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Sport | The Guardian



Sports news, scores, blogs and opinion on US and world sports from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 19:52:57 GMT2017-03-25T19:52:57Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Megan Rapinoe: 'God forbid you be a gay woman and a person of color in the US'

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 10:00:06 GMT2017-03-25T10:00:06Z

The US women’s team star caused quite a stir by kneeling for the national anthem. But, she tells Matt Pentz, she has no regrets fighting for what’s right

Megan Rapinoe will no longer kneel during the national anthem. In accordance with the US Soccer policy released earlier this month – a policy that was aimed in her general direction – Rapinoe will stand with both feet planted, squared up to the flag.

But Rapinoe won’t be entirely silent about it.

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Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker scores 70 points to create a piece of NBA history

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 05:34:06 GMT2017-03-25T05:34:06Z

  • Suns’ Booker becomes only sixth player of all time to score 70 in a game
  • Isaiah Thomas scores 34 points as Boston Celtics win 130-120

Devin Booker is only 20 and already has a place alongside Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and just a few others in NBA history.

Related: Was Steph Curry's transformation into an NBA supervillain inevitable?

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Arsenal and Manchester United likely to be crowded out by the top four | Paul Wilson

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 13:46:00 GMT2017-03-25T13:46:00Z

The teams in the top four appear favoured by form and the fixture list while Arsenal and Manchester United have too much to do despite games in hand

When the Premier League returns after the international break it does so as if making up for lost momentum; a full midweek programme follows this coming weekend’s fixtures and by the time everyone has played twice in four or five days the remaining games will be down to single figures and the run-in will be under way.

Chelsea’s 10-point lead means they are universally regarded as a shoo-in for the title, though by that reckoning Arsenal have no chance of overhauling Tottenham, who are nine points ahead of their London rivals. While Arsenal have a game in hand, they also have a testing match coming up with the visit of Manchester City.

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Leroy Rosenior: ‘There were 5,000 Leeds fans shouting Sieg Heil at us, hatred in their eyes’

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 08:30:04 GMT2017-03-25T08:30:04Z

In an exclusive book extract, the former Fulham, QPR and West Ham forward recalls the racism he faced in the 1980s, including being spat at by a schoolboy

I remember going to play at Leeds for Fulham in 1984. Playing there is never dull and on this occasion, the locals were in particularly boisterous mood. We got a throw-in down at the big Kop end that housed the fanatical home support. Paul Parker and I were closest and looked to get our attack back on track. As we got to the corner flag any thought of launching that attack went from our minds as we were met in the corner by thousands of fans with hate in their eyes, intent on unsettling these two young black footballers who had dared to come to their town to play a game of football.

Usually there were the monkey chants, the “ooh-ooh-ooh” noises that all black players had been subject to at the time. There were the chants about shooting niggers and the bananas that fell from the terraces of 1980s football stadiums – local greengrocers of that era owe us black footballers a fortune if you ask me – with increasing regularity. What happened was none of the above.

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Clint Dempsey and Christian Pulisic lead the way as USA trounce sorry Honduras

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 05:23:07 GMT2017-03-25T05:23:07Z

  • USA 6-0 Honduras (Lletget 5, Bradley 27, Dempsey 32, 49, 54, Pulisic 46)
  • Bruce Arena’s team claim first win in the Hex as Honduras fall apart

A Clint Dempsey hat-trick and a scintillating playmaking performance from Christian Pulisic got the second Bruce Arena era off to a spectacular start, as the USA swept Honduras aside with an emphatic 6-0 win in San Jose.

Related: USA 6-0 Honduras: World Cup qualifying – as it happened

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Chris Chiozza nails three-pointer at OT buzzer to lead Florida past Wisconsin

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 05:44:25 GMT2017-03-25T05:44:25Z

  • Chiozza drops in the winner to send Gators into the Elite Eight
  • Florida wins 84-83 in overtime and will play South Carolina on Sunday

Chris Chiozza went end to end and made a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Florida an 84-83 victory against Wisconsin on Friday night in the first overtime game of this NCAA Tournament.

Related: The Kentucky Wildcats are the only honest team in college basketball | DJ Gallo

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Richard Sherman says Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by NFL teams

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:35:44 GMT2017-03-24T20:35:44Z

  • Sherman tells ESPN: ‘It has nothing to do with football. You can see that’
  • ‘It’s difficult to see because he’s played at such a high level’

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman believes Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by NFL teams for his political protest last season.

Related: 'A form of punishment': Colin Kaepernick and the history of blackballing in sports

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Lewis Hamilton pips Vettel to pole for season-opening F1 Australian GP

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:49:17 GMT2017-03-25T17:49:17Z

  • Mercedes driver gets the better of Ferrari rival in qualifying
  • Bottas rounds out top three after Ricciardo crashes out

Lewis Hamilton is in the best form of his life, according to the Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, after the British driver claimed pole for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Wolff praised Hamilton’s response after discussions at the end of last season following the retirement of the world champion, Nico Rosberg.

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The Kentucky Wildcats are the only honest team in college basketball | DJ Gallo

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:00:30 GMT2017-03-24T10:00:30Z

Enough of the hypocrisy: every other top-class basketball program is trying to copy Kentucky, which makes rooting against them so outdated and pointless

The NCAA tournament field is down to the Sweet 16 weekend of games, featuring 15 collegiate programs and the Kentucky Wildcats, a D-League team that is still officially unaffiliated with the NBA.

John Calipari’s team will take the court on Friday night featuring three freshmen starters in De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Edrice Adebayo – all of whom are expected to go in the first round in June’s NBA draft, with Fox and Monk slated to be selected among the first few picks. This one-and-lottery-pick approach is the way it’s been at Kentucky since Calipari arrived in 2009. He had sim players taken in both the 2012 and 2015 drafts, and five in 2010. Eighteen freshmen have left Lexington after a single season since his debut season, including some of the biggest NBA stars today: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns. Five more players were a bit slower to develop and suffered the unique Kentucky humiliation of only being able to go pro after two years in college. For shame!

