BHA says policy in party’s manifesto ‘would not help’ advance horse welfare in racing
Horse racing got a walk-on part in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, published on Wednesday, in the form of a pledge to “establish an independent regulatory body for horse welfare to prevent the abuse and avoidable deaths of racehorses”. The policy, which was passed at the party’s 2018 conference, “would not help” advance horse welfare in racing, according to the British Horseracing Authority, which currently has responsibility in this area.
A BHA spokesman, responding to the manifesto, said that racing “has a clear track record in delivering improved welfare outcomes for our horses. British racing’s evidence-based approach has already significantly reduced avoidable risk – an approach endorsed by Defra – and we have a clear ambition to reduce this further through our investment in a predictive risk model.”
Pakistan have left out Mohammad Abbas? What madness is this? He towelled up Australia in the UAE last year, seaming the ball even on a Dubai road. He could have been wonderful in Brisbane. Mind you, Shaheen Shah Afridi isn’t too bad himself, and Imran Khan (the new version) took a lot of wickets against Australia A.
Pakistan Shan Masood Azhar Ali * Haris Sohail Babar Azam Asad Shafiq Iftikhar Ahmed Mohammad Rizwan + Yasir Shah Shaheen Afridi Imran Khan Naseem Shah
The first little advantage for Pakistan. A lot of bowling sides have started with hope at the Gabba and watched it quickly disappear. So if the visitors can avoid any early problems, they can set themselves up for the day. Azhar Ali has no hesitation in making his choice.
• Controversial rematch takes place in Saudi on 7 December • Former world champion refuses to comment on weight target
Anthony Joshua has bristled at suggestions that he could be mentally scarred by his shock stoppage defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr in June, telling reporters he has “not become a pussy overnight”.
The 30-year-old, who looked lean and mean in advance of next month’s controversial WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title rematch with Ruiz in Saudi Arabia, also denied claims made by the former champion David Haye that his sparring before the first fight with the Mexican-American had been too soft. “We haven’t done anything differently mentally,” said Joshua. “I am a champion. I walked into a boxing gym and three years later I was Olympic champion. I have had one loss but I am not about to become a pussy overnight and not be able to fight.”
As Australian take on Pakistan at the Gabba for their first engagement, a longer wait has come to an end
When Test match morning rolls around at last, it always feels like the longest wait has come to an end. No matter how many hours of overseas tours you may have watched through the winter, an Australian summer is something distant returning to life. Its matches will join a sequence of seasons running back through the decades, becoming the fabric of summer holidays, populating the retro highlight packages of the future.
Having Test cricket start in November can feel early, arriving before summer and its pleasures have really taken effect. But to eyes that have been watching since the start, this cricket season has been going for a long time already. Four series of white-ball matches involving Australia’s men and women have passed by, along with Sheffield Shield rounds, some thrillers in the one-day cup, and weeks of easily the best Women’s Big Bash season thus far.
The England head coach has said that there may be some dislocation between Saracens’ players in his squad and those from other clubs and that a club v country conflict could loom in the new year. Premiership Rugby’s docking of 35 points means that the English and European champions now have minus-22 points in the Premiership and face a desperate struggle against relegation to the Championship.
An email! “Good morning/evening, Tim,” says Ian Forth. “You seem to have missed an exclamation mark. Jack Leach promoted to 10 in the order! Perhaps, like Wilfred Rhodes, he’ll start his first Test at 11 and end up opening.” Hasn’t he done that already?
News round-up. There’s no wind, contrary to what some idiots have been suggesting. The pitch, in another setback for the armchair pundit, isn’t as green as it was two days ago. And Jofra Archer has been loosening up by riding a Segway round the outfield. The commentators are torn between a smile (he’s so relaxed!) and a po face (what if he got hurt?). Archer, true to form, looked as if he’d been doing it all his life.
• Simon Orange urges more transparency over players’ contracts • Premiership Rugby ‘plans changes’ after Saracens fine
The Sale co-owner, Simon Orange, has insisted rugby union has to “sort itself out” financially in order to protect the sport’s long-term future and called for more transparency on players’ contracts in the wake of Saracens’ breach of the Premiership salary cap.
Orange, who led a consortium that took control of the Sharks in 2016 and has invested significant sums in the club, believes more must be done by the sport’s authorities to ensure clubs are protected if wealthy backers decide they want to withdraw their investment. “The game needs to sort itself out,” he said at a media day at the club’s Carrington training ground on Wednesday.
• New manager says that he ‘feels happiness’ with squad • Academy is giving the talents the first team needs, he says
José Mourinho has been told that he will have to work with Tottenham’s existing squad as there is no money for an overhaul in January. The manager, who has taken over from Mauricio Pochettino on a three-and-a-half-year contract, has entered the role with his eyes open as to the financial realities at the club and it was noticeable that on Wednesday evening he talked up the players he has inherited. Mourinho also claimed he was looking forward to working with the academy players.
Spurs must make big repayments on their new stadium and, with Champions League revenues so important, Mourinho has been asked to regain a place among the Premier League’s top four. Before his first game at West Ham on Saturday lunchtime, the team lag 14th in the table, 11 points behind fourth-placed Manchester City. They have played 12 matches of the league season.
• ‘I don’t think the two events can coexist six weeks apart’ • Novak Djokovic beats Yoshihito Nishioka in Davis Cup singles
Novak Djokovic, who credits winning the Davis Cup with Serbia in 2010 as the turning point in his career, says the sport’s 119-year-old competition should one day merge with the new ATP Cup, which starts in Australia in January.
Speaking after beating Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in the revamped competition here, he said: “Scheduling was always an issue for both the ATP Cup and Davis Cup. An idea – that could happen – was to merge the two. I think it’s still open for the future. Looking long-term, I don’t think that the two events can coexist six weeks apart. It’s just a bit too congested.
Chairman and manager have plenty in common and Levy must trust that his gamble persuades key players to stay
José Mourinho’s Manchester United team looked broken. The date was 29 September 2018 and their shortcomings were written large on the open spaces of West Ham’s London Stadium. The 3-1 defeat was a nail in his coffin and no one left east London that day thinking he had too much longer as the United manager.
Mourinho would limp on for two and a half months – fighting, arguing, remorselessly testing patience – and, when the end came, it was not just his bridges at Old Trafford that were burned. It was extremely difficult to see that another leading Premier League club would call for him again.
• Murray defeats Tallon Griekspoor 6-7 (7) , 6-4, 7-6 (5) • Great Britain lead Netherlands 1-0 after first group game
Andy Murray returned to Davis Cup competition after three years away against a young Dutchman who admits punctuality is not his strong point. But Tallon Griekspoor, 179 in the world, certainly turned up on time on Wednesday to worry the life out of his childhood hero before succumbing in three sets of the highest quality.
