our decision was right, because we are suffering a storm now we cannot now change quick.

"Now it's the time to be responsible. First me and then the players, everyone. My opinion, the way I love to work, is that when you take decisions in the summer and then you need to be responsible and then you need to find the way to make that work.

"For me, that's it. I am not talking about January with anyone. I told the players, for me, January is too far away. Because they know me, after five and a half years, that all the rumours and all the opinion, of course we need to respect all and we respect all, but what is going to happen sometimes is the complete opposite that people are saying."

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson will miss the team's final NBA preseason game with right knee soreness.

The Pelicans will face the New York Knicks on Friday without young star Williamson, it was announced on Thursday.

Williamson did not make the trip to New York and will remain in New Orleans to undergo further evaluation.

In four preseason games for the Pelicans this season, Williamson – the number one draft pick – has averaged 23.3 points.

The Pelicans open their regular-season campaign against defending champions the Toronto Raptors on October 22.

Veteran NBA forward Luol Deng signed with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday in order to retire as a member of the team.

A two-time All-Star from South Sudan, where he has worked to develop young basketball players, Deng was taken seventh overall by the Bulls in the 2004 NBA Draft.

"He was a role model on and off the court during his nine-plus years in Chicago, and he gave everything he had to help us win," Bulls president and COO Michael Reinsdorf said in a statement.

"I want to thank Luol for not only what he accomplished on the court for the team, but also for the leadership he demonstrated through his philanthropic efforts."

In 902 NBA games over 15 seasons with the Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves he averaged 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 34.3 minutes per game.

The 34-year-old averaged 15.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in 62 playoff games in seven postseasons, six with Chicago and one with Miami.

John Paxson, Bulls executive VP of basketball operations, said Deng would be remembered for "the fierce competitiveness he brought to both ends of the floor every night."

Deng ranks in the top five on the Bulls all-time list for minutes (fifth, 22,882), points (fourth, 10,286), field goals made (fifth, 3,987) and attempted (fifth, 8,675) and steals (fifth, 639).

He led the Bulls in scoring in 2011-12 (15.3 ppg) and 2012-13 (16.5 ppg).

The Bulls will honour Deng at a game to be determined later this season.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hit back at "insulting" claims that the Red Devils are being run by the wrong people and insisted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to manage the club.

United have made their worst start to a league campaign since 1989-90, recording just two wins from their eight Premier League matches so far to languish in 12th place with nine points.

Going further back, the Red Devils have won six of their last 23 matches in all competitions – including a penalty shoot-out win over Rochdale United in the EFL Cup – and welcome unbeaten league leaders Liverpool to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Ahead of the showdown fixture, Woodward urged supporters to remain patient and get behind manager Solskjaer, who signed a permanent contract in March after impressing during a three-month caretaker spell in charge.

"The middle section of last season, after Ole's arrival, feels most relevant to what we want to achieve and where we want to be," said Woodward at the club's annual all-staff meeting on Thursday. 

"We saw a team playing fast, fluid football, with a clear representation of the style and philosophy the manager wants.

"Ole has also instilled the discipline back into an environment where we may have lacked it in recent years. He is building a squad that respects the club's history, in which players work hard and respect their team-mates. No-one is bigger than the club."

United spent around £140million on Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and club-record signing Harry Maguire after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season.

But the 13-time Premier League champions allowed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to depart for Inter without bringing in a replacement, leaving Solskjaer light of options in attack.

That has led to further criticism of Woodward's lack of football acumen, with allegations that he is more focused on commercial deals worldwide than making United a title-winning force.

Responding to those claims, Woodward said: "The reality of Manchester United is we are a club in two parts. First of all, we are an incredible 141-year footballing institution with all that history, all that legacy, all that tradition and that tradition of success. 

"That can never, ever change. We need to keep that protected... what's important is the commercial side is never allowed to take priority over the football side.

"Like other football clubs, our commercial business allows us to reinvest in the football side. It's how these two interact with each other at Manchester United that results in us having a competitive advantage in this area.

"There is a myth that we have non-football people making football decisions, and I think it's insulting to the brilliant people who work on the football side in this club.

"Many of the senior staff on the football side of the club have been in their roles for over 10 years. Some of our scouts have worked with us for more than 25 years.

"We've expanded our recruitment department in recent years and we believe this now runs in an efficient and productive way. Player recommendations and decisions are worked on by this department and by the first-team manager and his staff, not by senior management."

Jalen Ramsey is on the Los Angeles Rams' roster, but we have no idea if he will play this week or not.

All that and more in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Rams noncommittal on Ramsey's Week 7 availability

Los Angeles acquired star cornerback Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars for their 2020 and 2021 first-round picks in addition to a 2021 fourth-round pick on Wednesday, but Rams head coach Sean McVay might not want to put the team's newest addition to work right away.

"The goal is to be able to do that, but we'll be smart about it," McVay told reporters. "I think that we definitely want to have the intent to get him ready to go and we'll always make smart decisions. But, yes, that's the goal."