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Rory McIlroy refuses to panic about Masters after Match Play exit

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 21:02:07 GMT2017-03-24T21:02:07Z

• Rory McIlroy not bothered by lack of competitive golf before first major
• World No3: ‘I can’t see a downside having not played as much as I planned’

Any comparison between Rory McIlroy and Lance Corporal Jones must register among the most peculiar of all time. It is doubtful the Northern Irishman has either watched Dad’s Army or would be of a mind to admit it.

Nonetheless the world No3 did not leave Austin – a strange week in Austin – without issuing firm sentiment. “Don’t panic” was the McIlroy cry in relation to whether his Masters preparations might have been fatally undermined by a lack of golf.

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The NHL's playoff mess: a handy guide to hockey's latest controversy

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:00:30 GMT2017-03-24T10:00:30Z

Fans are up in arms about the league’s ‘stupid’ playoff format – which could see some teams losing to get a better position. Sean McIndoe has the lowdown

With less than a month before the start of the postseason, the NHL has a bit of a mess on its hands. The league’s playoff format has come under fire; one player flat out called the format “stupid”, and plenty of others are criticizing it in only slightly softer terms.

Related: 'A form of punishment': Colin Kaepernick and the history of blackballing in sports

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Why Eden Hazard eclipses the N’Golo Kanté cult and is player of the year | Barney Ronay

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:03:56 GMT2017-03-24T18:03:56Z

The stifling orthodoxy that N’Golo Kanté is the top flight’s most important player ignores the bravery and skill of Chelsea’s Belgian playmaker alongside him

There are some things in sport that you’re just not allowed to say, lines that must not be crossed. For a long time it was more or less impossible to say in public that you thought Paul Scholes was simply a very good footballer, as opposed to a chasteningly complete distillation of perfection and a one-man anti-glam debunking of the Premier League star system. You might think this. But saying it out loud is still technically an offence under the Scholes Act 2009, punishable by being stabbed in the eye with a skewer by the Queen.

The same goes for Sachin Tendulkar, the most astonishingly hyped player in the history of cricket, a very good, enduring batsman whose po-faced messianic persona conferred a kind of devotional light on his fine strokeplay and solid defence. To point out that, actually, you’d rather watch Virender Sehwag is to admit not just to idiocy but to heresy, punishable by being publicly garrotted with a piece of twine by a group of sad, betrayed children. These are, of course, inappropriate opinions and anyone who holds them should be ashamed.

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Tiger Woods’ toils go on but magical Masters moment of 1997 still resonates | Richard Williams

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:45:36 GMT2017-03-24T14:45:36Z

Watching Tiger Woods now is a struggle but the 20th anniversary of his first Augusta triumph stirs memories of a first-day tee shot that signalled his greatness

The morning at Augusta National had been spent following Lee Westwood, an early starter in the first round of the 1997 Masters. At 23, the Englishman was making his Masters debut. Just to remind him of where he was, his drive off the first tee flew into an enormous sand trap, setting up a double bogey.

Four hours later, as a chastened Westwood was signing for a five‑over‑par 77, news was coming in from the front nine about a worse catastrophe that appeared to be about to engulf an even younger player. Making his much anticipated professional bow in a major tournament, the 21‑year‑old Eldrick “Tiger” Woods had taken 40 strokes to complete the first half of his opening round, his imminent humiliation forcing its way to the top of the day’s agenda.

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Five things Bruce Arena’s US team needs to do in the World Cup qualifiers

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:00:28 GMT2017-03-24T09:00:28Z

The US should beat Honduras but if they fail then the pressure is likely to tell on a team left floundering at the end of the Jürgen Klinsmann era


Let’s start with the obvious — Honduras is a must win game. Concacaf qualifying may appear to present a ridiculously forgiving format, but there’s only so far that forgiveness stretches when you’ve lost your first two games and dropped points in the third. And no team has ever secured an automatic qualifying spot after losing its first three games, so unless the US team fancy playing in a wild card game after the Hex (and that’s a best case scenario…), they need to win on Friday.

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Brazil thrash Uruguay to close on World Cup place as Argentina edge past Chile

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:07:54 GMT2017-03-24T10:07:54Z

• Paulinho scores hat-trick as table-toppers Brazil win 4-1 in Montevideo
• Lionel Messi penalty earns 1-0 win to lift Argentina into third place

Brazil were not intimidated by more than 60,000 raucous fans at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, as Tite’s side outclassed second-placed Uruguay to win 4-1 and stay firmly on course for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho scored an unexpected hat-trick and Neymar added another goal as Brazil recovered from conceding an early penalty, scored by Edinson Cavani.

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International football: 10 things to look out for in World Cup 2018 qualifying

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:30:56 GMT2017-03-24T08:30:56Z

Wales have a great chance to beat an injury-ravaged Ireland, Gordon Strachan faces his last chance with Scotland and Kylian Mbappé could start for France

Wales were on a giddy high after last summer’s European Championship, following their appearance in the semi-finals, while the Republic of Ireland team departed from France with a sense of disappointment after losing in the second round. Their fortunes have rather reversed since: Ireland top Group D with three wins from four, whereas Wales only have one victory to their name. The game between the two on Friday could be the best chance Chris Coleman’s side have to get their qualification campaign going, if only because of Ireland’s injuries. “How long have you got?” said Martin O’Neill when asked about the many ailing players in his squad, from which you could fashion a respectable team. Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clark, Harry Arter, Wes Hoolahan, Daryl Murphy, Rob Elliot, Paul McShane and Liam Kelly are all out, James McCarthy is doubtful, while Seamus Coleman, Jonny Hayes and Shane Long all missed at least some training in the lead-up to the game. Ireland could be there for the taking.

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‘Woman on!’ Arsenal’s girls benefiting from mixing it with the boys

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:09:11 GMT2017-03-24T12:09:11Z

Arsenal Ladies’ under-10s and under-12s are in a league with boys from this season and an afternoon watching the younger age group reveals an environment which is helping the females to achieve their potential

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, nobody told a bunch of girls and boys who spent their Sunday afternoon engaged in a highly skilled and hotly competed game of football. It is important to stress that this was not mixed football, but a contest that pitted boys against girls at under-10 level. It is part of a new initiative that has been introduced by the Football Association this season which permits girls teams to enrol in boys’ grassroots leagues.