Murray had to soak up 23 aces in grinding out a 6-7 (7) , 6-4, 7-6 (5) win in nearly three hours against a 23-year-old clay-courter from the Challenger Tour.
Tottenham’s current woes are rooted in the lack of new signings two summers ago but is José Mourinho really the right fit?
Fifty years ago this season Liverpool went to Watford, then struggling near the bottom of the Second Division, in the sixth round of the FA Cup. On a dreadful pitch, its central third rutted and bare, they lost 1-0 to a diving header from Barry Endean. Bill Shankly called Watford “the worst team that ever beat us”. He was aware the upset could be as epochal as the defeat to Worcester City that had led to him replacing Phil Taylor as manager in 1959 and was provoked into action. “I knew I had to do my job and change my team,” he said. “It had to be done and if I didn’t do it I was shirking my obligations.”
Although Liverpool had finished second the previous season, they were enduring a major stutter, having won only five of their previous 18 in the league. He raged in the Vicarage Road dressing room, telling a number of players they were finished. Over the following weeks Tommy Lawrence, Ian St John, Ron Yeats and Geoff Strong were all discarded. Peter Thompson, struggling with cartilage problems, departed a few months later. The players changed, but the method did not. “The policy of the new team was the same as that of the old,” Shankly explained. “We played to our strengths. We pressurised everybody and made them run.”
The banner is a laugh. And yet, importantly, the Welshman surely knows that most in Madrid won’t find it funny
It was Pedja Mijatovic who started it. One night on the radio, the former Real Madrid player and sporting director said he hadn’t spoken to Gareth Bale but the impression he got was that his priorities were Wales, golf, and Madrid – and in that order. That sounded pretty good to Wales fans, already on his side. Songs followed swiftly and so did the flags. One of them found its way on to the pitch and into the players’ hands as they celebrated reaching Euro 2020. Dancing about and grinning right behind it is Bale, enjoying the silliness of it all, the caption covering half his body: “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.”
Bale had said he was aware of the chant, the slogan, and here it was in black and white (and green and red). “I’ve heard it, especially when I was on the bench, and the boys were laughing,” he explained. “It’s a good bit of fun.” Which it may be to him, although there is something pointed in it too, but a lot of people don’t see the funny side. Some of them are at the Santiago Bernabéu: Madrid are not amused. This has not pleased anyone there, but nor has it entirely surprised them: there is a sense that this does not break anything, exactly; it merely underlines that something was already broken. It was a joke, they know, but not in great taste and with a message attached to it – if only because he didn’t distance himself from it.
With the new stadium to pay for, the Spurs chairman is reliant on Champions League revenue to balance the books and has acted with brutal swiftness in removing Mauricio Pochettino
The lament that football has traded its soul for money has been associated with a departing manager of Tottenham Hotspur long before Mauricio Pochettino was sacked five months after taking the club to a miraculous Champions League final. The famous quote from Keith Burkinshaw, as he walked away from White Hart Lane in 1985 despite having won the Uefa Cup, was attributed to him by the veteran sportswriter Ken Jones: “There used to be a football club over there.”
Burkinshaw was working at a club which had sought to exploit new money coming into football by becoming the first to float on the stock market, bypassing the game’s century-old restrictions on owners making money out of clubs. Seven years later Alan Sugar had a vote as the Spurs owner to select BSkyB as the exclusive pay-TV broadcaster for the Premier League over free-to-air ITV, at the same time that Sugar’s company Amstrad was making the satellite dishes.
Fans of Spurs and (some) players may mourn the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino and will look to their new No 1 and wonder which Mourinho has just walked through the door. Because this is the big question, the 100-tonne elephant in the room regarding Daniel Levy’s appointment: is Mourinho a spent force? Is he yesterday’s man whose scintillating peak came between 2002-10?
Remark alleged to have been made in transfer target talks
Club investigation found no case for Sampson to answer
Stevenage caretaker manager Mark Sampson has been charged by the Football Association with making an offensive remark.
The former England Women head coach is alleged to have made the remark to a coach who used to work with the League Two club earlier this season. It was alleged that the remark was aimed at a player during a conversation about transfer targets.
• England captain will contact all-rounder in next couple of weeks • ‘When he’s on form he adds a different dimension to our group’
Joe Root will contact Moeen Ali in the next fortnight to establish whether the all-rounder feels ready to make a return to Test cricket when England tour South Africa next month.
Moeen, 32, announced he was taking a break from the longer format in September, having been dropped from the first XI after an undercooked showing in the Ashes series opener at Edgbaston and then left off the list of Test central contracts for 2019-20.
Wales youngsters impressed Giggs, Cazorla is astonishing and will O’Neill stick around for Northern Ireland’s play-off?
With the reality of reaching a third tournament finals still sinking in as elated Wales supporters furrowed out of the turnstiles in Cardiff, five precious words will have stirred further excitement. “This is just the beginning,” Ryan Giggs said. And he has a point. Giggs put the onus on young players in his first qualifying campaign in charge of his country and how the new generation rewarded him, with Daniel James, David Brooks, Harry Wilson, Ethan Ampadu and Joe Morrell – all of whom are 22 or under – complementing headline acts such as Gareth Bale and, after returning to fitness, Aaron Ramsey. Next summer Giggs will hope to call on Brooks and Joe Rodon, the latest Swansea academy graduate to make an impression in a Wales shirt, with both absent on Tuesday. Others, too, could stake a claim, including Leeds’ Tyler Roberts, Manchester United’s Dylan Levitt and the 19-year-old Schalke winger Rabbi Matondo. Ben Fisher
Hiring Mourinho feels like a step backwards and it would be peak Spursy to hire this serial winner and still win nothing
Just how much have Amazon paid for this season’s Spurs documentary? Is this the first football reality show – Made in Tottenham – where if things aren’t quite interesting enough the producers can suggest things to keep it interesting?
It was already turning into a reasonably interesting show. Did they have to go this big this early? Perhaps they were bored by the Manchester City one. Teams starting at the top and staying there doesn’t make interesting TV. Or the Leeds one, where the star Marcelo Bielsa didn’t appear until the final scene. The only good ones are bad for the teams involved. And that team is always Sunderland. Until Spurs got on the Amazon train.
• European Tour decides event cannot go ahead amid protests • ‘Safety of players, staff and everyone involved is top priority’
The European Tour has postponed next week’s Hong Kong Open due to the ongoing civil unrest in the city.
The protests began in early June over a now-shelved extradition bill to mainland China that many saw as Beijing’s creeping interference on legal and other rights guaranteed to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned under Chinese rule in 1997.
