Sport

Sports Weekly

29 July 2021

By Fraser

The Olympics are well underway, with surprises left, right and centre. Here we’ll have a look at the most prominent stories as well as what’s happening outside in the world of sport.

Olympics

The USA leads the medal charge with 30 so far but China’s twelve gold medals mean they take the glory in the winner department. Great Britain is further behind in sixth place with 16 so far.

This was galvanised earlier as the men’s swimming team produced an emphatic victory to win the 4x200m freestyle relay. The quartet of Tom Dean, James Guy, Matthew Richards, and Duncan Scott came within 0.11 seconds of the world record.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin became the country’s most decorated female Olympian in her dressage earlier. Her sixth medal, this one a bronze, has taken her beyond Dame Katherine Grainger and Kathleen McKane Godfree as the record holder.

In gymnastics, USA superstar Simone Biles has made the tough decision to retire from the tournament, citing mental health issues hindering her progress. This follows a trend of athletes such as Naomi Osaka who have decided to put their welfare first, surely bringing more questions to the fore about how athlete management is conducted.

Novak Djokovic continues his seemingly unstoppable streak as he progressed to the quarter-finals after beating Spaniard Alejandro Fokina. Meanwhile, Andy Murray’s Olympic career could be over as he and partner Joe Salisbury crashed out of the doubles competitions to clinical Croatians Ivan Dodig and Martin Cilic.

Football

The worst-kept secret in football has finally been revealed. Young England superstar Jadon Sancho has completed a transfer to Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund.

The fee’s final number is unclear, but it is believed to be between £73 and £100 million. This makes Sancho one of the most expensive English footballers of all time. It is a five-year contract with an option to add additional years.

Speaking of Manchester United, they are close to sealing a £42 million deal for French defender Raphael Varane from Real Madrid. This will deal a further huge blow to Real Madrid’s defensive losses with Captain Sergio Ramos having also left the club earlier this summer.

Rugby Union

Warren Gatland has rung a number of changes to his side for the decisive second test against South Africa on Saturday.

Experienced scrum-half Connor Murray is brought in for Ali Price who moves to the bench alongside Elliot Daly, whose place in the centre is taken by Scottish midfielder Chris Harris.

Recommended Reading: The Rise of Chris Harris

In the forwards, the only change is the inclusion of Mako Vunipola who starts at loosehead prop in place of Rory Sutherland. Sutherland shifts to the replacements where Hamish Watson has perhaps paid the price for his potentially costly tackle last weekend. The veteran Taulupe Faletau takes his place.

Gatland’s changes seem to favour experience and defensive resolve over anything. If the Lions claim the win on Saturday, the series will be theirs. It seems Gatland is prepared to do this through any gritty means possible.

As for South Africa, Rassie Erasmus has beefed up their forward pack. The world cup-winning front row trio of Kitshoff, Mbonambi and Malherbe start in a powerhouse pack that sees Jasper Wiese return to No.8 in place of Kwagga Smith.

The usually classy and dignified Erasmus has made headlines this week. His public Twitter profile has been lit up with him accusing the Lions of cheating and reckless behavior. Whether this is genuine rage or a clever ruse to shift the point of focus off his players, we do not know. All we know is that Saturday’s match will be a clash for the ages.

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