Strange? Awkward? Complicated? Not remotely once the match kicked off. The beauty of this enterprise is that if there were any extra butterflies or surges of determination based on gender stereotyping, it all melted away with the referee’s whistle. With the kick-off, the entire focus for two seven-a-side teams was the game itself. Perhaps the only unusual moment was when one of the boys spontaneously yelled “woman on” to warn one of his team-mates that an opponent was rushing in. Not his usual vernacular but it did the trick.

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Italy's veteran manager turns to youth to restore their former World Cup glories

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:49:04 GMT2017-03-24T10:49:04Z

Gian Piero Ventura has been coaching for 41 years but the squads he has picked for Italy’s World Cup qualifiers show he has not lost his faith in young players

By Matt Santangelo for The Gentleman Ultra, of the Guardian Sport Network

Two hours of football in Berlin’s Olympiastadion were not enough to separate Italy and France in the 2006 World Cup final. In the resultant penalty shoot-out, Italian defender Fabio Grosso stepped up to take his kick with the dreams of a nation in his left boot. He confidently converted his penalty, floating the ball into the top-right corner as Fabien Barthez dived the other way. Italy were champions of the world and there was pandemonium at the Piazza Venezia back in Rome as Italians celebrated winning their fourth World Cup.

The shadow of the Calciopoli scandal loomed large over Italian football at the time, but the Azzurri could not have done a better job alleviating the embarrassment of the scandal that rocked their domestic game. Throughout the tournament, the Italians – led by Ballon d’Or winning captain Fabio Cannavaro – had pulled together and, when necessary, deployed their famed Catenaccio tactics. Their “door-bolt football” limited opponents to only two goals in seven matches – and one of those was an own goal and the other was a penalty.

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Belgium v Greece: World Cup 2018 qualifier – live!

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 19:50:31 GMT2017-03-25T19:50:31Z

5 min “Belgium must be good if they can’t find places for Hazard or de Bruyne,” says Jake Lynch. “Is this some recondite scheme by Roberto Martinez? Or are they injured?”

Yep, both injured.

4 min I’m not sure Greece have been out of their half yet. Belgium are swaggering around, moving the ball quickly and confidently.

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Séamus Coleman’s horrific injury demands rethink of misplaced tolerance | Daniel Taylor

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:31:35 GMT2017-03-25T17:31:35Z

The broken leg suffered by the Republic of Ireland defender against Wales is a lesson for anyone who thinks players should be able to get away with more in certain fixtures

It doesn’t get any easier, no matter how many times you watch it. The way he lands, his instinctive reaction to assess the damage, the split second where you just hope your first suspicions might be wrong. But then Shane Long is cradling Séamus Coleman’s head and that is the point when you don’t need confirmation from any doctor or press officer. You know it’s snapped, you know that’s him done.

And, deep down, you know this is one of those occasions – “a good old British game”, to use the jarring words of Chris Coleman – when a certain level of aggression is considered OK, mandatory even, and the people demanding it usually just assume everybody will be able to walk off at the end. “Heavy-metal football,” the Irish Times called it: all thrash, not enough melody. The kind of game, in other words, when players do cross the line, behaviour-wise, and the risk of getting hurt is higher than usual – often wrapped up in the guise of “passion”.

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Bolton and Portsmouth tighten grips around automatic promotion

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 18:30:21 GMT2017-03-25T18:30:21Z

Coventry City sealed their first back-to-back wins in five months while Exeter City produced a stunning comeback with three late goals to draw with Yeovil

Bolton Wanderers took another telling step towards automatic promotion to the Championship after second-half goals from Mark Beevers and Adam Le Fondre saw off Shrewsbury Town 2-0 at New Meadow. In doing so Phil Parkinson’s side closed the gap to the league leaders Sheffield United to four points after the Blades were held in a 1-1 draw at Oldham.

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Pressure mounts on Strachan before Scotland’s ‘must-win’ Slovenia clash

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 16:14:13 GMT2017-03-25T16:14:13Z

• ‘What we don’t have to do is win it in the first five minutes,’ says manager
• Scotland have won four points from four games in World Cup qualifying

A persecution complex often envelops a manager in trouble but Gordon Strachan cannot blame a disgruntled Scottish support or media for treating Slovenia’s visit to Hampden Park on Sunday as a defining moment for his reign. That responsibility lies with his employer, the SFA chief executive, Stewart Regan, and a sequence of results that have turned World Cup qualification into a distant prospect with four qualifying matches played.

“That’s really a must-win game for Scotland,” Regan said last month when looking ahead to the country’s first competitive fixture since the 3-0 defeat by England in November. “We know how important it is to get our campaign back on track. Gordon knows it. The team knows it.”

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Rogues’ gallery: English football’s worst owners, from Becchetti to Bates | Barry Glendenning

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:02:00 GMT2017-03-25T12:02:00Z

Leyton Orient fans believe their owner is leading them to oblivion but Hicks and Gillett, and Peter Ridsdale at Leeds remind us feckless owners are nothing new

In just two and a half seasons as owner, the waste-management magnate has taken Leyton Orient from the verge of the Championship to the brink of relegation from the Football League and possibly even extinction. Since buying the club from Barry Hearn for £4m, the Italian has overseen nine managerial changes and faced repeated claims of interference in team affairs. In December 2015, he earned himself a six-match ban for kicking Orient’s then assistant manager, Andy Hessenthaler, following a win over Portsmouth. Last week, Orient survived a winding-up order at the high court and Becchetti was given until 12 June to either sell the club or pay off its debts. Waltham Forest council are among the creditors, for providing health and safety advice, as is the company that provides match-day stewards and the official club photographer. If Becchetti fails to either pay or sell up, Orient – bottom of League Two and seven points off the last safe spot – risk going into liquidation and out of existence.