Hockey confrontations may appear as nothing more than mindless violence but there are unwritten rules even amidst the chaos
When done properly, a hockey fight between two (or more) consenting adults is a beautiful tradition with its own rules. There’s a disagreement between opposing players due to a rough hit or perceived dirty play – either in the immediate moments before a fight or in a prior meeting. Then there’s a square-up, a silent agreement between the two enemies that a brawl is about to happen. After that there’s a roar from the crowd as they realize what’s taking place, and finally, a slippery festival of lefts and rights as both players attempt a delicate balancing act in which they damage their opponent with punches without embarrassing themselves by falling on their asses. (There’s a reason they don’t sanction proper boxing matches on skates!)
The coach has a history of winning, a word that has been lost to the Australian rugby vocabulary for a generation
With Dave Rennie’s appointment as Wallabies coach an important part of his predecessor Michael Cheika’s legacy will live on. When Cheika took over the reins at the NSW Waratahs in 2013, the Super Rugby rivals he admired the most were the Chiefs, coached by Rennie. It was their uncompromising physicality, particularly in the forwards, that appealed to Cheika, who instilled the trait into the Waratahs and became a key ingredient in them winning their maiden title the following year.
Cheika also attempted to bring a combative physicality to the national set-up and Rennie is expected to build on that platform. And like Cheika, Rennie is an attack-minded coach, but he is sure to go about it in a very different way – a classic Kiwi way with an emphasis on attacking from turnover ball and counter-attack.
Trainer also accepts that ‘media pressure’ has helped persuade Altior’s connections to step him up in trip at Ascot
Cyrname has edged closer to Altior in the betting for Saturday’s head-to-head in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot, as Nicky Henderson admitted the step up to 21 furlongs is “a big question” for his unbeaten chaser. Altior’s trainer added that “he doesn’t look like a horse that is going to stay [on the gallops] as he has got such a ridiculous amount of speed”.
On Tuesday morning, several major firms were offering 11-8 about Cyrname, who is officially rated 1lb ahead of Altior, but that had dried up to a general 5-4 by midday. Altior remains top-priced at 8-11 with BetVictor, while the odds suggest that Top Notch, who will get 2lb from the market leaders, is their only credible rival among three possible opponents. Altior’s stable companion is a 16-1 shot.
The Wales forward may think of little other than football and golf but not all athletes are so disengaged with the world around them
It is a fair guess that Gareth Bale, everyone’s favourite top-knot idiot, did not rush from the pitch after Wales’s match against Hungary on Tuesday to inquire how the prime minister got on in his TV debate with Jeremy Corbyn. Or, indeed, bother to ask if we had the same prime minister as last month, when Bale pronounced in an unguarded moment of candour: “I don’t even know who the prime minister is any more … I haven’t got a clue … I follow the golf, that’s about it.”
That is, indeed, about it. In the rarefied field of 2019 Celebrity Disconnection Bale is neck and neck with Prince “I let the side down” Andrew for the gold medal, with only six weeks left in the season. Others might yet make the podium.
Serge Gnabry’s hat-trick condemned Northern Ireland to a heavy defeat in their final fixture of Euro 2020 qualifying as outgoing manager Michael O’Neill suffered the second heaviest defeat of his eight-year reign.
Michael Smith’s first international goal gave Northern Ireland a shock lead after seven minutes in Frankfurt but it proved a false dawn.Gnabry failed to make the grade at Arsenal and even West Brom but is flourishing with Bayern Munich and he moved on to 13 goals in as many international appearances.
Tourists begin first match of a two-Test series on Wednesday with a new batting order and their fastest bowler in years
Across the Tasman from Australia, where their captain, Tim Paine, has recently accused England players of using stories about David Warner’s Ashes verbals last summer to boost book sales, a Test series gets under way between two sides who could seldom get on better.
England and New Zealand have enjoyed strong bonds for a good while now – long before their shared experience of the World Cup final’s freakish conclusion – and so there is little fear that the first Test to be played at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday evening will turn into a sledging soap opera.
Aaron Ramsey applied the finishing touches on a memorable night for Wales, with the midfielder scoring both goals against Hungary to ensure his country qualified for Euro 2020.
Gareth Bale left to a standing ovation two minutes from time, by which point Wales had wrapped up victory. Ryan Giggs craved a bold and fearless display and his players delivered, performing with gusto from start to finish.
• Daniel Levy says decision not ‘taken lightly, nor in haste’ • Tottenham 14th in the Premier League
Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked by Tottenham after a dreadful run of results. The Argentinian manager, who had enjoyed such progress since moving to north London in 2014, culminating in reaching last season’s Champions League final, has watched his fortunes slump after a difficult summer.
They have taken 14 points from 12 matches this season and, in a larger sample size back to February, 25 from 24 games – in other words, relegation form.
• BBC has had two days’ coverage of each Masters since 2011 • No majors in 2020 to be shown live on terrestrial television
The BBC will not show any live golf next year for the first time since 1955 after the broadcaster lost the rights to live coverage of the Masters. Sky Sports will be the sole broadcasters of the tournament from Augusta.
The BBC lost the rights to the Open in 2016, ending a 60-year run with Britain’s flagship tournament, while their live Masters coverage was pared back to two days in 2011. From next year, terrestrial viewers will be able to watch only highlights.
Mauricio Pochettino has been left to use essentially the same squad, but one that is a little less full of zest for the project and more difficult to manage
To understand why it has come to this for Mauricio Pochettino, why his Tottenham team has flatlined in the Premier League and why his continued employment is under scrutiny as never before, it is necessary to consider a concept that he holds dear. It involves the natural cycle of an elite player’s development.
When the player is young, he is grateful for opportunity and he seizes it with everything he has. He becomes a regular, a star, a full international. He wants more money. Then, in many cases, he wants an opportunity at another club, a bigger club, perhaps. He thinks that he deserves even more money.
Robert Moreno always said he would willing step aside for Luis Enrique to retake the reins but something changed and Spain were caught completely off-guard
It should have been the best of news, something to celebrate; instead, the Spanish football federation found itself confronted by another crisis. Luis Enrique, the manager forced to abandon the national team because his nine-year-old daughter had cancer, will return four months after he stepped down and three months after her death.
Robert Moreno, his assistant and friend who took charge and led Spain unbeaten to Euro 2020, completing qualification with a 5-0 destruction of Romania, steps aside – something he said he would be “delighted” to do 10 weeks ago. Spain have their manager back and seven months to prepare for the summer.
Aaron Ramsey is match fit, and thus returns to the Wales starting XI. Ryan Giggs makes two changes from the side named ahead of the 2-0 win in Azerbaijan on Saturday. Ramsey replaces Harry Wilson; it’s his first Wales start in over a year. Meanwhile Joe Allen is back from suspension, and replaces Ethan Ampadu in midfield. Hungary are without injured central defenders Tamas Kadar and Willi Orban, as well as the suspended Mihaly Korhut and Laszlo Kleinheisler.
