NIAID seeks vaccines for H5N1 avian flu

first_imgMay 28, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said yesterday it has awarded contracts to two companies to develop vaccines based on the H5N1 avian influenza virus in an effort to limit the risk of a human influenza pandemic.Contracts were awarded to Aventis Pasteur Inc. of Swiftwater, Pa., and Chiron Corp., Emeryville, Calif., both of which make inactivated flu virus vaccines that are used each flu season. Each company will produce 8,000 to 10,000 doses of vaccine, which the NIAID will then test in clinical trials, the agency said.Each contract will be worth about $2 million and will cover about a 2-year period, according to an NIAID spokeswoman. She told CIDRAP News the amount and time frame for the contracts will be determined more precisely later this summer.Widespread outbreaks of H5N1 avian flu occurred in eight Asian countries beginning last December, triggering the loss of more than 100 million poultry from illness or culling. The outbreaks led to 34 documented human cases, including 23 deaths. Disease experts feared that the avian virus would combine with a human flu virus, possibly producing a new strain that could trigger a pandemic because people would have no immunity to it.In announcing the contracts, the NIAID said, “If a pandemic of H5N1 avian influenza were to occur in humans, production of such a vaccine on a commercial scale could be used to protect laboratory workers, public health personnel at risk and, if needed, the general public.”The two companies will use a strain of H5N1 avian flu virus taken from a Vietnamese patient last February, the NIAID said. With approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the NIAID will test the vaccines for safety and immunogenicity in phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials. The vaccines will be tested in healthy adults first and later in children and elderly people.Avian flu had never been known to infect humans before 1997, when an H5N1 avian virus infected 18 people in Hong Kong, killing six of them, the NIAID noted. But the virus did not spread readily from person to person in that case or in this year’s outbreaks.In a statement from Chiron Corp., Chiron Vaccines President John Lambert said, “Chiron has produced vaccines designed to protect against other types of avian influenza, including the strain that resulted in several deaths in Hong Kong in 1997. Subsequent clinical testing demonstrated that it should be possible to protect against the lethal Hong Kong strain. Our current work with the NIAID builds on this experience.”David J. Williams, chairman and CEO of Aventis Pasteur, said in a statement, “As the world’s largest producer of influenza vaccine, it is important for us to partner with the government to expand our knowledge of how to prepare a safe and effective vaccine in as short a time frame as possible. This important project will help us gain that experience.”The NIAID said the companies would produce the vaccines by the established technique of growing the virus in eggs and then inactivating and purifying it before formulating it into vaccine. “The use of established techniques to develop the investigational vaccines will help to promote rapid licensing of commercial pandemic vaccines in the event of a pandemic outbreak,” the agency said.See also:May 27 NIAID news releasehttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2004/Pages/flucontracts.aspxlast_img read more

