Eddie Jones insists he did not intend to criticise US Open champion Emma Raducanu in his recent comments about young sportspeople coping with "distractions".

The England rugby union head coach referred to Raducanu on Saturday when discussing the possibility that fly-half Marcus Smith could face "a flood of distractions" after an impressive cameo in his team's 69-3 win against Tonga.

Jones received criticism after suggesting the 18-year-old Brit had underperformed since she won her first grand slam in September, when she became the first qualifier in tennis history to win a major.

"There's a reason why the girl who won the US Open [Raducanu] hasn't done so well afterwards. What have you seen her on? The front page of Vogue, the front page of Harper's Bazaar, whatever it is, wearing Christian Dior clothes," Jones said at the weekend.

However, he has attempted to clarify his comments, claiming he was not directly criticising Raducanu.

"The whole point was how difficult it is for young players to cope with distractions," Jones told BBC Sport.

"So, the point I made was not wrong. I can't control if it's taken out of context. There was no criticism of Emma.

"I have sent her a letter just to reinforce that and hopefully we'll see her at Twickenham shortly.

"I don't have any misgivings about what I said – I am disappointed it was taken out of context, and I would be disappointed if Emma was upset by it.

"It was deemed as being sexist and that was never the aim of the point."

Raducanu's season came to a frustrating end on Tuesday as she sustained a thigh injury in the process of being knocked out of the Linz Open – in which she was the top seed – by Chinese qualifier Wang Xinyu 6-1 6-7 (0-7) 7-5.

However, the British number one did confirm Torben Beltz as her new coach afterwards, having parted with Andrew Richardson a couple of weeks after her historic US Open success.

 

Azeem Rafiq described himself as "incredibly hurt" after England captain Joe Root said he could not recall witnessing racism at Yorkshire.

An independent report upheld former Yorkshire spinner Rafiq's allegations that he had been the victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his time with the county.

Yorkshire carried out their own internal investigation following the findings of the report and concluded no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives warranted disciplinary measures.

The England and Wales Cricket Board last week suspended Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches in response to the club's "wholly unacceptable" handling of Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism.

Yorkshire batsman Root addressed the scandal in a statement on Friday, saying it had "fractured our game" and "torn lives apart".

However, in a subsequent media interview, the England skipper was asked if he had witnessed racism in his time at the county and replied: "Not that I can recall, no... but it's clear things have happened at the club."

Shortly after those quotes were released, Rafiq posted on Twitter: "Disappointed is not even the feeling. Incredibly hurt. But uncomfortable truths are hard to accept it seems."

He added no further comment or explanation, but it was reported Rafiq's post was in relation to Root's interview.

Mark Arthur, Yorkshire's CEO, resigned on Friday with immediate effect, following chairman Roger Hutton and other board members.

Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Mason Mount and Luke Shaw remain doubts for England's World Cup qualifier against Albania, but Jack Grealish is back in training and is set to be available for the clash at Wembley Stadium on Friday.

It will be the Three Lions' final home game of the year and a win will see them move within one point of qualifying for Qatar 2022 from Group I, assuming second-placed Poland do not fail to win in Andorra.

The England manager has already lost Marcus Rashford, James Ward-Prowse and Declan Rice to injury from his initial squad, with Emile Smith Rowe the only replacement called up.

Speaking at a media conference on Thursday, when asked about the availability of Mount (dental) and Shaw (concussion), Southgate said "I've got to check in with our medical staff for our update. The longer it goes, the more unlikely it is.

"Mason has to recover from his dental surgery. Luke didn't pass his [head injury assessment] after the first day and rightly, we have to follow the guidelines with that.

"Jack Grealish has trained and is ready if required."

Southgate was asked how Arsenal youngster Smith Rowe has settled into the squad after his first senior call-up.

"He has settled really well," he added. "He obviously knows a couple of his club teammates and Phil [Foden] from the U17s. This is a group that makes new players very welcome so it's not a difficult environment to settle in and his quality has been apparent from the way he has trained.