Wales: Hennessey, Connor Roberts, Lockyer, Mepham, Ben Davies, Allen, Morrell, Bale, Ramsey, James, Moore. Subs: Ampadu, Levitt, King, Matondo, Vokes, Tyler Roberts, Vaulks, Wilson, Adam Davies, Williams, Gunter, Jamie Lawrence. Hungary: Gulacsi, Lovrencsics, Barath, Lang, Zsolt Nagy, Patkai, Adam Nagy, Dzsudzsak, Szoboszlai, Sallai, Adam Szalai. Subs: Kovacsik, Varga, Holman, Kovacs, Attila Szalai, Gazdag, Pavkovics, Vida, Dibusz, Holender, Bese, Feczesin.
• GB will first take on Netherlands in round-robin format • Frozen provides lines for Murray, Edmund and Co
The Great Britain players are feeling the Madrid chill this week but their resolve to win the Davis Cup again is underpinned by their long-established bonhomie, and their mischief-making hit a new peak on Tuesday.
Giggling in most of the right places, they answered questions before their opening match against the Netherlands on Wednesday with a selection of barely disguised quotes from the Disney cartoon, Frozen, which riffs on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, an appropriate choice given the falling temperatures.
As England prepare for the start of their Test series in New Zealand, history suggests they should be wary of unintended consequences and unnecessary generosity. For the presence in New Zealand’s team of a batsman and captain of genuine world class is, at least in small part, down to their own past failure to do so.
In the winter of 2001-02, while England’s cricket team toured New Zealand, Graham Thorpe gave an old bat to Mark Patterson, his former Surrey teammate. Patterson was playing for Mount Maunganui at the time, and though he failed to find a use for Thorpe’s old bat he passed it on to another Mount player, Jim Irwin. The bat laid unused in a corner of the Irwin household for a couple of years before he in turn offered it to Bill Aldridge, a keen player and coach whose son Graeme was to enjoy a very brief international career, which amounted to three limited-overs matches in the space of eight days in October 2011. Aldridge also decided not to keep it, giving it instead to a promising local 12-year-old, who thought it too big and heavy, and besides he had just bought himself a new one of a more appropriate size, so he too ignored it. The child’s name was Kane Williamson.
The giant coaching box redwoods of yore are thinning out and an injection of fresh thinking is required at the top nations
It is hard to believe but somewhere out there is a well-known rugby coach without a new book out. It is tempting to imagine Eddie Jones and Warren Gatland duelling with inky quills at dawn, going at it while their faithful ghost writers hold the blotting paper. Both protagonists are still proudly old school at heart, having learned their trade long before the arrival of the internet.
Publish and be damned with faint praise is the usual endgame with such post-World Cup autobiographies but both Jones and Gatland have gone in refreshingly hard and low. The former has been particularly blunt about his regard – or lack of it – for English club rugby. “I often wonder ‘Is it ever going to change?’, writes Jones in My Life and Rugby, bemoaning the “widespread lack of imagination and skill” and the “stodgy games” he says he watches week after week. He also feels English coaches are more reactive than proactive, held back by a reticence he still struggles to get his head around.
• Cas likely to announce in December whether ban overturned • Leicester’s Ben Chilwell among targets when signings possible
Chelsea are unlikely to hear until December whether their two-window transfer ban will be overturned by the court of arbitration for sport, which is set to hear the case on Wednesday.
The club are unable to make signings until February 2020 after they were found guilty by Fifa of breaking transfer regulations relating to minors. They were also fined £460,000 and failed to overturn the decision when presenting their case to Fifa’s appeals committee in April.
Johnny McNicholl and Willis Halaholo in on residency
Pivac to come up against predecessor Warren Gatland
The new Wales head coach, Wayne Pivac, has named a 35-man squad for his first match in charge, against the Barbarians.
Pivac’s group for the non-cap game in Cardiff on 30 November includes the New Zealand-born backs Johnny McNicholl and Willis Halaholo, who both qualify on residency. Three other uncapped players named are Ashton Hewitt, Shane Lewis-Hughes and Taine Basham, while 22 of the squad were involved at the World Cup.
Steve Diamond welcomes back his World Cup-winning scrum-half against La Rochelle on Sunday and his club can hardly wait
Faf de Klerk has likely been at the centre of one or two raucous parties in the wake of the Springboks’ World Cup win, but last weekend there was one more important welcoming party waiting to greet him when he landed back in England. It has been quite a journey for the 28-year-old scrum-half, who was exiled from the national side when he moved to Sale two years ago, but he left Japan early this month as one of the stars of the world game.
From his square-off with Wales’s Jake Ball in the semi-final to that photoshoot in his underwear after winning the World Cup, De Klerk has become one of the unlikely poster boys of South African rugby – a far cry from 2017, when the No 9 left the Golden Lions and took a punt on kick-starting his career in English rugby with the Sharks. “He knew the consequences of moving here in regards to the Springboks, but he was really keen to come, and we liked that,” Steve Diamond, Sale’s director of rugby, explains.
Former Manchester United striker on ‘economic terrorism’, a suitcase that shed light on his family and trying to understand himself
For a man who spoke of seagulls and trawlers after he karate-kicked a fan in April 1995 and quoted King Lear when he collected Uefa’s president’s award almost 25 years later, reciting “as flies to wanton boys, we are for the gods”, there is something in the simplicity of what Eric Cantona says now. He pictures himself standing with his mother and aunt, looking into his grandfather’s eyes, and recalls the moment in the deep, slow voice that’s unmistakably his, accent gently French. “It was something...” he begins to say, pausing to seek the right words. Eventually he settles on “emotional” and then he stops, no flourish needed. “It is the story of my family, mine,” he says.
It is some story. In 2007 a suitcase was discovered in Mexico City, where it had been hidden for almost 70 years. Inside they found 126 old rolls of film containing 4,500 negatives; they also found a part of him. Most of the pictures, smuggled out of France when the Nazis arrived, were taken by Robert Capa during the final months of the Spanish civil war. Capa had also been in Argelès-sur-Mer, where 100,000 people fleeing Spain were held in a refugee camp, among them Pedro Raurich, 28, and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Paquita Farnòs.
News that a spider has been named after Sachin Tendulkar prompts a look back at other cricketers honoured differently
As Shakespeare so very nearly said, shall I compare thee to an Asian jumping spider? Last week news broke about a newly-identified species of creepy-crawly found in the Indian provinces of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, that has been named after Sachin Tendulkar. It is probably about time cricket, which shares its name with a similarly-sized critter, was provided with another link to the world of the mini-beast even if Tendulkar himself is surely more lovely and more temperate than this one.
