Baldwinsville football falls to Horseheads, sits at 0-2

first_imgNow the early-season work for the Baldwinsville football team is done, and the important stuff in the Class AA-2 division kicks off this Friday night when West Genesee visits Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.But the Bees sit at 0-2, this following a 41-14 defeat to Section IV’s Horseheads in Friday night’s home opener, a game where big plays by the Blue Raiders proved too much to overcome.Hours before B’ville took its 28-21 overtime loss to Jamestown in the Sept. 7 Kickoff Classic at the Dome, Horseheads had recorded an impressive 35-14 win over the same West Genesee side that the Bees will face this weekend. So it wasn’t a big surprise to see the Blue Raiders play well in this game, too. What was a shock, though, was the degree to which Horseheads would seize control, and the way they did so.Three times in the first half, the Blue Raiders struck for touchdowns, including second-quarter plays where Grayson Woodhouse threw touchdown passes of 64 and 80 yards to Andrew McLaughlin.Meanwhile, Horseheads’ defense mostly stifled B’ville’s ground game, so the Bees found itself trailing 21-6 at intermission despite Braden McCard putting his team on the board with a 22-yard scoring pass to Pat May. It was decided for good when Horseheads scored twice more in the third quarter to make it 35-6, and again the big play was a part of it. Gavin Elston, who had already scored on a seven-yard run in the opening period, added a two-yard TD plunge and then, from his own three, took off 97 yards to the other end zone to make it 41-6.Though the Bees would score again thanks to Mike Letizia’s 47-yard run, it proved far too late.Overall, Letizia gained 97 yards on 19 carries, with McCard rushing for 55 yards to go with his seven-of-15 passing for 128 yards, which included a pair of interceptions. May caught five passes for 113 yards.Defensively, Kolby Hahn led the Bees with 11 tackles, nine of them solo. Eight of Nate Robinson’s nine tackles were solo efforts as Letizia added seven tackles.Elston finished with 145 yards on the ground after going for 217 yards against West Genesee the week before. Woodhouse completed 13 of 19 passes for 335 yards, with McLaughlin catching five of those passes for 216 yards.Next week, B’ville knows that, while West Genesee lost most of its starting lineup from the 2018 team that reached the Section III Class AA final, it still recovered well from its loss to Horseheads, topping Corcoran 28-12 on Friday.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story center_img Tags: Baldwinsvillefootballlast_img read more