"We have always worked on the basis that we need a strong squad because you will get injuries. We have depth and we have players who have been waiting for opportunities to play."

England captain Harry Kane was also present at the media conference and emphasised the need for he and his team-mates to brush off the disappointment of their 1-1 draw at Wembley in their previous qualifier against Hungary.

Kane said "Whenever you have a disappointing game, or you don't reach the standards you normally reach, it kind of wakes you up a little bit and makes you realise there's still work to do, still more to improve on.

"Three points from that game would have really helped towards securing qualification, so now it's about turning it round and responding to that game. We've had a great week of preparation but it's all about performing when the pressure's on and the team have done that before."

Kane was also asked about his own start to the season, having scored only once in his first 10 Premier League games for Tottenham. He was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City in the last transfer window, but denied that it has had an influence on his performances.

"Losing a European final for your country at Wembley will probably stay with me the rest of my career. You never really get over those things, unless we go and win a major tournament. That always stings but I'm pretty used to getting back into things," Kane said.

"There was a lot of speculation over the summer, that's the first real time that's happened to me. But that's part and parcel of being a big player, having to deal with those situations, and I think I dealt with it well. Now it's about focusing. There's still a long way to go at club level and we've got these two games to finish off what's been a great calendar year [for England]."

Australia's chief selector George Bailey has confirmed Marcus Harris will open in the first Ashes Test against England at the Gabba.

Harris only averages 23.77 from 19 Test innings, with the second of his two half-centuries coming against India in January 2019 after scoring his first in the same series.

The 29-year-old staked a strong claim by making a 19th first-class hundred for Victoria against New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield last month.

Bailey says Harris deserves his chance to open along with David Warner in the opening Test against England in Brisbane, which starts on December 8.

"It gives you great confidence as a selector when you know your opening batters are locked away as far as a Test series go," Bailey told RSN radio.

"It's a hard spot to bat and to get those places settle, it's really important. Harry's only had a limited opportunity in the past, and he's been in and out a bit, so we'd love nothing more than for him to hopefully to get an opportunity to get an extended run at it.

"What we have liked is his consistency. He's obviously been a prolific run-scorer at domestic level here, but also love the fact he went overseas and had a great year for Leicester as well."

Will Pucovski would have been a rival for Harris at the top of the order, but suffered another concussion setback.

Marcus Smith starts at fly-half and Owen Farrell returns at inside centre, while Manu Tuilagi moves to the wing when England face Australia on Saturday.

Smith came off the bench in the 69-3 thrashing of Tonga last weekend but will make his third Test start in place of George Furbank against the Wallabies at Twickenham.

Captain Farrell comes back into the team after missing the drubbing of the Pacific island nation due to his positive coronavirus test.

Tuilagi shifts from midfield to the right wing, with Jonny May on the other flank, and Maro Itoje will make his 50th appearance for his country in an unchanged pack.

Bevan Rodd and Raffi Quirke could make their debuts off the bench, but Joe Marler will not feature after the prop tested positive for COVID-19.

England head coach Eddie Jones said: "We know this will be a tough test for us, we're playing against a team who have been together a while and who have beat the world champions twice. As an Australian, I know how much this game means.

"We've had a really good week of preparation, we're looking to improve our performance this week and I think this side is building well."

England: Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May, Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry.

Replacements: Jamie Blamire, Bevan Rodd, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Alex Dombrandt, Sam Simmonds, Raffi Quirke, Max Malins.

Eoin Morgan hopes to be back leading England at next year's T20 World Cup after New Zealand narrowly ended his side's hopes of glory at the 2021 tournament.

New Zealand claimed a dramatic five-wicket victory in the first semi-final, chasing down 167 to book a place in the final against either Pakistan or Australia.

The 2022 event in Australia will offer England another opportunity to get over the line in the shortest form of the international game, having also suffered heartbreak in 2016 when they lost the final to West Indies.

Morgan will be 36 by then but still expects to be leading England, who are seeking another title on the global stage after their famous 50-over Cricket World Cup success in 2019.

