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Former Yorkshire Super League coaches do battle on international stage

It will be master against apprentice when Wales do battle with France in their must-win European Championship clash in Albi on Saturday afternoon.

John Kear (above) had Richard Agar as his assistant during Hull FC's Challenge Cup win Credit: Press Association

The second round of matches pits French head coach and former Hull FC and Wakefield head coach Richard Agar against his old mentor John Kear, a former England and France boss who is now in charge of his third national team after succeeding Iestyn Harris at Wales.

The 2014 European Championship is one long round of reunions for the veteran former Wakefield Head Coach Kear, who helped launch Agar's coaching career at Hull in 2004, coached Scotland captain Danny Brough at two Super League clubs and in tandem with Ireland boss Mark Aston steered Sheffield Eagles to their stunning win over Wigan in the 1998 Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

"I go back a long way with all three," Kear said. "I've had a very interesting last 10 or 15 years. We keep inter-twining, locking horns and it's great. It's part of the rugby league family."

Both France and Wales go into their meeting on the back of defeats and know a loss in Albi will end their hopes both of tournament success and of securing the big prize of a place in the 2016 Four Nations Series.

Kear's men will be looking to bounce back from their 42-18 defeat by Scotland while pre-tournament favourites France are reeling from a shock 22-12 loss to Ireland.

"We had a really good review of the previous performance against Scotland and we've identified areas that we need to tidy up and improve on," Kear said.

"The players' application has been first class and if they take that on to the field against France then I'll be very satisfied.

"This week will be vastly different to the Scotland game in Cumbria last Friday. We played in a howling gale and driving rain and, from the forecasts we've been getting, we'll have no rain on Saturday, 25 degree sunshine and the ground will be very firm."

Agar is poised to give a debut to Lezignan hooker John Boudebza, who this week completed a move to Hull KR, while Kear has called up four fresh faces as he rebuilds a youthful Welsh squad.

"It's exciting for the game in Wales," Kear said. "We've given a lot of people some opportunities. Some have taken them without a shadow of a doubt and are going to be here for a good few years yet."

For Wales and Ireland, who host the Scots in Dublin on Saturday afternoon, there is also the prospect of securing automatic entry into the 2017 World Cup down under.

"With the enormity of this fixture we will be looking to up our game against Scotland," Aston said. "Last week was a fantastic victory and it is important that we keep the spirit that we showed against France and build on that."

Scotland coach Steve McCormack, who celebrated 10 years in the job on Friday, reckons his side will need to find some improvement if they are to halt the improving Irish.

"A lot of people were shocked by Ireland beating France but nothing surprises me any more," said McCormack.

"We know we are going to have to be at our very best to win.

"If we play like we did in the second half against Wales we will give ourselves a chance but we've got to learn from where we went wrong in the first half."


"Paranoid" policeman get 28 years after stabbing pregnant girlfriend to death

A former policeman, who stabbed his pregnant girlfriend to death has been jailed for a minimum of 28 years.

Three rooms of the house on Reinwood Road, Huddersfield, were left covered in blood. Credit: Ross Parry

Jonathan Sutton from Huddersfield stabbed his girlfriend Emma Siswick 81 times because he wrongly believed she was cheating on him.

Sutton also stabbed two boys, aged nine and 11, in an attack that was described as "little short of torture".

The defendant pleaded guilty to Ms Siswick's murder and the grievous bodily harm of the two boys at Leeds Crown Court.

Jonathan Sutton from Huddersfield stabbed his girlfriend Emma Siswick 81 times because he wrongly believed she was cheating on him. Credit: Ross Parry

The court heard that Sutton initially attacked his partner with a glass after discovering a text message on her phone and deciding that she was being unfaithful to him. He then stabbed her with a knife before attacking the boys.

Three rooms of the house on Reinwood Road, Huddersfield, were left covered in blood.

Mr Justice Edis said Ms Siswick, 37, was pregnant at the time of her murder but the couple, who had been together just over three years, had discussed terminating the pregnancy.

He said there had been no previous assaults in the relationship, despite frequent arguments.

Ms Siswick, 37, was pregnant at the time of her murder Credit: Ross Parry

You have committed three offences which are as serious as it's possible to imagine.

Looking at the photographs of the house where all this happened ... is a truly horrific experience. There are three different sites in that property where very serious assaults with knives were carried out. There's blood everywhere.

You inflicted 81 separate cut injuries to Emma. She fought you to try to save herself.