Indonesia braces for recession, activates crisis protocol

first_img“We are very aware that we must be very careful to avoid moral hazard,” said Sri Mulyani, who was among decision makers in a controversial 2008 bailout on failed Bank Century. “We will formulate a safeguard, so that policymakers that are taking measures to improve public health and the economy cannot be criminalized because of the acts of others.”The COVID-19 crisis playbook bears eerie resemblance to the 1998 crisis, during which the central bank provided massive liquidity support to commercial banks to survive the monetary crisis, but most of the money was eventually embezzled.The government’s economic recession scenario would mean the first GDP contraction since the 1998 crisis, which saw the domestic economy contract by 13.1 percent.However, three economists contacted by The Jakarta Post agreed that Indonesia’s current state was “very different” from that in 1998. The common denominator among the economists is that existing Indonesian companies have stronger fundamentals than those in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.Read also: Explainer: BI to throw lifeline to Indonesia’s economy to fight COVID-19Center for Reform on Economics (Core) Indonesia research director Piter Abdullah explained that many Indonesian companies in the 1990s had relied heavily on foreign loans to finance operations. Those loans had made such companies inherently vulnerable to the rupiah exchange rate slump that began in July 1997.“The companies today have not collapsed. They have been shaken, yes, but not collapsed,” he said.Public sentiment over the 1998 crisis – a violent period in Indonesian history – was stirred after the Indonesian rupiah hit Rp 16,000 to the US dollar on March 20, the weakest since the crisis, as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted an Indonesian asset sell-off.Indonesia has responded by announcing tax breaks to support companies, increasing healthcare spending and allowing the central bank to buy tradable government bonds to stabilize the rupiah, among other measures, in line with policies carried out by authorities worldwide to protect the economy.University of Indonesia economics professor Ari Kuncoro commended the government for mobilizing aid for the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Such enterprises had played a critical role in getting Indonesia out of the 1998 financial crisis by stimulating the business ecosystem from the bottom up.“That habitat has to be saved. And that habitat right now, like in 1998, is largely MSMEs, the people, middle- and low-income citizens,” he said.Read also: Indonesia announces Rp 405 trillion COVID-19 budget, anticipates 5% deficit in historic moveMSMEs will receive extensions on loan payment deadlines for up to one year if the loan is less than Rp 10 billion, Jokowi said. They will also get bailout funds from the government if they commit to keeping 90 percent of their employees on the same salary as before the COVID-19 crisis, said Susiwijono Moegiarso, the secretary of the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister.Economist Josua Pardede of Pertama Bank added that Indonesia’s credit rating had greatly improved since the 1998 financial crisis “which shows international institution’s confidence in the performance of Indonesia’s economy.”Major credit rating agencies S&P, Moody’s and Fitch rate Indonesia’s sovereign credit as investment grade, which allows a broad range of investors to invest in Indonesian financial assets.Topics : Indonesia is bracing for the spillover effect of a global recession as policymakers roll out crisis protocols for the worst-case scenarios concerning GDP and the rupiah exchange rate while COVID-19 is hitting businesses and households hard.A government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) issued on Tuesday covers a range of crisis protocols that include allowing Bank Indonesia (BI) to throw a lifeline to the state budget through direct government bond purchases and to banks via liquidity support.Indonesia’s economy is expected to grow by 2.3 percent this year under the baseline scenario, which would be the lowest rate since 1999, or contract by 0.4 percent in the worst-case scenario, in the face of higher global recession risks, according to Finance Minister Sri Muyani Indrawati. The rupiah may hover between Rp 17,500 and Rp 20,000 per US dollar under the worst-case scenario, a historic low even weaker than after the 1998 financial crisis. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has announced plans to spend Rp 405.1 trillion on health care, social safety nets and business recovery programs. The new regulation, Perppu No. 1/2020, allows the budget deficit to widen beyond the previous legal limit of 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).“No actions, including decisions made based on this Perppu, may be subject to lawsuits that could be filed at a state administrative court,” reads the Perppu on state finance and financial system stability to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.Read also: Indonesia’s COVID-19 stimulus playbook explainedSri Mulyani said the stipulation was necessary so that authorities were legally protected to take “extraordinary measures in protecting the economy”. The Perppu was issued as Indonesia declared a public health emergency that involves imposing large-scale social restrictions.last_img read more