“I named it because Sachin happens to be my favourite cricketer,” trilled Dhruv Prajapati, a junior researcher with the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation, who spotted the spider in 2015 – the arachnid has only recently been included in the World Spider Catalogue and leapt to stardom. Still, there are certainly more obvious ways of honouring your favourite cricketer, whether it be a tattoo, some heartfelt fan-mail or presenting them with a lovely bunch of Jack Hobbses, or perhaps a bouquet of Larwoods.
Rory McIlroy cannot end his week as the Race to Dubai winner for a fourth time but the man himself is perfectly at ease with the scenario even if it is one that may disappoint the European Tour.
McIlroy begins this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship sixth in the order of merit but too far adrift of Bernd Wiesberger to overhaul the Austrian. Wiesberger, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick will contest the overall prize.
He has yet to record a win on his seasonal debut, but for an 11-8 chance, Cyrname still seems to have an awful lot going for him
Altior has set off as an odds-on shot for 13 of his 14 wins over fences and he is odds-on once again, at a top price of 8-11, for his much-anticipated seasonal debut in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday. It is the biggest price Altior has been since he started at evens for the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2018 – if you don’t count the 15-2 in-running when he appeared to be struggling a circuit later – and many punters will need no further invitation to wade in head down.
But he is, of course, those odds for a reason, and there are strong grounds for arguing that Saturday’s Grade Two contest will put Altior’s unbeaten record over jumps under greater strain than any of the nine Grade Ones he has added to his record so far. In fact, if you set out to design a race and an opponent to finally end Altior’s 19-race winning streak, the contest would probably involve a significant step up in trip at the start of the season, and the horse would be the absolute spit of Paul Nicholls’s Cyrname.
England coach says players may put club over country
Jones: ‘We may have to work to mend relationships’
Eddie Jones fears England may feel the fallout from Saracens’ salary cap breach as main sponsors Allianz seek talks with the double winners over concerns arising from the scandal.
Chairman Nigel Wray confirmed on Monday that the club have chosen not to appeal against the 35-point deduction and £5.36m fine issued by an independent disciplinary panel, immediately plunging them into a desperate battle for Gallagher Premiership survival. Wray takes “full responsibility” for Saracens’ perilous situation a fortnight after being “shocked and disappointed by these heavy-handed sanctions”.
• Southgate cautiously plans for Qatar World Cup in 2022 • ‘I’m realistic about how quickly the tides can turn’
Gareth Southgate has admitted that he will not remain in his job as England manager if his team fail at the Euro 2020 finals next summer. Southgate is under contract for a further three years and says he will travel to the Club World Cup in Qatar next month as part of his long-term planning for the World Cup there in November-December 2022.
Southgate will follow Liverpool at the club tournament. He has four players in Jürgen Klopp’s squad: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He also wants to get a feel for the climate in Qatar at that time of the year and look at potential options for an England training camp.
Thursday’s Steelers-Browns game marred by rolling brawl
Browns defensive star set to miss rest of season after ban
Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson believes Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph deserves to be punished for his role in a brawl that overshadowed last week’s game between the two teams.
In Thursday’s win over the Steelers, Cleveland’s Myles Garrett ripped Rudolph’s helmet from the quarterback’s head. As the confrontation continued, Rudolph lunged at Garrett. Garrett reared back and, using Rudolph’s helmet, struck Rudolph’s unprotected head. Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for his actions, and he will have his appeal heard on Wednesday.
In the end Ireland were not quite good enough to force a twist in a taut but predictable drama. They tried their damnedest but inspiration eluded them and then, in the 73rd minute, so did concentration. Martin Braithwaite stepped in to send Denmark to Euro 2020 with their first shot on target.
Matt Doherty headed an equaliser five minutes from time but the valiant hosts were to fall agonisingly short. Ireland may still reach the finals through play-offs in March. They could meet Bosnia, Wales, Slovakia or Northern Ireland depending on the result of Wales’s match against Hungary on Tuesday.
• Club have 24 points deducted with 12 suspended for two years • Taunton pitch found to be ‘not the best quality’
Somerset have been handed a 12-point deduction for next season’s County Championship after being found guilty of breaching pitch regulations.
A Cricket Discipline Committee Disciplinary Panel ruled against the county over the poor state of the pitch for their match against Essex at Taunton in September. The rain-affected Division One match ended in a draw that handed Essex the championship title.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was flawless at Interlagos, altitude sickness for Mercedes and a happy birthday for Honda
What a difference a year makes. Max Verstappen, after his travails at this race last year, where he was hit by Esteban Ocon while leading, could not have delivered a more impressive performance. Since his crash in practice at Monaco last year he has returned a more complete driver. Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, has praised how far he has come and believes he has the ability to beat Lewis Hamilton in a straight fight. On this evidence it would be an unmissable battle. Weaknesses remain – qualifying at Mexico was a glaring error but in Brazil he was calm, controlled and flawless – dominant in qualifying and untouchable in the race. Not only did he retake the lead twice but exhibited some exquisite skill. His pass on Charles Leclerc to chase Hamilton was a decisive thrust he had to execute quickly and perfectly. Equally, the final restart was a piece of old-school racecraft that even Hamilton acknowledged was outstanding. Praise indeed.
The tournament’s new format at Caja Mágica offered good value to fans on day one – those who turned up, at least
There were not many echoes of the past but a fair few of the present as the World Cup Of Tennis creaked into existence in a dark and lonely place in Madrid today.
They tried. My, how they tried … but all the smoke, mirrors, bells and whistles, singing and dancing, clapping and screaming could not disguise the swathes of empty seats in the Caja Mágica for the opening ceremony of DC Mark II.
• Wada expected to recommend Russia be found ‘non-compliant’ • Date relates to period from 2012 to 2015
Russia could be banned from next year’s Olympic Games and the European Championship in football after the World Anti-Doping Agency was expected to recommend it be found “non-compliant” over anomalies in drug testing results.
Wada’s executive committee will meet on 9 December to assess the conclusion of its independent compliance review committee, which has been inspecting laboratory data belonging to Russia’s anti-doping agency Rusada.
David McGoldrick returned to the Republic of Ireland starting line-up for Monday night’s Euro 2020 decider against Denmark.
The Sheffield United striker, who missed last month’s double-header in Georgia and Switzerland through injury, was included in one of three changes to the side which lost 2-0 in Geneva as he, Matt Doherty and Conor Hourihane replaced Aaron Connolly, the suspended Seamus Coleman and James Collins.