"I hope to be back, I am still offering enough within the side and I absolutely love playing cricket at the moment for this changing room," Morgan said after the defeat.

"The guys give absolutely everything; they are always looking to get better.

"They are at the forefront of change both on and off the field and we have a lot of things to be proud about – not just on the field – so I am incredibly proud to be their leader.

"I can't fault anything that we've done, we have fought unbelievably hard and represented ourselves well, but came up short. 

"I am incredibly proud of the guys – they have given absolutely everything throughout this tournament." 

It was Daryl Mitchell's brilliant unbeaten half-century that put New Zealand into a first T20 World Cup final.

England posted 166-4 after being put in by Kane Williamson, Moeen Ali top scoring with 51 not out off 37 balls and Dawid Malan (41 from 30) also playing a big hand.

New Zealand were in big trouble on 13-2 early in the run chase but a stand of 82 between Mitchell and Devon Conway (46 from 38) put the game in the balance.

A pulsating contest swung in New Zealand's favour when Chris Jordan conceded 23 runs from a 17th over that saw Jimmy Neesham (27 off 10) cut loose, and Mitchell (72no from 47) sent the Black Caps – who had needed 57 to win off the final four overs – through with six balls to spare.

Morgan felt his side were in with a chance until the final moments, adding: "We knew both sides were close in skill and play a good brand of cricket. 

"Full credit to Kane and his team, they outplayed us – unfortunately we have come out the wrong side in a tight game.

"It's hard to identify the key moments, I thought we were right in the game through our innings and then right until the 17th or 18th over. It was key at the end – they built up until they had to push the button, then it came good, their game plan came off. 

"Up until that point we had held them at bay to give ourselves a chance of winning.

"It was a sluggish pitch and we struggled to hit sixes when we batted, we hung in there, changed our game plan, adapted to conditions and posted probably a par score.

"We felt in the game at the halfway stage and then we took early wickets so it couldn't have been any better [at that stage].

"To have an ability to come out and hit sixes from ball one like [Neesham] is something not many people have so full credit to him, it swayed the game."

Kane Williamson hailed an "outstanding" innings from Daryl Mitchell and Jimmy Neesham's fireworks after New Zealand beat England in another thriller to reach their first T20 World Cup final.

The Black Caps were up against it when they needed 57 to win off the final four overs at Zayed Cricket Stadium after England had posted 166-4 in the first semi-final on Wednesday.

But opener Mitchell sealed a dramatic five-wicket win with an over to spare, finishing unbeaten on 72 from 47 balls after Neesham had blasted 27 from just 11 deliveries in Abu Dhabi.

The game had swung in England's favour when Liam Livingstone (2-22) conceded only three runs and dismissed Glenn Phillips in the 16th over, having also had Devon Conway (46) stumped.

Neesham then cut loose in a 17th over from Chris Jordan that went for 23 and although he fell to Adil Rashid, Mitchell finished off the job to set up a final against Pakistan or Australia in Dubai on Sunday.

New Zealand had been in big trouble on 13-2 after Chris Woakes dismissed Martin Guptill and Williamson, who was full of praise for Mitchell and Neesham.

The Black Caps skipper said during the post-match presentation: "We've played each other on a number of occasions, I knew it would be a great game of cricket, and really chuffed with the heart that was shown throughout that performance.

"It was outstanding from Mitchell at the top but cashing in on the match-ups [was vital]. His character stood out today, an incredible knock.

"T20 cricket is a game of small margins, depending on the surface, short side...can all be match-defining.

"We had wickets in hand, which was really important. Neesham came out and hit the ball hard and changed the momentum of the game. Ultimately the deciding factor."

Moeen Ali had top scored with 51 not out off 37 balls and Dawid Malan made 41 after Williamson won the toss and put England in.

Declan Rice has been withdrawn from the England squad for their latest round of World Cup qualifiers due to illness.

The midfielder has not been able to train since reporting to St George's Park and has returned to West Ham.