UK roundup: BA scheme closure to save company £80m a year

first_imgThe company agreed with unions to pay “transition costs” to NAPS members amounting to £169m. Despite this, IAG said it was expecting a net “exceptional gain” of £598m in relation to the changes. British Airways has said it stands to save £80m (€91.6m) a year following the decision to close two of its pension schemes.As of 31 March, the defined benefit (DB) New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS) was closed to future accrual and the defined contribution (DC) British Airways Retirement Plan was closed to future contributions.Both schemes have been replaced by a flexible benefits scheme, as parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) announced in December.In a stock exchange announcement yesterday, IAG said the liabilities of the NAPS would be cut by roughly £770m as a result of the closure and related changes. BA is expected to save £80m a year from the pension changesThe new DC scheme grants members an automatic 5% employer contribution without the need for an employee contribution. BA’s contribution escalates incrementally to 11% as employees increase their payments into the scheme.Steve Gunning, British Airways’ chief financial officer, said: “This is an important step in managing the risk in NAPS and ensuring the airline has an appropriate cost-base for the future.“The new arrangements include a market-competitive defined contribution scheme and will stop the build-up of further liabilities and risk in NAPS. This will help to improve the security of existing benefits.”The People’s Pension takes on £20m master trustThe UK’s largest private sector DC master trust has taken over responsibility for a rival scheme, Your Workplace Pension (YWP).In a statement, The People’s Pension said it had taken on 70 employers and more than 8,700 members.Roy Porter, group director of sales and marketing at The People’s Pension, said: “Across the industry, master trust consolidation like this looks set to increase following the new legislation and The People’s Pension is well-placed to support that.“There are a large number of master trusts in the market but following the new regulation it’s unrealistic to think they’ll all be able to continue. Improved regulation will ensure that more members can easily be moved to good quality workplace pension schemes where the employer no longer wants to operate its own pension scheme.”The UK government recently announced new rules for master trusts, which had previously been subject to little regulation or oversight. These included an authorisation regime that could cost master trusts up to £67,000 to complete.In addition, the government said strategists and trustees working on master trusts would be subject to suitability tests to judge individuals’ knowledge, understanding and experience, while scheme providers would be required to have sufficient resources to cover the costs of setting up and running a master trust and to resolve events that “could have a significant impact on a master trust scheme’s ability to operate”.The People’s Pension was set up in 2011 as a multi-employer scheme to help small companies with their auto-enrolment requirements. It has more than 3m members, according to its website.Recruitment firm charged with computer misuse after ‘illegal opt-outs’The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is to prosecute a recruitment firm and seven of its employees for allegedly illegally opting employees out of the company pension scheme.In a statement yesterday TPR accused Workchain of logging onto its online pension system using employees’ personal details to terminate their membership of the scheme.Employees must opt out of workplace pension schemes themselves, TPR said.The company and the individuals were charged with “unauthorised access to a computer programme [sic]”. They have been summoned to appear in Derby Magistrates’ Court on 7 June.The charge carries a maximum sentence of six months and/or an unlimited fine, according to TPR. However, the sentence could be as much as two years if the case goes to the UK’s Crown Court.New British Steel scheme opens for businessThe trustee board of the new British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) has made its first payment to more than 80,000 members since it was restructured. It has also launched a new website. The announcement last week marked the end of a three-year struggle for the future of UK steelworkers’ pensions, which began in March 2015 when the sponsoring employer, Tata Steel, announced it would close the DB scheme to future accrual.It then threatened to pull out of the UK altogether if it was unable to cut the cost of funding the scheme, leading to complex negotiations between the company, trustees, TPR and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).Allan Johnston, who chaired the old scheme (now in the PPF’s assessment period) and leads the new scheme’s trustee board, said the past 18 months had been “challenging”.He added: “It is pleasing that around 100,000 old scheme members took the time to choose the outcome that was best for them based on their personal circumstances. The new BSPS offers benefits that for most members of the old scheme are the same or better than the PPF and over 80,000 of those members took the opportunity to switch to the new scheme.”last_img read more

Del Potro undergoes second operation on injured knee

first_imgFormer US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, out of action since June 2019, underwent surgery on his right knee in Miami on Monday.Advertisement Loading… Promoted Content7 Universities In The World With The Highest Market ValueWho’s The Best Car Manufacturer Of All Time?The Highest Paid Football Players In The WorldBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemThe Highest Paid Football Players In The WorldWhat Our Favorite Celebs Look Like With Their Natural Hair ColorIs This The Most Delicious Food In The World?This Guy Photoshopped Himself Into Celeb Pics And It’s HystericalBest Car Manufacturers In The World7 Mind-Boggling Facts About Black Holes7 Worst Things To Do To Your Phone6 Extreme Facts About Hurricanes It was a second operation after Del Potro fractured his right kneecap at Queens in June.The 31-year-old former world No.3 underwent his first operation later that month in Barcelona.Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro has had surgery on his right kneeRead Also: Aussie Open: Injured Federer saves seven match points in stunning comebackHe planned to return to the ATP circuit in October but continued discomfort forced him to undergo another operation.The 1.98m “Tower of Tandil” won the US Open in 2009 and silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but his career has been interrupted repeatedly by wrist injuries which forced him to undergo surgery three times.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 The Argentine posted a photo on social media showing him on crutches with his right leg in a brace and the caption in Spanish and English that said “time to go home to rest” and said thank you “for all the love and support you give me in these difficult times.”last_img read more