• ‘You have to remember this is early days in him coming back’ • GB begin revamped tournament against Netherlands
In the many years that Leon Smith has brought the disparate bits and pieces of British tennis together in a Davis Cup team capable of great things, Andy Murray has been the unchallenged centrepiece of the captain’s strategy. That might not be the case here this week.
Smith said on Monday as he prepared for the first match in the revamped 18-team “World Cup Of Tennis” – on Wednesday against the Netherlands, on the smaller Court 3, curiously – the three-slam champion will be in the selection mix alongside Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans.
• Left-armer likely to get nod for first Test against New Zealand • ‘I’ve made some strides and come up with a few options’
Sam Curran is looking to secure his Test spot in New Zealand and stop being one of the more vulnerable members of the England side. His challenge is doing so with a ball he reckons most seamers would happily swap: the Kookaburra.
Surrey’s precocious 21-year-old looks to have got the nod for Thursday’s first Test at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, nudging out the more experienced Chris Woakes at No 8 by dint of the left-arm angle that offers Joe Root a point of difference in the field.
Just weeks after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Australia’s Olympic medal hopeful is focused on upcoming Track World Cups
“It definitely rocks you.” Australian track cycling star Matthew Glaetzer is reflecting on a “whirlwind” month that has seen his preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics derailed by a cancer diagnosis. “When you hear the ‘C’ word – you always think it won’t happen to you, but suddenly you have to deal with it yourself,” he tells Guardian Australia.
Glaetzer is Australia’s best male track sprinter at the moment, with two world championship titles and three Commonwealth Games gold medals to his name. But Olympic success has eluded him. Once at London 2012 and twice at Rio 2016, Glaetzer finished fourth – a bronze medal agonisingly out of reach. “I was feeling confident I could get the job done in Tokyo,” he says. “I believed I could finally clinch a medal at the Olympics.”
• Course switches to leaf birch in obstacles this season • Bristol De Mai aims for hat-trick in Saturday’s Betfair Chase
The material used to make Haydock’s steeplechase fences has been changed for the new jumps season, following controversy at this time last year when some racing professionals felt they were too stiff and contributed to an unusually high faller-rate on Betfair Chase day.
Kirkland Tellwright, clerk of the course at the Merseyside track, said on Monday he had decided to use leaf birch as the stuffing for the fences, rather than black birch as in recent years, which he accepts led to them being tightly packed a year ago.
At the behest of the Football Association’s PR department, the notoriously aloof Capello had invited a large group of senior sports writers from national newspapers to lunch. This was a rare event, with the additional lure of the location: San Lorenzo, the famous Italian restaurant favoured by Princess Diana, Jack Nicholson, Joan Collins and other celebs whose presence ensured that the entrance was habitually patrolled by paparazzi.
Reid, who plays for the Carolina Panthers and is a close friend of Kaepernick, said several representatives at the workout had been impressed by the 32-year-old’s skills. “The goal was accomplished,” said Reid, who wore a Kaepernick jersey as he spoke to reporters on Sunday. “He proved he can play this game. He proved he can throw the ball. Elite. That’s what an NFL executive said.”
The former Wales head coach on what might have been at the World Cup, looking forward to the Lions and whether he’ll one day coach the All Blacks
“Absolutely,” Warren Gatland says when he is asked if he would still love to coach the All Blacks one day. “I went back and gave my reasons why I just couldn’t apply for the job right now. I’ve got it on my phone.”
There is a long pause while the New Zealander, who has just completed 12 years as head coach of Wales and took them to their second World Cup semi-final under him last month in Japan, flicks through his emails. The 56-year-old Gatland is a principled man and so, out of respect for Mike Anthony, New Zealand Rugby’s high performance manager, he requests that I don’t use verbatim quotes from his emailed reply in which he explains his reasons for not putting his name forward as the next All Black coach.
• Australia captain says all-rounder’s claims a ‘cheap shot’ • Stokes claims Warner’s sledging inspired famous innings
Australia cricket captain Tim Paine has criticised England all-rounder Ben Stokes for a “cheap shot” at David Warner, claiming he was using the opener to sell his new book.
In his book, Stokes claims Warner’s sledging motivated him during his remarkable Headingley innings in the third Ashes Test this year. Stokes’s unbeaten 135, during which he was dropped at slip by Warner, inspired England to a record run chase and one-wicket win to square the five-match series at 1-1.
Cricket Australia has imposed a one-year ban on Hobart player Emily Smith, with nine months suspended, for posting the Hurricanes’ WBBL team line-up on Instagram before its official release.
In a statement, Cricket Australia (CA) said Smith had accepted the sanction for breaching Article 2.3.2 of the anti-corruption code. The Victoria-born wicketkeeper-batter will be ineligible to play any form of cricket for at least three months, ruling her out of the rest of this season’s WBBL and WNCL competitions.
The teams meet for the sixth time in two years, with Ireland needing a win and Denmark a point to reach Euro 2020
“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing that you did mattered?” It was the premise of the 1993 cinema hit Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray played Phil Connors, a cynical, egotistical and misanthropic TV weatherman who finds himself reliving the same 24 hours over and over and over again while working on location in the hick town of Punxsutawney. More recently, the footballers of Denmark and the Republic of Ireland have found themselves trapped in a similarly nightmarish scenario, apparently destined to meet each other time after time in a never-ending series of mind-numbingly tedious football matches. After four draws and one emphatic Danish victory, Monday night’s will be their sixth competitive meeting in two years.
Although Ireland’s goalkeeper Darren Randolph and his teammate Shane Duffy deserve some sort of footballing medal of valour for being the only two players from either nation to have played every single minute of every single encounter, one can’t help but feel that it is Christian Eriksen who is deserving of our most heartfelt sympathies. He is better than this. Or at least was better than this, a relentlessly awful fixture that always seemed somehow beneath a man of his extraordinary talents, until it inevitably dragged him down to its level. Ireland have become the Ned Ryerson to his increasingly world weary weatherman; old “Needle Nose Ned the Head” being the relentlessly cheerful former schoolmate of Connors in Groundhog Day, whose overbearing small-town insurance salesman shtick eventually earns him a haymaker in the chops by way of a greeting.
Former Wallabies player’s comments in sermon follow controversy over his sacking for social media posts
Scott Morrison has labelled comments by sacked rugby union star Israel Folau linking devastating bushfires to Australia passing laws to legalise abortion and same-sex marriage “appallingly insensitive”.
Although both the prime minister and the Labor leader Anthony Albanese defended Folau’s right to express the view, condemnation on Monday was swift and bipartisan.
