He’s back! Freddie Michalak was dropped to the bench following the Wales defeat but starts against Ireland in DublinBy Alan DymockTHERE IS a lot of love in the air. Not the kind of sickly sweet love, where champagne with strawberries is a must and a handmade card has to be presented on top of the Eiffel or Blackpool Tower while Frankie Goes to Hollywood blares out from a boombox circa ’92. Just lovely love for all things nice.So celebrate all the international days and holidays this weekend by rounding up all of your chums, taking them down the boozer and indulging their love of Six Nations rugby. Here’s a look ahead at round four…Return of the ‘lakNo sooner had everyone gruffly agreed that France were better without Freddie Michalak than Philippe Saint-Andre reinstated the mercurial half-back for the game against Ireland.Inside him there is a steadying force, with Morgan Parra winning his 50th cap while having to hold the France fly-half’s hand. Their task will be to try to work around the Irish playmakers and hope that any trouble that befalls Michalak cannot be punished by a fit-enough Paddy Jackson.The match-up between Michalak and Jackson will be interesting, and while the Irishman certainly seems to have the full support of his team, it only takes one bit of Michalak magic for us all to remember how good a player he can be when he is not dabbing kicks into gleeful defender’s chops.In the perfect world the fancy flyers on either side perform, the packs put in brave displays and Jackson comes of age while Michalak actually pulls off something he has been trying since the opening whistle of the championship.In the real world, though, it will be the team that is less wasteful that will renege on their recent form. Italy need to play a tad more negatively than they have in previous rounds. Their offloading has been superb, but they need to box-kick and pick-and-go to sap the English before looking to play with Jacques Brunel’s style. It may even help playing negatively at the start before picking up the pace on either side of half-time and then becoming negative again. If it is non-stop action and offloads for 80 minutes they will burn out against an England side conditioned to last.For the hosts, they will be convinced that if they can keep swinging low, but at greater pace, they are assured of a victory. NOT FOR FEATURED LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Marksman: Wales’ Leigh HalfpennyContenders’ contestAt Murrayfield there is a meeting of two teams still in the hunt for a title. Whether or not Scotland are likely to claim their first ever Six Nations title or Wales retain the trophy is irrelevant. This is a spectacle for spectacle’s sake. Both teams are on a high and both want to ruck it out.The back threes on either side of the ball are exciting and this game represents a chance for the tournament to flourish once again, with tries and turnovers, runs and rearguard action capturing the imagination.If both throw the kitchen sink and the toilet, too, this has the potential to be the game of the tournament (unless Wales win. Then, of course, Wales versus England at the Millennium Stadium will undoubtedly be the game of the tournament…).Captain marvel: Sergio ParisseSlam-pedeThe Italians will be hoping that the reinstatement of Sergio Parisse can help them bounce back. However, England are on an upwards curve and by swapping in dynamic ball-carriers in Mako Vunipola, James Haskell and Danny Care, they are clearly planning an unrelenting punch to the guts of Italy.Italy may not double over, but England are marching towards a Grand Slam and they are trying to pick up the pace.
The three-season wait is over. Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares is the team’s new captain.MORE: NHL predictions 2019-20: Final standings, playoff projections, Stanley Cup picks The last captain in Leafs history before Tavares was defenseman Dion Phaneuf from 2010-16. Defenseman Morgan Rielly will serve as an alternate captain for the season while forwards Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner alternate wearing the other ‘A’ on their jerseys throughout the year.Toronto Maple Leafs captains throughout team historyYEARSCAPTAIN2019-John Tavares2010-16Dion Phaneuf1997-08Mats Sundin*1994-97Doug Gilmour*1991-94Wendel Clark1989-91Rob Ramage1981-86Rick Vaive1975-81Darryl Sittler*1969-75Dave Keon*1957-69George Armstrong*1956-57Ted Kennedy*1956-57Jimmy Thomson1955-56Sid Smith1948-55Ted Kennedy*1945-48Syl Apps*1943-45Bob Davidson1940-43Syl Apps*1938-40Red Horner*1937-38Charlie Conacher*1927-37Hap Day*1926-27Bert Corbeau1925-26Babe Dye1924-25John Ross Roach1922-24Jack Adams1920-22Reg Noble1919-20Frank Heffernan1917-19Ken Randall*Hall of Fame Prior to puck drop on the 2019-20 NHL season Wednesday night, the Leafs revealed the Oakville, Ont., native as the 25th captain in franchise history. Tavares was the last player introduced, sporting the “C” on his jersey, before the team’s season-opening game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Arena.OFFICIAL: John Tavares has been named the Captain of the @MapleLeafs . pic.twitter.com/U3Ki8zFvvT— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) October 2, 2019The team utilized Tavares’ wife Aryne, and newborn son, Jace, to deliver the good news: he was greeted by his son wearing his jersey when Toronto’s front office and coaching staff told him he would be named captain.”It’s a real honour. I won’t ever take it for granted.” #LeafsForeverThe Leaf: Blueprint Moment presented by @Molson_Canadian. pic.twitter.com/6eyYUXQhvg— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 2, 2019″That’s a hell of a surprise,” Tavares said as Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas brought him into a room with coach Mike Babcock and team president Brendan Shanahan. He greeted his son with a kiss, saying “[The jersey] looks good on you, bud.””We don’t expect anything from you other than you just continue to be who you’ve been,” Dubas told Tavares. “It’s been a lot of discussion and it’s because of who you are and how you do things every single day, yourself and Morgan [Rielly] and the rest of the group and how you conduct yourselves day in and day out. It’s what we want as a representation of our team every single day in here and to the public. We’re just fortunate we have some willing help to share the news with you.”Tavares, 29, had the best season of his career in 2018-19 (47 goals, 88 points), his first with the Maple Leafs. He played nine seasons for the New York Islanders and served as their captain for five seasons before signing with Toronto in July 2018.
MASON CITY — A Mason City man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to child endangerment charges connected with a van crash last spring. 24-year-old Deairreo Cryer was operating a vehicle that crashed into a ditch in the 1500 block of 12th Northwest on May 2nd, injuring all five occupants. Three of the victims were children between the ages of three and seven years old. Cryer had a blood alcohol content level of .137 after the crash, well above the legal limit for driving of .08. Cryer was originally charged with: one count of serious injury by vehicle, one count of child endangerment causing serious injury and two counts of child endangerment causing bodily injury. During a hearing this week in Cerro Gordo County District Court, he pleaded guilty to three of the charges, with District Judge Rustin Davenport sentencing Cryer to ten years in prison on the child endangerment causing serious injury charge and five years in prison on each of the child endangerment causing bodily injury charges. Online court records show prosecutors have filed a motion to dismiss the serious injury by vehicle charge.