IHSAA School Enrollments

first_imgThe new IHSAA school enrollment figures have been released.  The largest high school in Indiana is now Carmel with 4,830 students.  Second place goes to Ben Davis High School with 4,220 students.  Third place goes to Warren Central with 3,602 students.  The 4th largest school is also in Indianapolis with North Central coming in at 3,520 students.  The only schools in the top ten that are not in Indianapolis are Penn High School and Lake Central High School both in northern Indiana.A few schools that are moving to new classes include LaPorte who will move to 6A in football this year.  Also, Tech High School will move up to 5A in football.  On the downward side, Marion drops to 3A.  Melvin Siefert, who is principal at Plainfield High School will see his team go to 5A this year.  Two more Indianapolis schools also will find themselves in a new class this year.  They are Ritter and Attucks who both move up to 3A.Only one school listed in this report must move because of winning consecutive state titles.  That is also an Indianapolis School, and it is Cathedral.  No area schools were listed in this IHSAA report.last_img read more

MSD renews decal program support of IMCA Stock Car division

first_imgEL PASO, Texas – IMCA Sunoco Stock Car drivers are chief among beneficiaries of MSD sponsorship sup­port for the sanctioning body.The El Paso, Texas, manufacturer and distributor is part of the national decal program for the division again and gives $100 product certificates to top 10 drivers in final standings for both Northern and Southern regions.This season is MSD’s 14th as an IMCA sponsor. That program also includes awards for IMCA Modified, Karl Chevrolet Northern and Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods, IMCA Late Models and the Deery Brothers Summer Series.“We are excited to once again partner with IMCA to reward racers using MSD products,” said Company President Russell Stephens. “For 2017 MSD has introduced the new 6CT Ignition featuring all-new technology including a digital readout to show rpm, rev limit point, battery voltage and start retard amount.“MSD values the local dirt track racers who are the backbone of grassroots racing. IMCA racers work all day then come home and work all night to get ready to race,” he continued. “MSD is grateful for the opportunity to reward them with products like the 6CT and with product certificates. Good luck to all IMCA racers in 2017!”Top eligible drivers in each of the five IMCA Modified regions receive new 6CT digital ignition control boxes and Blaster HVC coils; the runner-up gets a 6CT ignition control box while third and fourth place drivers get universal spark plug wire sets and the fifth place driver receives a Blaster HVC coil.The top drivers in each Stock Car regions get Ultimate HEI kits and a universal spark plug wire set. Runners-up receive a HEI module and the third place finishers get universal spark plug wire sets.An 8728 Soft Touch rev control goes to the top eligible driver in the national Northern SportMod and Southern SportMod standings. Universal spark plug wire sets go to second and third place drivers in both divisions.Top three eligible drivers in national point standings for Late Models and the Deery Series standings receive a digital 6CT ignition control box, spark plug wire set and Blaster HVC coil, and universal plug wire set, respec­tively.Drivers in all five divisions must compete with MSD products, display two MSD decals on their race car and send sign-up forms to the IMCA home office by Aug. 1.Decal placement is also required for Stock Car drivers to be eligible for national and regional point fund shares. Awards will be presented during the national banquet in November or mailed from the IMCA home office beginning in December.Information about MSD products is available by calling 915 855-7123 and at the www.msdperformance.com website.“MSD has always been the leader in ignition control and their influence is felt throughout dirt track racing,” said Kevin Yoder, director of marketing for IMCA. “We rely on their expertise when implementing rules packages in nearly every IMCA division and trust the products they supply to IMCA racers as a result.”last_img read more