No. 19 Syracuse’s 3-1 win over Colgate overshadowed by sloppy play

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 22, 2019 at 5:37 pm Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrew HAMILTON — SJ Quigley perched near the Colgate end line and stretched her arm out to corral a Clara Morrison pass. Near the end of the fourth quarter, she turned to feed sophomore Alex Morales near the top of the crease, a final pass to result in another SU shot. But it was chipped away by a Raiders’ defender and a counter-rush ensued.Moments later, sophomore Laura Graziosi stole back possession at midfield for the Orange but her pass up to Quigley and Morrison sailed long too. The pair jogged back to their offensive positions and sunk their heads.Neither turnover on that attacking sequence turned into damage at the SU cage because of defensive stops by the Orange. A first half in which Colgate tallied zero shots had been nearly repeated in the second half — SU outshot the Raiders 21-6 overall. By that point in the game, the Orange had scored enough goals and produced ample opportunities to knock off the Raiders, a team without a conference win since 2014. But an inability to finish offensive rushes from subpar passing overshadowed No. 19 Syracuse’s (6-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) 3-1 win over Colgate (2-6, 0-1 Patriot) Sunday at Travis Field, an asterisk next to another game that the Orange dominated statistically.“I think we were slow and sluggish,” SU head coach Ange Bradley said. “Our rhythm wasn’t as tight.”Facing Colgate was supposed to be the Orange’s tune-up for No. 2 Duke on Friday. It was the Raiders, a program that stumbled to a 4-14 record last season. A program that already had losses to Lock Haven and Rider this season. But SU struggled to pull away early.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt started eerily similar to loss to unranked Cornell on the road on Sept. 7. Flaws that surfaced but hadn’t hindered the Orange in the season’s early games returned: ineffective outlet passes to establish offensive attacks, sloppy receptions on the final pass to set up shots in the circle.Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorUntil freshman Charlotte de Vries knocked home a penalty corner shot 11 minutes into the first quarter on Sunday, SU rushes had been halted by passes that never reached their destinations. Later in the first, junior Sarah Luby tip-toed the line next to the Raider cage and flicked her stick toward the front after a brief pause but a deflection after Luby’s hesitation knocked the ball away. From the sideline, Bradley crouched with her game notes and shouted “Pass” when Syracuse took long to circulate passes. Gaping holes in the Colgate defense closed when extra glances overlooked open midfielders.“We are our opposition every time we step on that field,” Bradley said.Typical role players off the bench — Sasha Bull, Nina Watson, Stephanie Harris — all logged extensive game time against Colgate, which allowed SJ Quigley to slide up to midfield at times and kickstart attacks, a role she had only against Bucknell on Sept. 15, Bradley said.Quigley’s goal late in the third quarter provided insurance for the Orange, who already held a two-goal lead after de Vries capitalized on another penalty corner late in the second. Claire Cooke sprinted down the right sideline and centered the ball to Quigley, who turned and slotted it past goalkeeper Anna Unger. Cooke and Quigley embraced, and the sophomore did the same with de Vries while “SJ” chants echoed from the Syracuse bench.“She’s aggressive up there and really works hard off ball to get open,” Bradley said. “That’s what I like up there with her.”But sandwiched in between the SU goals were additional passes that slopped up the field and bounced over sticks. On the rush immediately following de Vries’ second goal near halftime, Watson maneuvered past the Raiders defense toward the cage, but Luby couldn’t finish her feed.As Colgate’s last-second rush was turned aside by goalkeeper Sarah Sinck, who replaced starter Syd Taylor after the Raiders’ goal in the fourth, the Orange sauntered onto the field after the final horn sounded. Syracuse had, sloppy play aside, accomplished its goal for Sunday: a tune-up win for conference play. It was nothing to celebrate extensively about. Just enough to finish what the Orange needed to.“We were able to really get a lot of rotation and see how those kids are playing with the speed or being locked up,” SU head coach Ange Bradley said. “It was a good opportunity for us just to practice.”  Commentslast_img read more

Adamu Relishes Opening Goals Account for Kano Pillars

first_imgAfter a dry spell of five games without a goal, Kano Pillars’ striker Hassan Adamu finally struck gold hitting a brace against visiting Nasarawa United at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano on Match Day 6 of the Nigeria Professional Football League, (NPFL) and considers the goals as huge motivator that will spur him for more.Adamu’s two first half goals were sandwiched by Sunday Chinedu’s cool finish as Pillars put three past Nasarawa United in one of the NPFL Matchday 6 played on Sunday in Kano.It was a return to winning ways for Manager, Musa Ibrahim’s side after failing to record a win in their last four games.An excited Adamu told npfl.ng shortly after the game that he refused to celebrate those goals as they were against his former employers but admitted that the goals were good for his confidence. “I needed those goals badly to boost my confidence and to motivate me and the team, I’m happy they gave us the win today, unfortunately I couldn’t celebrate as I wanted because it’s against Nasarawa, a club I still hold dear.”“But its a good victory for us, we played well and according to what the coach told us, even though we could have scored more (goals) but at least we are back to winning now which I believe will motivate us for the next games.Asked how many goals he intend to score at the end of the season, Adamu who also once played for Kwara United responded with a smile and said having a double figure would be enough but it must earn Pillars something to celebrate.“Well, let’s see how it goes, it’s a tight race with 24 games to be played but I will be grateful and happy to get a double number goals, most importantly my goals should put Pillars in the playoffs,” he said.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Ministry of Youth and Sports wishes Nyantakyi well

