Fasting diet ‘reverses’ diabetes in mice

A fasting diet has been shown to reverse diabetes in mice.

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A US study published in the journal Cell shows the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) triggered the re-growth of pancreatic cells in the damaged organ leading to a reduction of symptoms of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

The results raise the prospect of treating diabetes without the need of insulin regulating drugs, lead researcher Professor Valter Longo from the University of Southern California said.

“Cycles of fasting-mimicking diet and a normal diet essentially reprogrammed non-insulin producing cells into insulin-producing cells,” said Prof Longo.

Previous research has already shown the diet reduces risk factor markers for cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The FMD involves a monthly fasting cycle in which calorie consumption is cut drastically by around two-thirds for five days. The patient then returns to normal levels of food intake for the remaining 25 days.

To maintain a healthy weight, a man needs to consume 2,500 calories per day and a woman 2,000 calories.

People on the FMD make do with less than 800 calories during the fasting periods.

For the mice study, the diet was adapted by halving calorie intake on day one and cutting it to just 10 per cent of normal levels on days two to four.

After four days, the mice were allowed to eat as much as they wanted for 10 days to rebuild their body weight.

Two different strains of mice were used to mimic the two kinds of diabetes.

One group had a gene mutation that prevented their bodies responding properly to the blood sugar regulating hormone insulin, a hall mark condition of Type-2 diabetes known as insulin resistance.

The other mice were treated with a chemical that destroyed the insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas. This simulated Type-1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that wipes out beta cells.

Both types of diabetes were reversed by FMD cycles.

Every day, 280 Australians develop diabetes – that’s one person every five minutes, according to national figures.

It’s estimated around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes. Another 500,000 people may have it without knowing.

Prof Longo says the latest findings have the potential to be very important because it’s been shown in mice that diet can be used to “reverse” the symptoms of diabetes.

Slater & Gordon shares hit new depths

Slater and Gordon shares have plumbed fresh depths yet again after the law firm reported a first-half loss of $425 million largely due to another $350 million writedown of its troubled UK business.

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The shares, which were valued at $8.07 less than two years ago, dropped 25 per cent to 12 cents on Monday after the firm said revenue for the six months to December 31 slipped 33.8 per cent to $322.7 million amid underperformance in both UK and Australia personal injury claims.

“While we have made progress in the UK in the past 12 months, the turnaround is taking longer than we anticipated and billed revenue performance in segments of the business is lower than expected,” managing director Andrew Grech said in a statement.

“In Australia, our business leaders have had to combat almost two years of the effects of the negative publicity and sentiment.”

The downturn in sentiment came following regulatory changes and accounting issues in the UK, where it acquired the former Quindell business for $1.3 billion in 2015.

The changes led to a loss of $1.02 billion in the 2015/16 financial year and a collapse in share price from its all-time high of $8.07 in April 2015.

The shares hit an all-time low of 14 cents last week after Slater and Gordon warned of the upcoming impairment but, after opening at 16 cents, set another unwanted record on Monday.

At 1330 AEST, the shares were down 3.5 cents, or 21.88 per cent, at 12.5 cents.

First-half fee and services revenue fell 17.5 per cent in Australia and 39.9 per cent in the UK.

Mr Grech reiterated that Slater and Gordon is in negotiations with its lenders over its capital structure, and that support is crucial to a company whose bank debts exceed its enterprise value.

SLATER’S FH SLUMP

* Net loss $425.1m v $958.3m net loss in pcp

* Revenue down 33.8pct to $322.7m

* No interim dividend

Labor fails to secure penalty rates debate

Bill Shorten will have to wait three weeks at least before he can introduce legislation that seeks to overturn an independent tribunal’s ruling that aligns Sunday and Saturday penalty rates for hundreds of thousands of workers.

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The Turnbull government on Monday headed off the opposition leader’s attempt to table a private bill and have it debated in the lower house.

“Today I’m offering the prime minister the chance to work with us to protect penalty rates and take-home pay of hard-working Australians,” Mr Shorten told parliament.

“I know the government is busy worrying about each other but Labor is here because we are concerned about the conditions of up to 700,000 of our fellow Australians.”

Mr Shorten described his move as a chance for Malcolm Turnbull to show some leadership, arguing there was no fence the government can sit on.