More than two months in the build-up, Saturday’s meeting of the two best steeplechasers in Britain would provide a rare treat
More than two months of media build-up has, incredibly, failed to put the kybosh on Altior v Cyrname, the top-class clash which we still hope and believe will take place at Ascot on Saturday. Both trainers have, I suspect, got a bit tired of confirming that their charges are still on course for the Christy 1965 Chase but they were good enough to do so once more at Cheltenham on Sunday and both seemed genuinely upbeat about their chances.
The league has given officials a chance to take a second look at pass interference calls this season. The new rule has only caused more controversy
Let’s get this out of the way first: there’s no way a non-call ended up costing the Houston Texans the game on Sunday. The Texans ended up losing to the Baltimore Ravens 41-7 for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that Lamar Jackson threw for four touchdowns. Still though, there’s every reason for the Texans to be upset that NFL officials refused to make a clear pass interference call despite the benefit of reviewing the play.
The play in question came when Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey grabbed Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone to break up a pass. Although the ruling on the field was an incomplete pass, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien challenged the call. Despite being about as clear cut of an example of defensive pass interference as one will find, the officials – as has been the norm since the NFL gave coaches the ability to challenge PI – declined to penalize the Ravens. If O’Brien had successfully challenged, the Texans would have had a first down on the Baltimore one-yard line, pretty much the ideal situation for them to pick up seven points. Instead, the team lost a time out and they failed to score.
Neither Shane Sutton nor Dr Richard Freeman comes out well from the GMC tribunal but it invites wider questions about the whole culture of British Cycling and UK Sport
Everyone who has met Shane Sutton has a story. Here’s one of mine. During a UK Sport planning meeting for the 2016 Olympics, discussions turned to whether British Cycling could win medals in every event in Rio. “We’ve got more chance of the queen farting than us giving you 18 medals,” Sutton replied. Unsurprisingly Sutton also later told me that “all the performance directors were sitting round the table thinking: ‘Shit, he’s a bit blunt.’”
You don’t say. So the Australian’s performance at Dr Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal last week – sample line: “You are telling the press I can’t get a hard-on, my wife wants to testify that you are a bloody liar” – before storming out wasn’t exactly a shock, even if it made for jaw-dropping theatre.
The Ferrari drivers crashed out with five laps remaining as they diced for fourth position. Team principal Mattia Binotto refused to apportion blame and also ruled out fining either driver. But both men, withdrawn by Ferrari from a scheduled media briefing in Interlagos on Sunday evening, will be reminded of their responsibilities to the team at a crisis summit this week.
• Manager says side are more advanced than for 2018 World Cup • England end Euro 2020 qualifiers with record 37 goals
Gareth Southgate believes England are more advanced at this point of their Euro 2020 campaign than they were for the World Cup in 2018, when they reached the semi-final, as he relished the conviction that is running through his young team.
The manager watched them round off qualification for the finals next summer with a 4-0 win over Kosovo in Pristina, a result that was gilded by three goals in the final 11 minutes and ensured they will enter the group phase draw in Bucharest on Saturday week as one of the top six seeds.
• Greek becomes youngest winner of event since 2001 • The 21-year-old wins 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4)
Three years ago, Stefanos Tsitsipas arrived in London as a wide-eyed teenager, happy to offer his services as a hitting partner for Dominic Thiem, whom he knew a little. They got to know each other a lot better on Sunday night, spending two hours and 35 minutes together in front of a capacity crowd here as the 21-year-old Greek became the youngest winner of the ATP Tour Finals since 2001.
He looked gone midway through the final set before forcing a second shootout to win 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4). “I do not know how I played so well in the second set, breaking him twice,” Tsitsipas said. “It was an excellent set for me. It was frustrating to play with such nerves in the third.
England have cut a swathe through their Euro 2020 qualifying group, advancing to the finals on the back of a run of free-scoring and expressive performances and, once again, they had too much for lowlier ranked opponents here.
It was a display of control from Gareth Southgate’s young team, which was marked by Harry Winks’s first-half goal – his first in an England shirt – and glossed by a late surge that showed how ruthless they can be when they find their connections.
Goals from Kim Little and Vivianne Miedema ensured Arsenal earned victory in the first Women’s Super League north London derby in front of a league record crowd at the Tottenham Stadium.
With record breaking now almost an arms race Spurs smashed the previous tally of 31,213 set on the opening weekend of the season at the Etihad, while Chelsea secured the record for a WSL game at a women’s home ground with 4,790. The cumulative score for Women’s Football Weekend in the WSL beat the opening weekend of fixtures with a cumulative attendance of 74,247.
• Racing 30-10 Saracens • Finn Russell orchestrates Champions Cup demolition in Paris
The defence of the Champions Cup may not be Saracens’ priority because they have 35 docked Premiership points to make up, but this was a chastening bonus-point defeat against a Racing side inspired by Finn Russell that the holders would have struggled to contain even at full strength.
Racing led 18-3 at half-time and despite Teddy Thomas being awarded a try on review despite appearing to brush the touchline before touching down the score line reflected their superiority. Saracens were without their England World Cup finalists and nine injured players, but they were systematically taken apart by a side that had done its homework.
So, who will win? Thiem and Tsitsipas have plenty of history, with Thiem leading the series 4-2, including winning their most recent meeting 3-6 6-4 6-1 in the Beijing final last month. However, they have split their last four meetings, with the first two in early 2018 just before the Greek broke through.
The big question is hidden in Djokovic’s comments after his defeat to Thiem. Did the Austrian peak in the group stages? He has certainly reached a higher level than Tsitsipas this week, but although he managed his victory against Zverev well, it certainly wasn’t a great match. Across the net, Tsitsipas has played at a consistent level throughout the tournament and it seems likely that he will produce another good match again.
Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Nicolas Mahut just beat Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus to win their first ATP Finals title, another important victory to their incredible resume. They have now won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, ATP Finals and Davis Cup together. All eyes will be on the Olympics next.
• Ryan Allsop reports incident of homophobic abuse to referee • ‘If that’s the case then for me there are some stupid idiots about’
Wycombe moved to the top of League One with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Tranmere at Prenton Park but the game was marred by an alleged incident of homophobic abuse aimed at the visiting goalkeeper Ryan Allsop.
It is understood that Allsop reported the abuse to the referee during the interval after the he had kept goal at the Kop end in the first half. Speaking about the alleged incident, Gareth Ainsworth, Wycombe’s manager, said: “If that’s the case then for me there are some stupid idiots about. Whether it’s racist or homophobic, whatever it is, we have to stamp this out.
After the failure of a largely English squad, doubts have been raised about whether the Lions’ coach Wayne Bennett should be replaced in his England role for the home World Cup in 2021
No matter who you speak to, the general consensus will be that the results of Great Britain’s tour of the southern hemisphere tell only half the story of a trip that most of their supporters will be keen to forget. Was this on par with the dismal tour of 1999, when the Lions were humiliated by Australia and New Zealand and struggled to beat even the local Australian side Burleigh Bears? Maybe not, but even so, there are questions to be asked about what happens now.