first_imgThe Youth and Sports Ministry has extended its well wishes to the President of the Ghana Football Association, (GFA) Kwesi Nyatakyi as he goes into an election on Wednesday, February 23, to seek a place on the Executive Committee of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) at its Ordinary Assembly in Sudan.“Considering Ghana’s contribution to the development of African football and its status as the current number one on the continent and the 15th best nation in the world, it is sad to note that Ghana has no representation on CAF and the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA)”.A statement issued on behalf of the Minister, Clement Humado on Monday noted the government, ministry and entire people of Ghana are solidly behind him as he goes into the election and have every hope that he would succeed on his quest.It added, “apart from the late Ohene Djan, Kobbina Hagan, Nana Fredua Mensah and Sam Okyere, who represented Ghana on CAF Executive Committee at various times some decades ago, the country is yet to have any seat on the continental football governing body.”The statement said, the country has come a long way in efforts to develop football and it is the vision of the ministry and indeed the government of Ghana to ensure that the success chalked in the past are built upon as the nation strives to build a better Ghana for all.“The victory of Nyantakyi at the Ordinary Session will go a long way in further developing football in the country since it is the passion of the nation and cuts across of barriers for the socio-economic development of all.” Source: GNAlast_img read more

March Madness 2019: What we learned from Florida State’s ACC Tournament win over Virginia

first_imgThe No. 1 seed picture is still cloudyVirginia entered the ACC Tournament as the favorite to land a top spot in the NCAA Tournament. That is still likely to happen, but there are certainly no guarantees.  There appears to be seven schools in contention for the four No. 1 seeds: Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan State and Gonzaga.Duke and North Carolina will face each other in the second ACC semifinal. The winner of that game will almost definitely end up on the top line, along with Virginia. The Blue Devils, however, beat the Cavaliers twice this season.  Tennessee and Kentucky seem destined to meet in an SEC semifinal matchup while Michigan State topped Ohio State on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament. Gonzaga lost just three times all season but fell to Saint Mary’s in its conference championship game.Virginia did the committee no favors with the loss to Florida State. It will have some difficult choices to make on Selection Sunday, as all seven teams will be able to make a case for a prime position in the bracket.Virginia uncharacteristically struggled on both ends  Virginia is at its best offensively when it hits 3-pointers and that didn’t happen against Florida State.The Cavaliers hit five of their 24 shots from behind the arc. Point guard Ty Jerome connected on two of his nine attempts, Kyle Guy was two for five and De’Andre Hunter failed to knock down any of his four 3-point shots.The Cavaliers also thrive on their defense and Florida State exposed them on that end a bit, as well. The Seminoles shot 56.5 percent from the field and outrebounded their opponent, 35-20.Virginia has dominated almost all season long, but this was not a good performance right before the NCAA Tournament.Florida State is for realFlorida State has flown under the radar. Texas not planning to part ways with coach Shaka Smart, report says David Nichols came off the bench and scored a game-high 14 points for Florida State while Phil Cofer chipped in 11. De’Andre Hunter tallied 13 points for Virginia in the losing effort.Florida State will play for the title Saturday against the winner of the Duke/North Carolina semifinal matchup. Here’s three takeaways from its victory over Virginia. Related News Florida State is heading to the ACC Tournament championship.The Seminoles took control in the second half and held on for a 69-59 victory over No. 2 Virginia at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C.center_img The Seminoles have made back-to-back NCAA Tournaments and reached the Elite Eight in 2017-18. They were arguably better this season as they finished with a 26-6 record and fourth in the ACC.Virginia, North Carolina and Duke have all received a ton of publicity while Florida State, who finished directly behind those three in the conference standings, did not. The Seminoles, however, have a chance to make a deep NCAA Tournament run. March Madness 2019: 3 takeaways from Florida’s SEC Tournament upset of No. 9 LSUlast_img read more