He will miss England's qualifiers with Albania and San Marino, from which they need four points to secure a place at the World Cup in Qatar.

England have not replaced Rice in the squad, with Mason Mount and Luke Shaw yet to join the group and still being assessed. 

Chelsea midfielder Mount is recovering from dental surgery while Shaw suffered a concussion in Manchester United's defeat to Manchester City last Saturday.

Rice has been excellent form this season for a West Ham side just three points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Of Premier League midfielders to have attempted 500 passes this season, only Rodri (92.3) has completed more than Rice (91.7).

 

Daryl Mitchell's brilliant unbeaten half-century put New Zealand into a first T20 World Cup final as they gained revenge over England with a dramatic five-wicket victory.

England inflicted a heartbreaking defeat on the Black Caps in the 50-over World Cup final at Lord's in 2019, but it was New Zealand's day in a thrilling semi-final at Zayed Cricket Stadium.

England posted 166-4 after being put in by Kane Williamson, Moeen Ali top scoring with 51 not out off 37 balls and Dawid Malan (41 from 30) also playing a big hand.

Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi and Jimmy Neesham took a wicket apiece for the Black Caps on a tense evening in Abu Dhabi, where Trent Boult's four wicketless overs went for 40 runs.

New Zealand were in big trouble on 13-2 after Chris Woakes dismissed the dangerous Martin Guptill and prolific captain Kane Williamson early in the run chase.

A stand of 82 between Mitchell and Devon Conway (46 from 38) put the game very much in the balance and it looked like England were heading into the final after the excellent Liam Livingstone (2-22) struck twice.

A pulsating semi-final swung in New Zealand's favour when Chris Jordan conceded 23 runs from a 17th over that saw Neesham cut loose, having a slice of fortune when Jonny Bairstow caught him on the boundary but his leg touched the rope before he could toss the ball back inside the boundary to Livingstone.

Neesham fell for a crucial 27 off 10 balls, but clean striking and composure from Mitchell (72no from 47) saw the Black Caps through to a final against Pakistan or Australia on Sunday with an over to spare, having needed 57 to win off the final four overs.

 

Moeen motors after Malan lays platform

Moeen and Malan put on 63 for the third wicket after Jos Buttler (29) and Jonny Bairstow (13) - opening with Jason Roy ruled out - departed.

Conway dropped Malan on 10 as England got a move on in the second half of the innings, scoring a further 99 after they were 67-2 after 10 overs, and Mitchell Santner bowled only the one over due to the left-handers being at the crease.

Malan struck a flurry of glorious cover drives, while Moeen cleared the rope twice and Livingstone struck a huge straight six before he fell in a final over from Neesham that ended with Eoin Morgan dropped by Glenn Phillips from the final delivery.

 

Mitchell the man as Black Caps break new ground

Woakes saw the back of Guptill off the third ball of the run chase and also claimed the big wicket of Williamson, who was taken by Adil Rashid for only five attempting a scoop in the third over.

Conway and Mitchell steadied the ship before the left-hander gave Livingstone the charge in the 14th over and was stumped by Buttler when he was looking in ominous touch.

The spin of Livingstone also accounted for Glenn Phillips, but Neesham hit three sixes as Jordan endured a nightmare and the brilliant Mitchell - who struck four sixes and as many fours - finished off what had looked like an unlikely victory to leave England stunned.

Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe has revealed how kicking bad drinking and eating habits has helped his rapid rise following his maiden England call-up this week.

Smith Rowe earned his first-ever senior England call-up for World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino after Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse's withdrawal.

The 21-year-old attacking midfielder burst onto the scene with Arsenal late last season and has scored in each of the Gunners' last three league games.

Smith Rowe told The Guardian that his recent rise came after abandoning bad habits around diet and hydration.

"I didn’t used to eat that well," Smith said. "I wasn’t drinking that well. Before games, I wasn’t really that hydrated. I’ve tried now to focus so much on it.

"Arsenal are strict but I didn’t really listen, to be honest. I think that’s where I went wrong. Now I’m listening all the time."