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Serbian football’s eye-watering racism problem shows no sign of abating

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:00:01 GMT2017-03-25T12:00:01Z

Everton Luiz’s tearful response to appalling abuse at FK Rad highlighted an old problem but clubs are powerless and frightened to intervene against the ultras

FK Rad’s home stadium in the Belgrade suburb of Banjica is a strange, two-sided venue that comes to life whenever Crvena Zvezda or Partizan make the simple mile-long journey south for a derby in the Superliga. In March 2009 a visit for a match against the former had largely been spent ducking firecrackers thrown between the rival supports when, around an hour in, the tone shifted from tense to sinister.

As the away side readied the dreadlocked Brazilian substitute Jeff Silva the projectile sparring stopped and the sound that replaced it, once experienced, does not fade easily from the memory. Silva’s introduction was being greeted by “monkey” noises from a sizeable minority of the home support and the shock to these naive ears cannot be registered on the same scale as the impact on the player who, just for a second or two, turned round and stared the bank of offenders down.

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Castleford intent on proving against Catalans that Salford defeat was one-off

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 14:32:00 GMT2017-03-25T14:32:00Z

• Scrum-half Luke Gale believes Daryl Powell’s side have learned lesson
• ‘This is a big game against Catalans to show we can respond’

A surprise first defeat of the season for Castleford last weekend by Salford may have offered a dose of reality to those who believed the Tigers would breeze through Super League this season. So it is how they respond that will tell us the most about the credentials of Daryl Powell’s side in 2017.

That view is one shared by the Castleford scrum-half Luke Gale. Like so many of his team-mates last Sunday, the England international was noticeably below-par as the Tigers struggled to handle the inclement weather against Salford – and Gale understands how Sunday’s meeting with Catalans will decide external perceptions of his side.

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Bradley Wiggins: doping ‘worst thing to be accused of for a man of my integrity’

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:18:10 GMT2017-03-25T12:18:10Z

• Wiggins: ‘there’s a lot to say and it’s going to shock a few people’
• Ex-Team Sky rider is waiting for UK Anti-Doping to finish investigation

Sir Bradley Wiggins has vowed to “shock a few people” when he finally has his say on doping allegations. The five-times Olympic champion and Tour de France winner describes claims he may have broken anti-doping rules – which he strongly denies – as “the worst thing to be accused of when you’re a man of my integrity”.

The former Team Sky rider promised he would have a lot to say when UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) finishes its investigation into allegations that he was injected with triamcinolone, a powerful corticosteroid, at the end of the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné race.

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Bitter end for Cricket Australia's brewery deal after 20-year innings

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 03:44:25 GMT2017-03-25T03:44:25Z

Carlton and United Breweries calls time on 20-year deal as groups opposed to alcohol-related advertising in sport hail the move

Carlton and United Breweries has ended its 20-year sponsorship deal with Cricket Australia, a move welcomed by groups opposed to alcohol advertising in sport.

The company has confirmed reports that its sponsorship arrangement with Cricket Australia is over, ending a close relationship between its Victoria Bitter brand and the one-day and Test teams.

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Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon caps 1,000th game with clean sheet and win

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:24:00 GMT2017-03-25T00:24:00Z

• Italy beat Albania 2-0 in Palermo
• Diego Costa on target as Spain beat Israel 4-1

Gianluigi Buffon kept a clean sheet on his 1,000th professional appearance as Italy kept pace with Spain at the top of Group G in World Cup qualifying. The evergreen 39-year-old goalkeeper cheekily suggested in the build-up he might “do a Zidane and head[butt] someone on the pitch” in homage to the former France midfielder who did exactly that in the 2006 World Cup final to Italy’s Marco Materazzi.

But there were no such theatrics from the Juventus captain, who had a quiet night’s work – making a single save in his 168th match for the national side – as the Azzurri defeated Albania 2-0 in Palermo.

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Séamus Coleman’s leg break a huge blow to club and country, says Martin O’Neill

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:20:49 GMT2017-03-25T00:20:49Z

• Republic of Ireland and Everton full-back injured in draw
• Wales coach Chris Coleman defends ‘devastated’ Neil Taylor

Martin O’Neill described Séamus Coleman’s broken leg as a huge blow to the Republic of Ireland and Everton after the right-back suffered a horrific injury that overshadowed the goalless draw against Wales. Neil Taylor received a straight red card for the reckless challenge that led to Coleman leaving the field on a stretcher and being taken to hospital.

Taylor tried to apologise to Coleman after the game but the Ireland defender had already left the stadium.

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Joe Hart becomes an old England head and looks to instil calm

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 22:30:45 GMT2017-03-24T22:30:45Z

• Goalkeeper keen to make newcomers welcome as he takes captaincy
• Joe Hart says loan spell at Torino has improved his game

A few days on from England’s defeat to Germany and positivity continues to surround Project Southgate. The result was not what the manager wanted in his first game in full-time charge but the performance was undeniably encouraging. There was poise and panache from those in blue, with the only ingredient lacking – albeit, a key one – a ruthlessness in front of goal.

It would be unwise to get too carried away – this is England after all and Germany were uncharacteristically poor until Lukas Podolski scored with a rocket of a shot in his farewell game for the world champions. Nevertheless before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley, there is cause for quiet optimism about a team that includes figures of recent, crushing failure – six of the players who started in Dortmund also did so against Iceland in Nice nine months ago – but looks somewhat refreshed.

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RFU keen to streamline Six Nations by scrapping one of the two rest weeks

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 22:00:44 GMT2017-03-24T22:00:44Z

• It would help with the broader narrative, says Ian Ritchie
• Any change to the calendar would be confirmed in May

The Rugby Football Union is seeking to reduce the length of the Six Nations to six weeks despite claims that the players are already at breaking point. The RFU chief executive, Ian Ritchie, also admitted he has not been consulted by England’s players about any change but insisted their welfare would not be affected by the removal of one of the two rest weeks.

“With the breaks it is good for the body,” the Harlequins prop Joe Marler said recently. “We are there or thereabouts [at] the limit of fixtures for the season.” He returns to Premiership action for his club this weekend along with 18 other members of the England squad who lost to Ireland last Saturday.