“A decision to not remedy this decision of the Fair Work Commission is a decision to support it,” he said.

Mr Turnbull hit back, labelling the stunt as “gold-plated hypocrisy” and noting the commissioners who made the decision had been appointed by Labor.

As well Mr Shorten, as minister at the time, helped establish references for a review of penalty rates in the hospitality and retail sectors.

“He knew very well that there is a trade off between the level of penalty rates and the level of the availability of jobs on weekends,” Mr Turnbull said.

Citing Mr Shorten’s pledge last year to accept the independence of the commission and its decision, Mr Turnbull accused the Labor leader of saying anything to suit his purpose.

Earlier, Treasurer Scott Morrison questioned what Mr Shorten was considering next.

“He doesn’t like what the Reserve Bank decides on interest rates and he decides he wants to legislate and change that?” he told Ray Hadley on 2GB radio.

Unions have called on all politicians to join them in their fight to protect workers’ pay.

The Greens have their own plans for legislation to protect penalty rates.

Reliance first FY profit beats prospectus

Plumbing products designer and manufacturer Reliance Worldwide has exceeded its prospectus forecasts, reporting a net profit of $65.

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6 million in its first full-year financial results.

Revenue of $601.7 million for the 12 months to June 30 was up 12.6 per cent on its pro forma results the previous year, while earnings (EBITDA) of $120.7 million was 21.8 per cent better than the pro forma $99.1 million.

Net sales grew 2.4 per cent on the prospectus forecast while net profit after tax rose 4.8 per cent.

Driving the positive result was a continued expansion of Reliance’s SharkBite products business in North America which delivered strong sales growth in 2016/2017, mainly in the defensive repair, maintenance and renovation markets.

The Sharkbite business figures included a sales benefit in the second half from the initial rollout of product to approximately half of US company Lowe’s more than 1,700 stores.

Reliance, which listed on the ASX in April 2016, said improvements in gross margin had continued, driven by cost reductions, procurement savings and operational efficiencies.

Chief executive Heath Sharp said the company performed well across all its geographic and market segments.

He said Reliance’s growth in the year ahead would be helped by the company’s new plumbing fittings products and efforts in commercialising the latest “Internet of Things” applications for water flow monitoring.

Reliance forecast earnings (EBITDA) for 2017/2018 of between $145 million and $150 million, driven by strong top-line growth from the expansion of its business in the Americas, the inclusion of results from its newly acquired Holdrite business and opportunities to gain market shared in Asian Pacific and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Reliance shares closed 30 cents, or 8.9 per cent, higher at $3.66.

RELIANCE EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS:

* Net profit of $65.6m, vs $52.1m pro forma

* Revenue of $601.7m, vs $534.4m pro forma

* Dividend of 3cps, fully franked

Banking regulator announces investigation into CBA

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, known as APRA, has announced it will investigate the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

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In a statement APRA Chairman Wayne Byres said a number of concerns have been raised in relation to the governance, culture and accountability within the CBA group.

And that given CBA’s position in the Australian financial system, it is critical that community trust is strengthened.

CBA has had a tumultuous month.

First, Australia’s financial intelligence and regulatory agency, AUSTRAC, initiated proceedings in the Federal Court.

They allege CBA was involved in over 53,000 contraventions of anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

That announcement saw CBA’s shares fall by 5.4 per cent.

Corporate regulator ASIC said it would investigate CBA’s behaviour, then embattled chief executive Ian Narev announced he’ll resign by July next year.

Last week, Maurice Blackburn lawyers said it was pursuing a potential class action for aggrieved investors.

And now APRA will investigate the culture of Australia’s largest bank.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says the Turnbull government can’t ignore calls for a royal commission.

“Well, here we go again. Yet again another inquiry into a bank. When will the Turnbull government finally do what it knows needs to be done and what the Australian people want which is to have a Royal Commission into our banks.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison says any shortcomings will be adequately addressed by both ASIC and APRA.

“This is a practical inquiry by APRA, it isn’t a show trial, it isn’t a political witchhunt, it isn’t any sort of political process. They are an independent regulator. The things that a Royal Commission could potentially recommend, we’re already doing it.”

David Ellis is an analyst with financial specialists Morningstar.

He says investigations into CBA shouldn’t be politicised.

