The Spaniard is reportedly undergoing a medical with the Russian club and has already been pictured wearing a Zenit shirt. The proposed move, thought to be worth around £12million, would end a two-year spell at the Etihad Stadium for Garcia, who joined from Benfica for £15.8million. Press Association Zenit St Petersburg appear to be closing in on the signing of midfielder Javi Garcia from Manchester City. The 28-year-old, signed from Wolfsburg for £27million in 2011, has previously spoken of his desire to stay and now it seems negotiations with the club are progressing well. The Bosnia international, who scored 26 goals last season, told German magazine Kicker: “We are currently talking about a new contract. “It looks very good in terms of staying here a bit longer. “I have been here for nearly four years now, and feel better and better. I will give my all to show what I can do. “The second half of last season was the best I had in my entire time here, and I want to draw on that. “I want to get better every year, to score even more goals. I am 28 – my best time is now.” Garcia, 27, was signed under former manager Roberto Mancini but never became a regular starter for the Italian or his successor Manuel Pellegrini. His departure would follow the £10million exit of fellow midfielder Jack Rodwell to Sunderland earlier this month. City effectively already have a replacement for Garcia in the squad having signed Fernando from Porto in June. Eliaquim Mangala, Willy Caballero, Frank Lampard, Bruno Zuculini and Bacary Sagna are the other new faces in the champions’ squad ahead of the new season. City begin the defence of their Barclays Premier League crown at Newcastle on Sunday. This week has also seen the City key pair of captain Vincent Kompany and playmaker David Silva sign new five-year contracts. Samir Nasri and Aleksandar Kolarov agreed fresh terms earlier this summer. Now striker Edin Dzeko, who is in the final year of his current deal, has suggested that he could be the next to re-sign.
Nations Cup action is due to begin at 3 o’clock later this afternoon. Ireland will be represented by two Tipperary men – the Olympics-bound Greg Broderick and Denis Lynch. Cian O’Connor and Bertram Allen are the other members of the team that will jump third today behind the United States and Great Britain. Team Ireland currently lie in sixth place in the Nations Cup series, with Dublin being their last event where they can pick up points. Seven of the 10 countries that have competed in Europe Division I this season will qualify for Rio.
The semis of the competition are almost set. Two of four quarterfinals were honoured on Saturday, and the boys started being separated from the men..South Africa 23-19 WalesSouth Africa are through to the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup.They scraped through after a late try from the excellent Fourie du Preez in what was the expected hugely physical and often brutal battle, mainly thanks to an outstanding performance in attack and defence from flanker Schalk Burger, the boot of Handre Pollard and a mammoth collective show of power in a compelling second half.It was never pretty but in the end the South Africans probably just merited it. They were much the better side in the second half when Wales simply could not find positions from which to attack.But you did have to feel for Wales. Their defensive effort was simply one of the most courageous and committed you could wish to see in Test rugby. Captain Sam Warburton had one of those matches when those who question his influence just look ridiculously foolish. He was simply magnificent, so too were Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau in the back row.New Zealand 62-13 France Not so much a French revolution as the meekest of French surrenders, then. It was always a high-risk tactic invoking an uprising in an effort to beat the All Blacks and this one backfired.Badly. Les Bleus’ apparently mutinous foot soldiers were routed, humiliated at the Millennium Stadium by the defending world champions who fired out an ominous warning to the rest of the teams left in this competition, and in particular their semi-final opponents South Africa.The All Blacks not playing well? If this is them playing badly everyone else might as well give up now.New Zealand were imperious, with Julian Savea grabbing a hat-trick and the man of the match prize. In truth, it could have gone to any number of black-shirted players.Ma’a Nonu, all rampaging runs and offloads, was utterly devastating. Ben Smith likewise. Dan Carter showed glimpses of the form which once made him arguably the finest 10 in the history of the game.Tawera Kerr-Barlow came on and scored two late tries but by then the scoreboard operator was struggling to keep up. The hands, the angles, the speed at which they attacked. SUNDAY’S SCHEDULEIreland meet Argentina in the penultimate quarter-final of the 2015 Rugby World Cup later today and the match kicks off at noon (Ghana time).Scotland will play Australia in the final quarter-final at 3pm Ghana time as they aim to reach their first semi-final since 1991 at Twickenham.All games will be available on SuperSport. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports. All Rugby World Cup games available on SuperSport chnnel 206.