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Email throws fresh light on British Cycling’s burying of bullying

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:36:17 GMT2017-03-24T19:36:17Z

• Bullying was one of key findings of an internal review in 2012
• Correspondence with UK Sport made no mention of problem

The extent to which British Cycling failed to deal with allegations of bullying when they surfaced more than four years ago – as well as what UK Sport knew about the problems in the velodrome – is revealed by correspondence between the two bodies obtained by a Freedom of Information request by ITV.

An email from the former British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake to UK Sport, sent to the chief executive officer Liz Nicholl in December 2012, makes no mention of bullying in his summary of an internal review conducted by Peter King, despite it being one of its key findings. Instead Drake talks about King identifying “weaknesses in the senior management and middle management structure” , which is suspected to be a reference to the tensions between the then performance director Dave Brailsford, his assistant Shane Sutton and team psychiatrist Steve Peters – as well as other issues.

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Former scout arrested in historical football sexual abuse investigation

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:49:39 GMT2017-03-24T18:49:39Z

• Harry Dunn, 84, charged by police in Edinburgh over non-recent offences
• Dunn said to have worked as scout for Liverpool, Chelsea and Rangers

A former youth football scout has been arrested by police investigating allegations of historical abuse in the sport.

Harry Dunn, 84, is said to have worked for clubs including Rangers, Liverpool and Chelsea during his career and has been arrested by police in Edinburgh.

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Arrogate roars home in stunning style to win Dubai World Cup

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:11:47 GMT2017-03-25T17:11:47Z

• Grey powers through the field after slow start to win at Meydan
• Bob Baffert: ‘It’s unbelievable, I can’t believe he won’

Mike Smith’s first thought after the Dubai World Cup here on Saturday was of Zenyatta, the exceptional horse he rode from a long last to first in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic. But Arrogate is even better than Zenyatta and proved it with an astonishing performance, shrugging off the loss of several lengths at the start to win going away without ever leaving second gear.

Some very good horses have won the Dubai World Cup over the past 21 years, and some very average ones too. The only way Arrogate’s performance is likely to be bettered in the next 21 years, however, is if Bob Baffert’s four-year-old returns for another attempt at the race next year.

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USA 6-0 Honduras: World Cup qualifying – as it happened

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 04:50:12 GMT2017-03-25T04:50:12Z

Clint Dempsey scored three on his return to international football as USA hammered Honduras 6-0 to move off the bottom of the Hex

Here’s Graham Parker’s full-time report:

Related: Clint Dempsey and Christian Pulisic lead the way as USA trounce sorry Honduras

Well, USA are back in the mix for Russia 2018, and they’re back in style. They absolutely blew Honduras away this evening: they were much, much better than their hapless opponents. Pulisic, Bradley and Nagbe were excellent, but it was all about Dempsey this evening: a hat-trick on his return to international football, and that’s 54 goals for USA now for the Sounders star. Bruce Arena’s team needed to win tonight, and they did, and with Mexico beating Costa Rica earlier, they look good bets for next year’s World Cup. Forget the problems under Klinsmann: this is a pretty decent team, and tonight they showed their class.

We’re going to wrap this blog up now. Thanks for reading. Goodnight.

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From the ring to the octagon: when a boxing writer spent six months in MMA

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:00:43 GMT2017-03-24T13:00:43Z

I hadn’t paid much attention to UFC until I was asked to write a book with fighter Dan Hardy. The sport won me over, but boxing will always be my true love

By Paul Gibson for The Balls of Wrath, part of the Guardian Sport Network

“What do you know about the UFC?” my agent asks me over the phone.

The UFC? My mind starts racing. Let’s see, there’s the Irish one who might be a hype job. There’s the woman, or is she retired now? There’s a bunch of Brazilians apparently juiced to the gills. There’s an old English one who is supposed to be an asshole ...

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The gifs that keep on giving: laughter, face football and two big clearances

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:00:32 GMT2017-01-21T10:00:32Z

Featuring two UFC fighters trying to pretend, a new form of badminton, fast fists, a very short game of pool and an exceedingly chamring basketball player

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The forgotten story of ... Dario Dubois, Argentina’s face-painted footballer | Simon Burnton

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:59:46 GMT2017-01-24T11:59:46Z

When he was on the pitch he wore garish face paint, when he was off it he played in rock bands and caused controversy, but Dubois was a popular figure in Buenos Aires football in the 1990s before meeting an untimely death

“It gives you energy,” Dario Dubois once said of his unusual pre-match ritual. “You paint your face, you go to war and you kill your rivals.”

For a while Dubois, a centre-back who did the rounds of Argentina’s lower leagues for a decade or so, went the full Kiss pre-match, covering his face and neck with black and white make-up before taking to the field. On one occasion he had to knock on the referee’s door before kick-off and ask if it would be OK to use his mirror to apply the paint, as the away team’s dressing room didn’t have one. He found the war paint had the triple benefit of making him more fearless, making opponents more fearful, and earning himself more recognition. “I’m just a clown with a painted face – but one who is ready to die for his shirt,” he said.

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The Fiver | Shirtless, oiled and with a cross of St George painted across his face

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:42:24 GMT2017-03-24T16:42:24Z

In today’s Fiver: World Cup qualifiers, Mickey Mouse football and more

It’s pretty easy to wonder what the point of international football is these days. It isn’t, and hasn’t been for a while, as good as club football; it can be followed by cavalcades of tumbling halfwits whose primary method of self-expression is to sing songs about a war that ended 40 years before they were born; managers are left with thousand-yard stares, their lives turned into punchlines for the crime of not winning a World Cup; players who don’t perform to the demanded standard end up on the front page of a paper for buying their mum a sink. It would probably be better if we just wrote the whole thing off as a bad job, but today, The Fiver is choosing positivity. We are choosing to embrace it. We are choosing life. Or at least we’re choosing to accept that it’s here, it probably isn’t going away, so we might as well tolerate it in the best humour we can.