“It’s important for all stakeholders – so that’s customers and staff and shareholders – that the inquiry is independent and is transparent and without any political interference. Without any political interference.”

In a statement CBA Chairman Catherine Livingstone acknowledged the community’s trust in the bank had been weakened.

She welcomed the inquiry and said APRA’s oversight would ensure transparency.

A final report from APRA will be made public and is expected six months after the inquiry officially gets underway.

 

Houston crippled by catastrophic floods

Tropical Storm Harvey is set to dump more rain on Houston, worsening flooding that has paralysed the country’s fourth biggest city, forced thousands to flee and swollen rivers to levels not seen in centuries.

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Harvey, the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, first hit land late on Friday and has killed at least two people. It has since stayed around Texas’ Gulf of Mexico Coast where it is forecast to remain for several more days, drenching parts with a year’s worth of rain in the span of a week.

Schools, airports and office buildings in Houston, home to about 2.3 million people, were ordered shut on Monday as scores of roads turned into rivers and chest-high water filled neighbourhoods in the low-lying city.

Torrential rain also hit areas more than 240 km away, swelling rivers and causing a surge that was heading toward the Houston area.

Authorities ordered more than 50,000 people to leave parts of Fort Bend County, about 55 km southwest of Houston as the Brazos River was set to crest at a record high of 18 m this week.

Brazos County Judge Robert Hebert told reporters the forecast crest represents a high not seen in at least 800 years.

“What we’re seeing is the most devastating flood event in Houston’s recorded history,” said Steve Bowen, chief meteorologist at reinsurance firm Aon Benfield.

US President Donald Trump plans to go to Texas on Tuesday to survey damage from the storm, a White House spokeswoman said on Sunday.

Trump, facing the first big US natural disaster since he took office in January, signed a disaster proclamation on Friday, triggering federal relief efforts. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Sunday 54 counties had been declared state disaster areas and he plans to add 1,000 more National Guard personnel to the flood battle.

Flood damage in Texas from Hurricane Harvey may equal that from Katrina, the costliest natural disaster in US history, an insurance research group said on Sunday.

The outages will also limit the availability of US crude, petrol and other refined products for global consumers and further push up prices, analysts say.

Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, one of the nation’s busiest, and William P. Hobby airport halted all commercial flights on Sunday. The airports remained closed to commercial traffic on Monday.

Two million pilgrims converge for this year’s Hajj

This year sees the return of pilgrims from Shiite Iran, regional rival to Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, and comes with the Gulf mired in political crisis and Islamic State group jihadists squeezed in Iraq and Syria.

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“I’m so excited because many people dream of coming to this place,” said 47-year-old Eni from Indonesia, her face framed in a sand-coloured veil trimmed with lace.

“We feel more religious when we leave this place,” she said.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, and it also provides the largest number of pilgrims for the Hajj.

Eni’s compatriots throng Jeddah airport 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Mecca, as tens of thousands of pilgrims pass through the gateway to the Hajj every day.

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But Eni is almost oblivious to the hubbub that surrounds her as she studies her Koran in the oppressive heat, pearls of sweat beading her face.

“After my first pilgrimage I felt I wanted to come back to feel myself close to him,” she said of the Prophet Mohammed before returning her attention to Islam’s holy book.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, which every Muslim is required to complete at least once in a lifetime if he or she has the means to do so.

“This year we expect around two million pilgrims,” Abdelmajeed Mohammad Al-Afghani, director of Hajj and umra (lesser pilgrimage) affairs, told AFP.

The queue for immigration and passport control at the Hajj terminal of the King Abdulaziz international airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (AAP)AAP

Politics and the Hajj

Iranians are back after not attending in 2016 following a deadly Mecca stampede the previous year that killed nearly 2,300 pilgrims.

It was the worst catastrophe in the history of the Hajj, with 464 people from the Islamic republic among the dead.

Following the disaster, Tehran railed against Saudi Arabia’s organisation of the pilgrimage.

The two countries then severed diplomatic relations in January 2016 after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was ransacked by a crowd protesting against the execution in the kingdom of a Shiite religious dignitary.

Analysts say that neither Riyadh nor Tehran has any wish to prolong the dispute.