Ramsey has missed the last three games with a back injury, though some reports suggest it was a ploy to get the Jaguars to give into his trade request.

"I hope so. We'll see," Ramsey said when asked Wednesday at his introductory press conference if he'll make his Rams debut Sunday in Atlanta. "I've been missing football, I love football, so I would love that, but at the end of the day, we do have to be smart."

Chargers could get boost with Okung return

The Los Angeles Chargers have struggled with injuries this season, but the star offensive tackle could give the team the confidence they need entering a crucial matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

"I've been looking forward to this day for several weeks and I'm excited to officially announce that I will be back to football as early as Week 7," Russell Okung said.

Okung revealed he experienced "unusual chest pain at practice" on June 1 and decided to visit urgent care, where it was revealed he suffered a pulmonary embolism, a serious condition in which a blood clot gets lodged in an artery in the lung. He was told by doctors that the decision to seek treatment likely saved his life.

He has not played in months, but apparently is ready to make his comeback.

Mosley participates in individual drills 

The New York Jets already got a boost with Sam Darnold back, and more help could be on the way. Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley will be back on the field for the first time since Week 1, giving optimism that he could be available to play against the New England Patriots on Monday. Jets coach Adam Gase added there is hope Mosley will do more in Friday and Saturday's practices to ensure he will be ready to go.

Mosley has been dealing with a groin injury, but New York have opted to take a more cautious approach with one of their best defensive players early in the season.

Two things that don't matter

Seahawks will embrace Thomas' return to Seattle

Veteran Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas did not exactly leave the Seattle Seahawks on the best terms, but the two sides appear to have put their differences aside to share a mutual respect.

"Earl was a great football player for us in the years he was here. We loved what he did — his uniqueness and his style of play," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Thursday. "The way he practiced and his focus was somewhat unmatchable. We just couldn't stay together forever, you know. Couldn't figure out how to do that. But wish him the best and looking forward to [Sunday].

"When we know guys, we like playing against them. You've got relationships and it's fun to see them out there and it's fun to go against them. There's nothing we like more than beating the guys that we love."

A.J. Green still has "a little ways to go" in rehab

The Cincinnati Bengals receiver has struggled to get healthy since suffering an ankle injury early in training camp and undergoing surgery in late July but told reporters he is progressing with the injury.

Cincinnati will host the Jaguars in Week 7, a game A.J. Green is unlikely to play, then head overseas to play the Rams in London before the team's Week 9 bye. It is possible Green could return in Week 10 against the Ravens, assuming the Bengals do not deal him before the October 29 trade deadline.

One video you have to see

It is Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys week, and Stephen A. Smith is FIRED up.

Thursday's tweet of the day

Former Denver Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware is pumped for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to visit on Thursday.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard is against the idea of increasing the number of Champions League group matches as he fears it could lead to player burnout.

European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli has proposed a restructuring of the competition's format to prevent it becoming predictable.

Plans to include as many as 96 teams and bring in a promotion and relegation system were shelved last month, but discussions are still ongoing as to how to revamp the Champions League from 2024-25 onward.

Lampard is managing in UEFA's flagship tournament for the first time this season and does not believe it is feasible to squeeze more fixtures into an already congested calendar.

"At the minute, I think the level is about right," he said at an event organised by the umbrella organisation European Leagues. "The competition is good. I like the format personally.

"If you ask me can we play more European games, I personally don't know where you'd fit them in amongst our busy schedule.

"I always find it hard with the players to keep the quality level and the freshness within the team, so I think if we did do that there would be a lot of discussion about how that worked practically.

"As a manager, I actually feel the weight of games more than I did as a player, even though I was running around as a player. 

"You're thinking about how can you keep the team fresh, and it's a challenge with all the competitions we have now."

Asked if scrapping the EFL Cup to make room for more European fixtures is a possible solution, Lampard said: "I have a soft spot for the League Cup because I won it a couple of times at Chelsea [as a player].

"It was the first competition I ever won. Domestically it gives teams a feeling you can compete on a level in a cup at home, which is important."

Andy Murray moved into the quarter-finals by beating Pablo Cuevas after the top three seeds crashed out of the European Open, while Fabio Fognini was dumped out in Stockholm on Thursday.

Murray produced another encouraging performance in Antwerp, reaching the last eight of a singles tournament for the second time since returning to the ATP Tour following a hip resurfacing operation in January.

The former world number one saw off eighth seed Cuevas 6-4 6-3 after saving all four break points he faced, winning 82 per cent of points on his first serve and 74 per cent behind his second.

Murrray started strongly and dominated from the back of the court, finishing Cuevas off with back-to-back aces to ensure he will take on Marius Copil.

Copil ousted Diego Schwartzman 6-4 5-7 7-6 (9-7), while top seed Gael Monfils went down 6-3 6-2 to 18-year-old Italian outsider Jannik Sinner and David Goffin, the second seed, was thumped 6-3 6-1 by Ugo Humbert in his homeland.