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The Joy of Six: boxing and UFC comebacks from the canvas

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:00:01 GMT2017-03-23T10:00:01Z

From Carl Froch’s controversial victory over George Groves to Matt Hughes’s implausible recovery against Frank Trigg in Dana White’s favourite ever UFC fight

Boxing is a phenomenally complex to-do. Both proactive and reactive, it demands the minute, synchronised adjustment of torso and limbs, in states of excitement and exhaustion, on pane of death and embarrassment.

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It's time to introduce a two-legged MLS Cup - with a twist

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:10 GMT2016-10-24T09:00:10Z

The single final is insufficient, and the two-leg final doesn’t reward the higher-seeded team for their regular-season performance. So why not combine the two?

Do US soccer leagues need their own Super Bowl, a week-long festival of the sport at a neutral site? Or should they reward the best regular-season team with home-field advantage for the final game?

Related: Didier Drogba fined but not suspended for Montreal Impact tantrum

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VVS Laxman lording it, tenpin trickshots and Nani's unappreciated japery | Classic YouTube

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:00:01 GMT2017-03-23T10:00:01Z

Also featuring the council caretaker versus Barry McGuigan, an on-air ticking off and a lesser spotted Gary Pallister thunderbolt

1) The final and deciding Test between India and Australia begins on Saturday; at the end of yet another belting series, the sides are level at 1-1. But well though the various characters have played, none has embroidered his name across proceedings with anything approaching the style of VVS Laxman. Here he is, scoring 281 at Kolkata in 2001; here’s Ian Chappell telling us about the best batting against spin that he’s ever seen; and here are full highlights of what is perhaps the greatest contest of all time. Yet Laxman wasn’t even voted man of the series – that honour went to Harbhajan Singh. Here’s his hat-trick, also at Kolkata, and here are all of his 13 wickets in the match. And finally, here are India securing the Border-Gavaskar at Chennai – where Harbhajan took another 15 wickets, giving him a mere 36 in the three matches.

2) Also this Saturday, Ant Crolla rematches Jorge Linares, after losing their first fight – and therefore his belt – on points in September. Other lighter-weight Brits to contest world titles include the council caretaker Jim McDonnell, who earned a shot by beating Barry McGuigan before losing to Azumah Nelson; Jim Watt; Duke McKenzie; and Naseem Hamed.

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Lukas Podolski goes out with a bang as Schweinsteiger heads to MLS – Football Weekly Extra

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:59:31 GMT2017-03-23T15:59:31Z

England show signs of improvement under Gareth Southgate, but Lukas Podolski has the last laugh in Dortmund. Plus, Gigi Buffon’s 1000th game; Atlanta take MLS by storm; and an unprecedentedly lengthy Spurs chat

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast & Stitcher. And join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Paul MacInnes, James Horncastle and Nick Miller each drew the short straw to join AC Jimbo on this international edition of Football Weekly Extra, but together we soldiered through to give you 49 minutes of red hot soccer chat.

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Arctic blasts force Icelandic football match to be abandoned ... eventually – video

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:38:43 GMT2017-03-24T11:38:43Z

An Icelandic League Cup match between Breiðablik and Fram is abandoned on Thursday when extreme weather forces the referee to stop the match after 70 minutes of play. Footage posted to social media shows players huddling for warmth on the bench, as heavy snow and wind forces play to stop. The Football Association of Iceland has not yet rescheduled the game

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2024 only chance for Paris Olympics, says bid chairman – video

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:33:44 GMT2017-03-22T14:33:44Z

The co-president of Paris’s 2024 Olympic bid, Tony Estanguet, says that while he is supportive of the mood within the IOC to award the locations of both the 2024 and the 2028 Olympic Games in September, the French capital will not be in the running for the latter

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Red Bull Racing drivers gear up for Australian Grand Prix – video

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:24:16 GMT2017-03-22T14:24:16Z

Red Bull Racing drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo discuss the upcoming Formula One season-opening Australian Grand Prix, due to take place in Melbourne on Sunday. Ricciardo says he has his eye on the world title

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Liverpool captain and coach Ronnie Moran: a look back at his life – video

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:14:46 GMT2017-03-22T12:14:46Z

Ronnie Moran, a veteran of Liverpool Football Club, has died aged 83 after a short illness. He had served the club in roles as varied as player, captain, coach and interim manager for 49 years before his retirement in 1998, and played 379 times for the club between 1952 and 1968

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Bastian Schweinsteiger leaves Manchester United for Chicago Fire – video report

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:09:40 GMT2017-03-21T15:09:40Z

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is leaving Manchester United to join Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire in a one-year deal reportedly worth £3.6m. United haven’t released a statement. But players at the club have used social media to send messages of support to the German international

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Ryan McBride death 'devastating' for club, says Derry City CEO – video

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:33:21 GMT2017-03-20T16:33:21Z

CEO of Derry City Sean Barrett says the death of captain Ryan McBride on Sunday is ‘devastating’, less than 24 hours after captaining Derry to victory over Drogheda United. In an audio clip posted on Drive105 Match Night Live, Barrett says McBride was the ‘heart and soul’ of the club

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Liverpool draw one of my proudest days, says Pep Guardiola – video

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 11:35:06 GMT2017-03-20T11:35:06Z

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday was one of his proudest days as a coach, having turned around from a disappointed exit from the Champions League last week. Guardiola also jokingly brushes off suggestions that he should more effectively coach his players on how to finish goal-scoring opportunities

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'I'd rather win Europa League than finish fourth in the league,' says José Mourinho – video

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 16:49:04 GMT2017-03-19T16:49:04Z

Manchester United manager José Mourinho admits that he would prefer to win the Europa League than finish fourth in the Premier League this season, as his team move to fifth after a 3-1 win at Middlesborough on Sunday. Mourinho praises the attitude of his team, who were missing many first choice players

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Arséne Wenger promises decision on his Arsenal future 'soon' – video

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 18:46:11 GMT2017-03-18T18:46:11Z

Arsenal manager Arséne Wenger says he will soon make a decision on his future at the club, following a 3-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. Arsenal have lost four of their last five league games, and face losing out on Champions League qualification next year

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Manny Pacquiao provokes storm by calling gay people ‘worse than animals’

Tue, 16 Feb 2016 09:49:41 GMT2016-02-16T09:49:41Z

• Pacquiao, running for senate in the Philippines, causes outrage
• Boxer made comments in video posted on local TV5’s election site

Manny Pacquiao has provoked a storm of controversy in his home country after saying people in same-sex relationships “are worse than animals”. The 37-year-old, who is running for a seat in the Philippines senate in May’s elections as a conservative Christian, made the remark in a video posted on local TV5’s election site.

