Stitch only for a handful of Football League clubs next season. Sky own goal does England no good IT IS to be hoped that those who will determine whether England is a fit venue for the 2006 World Football Cup have not been exposed to Sky TV’s repeatedly-screened trailers for tonight’s friendly match against Chile at Wembley. ‘I’m smart, I’m motivated, I look good in black,’ she tells O. She’s duly hired. I loved it, and I’m sure those selected this week will too. I stuck two lines of tape down the front so that the match-day squad could sign their names neatly on it, and then had it framed. I went for a walk down on the beach front on the morning of the 2009 Durban match with a couple of lads, had a coffee, and then all of a sudden you find yourself having lunch and it’s go time. Wing Chris Ashton is present despite having yet to make his debut for Sale with his seven-week ban for a tip-tackle having just elapsed. I love the stories of people’s paths to the Lions, whether it is Wyn Jones going from Llandovery and the Welsh Premiership to the starting shirt here in a few years, Duhan van der Merwe leaving South Africa five years ago and now playing against them, or Stuart Hogg having to go home in 2017 after a freak eye-socket injury when colliding with Conor Murray to now finally becoming a Test Lion.
My shirt for that first Test in 2009 is one of the first things I now see when I walk into my living-room in my house. He was right. When I wore the Lions Test jersey I felt I was representing everyone who played No 12 in the UK and Ireland – from club to professional level. The Lions gives you lessons like that, in not just being a sportsman but a decent human being too. Other rules are more detailed, like banning jerseys that have more than four colors, unless they’re striped or checkered in two equal colors – in which case the jersey can use five colors. I feel for the likes of Josh Adams, Taulupe Faletau, Jamie George and Mako Vunipola who are not in the squad. I’m very happy to be back in the squad. Greece’s 3-1 defeat in Zenica back in March made all the difference as Bosnia topped Group G by a hair’s breadth. The Welsh coaching group I played under with him. Lost all three group matches without scoring. 25 Another momentous night for Messi as a hat-trick in Barcelona’s 4-0 win over APOEL in Nicosia sees him surge clear of Raul in the all-time Champions League scoring charts with 74 goals.
It is Ronaldo’s 17th Champions League goals of the season, making him top scorer for the second successive year. To curtail counterfeiting, some manufacturers will embed electronic tags in their authentic jerseys, making it easy to check whether a merchant is selling real or fake products. Those picked will receive their special Test jerseys on Friday. The one from the Loftus Versfeld second Test is with my parents, in my dad’s little office space. It ends with two songs – Lucky Man by The Verve, then This is The One by The Stone Roses, which Manchester United run out to at Old Trafford. Those would take me down Westgate Street in Cardiff for Wales home games, but in 2009 coming into King’s Park in Durban I took my earphones out so I could absorb the sounds, sights and smells. In 2011 with Wales we had the heart-ache of losing the World Cup semi-final, then in 2012 won a Six Nations Grand Slam, then the 2013 title, but the Lions was also driving me. He told us how the Lions jersey does something to you that no other does. A Lions Test week rattles through quickly.
I will never forget when I was selected ahead of Brian O’Driscoll to play with Jonathan Davies in that final Australia Test. King Felipe VI of Spain is at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow to see the national team play World Cup host Russia. To become a team to be remembered through history. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge makes history as he breaks the two-hour barrier for the marathon on a specially prepared course in a huge Vienna park. 12 Messi makes an appearance at West Ham’s Upton Park. 9 Messi finds himself heavily shackled but scores Argentina’s first penalty in a shoot-out win over Holland as they advance to the final. I went for a drink with him the night before the first Test in 2009, savouring the moment. It’s highly likely they will be involved, as this Test series will be brutal. In 2013 I was in the Finn Russell position, injured for the first two and worried I would be sent home, but Warren trusted the medics and I came back in the third Test which we won in Sydney. Warren Gatland has a brilliant way of simplifying the complex. The biggest worry is you forget to bring the shirt for match-day!