Jan-Lennard Struff was another seed to fall in the second round, losing 6-3 6-4 to Frances Tiafoe.

Janko Tipsarevic's retirement will have to wait until another day after he hammered ATP Finals contender Fognini 6-1 6-1 to move into the quarter-finals of the Stockholm Open.

Tipsarevic lost just four points on his first serve and will take on lucky loser Yuichi Sugita, who beat Stefano Travaglia in straight sets.

Fourth seed Denis Shapovalov got the better of Alexei Popyrin 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in the Swedish capital, with Pablo Carreno Busta and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe also victorious.

Marin Cilic beat fellow Croatian Ivo Karlovic 6-1 7-6 (7-5) to book a Kremlin Cup quarter-final showdown with Jeremy Chardy, who came out on top against Miomir Kecmanovic.

Andrey Rublev and lucky loser Nikola Milojevic came through their second-round matches versus Egor Gerasimov and Alen Avidzba respectively in Moscow.

Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green says he is unlikely to face Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday as he has "a little way to go" in his recovery from an ankle injury.

Green did the damage in training camp and underwent surgery in late July, but returned to practice last week.

The 31-year-old was unable to practice on Thursday, though, and he will not rush his comeback. 

"I'm just taking my time. I'm not sore. I just have to take my time," Green said. "If I can go, I can go. If I can't, I can't. It's no big thing. Like I said from day one, if I'm healthy enough to play then I'm going to play. Right now, I still have a little way to go.

"You can't just throw me into game week where I got to play 60 snaps where I haven't practiced.

"I'm the type of guy where I need my practice time and then as I feel good in practice then my confidence gets higher to be able to play a full game at a high level. 'Oh, A.J., you just need to play 20 snaps.’ No. If I'm full-go, then I'm full-go. No limitations."

There has been speculation around Green's long-term future, but coach Zac Taylor definitively said last week: "We are not trading that guy."

Green said on Thursday: "I've been in this league a long time. I already know the ins and outs. At the end of the day, it’s a business. This is the business and I respect anything that happens.

"But it’s always good that the head coach comes out [and says he will not trade a player]. But it didn't take any pressure off me. Like, I didn't hear anything."

Green, 31, has made seven Pro Bowls over his eight-year career. He caught 46 passes for 694 yards with six touchdowns in nine games last season.

 

 

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has been the best coach in the Premier League over the past four years, according to Watford counterpart Quique Sanchez Flores.

A run of three wins in Tottenham's opening 11 games of the campaign has led to questions being asked of Pochettino's future, just four months after guiding the club to the Champions League final.

Spurs suffered heavy defeats to Bayern Munich and Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break and return to action with a home match against Watford on Saturday.

Watford head coach Flores knows Pochettino well from their time playing in LaLiga and holds the Argentinian in high regard, claiming that he has outperformed the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in recent times.

"I love him. He is the best coach in the Premier League in the last four years, in my opinion," Flores said at Thursday's pre-match news conference.

"When I was last at Watford I thought he was the best coach in the way he moved the team and the way the team played.

"Of course now it is a difficult moment for him and for the team, but for me he is the best coach in the last four years in the Premier League."

Tottenham have lost more games in all competitions in 2019 than any other Premier League side and are ninth in the top flight after eight games of the 2019-20 campaign.

Asked if he expects Pochettino to stay in charge of Tottenham for the long term, Sanchez added: "It is up to you, the critics, not me. It depends on the results. The results bring in the critics."

Veronika Kudermetova upset top seed Elina Svitolina in the second round of the Kremlin Cup and Jelena Ostapenko fought back to knock Elise Mertens out of the Luxembourg Open on Thursday.

Kudermetova came out on top in her first match against a top-five opponent, defeating Svitolina 6-1 2-6 7-5 in Moscow.

The 22-year-old Russian wrapped up the opening set in only 28 minutes and came from 2-0 down in the decider to move into the quarter-finals.

Kudermetova's attacking approach paid off, world number four Svitolina showing resolve in the final set but missing out on a last-eight showdown with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Second seed Kiki Bertens advanced with 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory over Kaia Kanepi, while Pavlyuchenkova won an all-Russian contest with Varvara Gracheva 5-7 6-4 6-2.

Kristina Mladenovic will face Bertens after battling her way past sixth seed Anastasija Sevastova 7-5 3-6 6-3.

The top seed also bowed out Luxembourg, with Ostapenko digging deep to see off Mertens 4-6 6-2 6-2.

Ostapenko, runner-up to Coco Gauff at the Linz Open last weekend, will now come up against Antonia Lottner, who went through when Andrea Petkovic retired with a knee injury after losing the first set 6-1.

Defending champion Julie Goerges saw off Sorana Cirstea 4-6 6-4 6-4, while Anna Blinkova and Monica Puig also made it through, defeating Kristyna Pliskova 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-6 (8-6). 

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