Wayne Bennett was keen to stress in the aftermath of all four of Great Britain’s defeats that their opponents – Tonga, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – were simply better than them. That much is true, but the Lions were dull, uninspiring to watch and simply outclassed. That is before you even begin to assess selection policies, off-field perception and much more.
I think it’s fair to say that this is not the reception England are used to receiving when they play away:
The Kosovo manager, Bernard Challandes, seems quite impressed by this England team:
We know exactly against who we will play and we have seen in the last game and all this campaign, England has the best potential offensive in the world now. For me, it’s the first favourite for the next European Championship, with this offensive potential. It’s an advantage for us to play here. There’s a big, big enthusiasm behind the team. People are very proud of the team. Unfortunately we have only 13,000 spectators, but I think the players of Kosovo have a good feeling with the support, and that can help, particularly today. We never lost here, but we never played against such a team as England also.
We’ve got two races of this season still to go, but next season is already underway. Can anyone show Lewis Hamilton that they’ll close the gap, never mind best him over the stretch?
Max Verstappen might just have the talent, and he’s getting closer to having the car. His Red Bull has carried him to pole, and a decent winter in the factory will at least put him in with a chance when it all goes off again.
But, in the meantime, he’ll fancy himself today. He was about to win Interlagos last term until, hilariously, Esteban Ocon tried to unlap himself and ended up shunting the leader off the track. Ahahahahahahaha! Excuse me. Words and handbags were later exchange, and we can only hope for more of the same today.
• Northampton 25-14 Lyon • Wales fly-half kicks six penalties in imperious display
Dan Biggar guided Northampton to a comfortable Champions Cup victory over Lyon with an imperious display in his first appearance since the World Cup. The fly-half showed no signs of a hangover from Wales’s run to the World Cup semi-finals, kicking 20 points as Northampton outclassed the Top 14 leaders.
The former Newcastle defender on Asprilla, that goal against Manchester United and working as a greengrocer after football
“When we travelled back to Newcastle from London, we often had five or six hours to kill on the coach. On the way Steve Watson used to bring videos and Viz comics. Even if we didn’t understand everything, Kevin and the whole team were always laughing. On the way back, before we got on the motorway, Kevin used to stop the coach at a petrol station, go and buy some drinks out of his own pocket and bring them back for the team: red wine, white wine, lager, water, soft drinks. Then, when we passed a certain place on the M1, he would buy us all fish and chips.”
• England’s new full-time wicketkeeper has ‘nothing to lose’ • Chris Silverwood’s side fail to dismiss New Zealand A tail
Jos Buttler heads into his first Test back as England’s full-time wicketkeeper claiming to have a “nothing to lose” attitude and a refreshed mind following the emotional drain of the World Cup and Ashes summer.
Buttler’s first innings 110 and some fine glovework behind the stumps were among the chief plus-points for England as they chewed over a slightly frustrating draw in their final warm-up before Thursday’s first Test against New Zealand.
Leicester and Chelsea managers have set out their stall with attractive football thanks to the likes of Maddison and Pulisic
Gareth Southgate was probably right to play down the significance of last weekend’s Liverpool v Manchester City showdown from an England point of view. Only three members of his present squad played at Anfield and featured in the starting lineup against Montenegro, even if one more came on as a substitute, and as the England manager pointed out there might have been double that number in times gone by.
Yet despite most predictions, the Premier League is not turning out to be quite the two-horse race originally envisaged. Leicester City and Chelsea stand between the leaders and the defending champions, and by way of proving this is no accident, those two clubs have just supplied six members of the England squad.
Victorian found guilty of a slur against Queensland player
Paceman says he ‘made a mistake in the heat of the moment’
James Pattinson will miss the first Test against Pakistan after being found guilty of a code of conduct breach stemming from Victoria’s Sheffield Shield loss to Queensland.
The Victorian paceman was reported for a slur against a Queensland player at the MCG last week. The level two offence is Pattinson’s third breach in the past 12 months, earning him an automatic one-game suspension.
Kaepernick moves workout from Falcons training facility
Reps for quarterback suggest NFL’s process is illegitimate
Upset at what he called preconditions imposed by the National Football League, quarterback Colin Kaepernick at the last minute moved his scheduled tryout on Saturday away from the Atlanta Falcons training facility to a local high school where media could attend.
The former starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers is seeking a return to the NFL three years after his protests against racial injustice roiled the sport.
The Barcelona defender and his company Kosmos Tennis have invested in giving international sport’s oldest team event a World Cup-style overhaul. It starts in Madrid on Monday
It is a wonder Gerard Piqué can accommodate all his activities in any 24-hour day. Or answer his phone. When we finally get around to talking after a few false starts he is voluble and polite and determined to make the revamped Davis Cup in Madrid next week a success, whatever the sceptics say.
This past week Piqué trained and played with Barcelona (against Cartagena to raise money for flood relief in the Mercia region), kept an eye on the assets of his global investment company as well as prepared for the “project of my life”, the relaunch of the oldest team event in international sport.
Dominic Thiem continued his formidable march to the summit of tennis in a season in which he has truly come of age, outperforming his good friend Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-3 to reach the title match of the ATP Finals. He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas as the next generation settles at the top of the sport.
Events elsewhere on Friday meant Northern Ireland had the comfort of a play-off position for Euro 2020 before this joust with the Netherlands got under way. Still, there was the motivation of affording Michael O’Neill a performance for the ages in what may well mark the Stoke manager’s last appearance in charge of Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.
O’Neill’s players did not deliver that but this showing was the epitome of spirit and determination, as has been so prevalent in recent times. The Netherlands left Belfast perfectly content; they have booked a place in next summer’s finals.
Tide quarterback injured late in first half of 38-7 win over MSU
ESPN reports concern that Tagovailoa injury is ‘very serious’
Tua Tagovailoa injured his hip while being dragged down by tacklers late in the first half on what was likely his last series and No 4 Alabama went on to bear Mississippi State 38-7 Saturday in a game that might have cost the Crimson Tide its star quarterback.
• Defender sent home after training accident • Coach Southgate upbeat on squad’s prospects
Joe Gomez has been ruled out of England’s Euro 2020 qualifer against Kosovo in Pristina on Sunday after a training ground collision with Kieran Trippier, who was playing on the same team as him, to set the seal on a nightmarish week.
The Liverpool defender had been on a high when he reported for duty on Monday morning, hard on the heels of his club’s 3-1 win over Manchester City which moved them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League. He has since been hit by a series of blows which, according to Gareth Southgate, “you couldn’t make up if you tried”.