“To politicise an event like this does no good,” according to Slimane Zeghidour, author of “La vie quotidienne à La Mecque: De Mahomet à nos jours” (Daily Life in Mecca from Mohammed to Today).

Accusations of the Hajj being politicised have marred the region for some time.

For nearly three months, the Gulf has been embroiled in its worst ever political crisis, with Saudi Arabia and its allies facing off against Qatar, which they accuse of being too close to Iran and backing extremism.

A boycott imposed on the small but gas-rich emirate since June 5 has resulted in Qatar’s land, sea and air links being badly affected.

This has also had a knock-on effect on Hajj-related travel, although Riyadh announced it was relaxing certain restrictions for pilgrims.

‘Every time it’s different’

In the arrivals hall at Jeddah airport, determined pilgrims walk hastily to avoid losing contact with other members of their group.

“I’m so happy to be a part of it this year,” said 43-year-old Nigerian Mohammed Said, in the seamless two-piece white garment or “ihram” worn by male pilgrims.

“I want to do it every year if I can afford it,” added Said who is in Saudi Arabia for his third Hajj.

“Every time it’s different — it’s like I’m doing it for the first time.”

For author Zeghidour, going on the Hajj takes pilgrims to another level altogether.

“The pilgrim has to run, move, and perform several stages” of the ritual.

“It is so physically and mentally demanding that he doesn’t have time to think about the crisis in the Gulf. For him this is literature.

“Many pilgrims come from Asia or Africa, far from the Middle East, and they come to a place where they can try to forget their lives back home.”

Murderous jihadist attacks across the world in recent years will be on the minds of many pilgrims, especially those from Iraq and Syria where the IS has suffered a series of setbacks.

But the threat from extremists has not put off pilgrims such as Fatima, from Perpignan in southern France.

“I’ve been waiting to go on this journey for a long time,” she said, wearing a red veil like the other people in her group.

Peachey serves it straight to Sea Eagles

There’s plenty of pressure on Penrith with a finals spot on the line against Manly this weekend but that hasn’t stopped an assured Tyrone Peachey simply declaring “we’re a better team than them”.

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The loser could miss out on the NRL top eight depending on how seventh-placed North Queensland and ninth-placed St George-Illawarra fare in the last round.

Panthers centre Peachey on Monday lit the fuse for a fiery NRL clash when he was asked how difficult it would be to travel to Lottoland on Saturday.

“I think we’ve done it the last couple of years,” Peachey responded.

“It is obviously hard but if we play good I think we’re a better team than them.”

Peachey is right: the Panthers have won their last five against Manly and haven’t lost at Brookvale since 2014.

But when it was repeated by reporters to Manly players at Sydney airport on Monday, it wasn’t so well received.

“Good on him,” Sea Eagles prop Brenton Lawrence said.

“We’ll see Saturday.”

Lawrence will play his last home game for Manly on Saturday, and admitted he’d likely be emotional at fulltime.

Manly will also farewell club legends Brett Stewart, Steve Matai and Matt Ballin, who all had their careers officially ended by injury this season.

But if they needed any more motivation with their season on the line, Peachey’s comment was sure to do the trick.

If North Queensland beat Brisbane on Thursday night, the loser of Saturday’s match will need Canterbury to beat St George Illawarra, otherwise they will be out of the finals.

Regardless, Manly admit they will have to be better than they were against the Warriors.

The Sea Eagles trailed by seven points with five minutes to play before Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans sent the game into golden point.

It snapped a run of four losses in five games, but fullback Trbojevic has warned they must be far better if they want to play finals.

“We’ve got a lot to work on,” he said.

Plea from Syrian refugee at Oscars

A Syrian refugee whose story of escape from the war-torn Middle East country to sanctuary in Germany is nominated for an Oscar.

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Hala Kamil, the star of Watani: My Homeland, is expected to be at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, where she will walk the red carpet with the likes of Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.

Earlier this month there was doubt over whether she would be able to attend the ceremony, with fears she may fall victim of Donald Trump’s travel ban.

But after a judge blocked the president’s moratorium she was able to travel to the US, and now Kamil hopes to bring her message of peace to audiences around the globe.

Hollywood has even rallied to find her a gown to wear at the awards.

Others, however, have fallen victim of American immigration authorities.

Khaled Khateeb, a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on the Oscar-nominated documentary The White Helmets, was barred from travelling to Los Angeles after officials found “derogatory information” on him.