A quick glance at most NCAA Tournament bracket projections will show up to nine ACC teams and as many as eight schools from the Big 12, Big Ten, and SEC expected to partake in March Madnessn this year. Far down the list of conferences is the Pac-12, with only two bids appearing likely, a power conference rarity. While the Pac-12 is still a power conference in name, the success of its basketball teams this season indicates it’s anything but right now. It hasn’t been considered the “best” conference in the sport in some time, but it’s having a year to forget — one that could result in the same or fewer NCAA Tournament bids than the American Athletic, Mountain West or Southern Conference. Where has it all gone wrong for the Pac-12 in 2018-19? Take a look at some of the factors to a lackluster basketball season:MORE: SN’s latest March Madness projectionsTraditional powers have struggledArizona, Oregon, and UCLA, teams that have been at the top of the conference at different times over the past five years, are all having down seasons, and none looks to have a shot at an at-large bid in the 2019 tournament. The conference’s NCAA Tournament hopes rest with regular season champion Washington (24-6, 15-2 in Pac-12), bubble team Arizona State (20-9, 11-6), and possibly a third team winning the conference tournament.Not exactly the outcome some predicted before the season.That paints a gloomy picture for the Pac-12’s NCAA Tournament hopes this year — even worse than last season, when just three conference teams — Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA — made the tournament. The latter two lost in the First Four and the former was upset in the first round. If the conference secures only two bids to March Madness in 2019, it would be just the second time that has happened since the Pac-12 first fielded 12 teams in 2012. California and Colorado were the conference’s only bids that year, with regular-season champion Washington notably being left out.The struggles of the traditional powers this season have left a power vacuum in the Pac-12 — and no clear candidates to advance to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Even Washington, under Pac-12 Coach of the Year Mike Hopkins, is only 2-4 in Quadrant 1 games. Hopkins’ 2-3 zone defense, which he adopted from Syracuse, has paid dividends, but the Huskies will need steady offensive contributions to make noise beyond the first round.Struggles in nonconference playBesides cannibalizing itself in conference play, Pac-12 teams have struggled mightily in nonconference games against schools from the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East this season. Of course that all goes out the window in March Madness, but it’s not a good sign. The 12 schools were a measly 7-26 in nonconference play this year. Three of those wins have come from the Sun Devils, who have the most confounding resume in the conference.Although not to the same extreme as last year, Arizona State once again put together impressive nonconference wins at the start of the season (Mississippi State, Utah State, Kansas), before suffering some bad losses in Pac-12 play. With three Quadrant 1 wins and seven Quadrant 2 victories, its NCAA Tournament chances are in flux, even though it serves as the conference’s best hope for multiple bids.Top-flight freshmen have gone down to injuryInjuries to multiple freshmen who entered the year with high expectations have taken a lot of the shine off the conference as well. UCLA freshmen Tyger Campbell (torn ACL) and Shareef O’Neal (heart ailment) had their seasons come to an end before they could even take the court. Bol Bol, the No. 4 player in the 247Sports’ Composite rankings for 2018, averaged 21 points in nine games before having his season end prematurely with a foot injury. He is expected to enter the NBA Draft.And for those who would say no single player can make or break a team’s success … just look at Duke’s struggles since Zion Williamson was lost to injury in the North Carolina game.DeCOURCY: Washington’s Thybulle is a defensive virtuosoOff-court issuesThe biggest concern right now surrounding multiple coaches in the conference is the FBI scandal looming in the sport, which may impact Arizona coach Sean Miller — as well as USC coach Andy Enfield. The full extent of any punishment is unknown right now.It’s no secret that UCLA hasn’t been able to get its bearings this season, and a lot will hinge on who the Bruins hire to replace dismissed coach Steve Alford. Lakers coach Luke Walton and Nevada coach Eric Musselman are two potential candidates, but whoever is hired should have the pieces in place to return UCLA close to the caliber team it was as recently as two years ago.Hope for the futureWhether guards Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes stay or declare for the NBA Draft is a big question surrounding the Bruins, but regardless, all five members of UCLA’s 2018 recruiting class are expected to return, including Campbell and O’Neal. A group of six redshirt and true freshmen are averaging 39.5 points per game for the young Bruins, giving them a sign of optimism moving forward. Arizona — which lost its entire starting lineup from a year ago — will once again be restocking with its recruiting class, which is led by five-star players Nico Mannion and Josh Green. 247Sports has the Wildcats’ group, which also includes four-stars Zeke Nnaji, Terry Armstrong and Christian Koloko, as the top recruiting class in the country.Oregon will likely be getting freshmen Louis King and Will Richardson back, and the building blocks can pair with point guard Payton Pritchard and a promising recruiting class. USC is expected to bring in five-star recruits Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu, as well as two four-star prospects. Washington and Arizona State have a strong foundation in place that is ripe with potential. Not a lot has gone to plan in the conference this year, but the 2019-20 season may offer less-embarrassing results. There is hope for the Pac-12, even though results this season have been unkind. The conference needs it.