“It’s common sense,” the eight times world champion, who later apologised, said. “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”

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Arrogate on brink of all-time greatness if he wins the Dubai World Cup

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:32:13 GMT2017-03-24T12:32:13Z

The American colt, who has the second richest prize on the planet at his mercy, is one race away from becoming the highest earner the sport has seen

On 17 April last year, a raw three-year-old colt called Arrogate set foot on a racecourse for the first time, at lowly Los Alamitos in southern California. He missed the break, found trouble in running and finished third, earning $5,400 for his owner in the process. He was just another thoroughbred among many tens of thousands in North America, and among the many millions foaled around the world over the last three centuries.

Less than 12 months later, Arrogate is one race away from becoming the highest earner the sport has seen. The $6m first prize in the Dubai World Cup here on Saturday, for which he will set off as the long odds-on favourite, would take Arrogate’s career earnings past $17m, around three-quarters of which would have been banked in the space of the past two months.

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F1 new look quickens cars and pulses beyond Australian GP | Giles Richards

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 18:10:00 GMT2017-03-25T18:10:00Z

Whatever the outcome in Melbourne, Formula One changes inject a strong belief that 2017 excitement will not just be about Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Whether or not Lewis Hamilton has opened the 2017 Formula One season on Sunday with a Melbourne victory that would suggest he and Mercedes are very much re-establishing F1’s old order, the pervading sense of optimism for the future of the sport is still unlikely to dissipate any time soon.

Hamilton and Mercedes, who have dominated F1 for the past three seasons, winning all three drivers’ and constructors’ championships, looked strong in the buildup in Australia and the Silver Arrows were every gleaming inch the favourites at Albert Park. Hamilton clinched the season’s first pole – and 62nd of his career – finishing 0.268sec clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after setting the fastest lap ever recorded at Albert Park.

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F1 2017: team-by-team guide to the cars and drivers for the season | Giles Richards

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:00:31 GMT2017-03-24T11:00:31Z

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes are still the team to beat with Valtteri Bottas given tough job of replacing world champion Nico Rosberg but testing showed Ferrari and Williams could be contenders

Car F1-W08; Engine Mercedes; Principal Toto Wolff; Debut France, 1954; GPs entered 148; Constructors’ titles 3 (2014, 2015, 2016) Still favourites and the team that must be beaten; bringing their dominant engine to the new formula puts them on the front foot from the off but they have not yet had to deal with a challenge at the front; real competition and pressure will pose a new test.

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Was Steph Curry's transformation into an NBA supervillain inevitable?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:00:07 GMT2017-03-23T09:00:07Z

The Golden State Warriors superstar guard’s ability to annoy basketball fans has given him the most undesirable of auras: that of a Duke player

Basketball fans were first introduced to Steph Curry 20 years ago the same way we learned of Riley Curry two years ago: he was the cute child a famous NBA father occasionally brought to work. A decade later we saw him again, knocking down jumpers for tiny Davidson College in the NCAA tournament and delivering hopelessly dorky rap verses about the campus dining hall. College Curry was the same kid we met in the 90s when Dell Curry was still in the league, just taller and with more range.

But today that kid has turned into, well, kind of an asshole. No longer the innocent, bright-eyed legacy marksman, Curry now gets into shoving matches with the likes of Semaj Christon.

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Andre Agassi: ‘One day your entire way of life ends. It’s a kind of death’ | Donald McRae

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 11:14:28 GMT2017-03-20T11:14:28Z

The former world No1 reflects on life after tennis married to another of the sport’s greats, Steffi Graf, and says: ‘If I went back in time I would probably retire sooner’

Eight years ago, in his raw and poignant autobiography, Open, Andre Agassi wrote: “My father yells everything twice, sometimes three times, sometimes 10. Harder, he says, harder. Hit earlier. Damn it Andre, hit earlier, Crowd the ball, crowd the ball. Now he’s crowding me. He’s yelling. It’s not enough to hit everything the dragon fires at me: my father wants me to hit harder and faster than the dragon. He wants me to beat the dragon.”

Related: Roger Federer continues to defy time and critics with Indian Wells win

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Yadav stars on debut to give India the momentum despite Smith century

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 11:50:35 GMT2017-03-25T11:50:35Z

  • Australia 300 all out, India 0-0 at stumps on day one at Dharamsala
  • Tourists collapse after lunch from 144-1

Steve Smith posted yet another captain’s century but Australia wasted a strong start to be all out for 300 late on day one of their Test series decider against India. The hosts were 0-0 in response at stumps on Saturday, having survived one over delivered by Josh Hazlewood.

Smith and David Warner blitzed the opening session of the fourth Test in Dharamsala, powering the visitors to 1-144 shortly after lunch. Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, on debut in the absence of injured captain Virat Kohli, then turned the match on its head by kickstarting a collapse of 5-64. Yadav, mentored by Kolkata teammate Brad Hogg during the Indian Premier League, shed a tear when he claimed his first Test wicket and finished with figures of 4-68.

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All Blacks have nothing to fear, for all the fury of the Six Nations | Paul Rees

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 11:59:01 GMT2017-03-25T11:59:01Z

England’s second title in a row said more about the weakness of the opposition in a tournament lacking the subtlety that will be needed by the Lions

The Six Nations is the envy of the southern hemisphere – for its licence to print money rather than the quality of the rugby it inspires. England retained the title but were written off in New Zealand as clunky musclemen who live in a cave, a view compromised by the praise then lavished on Ireland, whose record of two tries in their final three matches was hardly a testament to their perceived verve and guile.