NHL playoff picture: Battle for East’s last spot goes to season’s last days

first_img Glen Sather steps down as Rangers president, will remain advisor to James Dolan The Blue Jackets lost Tuesday, opening the door for the Canadiens … who then lost Thursday.”We’re not dead,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said (via NHL.com) in a somber Habs locker room following a 2-1 loss to the Capitals. “I think we need some help. We understand that. So we’ve got a few days here to look at what’s going to happen, and hopefully we’re still alive by (Friday) night and give ourselves a chance here to stay in the race.”The Blue Jackets have two shots, both on the road, to get one win: Friday against the Rangers in New York and Saturday against the Senators in Ottawa.Opportunity awaits.📰 https://t.co/zTiwBaSsGp📺 @FOXSportsOH📻 @971thefan📱 https://t.co/1tSc7uJcb7 pic.twitter.com/xWrO9tn6Qv— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 5, 2019For his part, Tortorella won’t look at Tuesday’s 6-2 home loss to the Bruins as a blowout momentum-stopper, though it snapped a five-game winning streak.“This is a great opportunity for us, not only for what we’re talking about this season, trying to get in, but just to play in these kind of games as we build our team with some youth on it,” he said. “We shouldn’t be feeling the weight, and I don’t think we do. We’ve really played well.“We lost a game. We won five prior to that. We just have to bounce back and enjoy the moment and take it as an opportunity.”Meantime, the Canadiens are in the uncomfortable position of not only needing help, as Julien said, but also perhaps being eliminated from playoff contention before they take the ice for their season finale against the rival Maple Leafs.”It’s not over yet,” Canadiens captain Shea Weber said. “We’ll see what happens in [the Blue Jackets’] next two games, and if we can win Saturday and for whatever reason get some good fate, we’ll be in. And if not, we’ll discuss it after that.”« Personne ici n’a pas tout donné pour l’équipe »”I don’t think anybody in here didn’t give everything for the team”🎥➡️https://t.co/cpKqkKEDR0#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/vEnf0INtGz— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 5, 2019On paper, the Dispatch notes, the schedule looks favorable to the Jackets. They’ve been better on the road this season, and they’re playing opponents who’ve long been out of the playoff chase. An 82-game NHL season comes down to this math: Three games across two days to figure out which one team of two will claim the last spot in the playoffs.The Blue Jackets and Canadiens have 94 points, and Columbus coach John Tortorella says he’s not surprised that everything is coming down to the regular season’s last two days. Lightning trio joins exclusive club with Nikita Kucherov’s 40th goalcenter_img “The ups and downs and Jekyll and Hyde that we’ve had this year, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Tortorella said (via the Columbus Dispatch).Both teams can look at this week and wonder, “What if …?” Related News Montreal, meanwhile, faces a Maple Leafs team that already has clinched an Eastern Conference playoff berth and would like nothing better than to send the Canadiens home for the offseason.That’s the finality that one team is facing, perhaps as early as Friday night.“We’re at this point now,” the Jackets’ Oliver Bjorkstrand said. “We have to have fun with it. We’re not out, but we’re not in yet. We’re still fighting to get into the playoffs. We still believe in our group. Now we just have to get the job done. That’s our mindset. We don’t want this to be our last practice.”last_img read more

Son hails Spurs’ strength in depth after downing Dortmund

first_imgShare on: WhatsApp “I don’t have any words for the second half. Tottenham were the better team,” said Sancho.“The first half we played really well. In the second half we just dropped a bit and lost focus.”The sides will meet again in Germany on March 5 and Pochettino warned Spurs not to take their place in the quarter-finals for granted after a host of dramatic comebacks in the Champions League in recent seasons.“Always when you play in this type of competition against a very good side like Dortmund it is difficult,” said the Argentine.“3-0 is a very good result but at the same time we have to think that we have to finish the job.” Son started a brilliant second-half display in the last-16 first leg at Wembley by opening the scoring from Jan Vertonghen’s excellent cross, before Vertonghen and substitute Fernando Llorente put Mauricio Pochettino’s men on course for the last eight in the final seven minutes.“Harry or Dele are very important for us but we have players who can come in and do well. We showed that, Fernando came on too and scored an important goal,” said Son, who hailed the impact of Vertonghen from an unfamiliar left wing-back role.“Jan is technically unbelievable and can play in any position. I am very happy for him, he deserved it.“One goal and an assist! The timing of the first goal was very important, the cross was unreal. I didn’t have to do anything, just touch the ball.”Dortmund had the better of the game before half-time, but failed to make the most of their supremacy despite some dangerous runs from Jadon Sancho on his return to England.center_img FILE PHOTO: Son Heung-minLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | In-form forward Son Heung-min said Tottenham are showing they have the squad to cope without the injured Harry Kane and Dele Alli after a comprehensive 3-0 Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.last_img read more

