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Countdown to the Rugby Union World Cup

Rugby is coming home this year as England hosts the Rugby Union World Cup.

For the first time the North West is getting in on the action as Manchester City's Etihad Stadium has been chosen as the only venue outside of Twickenham to hold an England group game.

On October the 10th England will take on Uruguay at Eastlands as rugby union moves away from it's traditional heartland in the south.

And as David Chisnall has been finding out it's one of a number of locations being used in our region ahead of the game.

  1. National

Man City midfielder Toure impacted by lower quality Ivorians - Renard

Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard believes Yaya Toure has struggled to reach his best for his country due to the lesser quality of players around him.

Renard thinks Toure is aided by the standard of his Manchester City team-mates at club level, but the inferior nature of his international colleagues, means he has has to change his style at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Yaya Toure captains the Ivory Coast side. Credit: PA

"Ivory Coast is not Manchester City. The potential of players is not the same," said Ranard.

"At City, there are players who can defend very well and create at the same time. With us it is different, so we asked him to do a different job."

Renard has used Toure in a deeper position than he operates in for Manchester City.

"It's easy to work with players of his calibre because you can ask a lot of things of them if you explain to them what you need and why. It's easier with players of this calibre than with players who have not experienced much and think they already know everything," added Renard.

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Man United keeper Valdes praised for inspirational team-talk

Manchester United under-21 coach Warren Joyce has hailed new goalkeeper Victor Valdes after he made his first appearance for the club on Monday night.

The former Barcelona man impressed on and off the pitch, by giving an inspirational team-talk.

Valdes explained the story of American Dick Hoyt, who has pushed his cerebal palsy-suffering son in marathons and endurance events for decades, to inspire his new colleagues ahead of their 2-1 win over Liverpool under-21s.

Victor Valdes joined Manchester United on a free. Credit: Pa

"The lads are in the room listening to this. It was unbelievable," Joyce explained.

"I was going to do something but Victor said 'Guardiola used to do this'.

"He's a very humble guy and a model professional."

Rodgers 'enjoys' competition with Mourinho

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he enjoys the competitive nature of his battles with Chelsea's Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool face Jose Mourinho's Chelsea on Tuesday Credit: PA Images

Liverpool play Chelsea in the second-leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.

Rodgers said: "His record speaks for itself. He's a world-class manager and we'll always have that competitive edge".

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