Amid increasing indignation at President Trump’s policies, the directors of all five films in the Best Foreign Language Film category issued an extraordinary broadside in a joint statement condemning the “climate of fanaticism and nationalism” in the US.

They have decided to dedicate their category’s award – irrespective of who wins – to “the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity”.

Watani: My Homeland, nominated in the short documentary category, was produced by ITN Productions and German film-maker Marcel Mettelsiefen.

Filmed between 2013 and 2016, it tells the story of Kamil, her husband Abu Ali and their four children as they lived on the front line of war-torn Aleppo.

After Abu Ali was captured by so-called Islamic State – he is thought to have been killed – the family were forced to flee Syria to begin a new life in Germany.

No point in dwelling on poor NZ performance – Hesson

Hesson’s team were comprehensively outplayed by South Africa in the third one-day international at Wellington Regional Stadium on Saturday as they were bundled out for 112 and lost the match by 159 runs.

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The victory gave the Proteas a 2-1 lead in the five-match series and Hesson’s side face a must-win game in Hamilton on Saturday.

“We have to move on pretty quick. We can’t let a performance like that affect how we prepare for the next one,” Hesson told reporters on Sunday. “South Africa … were excellent. They challenged us and we didn’t respond.”

Hesson at least has the services of Martin Guptill at Seddon Park after the opening batsman missed the first three games with a hamstring injury.

Guptill’s return creates something of a selection conundrum for Hesson, with Tom Latham likely to relinquish the gloves to specialist wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi for the rest of the series.

Even though he has proved more than capable behind the stumps, Latham has scores of 0, 2, 0, 0, 7 and 4 in his past six ODIs and Guptill is likely to open with Dean Brownlie in Hamilton.

“There’s no doubt Tom has struggled the last little while,” Hesson said. “He’s come off a great series in India where he was our best player and he hasn’t quite reached those heights yet.”

Hesson also brought back off-spinner Jeetan Patel with the pitch likely to offer turn in Hamilton while pace bowler Matt Henry has been released to play a first-class match with an eye to the test series that starts in Dunedin on March 8.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ed Osmond)

Scotland end 10-year Wales hoodoo with 29-13 victory

After an early exchange of penalties Wales winger Liam Williams crossed in the corner for an eye-catching opening try as the visitors opened up a 13-9 halftime lead.

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Scotland wingers Tommy Seymour and Tim Visser finished tries set up by sublime Hogg passes after the break while Russell kicked 19 points with a perfect seven-from-seven record with the boot.

Victory was Scotland’s first against Wales since 2007 – ending a run of nine successive defeats – as they scored 23 unanswered points to register their second victory in three matches in this year’s Championship.

“We knew how tough Wales were going to be,” man-of-the-match Russell told the BBC.

“We knew if we were in the game, we’re good enough to get a couple of tries. We dug deep. Credit to the boys. We kept the scoreboard ticking over and at this level that’s what you need to keep doing. I was happy with my kicking today.”

After an even opening, where both sides showed early attacking intent, Wales scored the first try with the in-form Williams finishing in the corner after a slick backline move sparked by Rhys Webb’s quick tap.

Webb caused Scotland a number of problems with a series of incisive breaks around the ruck — one of which nearly brought about a second try but the television officials spotted minor obstruction in the build-up.

Russell cut the gap to four with a penalty before the metronomic Leigh Halfpenny restored the visitors’ seven-point advantage in the 34th minute.

Scotland nearly restored parity with a superb try sparked by mesmerising fullback Hogg’s deft kick through, but center Huw Jones was hauled down metres short before a third Russell penalty made it 13-9 to Wales at the break.

The hosts showed great impetus after the break with winger Seymour scoring a converted try in the corner following sublime link-up play between Hogg and Visser.

Webb might have scored a thoroughly deserved try midway through the half but his foot brushed the line just as he dived over in the corner, but the visitors were hindered by a series of handling errors in attacking positions.

Visser then strolled over in the opposite corner after he was put into space by Hogg’s brilliant quick pass, with two further Russell kicks sealing an emphatic victory.