Bonus points were trialled this year in order to, in the words of the tournament’s chairman, Pat Whelan, “materially improve what we already have and enhance the competition as a spectacle”. The system made no difference beyond providing consolation in defeat and overall the 2017 tournament was summed up in the meeting between France and Scotland in Paris, when the physical onslaught of the home side subdued opponents who had tried to dance around the ring.

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Leicester fightback sinks Northampton in thriller as Mauger goes out on high

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:15:28 GMT2017-03-25T17:15:28Z

• Northampton 31-36 Leicester
• Tigers prevail in coach Aaron Mauger’s final game

Leicester’s removal of Aaron Mauger as head coach last week was questioned by players and supporters, but there was no disputing the club’s agreement to the New Zealander’s request to a stay of execution so he could remain in charge for the East Midlands derby. One reason for bringing in Matt O’Connor to head the management team was the side’s poor away form this season, but against their local rivals in a match that was effectively for fourth place, they showed it was not a decision they were seeking.

Mauger was said to be too emotional to speak to the media after a victory in an unusually open derby that lifted Leicester to fourth, on course for a place in the play-offs for the 13th consecutive season. If some of their familiar frailties were exposed, conceding soft tries and wasting opportunities by losing possession, their character and resolve were undimmed by Northampton’s most impressive display in attack this season and the yellow card shown to Mike Williams 13 minutes from time, when the Tigers were trailing by five points.

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Rory McIlroy out of Match Play Championship without playing a shot

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:38:28 GMT2017-03-23T23:38:28Z

• Gary Woodland’s withdrawal resulted in McIlroy being knocked out
• Slimline Bubba Watson finding form again as Masters looms

Rory McIlroy must hope his quota of 2017 misfortune has now been used up. The rib injury which disrupted the initial stages of his Masters preparation might be consigned to history but there was further cause for McIlroy to question whatever happened to the luck of the Irish on Thursday, as Gary Woodland’s withdrawal from the WGC Match Play Championship coupled with the later victory for Soren Kjeldsen meant the four-time major winner was eliminated without hitting a single shot in anger.

Related: Jason Day withdraws mid-round as his mother prepares for cancer surgery

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F1 stars on the new season: ‘They will be the fastest cars we’ve ever driven’

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:16:48 GMT2017-03-25T12:16:48Z

Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and the great and good of the paddock give their views on what to expect from the 2017 F1 season

“It’s a good step forward. Not only for us drivers but also for the spectators: for the people in the grandstands and watching on television, they look spectacular. When you arrive at the first grand prix of the year, you know that joy is shared if you are competitive.”

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USA 8-0 Puerto Rico: World Baseball Classic final – as it happened!

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 05:03:54 GMT2017-03-23T05:03:54Z

  • Team USA win their first World Baseball Classic
  • WBC MVP Marcus Stroman shuts down Puerto Rico with six no-hit innings
  • Over 1m attend World Baseball Classic games on two continents

Post-game

Team USA celebrate in a way that virtually guarantees no one will get hurt, lots of handshakes and gentle hugs, just like Ian Kinsler likes it, while Jim Leyland buttons his managerial career with a win in the World Baseball Classic.

Correa grounds to third: Arenado has it, he fires to first and it’s all over. TEAM USA HAVE WON THEIR FIRST WBC TITLE!

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Exeter’s Don Armand shines in defeat of Sale to put Chiefs joint top

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:06:54 GMT2017-03-25T17:06:54Z

• Exeter 30-25 Sale
• Armand caps fine display with powerful try

Exeter’s head coach, Rob Baxter, said recently he wants his captain, Don Armand, to commit to the club for the rest of his career – and on this evidence it is not hard to see why. The Zimbabwe-born flanker rolled up his sleeves, puffed out his cheeks and powered over for a late try to seal a gritty bonus-point victory for the Chiefs, who remain on course for a return to the end‑of-season play-offs.

Baxter, however, was far from pleased. Exeter, now level on points with Wasps at the top of the table, have not lost in the Premiership since October but Baxter was fearful his players were beginning to believe their own hype, having won handsomely away to Leicester on their last league outing. Indeed, Sale, who were 22-20 ahead with 15 minutes to go, can consider themselves unfortunate to leave with just a losing bonus point after AJ MacGinty’s flawless kicking performance and another reminder of Denny Solomona’s sharp finishing.

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Harlequins humble Newcastle as Chris Robshaw returns to action

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:06:38 GMT2017-03-25T17:06:38Z

• Harlequins 53-17 Newcastle
• Tim Visser stars for Quins in seven-try mauling of Falcons

A match against the All Blacks this was not, but if Chris Robshaw wants to line up against the same this summer the resumption of his campaign went about as well as he could have hoped. He might have wished for rather more in the way of opposition, but the cobwebs have been cleared and morale restored.

Another five points keeps Harlequins in the hunt for the Premiership play-offs, moving them into the top six, but their run-in from here is unforgiving. Just the kind of test, then, that any prospective Lion needs after this forgiving run‑out. Quins have two matches – against Saracens at Wembley in a fortnight, followed by Exeter at home on Good Friday – before Warren Gatland announces his Lions tour squad next month. Whether it is enough for Robshaw to state his case, in the fiercest of competition, remains to be seen.

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Highlanders heap late heartache on battling Brumbies

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:12:55 GMT2017-03-25T12:12:55Z

  • Brumbies 13-18 Highlanders
  • Blues 38-14 Bulls

The Brumbies suffered another narrow Super Rugby defeat after succumbing late to the Highlanders at GIO Stadium. The 18-13 loss continued the Brumbies’ drought against New Zealand sides and reopened the wounds from last year’s six-point quarter-final defeat to the Highlanders at the same venue.

With the Brumbies attempting to grind out the win, Aki Seiuli charged over from close range to put the Highlanders in front for the first time with seven minutes remaining. While the home side piled the pressure on the Highlanders in the dying minutes, the visitors stood firm and repelled the Brumbies from their own try line. Desperate defence fended off a Brumbies rolling maul after the siren in front of a crowd of 11,125.

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