Robshaw stays on as captain
Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw has been retained as England captain for next month’s internationals, the Rugby Football Union said on Tuesday. Head coach Stuart Lancaster appointed Robshaw captain at the start of the year, despite only one previous appearance for England. He led them to second place in the Six Nations championship and then on the tour of South Africa. Robshaw missed the drawn third Test after injuring his thumb and was replaced by Dylan Hartley. Lancaster delayed the announcement until after last weekend’s round of Premiership matches. Injured forwards Hartley and Courtney Lawes will return to Northampton to receive treatment on their knees and are to be reassessed by the England medical team on Sunday. England open their campaign against Fiji at Twickenham on Nov. 10, before playing Australia a week later, South Africa on Nov. 24 and world champions New Zealand on Dec. 1.
Ireland face injury woes
Ireland’s preparations for the autumn Tests were dealt a double blow on Tuesday when captain Brian O’Driscoll and hooker Rory Best were both ruled out of the series. O’Driscoll must undergo surgery after injuring his ankle while playing for Leinster against Cardiff Blues on Saturday, while Ulster forward Best sprained neck ligaments in a match against the Newport-Gwent Dragons on Friday. Ireland face South Africa, Fiji and Argentina in the autumn internationals and the absence of the inspirational O’Driscoll is likely to have a serious impact on their ambitions. The 33-year-old center is in the last year of his contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union and his future beyond next year is yet to be decided. His unavailability presents Ireland coach Declan Kidney with further problems in his back line, as fullback Rob Kearney has already been obliged to withdraw from the squad because of injury. With O’Driscoll out, the captaincy is likely to be handed to Lions skipper Paul O’Connell.
Redknapp denies rumors
Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp said on Tuesday that he had no interest in assuming the vacant manager’s position at English Championship side Blackburn Rovers, despite claims in the British press. Redknapp, 65, along with Argentine legend Diego Maradona, was reported to be a sought-after candidate for the Blackburn board of directors, but the ex-Spurs boss moved to quash speculation. “I woke up and saw the papers and they said I was supposed to be at an interview for the Blackburn job. It’s complete nonsense, obviously,” Redknapp told Sky Sports. “They’re a good club with a good squad and good support, but it’s not for me. I’m starting to get bored. You can only play golf every so often and my golf isn’t improving. I’m looking to get back [into soccer] and I’ll just wait and see what happens,” he said. Eric Black has been serving as Blackburn’s caretaker manager since Steve Kean resigned from his post last month. Kean was appointed after Rovers were taken over by Indian poultry giant Venky’s, who sacked popular manager Sam Allardyce, outraging fans. His 21-month reign was dogged by resentment among supporters, particularly after relegation from the top flight of English soccer — the Premier League. He left the club last month, describing his position as “untenable.”