(Reporting By Tom Hayward,; Editing by Neville Dalton)

Smith wants more subcontinent improvement

Australia appear to have finally learned their lessons of a nine-Test losing streak in Asia, but Steve Smith wants bigger and better things in Bangalore.

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From the moment Smith won the toss in Pune, the tourists never relinquished the upper hand in their first Test against India.

It was one of many facets of the polished performance that were in sharp contrast to the 3-0 series loss in Sri Lanka last year.

Smith’s side toiled for runs on the remarkably dry deck, which required just three days to deliver 40 wickets and a 1-0 lead for Australia in the four-Test series.

They adapted to local conditions with bat and ball, as has been Smith and coach Darren Lehmann’s repetitive request in recent years.

And they fielded well, especially Peter Handscomb who plucked two one-handed pearlers amid India’s chaotic collapse of 7-11 on Friday.

Smith hopes it is the start of something special. Australia will step up their pursuit of a series win on Saturday, when the second Test starts in Bangalore.

“We kept the foot on the throat. We got ourselves into positions to win in Sri Lanka and we let the opposition get back into the game,” Smith said.

“In this Test we didn’t let India back into the game … it’s pleasing we’re learning, trying to improve in different ways.”

However, Smith feels there is room for improvement.

“I wouldn’t say it was perfect,” Smith said.

“We did a lot of things right in this Test match, that’s for sure but there’s still areas we can improve on.

“In the first innings we probably lost a few (wickets) in clumps.

“For us, it’s about continuing to identify those periods in the game when we need to knuckle down and get through and show some fight and resilience and come out the other end of it.

“We know as batters the longer you’re out in the middle, the easier things get.”

Smith was well aware of Australia’s horrible streak in India prior to the 333-run win.

“We haven’t won a game here for 4502 days,” Smith said.

“The pressure was off us. Everyone wrote us off and expected India to win 4-0. That can’t happen any more.

“Sometimes you can think negatively about the situation … for us it was putting that out of our mind.”

The shock win came a tick over three months after Australia capitulated in Hobart, where they were bowled out for 85 en route to a fifth straight Test loss.

AUSTRALIA’S NINE STRAIGHT LOSSES IN ASIA PRIOR TO BEATING INDIA: *3-0 loss to Sri Lanka in 2016 (106 runs, 229 runs, 163 runs) *2-0 loss to Pakistan in 2014 (221 runs, 356 runs) *4-0 loss to India in 2013 (8 wickets, inns and 135 runs, 6 wickets, 6 wickets).

Hogg and Russell epitomise dynamic, emerging Scotland side

Russell kicked seven goals from seven attempts and Hogg was at the heart of everything Scotland did well with numerous classy attacking touches in a 29-13 victory in Edinburgh watched by British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland.

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The dynamic Hogg is surely now the leading contender to play fullback against New Zealand this year and followed up three tries in the opening two games with a performance full of vim and vigour, frightening the Welsh defence with searing pace and sublime handling.

Russell, meanwhile, is quickly becoming one of the best attacking flyhalfs in the Northern hemisphere but has added a calming influence to his game highlighted by his perfect record with the boot in a mature performance.

“The boys were awesome today,” Russell told the BBC. “It was always going to be a tough game, especially with both teams coming off a loss. I’m so proud of the boys.

“We knew if we were in the game at half-time then we would be good enough and we dug deep.

“I’ve got Greig’s (Laidlaw) boots on and I was happy to keep the scoreboard ticking over with my kicking today.”

Scotland have had poor representation in recent Lion’s squads but have a number of in-form players making strong cases for inclusion against the All Blacks.

Brothers Jonny and Richie Gray headline a maturing, dynamic forward pack, injured captain Greig Laidlaw is a huge influence and centre Huw Jones has had an eye-catching start to his test rugby career. Wingers Tim Visser, Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland are accomplished finishers.

Visser and Seymour scored the tries against Wales but it was the inventive, electrifying duo of Hogg and Russell, never far from each other, who stole the show.

Scotland remain in contention for the Championship and captain John Barclay said his side were oozing confidence ahead of their visit to Twickenham to face champions England.

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley, however, conceded the Championship was out of reach for his error-riddled side.

“Losing today, our Championship is over but it’s about pride in the next two games,” he told the BBC. “Scotland were better than us and deserved the win.”

(Reporting By Tom Hayward, editing by Ed Osmond)