Luellen, Marriott motor to Modified qualifying feature wins

first_imgClint Luellen led start to finish in winning his Thursday night Modified qualifying feature at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. (Photo by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photography)BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 6) – Clint Luellen led every lap while Hunter Marriott needed most of his feature in winning IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s Modified qualifiers Thursday night.Luellen, the 2015 Northern SportMod champion, had the field covered from the get-go in the opener at Boone Speedway. Cautions at midway – that yellow took Oregon contender Collen Winebarger, piloting one of the fastest cars on the track, out of contention – and again on lap 20 erased Luellen’s sizable leads but he pulled away after both restarts.Cayden Carter started 25th and passed 2010 champion Jimmy Gustin with four to go and finished second; the 17th starting Gustin and Chaz Baca, who headed the pursuit of Luellen much of the way, completed the top four.Marriott worked his way toward the front from 15th starting in the nightcap. Into the top four by lap nine, he finally caught Tanner Black for the front spot with four laps left.Black beat 11th starting Justin Auringer to the stripe by all of four one thousandth’s of a second for runner-up honors and Joe Duvall completed the top four.Gustin qualified for his career 12th main event, Auringer for his eighth, Marriott his fourth, Carter his third and Luellen, Baca, Black and Duvall each their first.1st qualifying feature – 1. Clint Luellen, Minburn; 2. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 3. Jimmy Gustin, Marshalltown; 4. Chaz Baca, Mesa, Ariz.; 5. Craig Reetz, Dunlap; 6. Andrew Smith, Rogersville, Mo.; 7. Clay Money, Penokee, Kan.; 8. Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 9. Jeff Stephens, Arion; 10. Jesse Richter, Great Bend, Kan.; 11. Shane Hiatt, Rising City, Neb.; 12. Nick Roberts, Des Moines; 13. Jesse Sobbing, Malvern; 14. Keegan Nordquist, Beresford, S.D.; 15. Tyler Frye, Belleville, Kan.; 16. Randy Havlik, Ankeny; 17. A.J. Ward, Ionia, Mich.; 18. Paul Stone, Winton, Calif.; 19. Brandon Leeman, Roland; 20. Josh Truman, Indianola; 21. Ed Thomas, Waterloo; 22. Collen Winebarger, Corbett, Ore.; 23. Cory Wray, Trenton, Mo.; 24. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 25. Jeff Hoegh, New Caney, Texas; 26. Nick Deal, Harlan; 27. Trent Loverude, New Ulm, Minn.; 28. Drew Christianson, Minot, N.D.; 29. Duane Cleveland, Olivehurst, Calif.; 30. Jesse Skalicky, Fargo, N.D.2nd qualifying feature – 1. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 2. Tanner Black, Otis, Kan.; 3. Justin Auringer, Evansdale; 4. Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.; 5. Tim Ward, Chandler, Ariz.; 6. Justin O’Brien, West Union; 7. Drew Armstrong, Alexander, Ark.; 8. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 9. Randy Foote, Stanton; 10. Chris Abelson, Sioux City; 11. Chad Wernette, Sheridan, Mich.; 12. Austin Kiefer, Pahrump, Nev.; 13. Brenten DeYoung, Crystal, Mich.; 14. Mike Petersilie, Hoisington, Kan.; 15. Ben Kraus, Britt; 16. Steven Bowers Jr., Topeka, Kan.; 17. Eric Elliott, Boone; 18. Matthew Meinecke, Jamaica; 19. Clay Sellard, Bucklin, Kan.; 20. Troy Foulger, Oakley, Calif.; 21. Taylor Musselman, Urbandale; 22. Gavin Hunyady, Fenton, Mich.; 23. Chad Porter, Madison Lake, Minn.; 24. Dan Ratajczak, Luxemburg, Wis.; 25. Raymond McSpadden, Buda, Texas; 26. Tyler Prochaska, Iowa Falls; 27. Brandon Clough, Wallace, Neb.; 28. Jason Wolla, Ray, N.D.; 29. D.J. Shannon, Merced, Calif.; 30. Josh Beaulieu, Bemidji, Minn. Hunter Marriott raced from 15th to win Thursday night’s second Modified qualifying feature at Super Nationals. (Photo by Tom Macht, www.photofinishphotos.com)last_img read more