Louisville’s Ware breaks leg in tourney game

first_imgSERIOUS INJURY–Trainers check on Louisville guard Kevin Ware (5) after an injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) by Michael MarotINDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A gruesome injury that left Louisville guard Kevin Ware with a broken leg plunged Lucas Oil Stadium into horrified silence, with coach Rick Pitino wiping away tears and shocked teammates openly weeping during Sunday’s Midwest Regional final.Ware’s right leg bent in such an awkward and frightening angle that CBS stopped showing replays shortly after the fall in the NCAA tournament matchup against Duke.He was taken into surgery at Methodist Hospital after the game to repair the fracture. Team officials said the leg was broken in two places.“The bone’s 6 inches out of his leg and all he’s yelling is, ‘Win the game, win the game,’” Pitino said. “I’ve not seen that in my life. … Pretty special young man.”Pitino said that he and his son, Richard, who recruited Ware, along with the team’s equipment manager would stay in Indianapolis overnight so they could see Ware when he comes out of surgery.Viewers who watched the injury on TV reacted on social networks and (hash)KevinWare shot to one of the top worldwide trending topics on Twitter. Video of the injury was posted on YouTube — CBS initially replayed it twice before changing course.The brutal mishap occurred after Ware jumped to contest a 3-pointer by Tyler Thornton. Ware’s leg buckled when he landed, bending almost at a right angle. Nearly six seconds ran off the clock before the officials, at Pitino’s urging, stopped the game with 6:33 left in the first half.Louisville star Russ Smith heard the break and Chane Behanan, Ware’s closest friend, couldn’t believe what was happening.“The bone was literally out. I saw white, it was literally out,” said Behanan, who collapsed to his hands and feet at the sight.The two spoke at halftime.“He said ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m good, I’ll have my surgery tonight,’” Behanan said. “Go win it for me.”Two doctors speculated Ware might have had stress fractures that predisposed him to such a break. Pitino said it was the same injury former Louisville running back Michael Bush had in football. Bush, now with the Chicago Bears, has recovered to have a productive NFL career.It turned out Bush was watching the game on TV. “I just cried,” he wrote on Twitter. “I feel so bad. Flashback of myself. Anyone if he needs anything please let me know.”The injury happened right in front of Pitino and the Louisville bench, and several Cardinals were overcome with emotion.Louisville forward Wayne Blackshear fell to the floor, crying, and Behanan looked as if he was going to be sick on the court, kneeling on his hands and feet. Peyton Siva sat a few feet away, a hand covering his mouth.“I dropped to go the ground. I’ve never seen anything like that,” Behanan said. “I don’t remember the last time I cried.”Luke Hancock patted Ware’s chest as doctors worked on the sophomore and Russ Smith — who is from New York City like Ware — walked away, pulling his jersey over his eyes.Someone finally pulled Behanan to his feet, but he doubled over and needed a few seconds to gather himself. As Ware was being loaded onto a stretcher, the Cardinals gathered at midcourt until Pitino called them over, saying that Ware wanted to talk to them before he left.In the immediate aftermath, condolences poured in on social media. Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, who famously sustained a broken leg on “Monday Night Football” in a game against the New York Giants, tweeted that, “Watching Duke/ Louisville my heart goes out to Kevin Ware.”Dr. Reed Estes, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and team physician for the UAB football team, said Ware’s injury “looks like a pretty bad break to both his tibia and fibula,” the two long bones in the lower leg.Basketball players are prone to stress fractures in the tibia, the larger of these two bones, and that can weaken them, he said.“If these are not detected they can result in a full fracture, particularly if the landing mechanics are just right” after a jump, Estes said. Surgery to stabilize the bones is usually successful, and Ware should be fine to play next season, he said.Dr. Frederick Azar, head of the Campbell Clinic in Memphis, Tenn., and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said Ware “jumped pretty far horizontally and vertically, and he landed with a twist,” which puts so much torsion and stress on the bones they could have just snapped. He agreed with Estes’ assessment that a stress fracture could have made Ware more prone to such an injury.Louisville, the top overall seed in the tourney, went more than 3 minutes without scoring after the accident but regained its composure to take a 35-32 halftime lead and went on to an 85-63 victory.“We won this for him,” Pitino said. “We were all choked up with emotion for him. We’ll get him back to normal. We’ve got great doctors, great trainers. We talked about it every timeout, ‘Get Kevin home.’”Ware, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from the Bronx who played his high school basketball in the Atlanta area, was instrumental in Louisville’s victory over Oregon in the regional semifinals. He scored 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting in 25 minutes off the bench.Behanan switched into Ware’s No. 5 jersey near the end of the game.Afterward, he kept on it and the Cardinal players led the heavily partisan Louisville crowd in chants of “Kev-in, Kev-in.”AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione contributed to this report.last_img read more