He added: "Chocolate … I like Nando’s a lot – maybe that’s killing me a little bit. I’ve tried to cut out chocolate and takeaways as much as I can.

"The club have sorted me out with a chef. His name is Chris and he comes to my house every day. I live with my mum and she normally cooks but she doesn’t have to any more. Chris cooks for me and her.

"With hydration, there’s loads of stuff we should be taking before a game and, yeah, before I was a bit too lazy."

Smith Rowe has made 11 Premier League appearances this season, netting four goals and providing two assists. He also scored in the EFL Cup against AFC Wimbledon in September.

England's T20 captain Eoin Morgan says the Yorkshire racism scandal is as "serious and relevant" to the squad as any of their playing achievements.

An independent report into Azeem Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire upheld that the spinner had been a victim of "racial harassment and bullying".

The county has been punished, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspending Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches, while sponsors such as Emerald and Nike have withdrawn from agreements.

Roger Hutton resigned as Yorkshire chairman, with his replacement – Lord Patel – offering Rafiq an unreserved apology on Monday.

Gary Ballance has also been indefinitely suspended from international selection after the batsman – who has not played for England since 2017 – admitted he was responsible for some of the offensive and inappropriate language Rafiq was subjected to when they were Yorkshire team-mates.

Morgan, whose side are preparing for a T20 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, revealed England's players have discussed the matter, and are committed to using their platform to end discrimination within the sport.

"We definitely don't shelter anything that's going on, particularly things as serious and as relevant to our squad as anything that we've ever done, really," Morgan told reporters.

"We talk about discrimination quite a lot because in our group there is a lot of diversity.

"After winning the 2019 World Cup and becoming a more formidable side with a bigger platform, that has allowed us to feel comfortable enough to continue to tell our different stories."

Morgan also outlined how important it is for his players to act as role models for future generations.

"We feel comfortable within our own skin to play great cricket on the field but also to be really strong role models," he added.

"With what's going on in Yorkshire, we've continued to chat about things and how it might affect younger generations.

"Being at the forefront of change both on and off the field for us is not always easy. Particularly at the beginning.

"We're at one of those stages right now for Yorkshire, and within the group we talk about seeing the bigger picture down the line and the huge benefits we will see coming into that county.

"We all want to be able to share our dream that we've dreamt about for so long as kids and have been so looking to live that dream. We want young kids to be able to picture that but also picture a pathway to be able to achieve it.

"So the things we do during this World Cup and beyond are very important."

Eoin Morgan says it would be a "hell of an achievement" for injury-hit England to beat New Zealand and reach the T20 World Cup final.

England and the Black Caps do battle at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday in a repeat of the 50-over World Cup final in 2019, when Morgan's side were crowned champions in the most dramatic fashion at Lord's.

Jason Roy has joined Tymal Mills on an injury list that already included Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Ben Stokes.

England have won three of their past four T20 World Cup matches against New Zealand, one of those coming in a semi-final five years ago.

Captain Morgan says it would be a huge feat if they could defeat Kane Williamson's side once again in Abu Dhabi to set up a showdown with Pakistan or Australia.

The batsman said: "I wouldn't say [England are] strong favourites. New Zealand have a full-strength squad, we've obviously been hampered with a lot of injuries throughout this tournament.

"I think of all the things we've done well throughout this tournament, probably the strongest point has been the resilience within our squad to be able to find a way to move forward and forge on.

"We're playing really good cricket, the guys are extremely excited about the challenge against New Zealand and potentially the opportunity that might follow that.

"You might only get to the final and lose but getting to the final would be a hell of an achievement. We can't wait."

 

Morgan refused to be drawn on who will replace Roy at the top of the order to partner Jos Buttler, with another bowler coming into the side being one of the options.

"Within the group we’ve made a decision, I'm not willing to share that, unfortunately, but also the balance of the side will be determined on how the wicket looks and how we match-up against the Black Caps," Morgan added.

"Replacing him with another bowler would mean that you have 28 genuine overs on the field and a lot of options. If you were to go with a batter, it would mean a like-for-like replacement.

