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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Jimmy White: Champion of Champions 2019 preview - Rocket and Whirlwind collide in Coventry

O'Sullivan and White meet in a rare show-down to savour (credit:Presseye)

Two legends of the green baize face off for the first time in three years as five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on people's champion Jimmy White at the Champion of Champions.

A dream draw sees two of snooker's all-time greats meet in Group One of the elite invitational as they vie for a place in the group final later in the evening.

With a combined age of 100, the box office duo have broken the mould in terms of longevity, but enter the clash at different ends of the snooker spectrum.

O'Sullivan remains firmly in the top echelons of the sport, holding down the world number three spot with two ranking titles and two invitationals to his name in 2019.

The 43-year-old returns to the Ricoh Arena as defending champion, having edged out Kyren Wilson 10-9 in last year's final, and is looking to claim this trophy for a fourth time since the event was introduced in 2013.

The Rocket launched his season in style by retaining the Shanghai Masters title, before exiting the English Open in the Last 16 and suffering a shock qualifying round defeat to Dominic Dale in last week's World Open in Yushan.

O'Sullivan and White are close friends off the table, having competed on the circuit together since the early 90s, and are now regular pundits during Eurosport's TV coverage.

However, the two players will put that friendship to one side as they prepare to entertain a sell-out crowd in Coventry in their first competitive meeting since the 2016 Scottish Open.

White is making his debut in this event courtesy of his World Seniors triumph at The Crucible in August and is the lowest ranked main tour professional in the tournament.

The 57-year-old, who dropped off the tour at the end of last season before having his wildcard renewed by World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn, has excelled on the Seniors Tour but is yet to win a match on the main tour so far this term.

White has lost 31 of his 45 previous meetings with O'Sullivan (drawing four) dating back to 1993, including each of their last nine encounters since the Premier League in 2005.

The six-time world finalist and former UK Champion faces a formidable task if he is to cause a huge upset here, but will hope to settle quickly and catch O'Sullivan cold over the short format.

The match gets underway from 1pm GMT and will be contested over the best of seven frames, with either John Higgins or Stuart Bingham awaiting the winner in the Group Final from 7pm.


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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Jimmy White: Champion of Champions 2019 preview - Rocket and Whirlwind collide in Coventry

Two legends of the green baize face off for the first time in three years as five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on people's champion Jimmy White at the Champion of Champions.

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