Decatur County Memorial Hospital expands vascular services

first_imgGreensburg, IN — Decatur County Memorial Hospital is expanding its vascular services by welcoming three vascular surgeons from Southern Indiana Surgery: Dr. Michael J. Buckmaster, Dr. Jason W. Christie, and Dr. Douglas Y. Roese. Experienced in procedures addressing arteries, veins, and lymphatics, these seasoned surgeons will be offering vascular services to patients in Decatur County and surrounding communities.Dr. Roese brings 15 years of medical expertise to Decatur County Memorial Hospital, including a Vascular Fellowship from Baylor College of Medicine and eight years of general, vascular and laparoendoscopic surgery. A board-certified surgeon, Dr. Roese earned his Doctor of Medicine from Augusta’s Medical College of Georgia in 1995.After having received his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Dr. Christie underwent general surgery training at Wake Forest University, where he also trained an additional two years to complete a vascular surgery fellowship.Dr. Buckmaster earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan School of Medicine, completing his general surgery residency and research fellowship at the University of Kentucky, followed by a vascular surgery fellowship at Washington University/Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. He is also a Registered Vascular Technician and has served in positions ranging from Chief of Surgery to Medical Director.“Our team is honored to have these outstanding surgeons on board and providing services to our community,” said Rex McKinney, CEO of Decatur County Memorial Hospital. “Enhancing these services will provide improved access to care for those in our region who have specialized vascular needs.”last_img read more

Ireland to welcome Australia A in June

first_img Cricket Ireland (CI) announced on Monday they will meet Australia A in a four-day game at Stormont in Belfast from June 14. That will give the players on the fringes of Australia’s Test team the chance to acclimatise to British conditions, with the Ashes due to begin at Trent Bridge on July 10. Ireland could provide a boost to Australia’s Ashes preparations after agreeing to host their second-string side this summer. CI also announced that Belfast would play host to their final two World Cup qualifiers against Scotland on September 6 and 8. Ireland currently lead the qualifiers, after four of seven rounds, with Scotland second. The top two nations earn direct qualification for the 2015 World Cup. Those matches will finalise a busy summer for Ireland, who host Pakistan in Dublin in a two-match one-day international series in May before a one-off game against England in September. CI revealed they are also in discussion to bring Bangladesh back following their tour last year. “It’s another incredibly important year for Irish cricket as we attempt to make it to the World Cup finals and also defend our ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers trophy in November,” coach Phil Simmons said. “We’ve been to the final stages of five world tournaments and we want to make it seven. “It’s fantastic that we’ve got the high-profile matches on home soil against Pakistan and England, and we hope to get another series against Bangladesh in August as well.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Hogg looks up to O’Driscoll

first_imgBritish and Irish Lions rookie Stuart Hogg has revealed his burning desire to learn from veteran Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll on the current tour of Hong Kong and Australia. Scotland full-back Hogg is the Lions squad’s youngest player. He does not turn 21 until two days after the first Test in Brisbane and is also entrusted with looking after the cuddly toy lion mascot. The Lions experience has already proved an eye-opening one for Hogg and none more so than when four-time Lions tourist O’Driscoll linked up with the squad last weekend. “Being with the Lions has been a really good experience,” Hogg said. “On Sunday, Brian O’Driscoll turned up and that was pretty unbelievable because he was my hero growing up. I remember that try he scored for the Lions (against Australia) in 2001. He is someone to look up to for his attitude on and off the field. He’s down to earth and I have a lot of respect for that.” He added: “To have the chance to train and play with him is a dream come true. It’s quite surreal at times. “It would be good to have a chat with him and see what he’s got to say. I’m looking to learn during this whole tour, so it’s great to have a guy like that on the trip. “First and foremost I’ll be looking to learn from Leigh Halfpenny and Rob Kearney in terms of being a 15, but you can learn from everyone.” Hogg is expected to be on the bench for Saturday’s tour opener against the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium and after a fortnight’s intense preparation he is relishing getting going. “The mood is upbeat and positive,” he added.”Everyone has a smile on their face, which is exactly what we are after. “The Test series in Australia is a massive opportunity to create some history. Our expectations down there are to win and that is all we are concentrating on. We want to pick up as many wins as we can on the road and then the Test series at the end of it. “It’s not about nationality with the Lions because it’s four nations in one, but at the same time I am looking to do my country proud. I will do that by playing my best for the Lions.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more