"Depending if it's a really good batting wicket, predicting if it's going to be a really good batting wicket, we might need the extra bit of bowling. If it's not, you might need the extra bit of batting.

"We're lucky, we have guys who queue up and want to bat in that top three, which is great because they want to go head-to-head with the big-name players in the tournament and big-name bowlers in the opposition."

Black Caps skipper Williamson knows England have the strength in depth to replace Roy.

He said: "I suppose whenever there's an injury, someone else comes in and you're not to know who they are until the toss. But you try and prepare and plan as best you can and then when you go out there, you're sort of competing in the moment.

"And that all matters then. But Jason's a big player for England and has been playing really nicely and getting the team off to good starts along with Jos.

"But as I mentioned, the depth on the England side is one of their strengths and we'll try and plan accordingly to the best of our ability.

"But largely [we] want to focus on the sort of cricket that we want to play as a group and keep developing on that as we've been doing throughout this tournament."

England will be without Joe Marler when they face Australia at Twickenham on Saturday after the prop tested positive for coronavirus.

Marler returned a positive lateral flow test on Monday and immediately went into isolation.

The 31-year-old will isolate for 10 days after a PCR test confirmed he has contracted COVID-19.

All of the other England players and staff returned negative lateral flow tests, with additional PCR test results not yet received.

Owen Farrell rejoined the squad on Monday after he missed the 69-3 hammering of Tonga on Saturday, having tested positive for coronavirus last week.

Marler came off the bench in that thrashing at Twickenham, but will play no part against the Wallabies.

He will hope to be available to return when Eddie Jones' side take on world champions South Africa on November 20.

New Zealand suffered a heartbreaking defeat to England in the 2019 Cricket World Cup final but they have a chance to gain a measure of revenge on Wednesday.

England were crowned 50-over world champions at Lord's in the most dramatic fashion, with a Super Over needed to finally separate the two teams in a thriller.

The Black Caps and England do battle in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup at Zayed Cricket Stadium after qualifying from the Super 12 stage along with Pakistan and Australia.

England have won six of the past nine T20Is against New Zealand, including another Super-Over triumph in their last meeting in November 2019.

They have also won three of their past four T20 World Cup matches against New Zealand, one of those coming in a semi-final five years ago.

The top-ranked side in the world will have to do without explosive opening batsman Jason Roy, who joined paceman Tymal Mills on the injury list when he suffered a torn calf in the loss to South Africa on Saturday.

New Zealand took second place in Group 2 by beating Afghanistan on Sunday, their fourth win in a row after starting with a defeat to Pakistan.

Stats Perform looks at selection decisions to be made in Abu Dhabi and pick out who might be the key players in a blockbuster last-four showdown.

It is all change in the England squad, with two players dropping out, and Emile Smith Rowe earning a first senior call up from Gareth Southgate.

Smith Rowe has been in excellent form for Arsenal this season, but was not initially included in Southgate's squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

The midfielder, who was handed Arsenal's number 10 shirt for 2021-22, has appeared in every Premier League game for the Gunners this term.

His tally of 15 chances created ranks him second in Arsenal's squad, behind Bukayo Saka (19). He has provided two league assists and scored four goals, meaning he is the club's joint-top scorer in the top flight alongside captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

After initially arriving at St George's Park to be part of the England Under-21 squad, Smith Rowe will instead join the senior side after Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse dropped out.

Rashford has only just returned from a long injury lay off following shoulder surgery, and will remain at Manchester United in order to work his way back to fitness, while Southampton's Ward-Prowse is ill.

Southgate might also be without regulars Luke Shaw and Mason Mount. The United full-back is following concussion protocol after sustaining a head injury in Saturday's derby defeat to Manchester City and will continue to be assessed by the club before being released for international duty. 

Mount, meanwhile, has had his arrival pushed back by dental surgery and will be monitored over the coming days.

England host Albania on Friday, before taking on San Marino three days later. Four points from the two matches will guarantee their place in Qatar.

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