– Mr Justice Edis
The murder happened after Sutton discovered a "harmless" text message and decided Ms Siswick was being unfaithful to him Credit: Ross Parry

The murder happened after Sutton discovered a "harmless" text message and decided Ms Siswick was being unfaithful to him, which she was not.

Mr Justice Edis described the attacks on the children as "truly horrific" and told Sutton he had caused them "irreparable harm".

Your motive was anger and possessive rage

In all of your relationships, you have been obsessively jealous of the women you lived with, checking them and their conduct in ways which were demeaning and humiliating and no doubt, to them, deeply unsettling.

Because of your weakness in that regard, it appears that you simply lost your temper and in anger, without premeditation, killed her.

You were an obsessively jealous man who lost his temper.

– Mr Justice Edis

Sutton received concurrent life sentences for each of the three counts he admitted. He was told he would serve a minimum of eight years for the two charges of wounding with intent and a minimum of 28 years for Ms Siswick's murder.

Up and away: Leeds-Dublin direct flights take off for the first time in 14 years

Aer Lingus has launched a new route from Leeds-Bradford to Dublin airport.

Aer Lingus will operate the Leeds-Dublin route for the first time in 14 years Credit: Press Association

For the first time in 14 years, the airline will operate two daily return flights between Leeds Bradford and Dublin and expects to carry 70,000 passengers on the route in 2015.

The Leeds-Dublin route will be serviced by the airline’s newest aircraft which were delivered brand new in June this year.

This route will provide a link to the US through Dublin for Leeds-based passengers who can connect to Aer Lingus mainline transatlantic services. This includes flights to New York, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, San Francisco and Toronto.

Dublin airport provides customs and security pre-clearance for passengers travelling to the US which means they are treated as domestic passengers on arrival and so avoid long delays often associated with security checks in the US.

Leeds Bradford is a popular destination and we look forward to welcoming passengers on board and growing this route further

– Simon Fagan, Chief Commercial Officer, Stobart Air


Mobility scooter pensioner left to die in hit and run

A pensioner was knocked off his mobility scooter and left to die in the road.

82-year old Jim Dakin was riding legally along a cycle lane in Lincoln a week ago when he was the victim of a hit and run driver who struck his scooter from behind.

He fought for his life in hospital for four days but died on Tuesday. )olice have staged road blocks to try and find the driver.

Kate Hemingway reports.

Lorry driver cleared of all charges in Bethany Jones minibus death

Kevin Ollerhead, the lorry driver accused of the causing the death of 18-year old Bethany Jones was cleared of all charges by a united jury.

All 12 members of the jury agreed that the lorry driver had not caused the crash by dangerous driving or careless driving Credit: Bethany Jones

The trial heard that the collision happened on April 26 last year after the 24-seater coach suffered mechanical problems and came to a "near standstill" on the motorway.

The coach left South Elmsall, near Pontefract, at 11.00 am to travel to Liverpool for a hen party ahead of the wedding of Stefanie Firth.

The passengers on the bus very quickly became aware of signs of mechanical failure, including a smell of burning, and asked the minibus driver to stop the vehicle.

Johnson did stop the coach, which had a badly burnt-out clutch, and made a brief examination but said he could not find a problem and continued the journey.

The speed of the coach gradually slowed to a crawl until it was travelling at just 5.5mph in the nearside lane of the M62, just after junction 32, near Pontefract.

Mr Ollerhead, who was driving his lorry at 52mph, crashed into the back of the bus, shunting it 50 yards along the road and into a crash barrier, leaving it lying on its side across an exit sliproad.

He told the court he was a professional driver and there was nothing he could have done to avoid the accident.

McNamara aware of Samoa threat

England rugby league coach Steve McNamara insists that his men will not underestimate Samoa when the teams meet tomorrow morning.

England coach Steve McNamara shaking hands with Samoa boss Steve Parish ahead of their clash in Brisbane Credit: Press Association

Samoa secured their place in the competition back in May when they beat rivals Fiji in a qualifying match.

The England Knights were far too strong for the Islanders when the two sides met 12 months ago running out convincing 52-16 winners at Salford.

However, former Bradford boss McNamara insists that he will keep his side grounded as they enter into the tie knowing that they will have some tough opponents to contend with.

McNamara said: "I think it's only the press that are saying Samoa are the underdogs.

"We fully understand the quality of personnel in their group. Their players have been involved in finals and Grand Finals, they are a very talented team.

"They've got an ability to break tackles and run over teams so, defensively, we are going to have a real challenge on our hands."

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