Arsenal and Spurs joined by Leicester in Adam Lallana free transfer race

first_imgLEICESTER CITY are ready to battle it out with Arsenal and Tottenham to snap up soon-to-be free agent Adam Lallana from Liverpool.The 31-year-old is out of contract at Anfield this summer and looks certain to end his six-year stint on Merseyside.1 Leicester City have joined the chase for Adam LallanaCredit: AP:Associated PressWith no sign of an extension to his current deal in the pipeline there is a queue of clubs waiting to pounce for the England international.The Gunners, Spurs and West Ham have all been monitoring developments.Now The Telegraph claims Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is plotting a swoop for the man he originally took to Anfield from Southampton.And the pair’s close relationship, the style of football played by the Foxes and the increasing likelihood of Champions League qualification makes them a top contender to land his signature in June.Lallana is focusing on Liverpool’s title and European charge and has held no talks so far with any interested parties.But the experienced attacker will have a long-list of options once he becomes a free agent in June.The star is able to open negotiations and even sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs overseas now.MAKE YOUR DEBUT Bet £5 get £20 in free bets for new customers at LadbrokesLATEST TRANSFER NEWSLive Blogblues newsChelsea news LIVE – Latest updates from Stamford BridgeLive Blogunited newsMan Utd news LIVE – Latest updates from Old TraffordLive BlogGunners newsArsenal news LIVE – Latest updates from the EmiratesGossipGOING DUTCHChelsea ‘to grab Mbuyamba on free deal’ with defender set to leave BarcelonaDEPAY CHARTMan Utd flop Memphis used computer data and analytics to quit Old TraffordLive BlogBLUES NEWSChelsea news LIVE: Latest updates and transfer gossip from Stamford BridgeBut he is determined to have no distractions while remaining a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad as they pursue glory on three fronts.The Liverpool boss made it clear in the January transfer window that he would not allow Lallana to leave, despite the club missing out on a fee.The midfielder enjoys a decent relationship with the German and has made 19 appearances for him this term.But the experienced Lallana no longer wants to play back-up as he prepares to go in search of regular football elsewhere.last_img read more

Vunipola out to stop All Blacks

first_imgWellington-born Vunipola grew up idolising All Blacks winger Jonah Lomu, while his father Fe’ao, a former Tonga captain, once described his son as the ‘next Olo Brown’, a nod to the 56-test All Blacks prop.”When I was growing up I watched the All Blacks and I loved them, mostly because of Jonah Lomu,” Vunipola told reporters on Friday ahead of the second test at Wellington Regional Stadium.”I always wanted to be like him.”Vunipola left New Zealand as a child when his father moved to Wales for a professional rugby contract. The week of the second test is the 26-year-old’s first trip back to Wellington.Along with younger brother Billy, who was also selected for the tour but withdrew with a shoulder injury, Vunipola spent his early life in Pontypool and his Welsh valleys accent is still prevalent.While their father wanted both his sons to play for Wales, Mako progressed through the England age-group system after a move to Gloucestershire and a scholarship to the Millfield School in Somerset.He made his England debut in 2012 and played all three tests on the 2013 Lions tour of Australia. He has cemented himself as the first choice loosehead prop on the current tour.Vunipola was stung by last week’s 30-15 loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park, particularly after Lions coach Warren Gatland said his team had lacked the physicality to match the world champions.”It was him laying the gauntlet down to us and it’s up to us to accept it,” Vunipola said. “We are going into the game wounded and pride is on the line (and) … I wanted the opportunity to go out there and prove him wrong.”I don’t know if that’s what he meant, but it’s up to us to prove him wrong and send out a statement.”A statement performance is what is needed for the tourists, who arrived as arguably the best team to tour New Zealand since the 1971 side that clinched the only test series victory over the All Blacks.Vunipola said the team had been in intense training sessions and spoken at length about the challenge to send the series back to a decider at Eden Park on July 8th.”We know the task in front of us is immense … (and) we have spoken about this being the biggest game of our lives,” Vunipola said. Photo: Photosportlast_img read more