Last Update: December 12, 2019 - 4:00 pm
Last Update: March 18, 2019 - 2:30 pm
Last Update: December 12, 2019 - 4:00 pm
Last Update: December 12, 2019 - 4:00 pm
The Breakdown | Lions will become endangered unless they can collaborate with Premiership
The Breakdown | Lions will become endangered unless they can collaborate with Premiership

The British & Irish Lions are the lifeblood of the international game, and efforts must be made to secure the team’s future

The itinerary announced last week for the Lions tour to South Africa in 2021 was to many a notice of execution. Five weeks, eight matches, just two midweek outings and no games in between the three Tests. And the Gallagher Premiership final will be played one week before the opener in Cape Town against the Stormers.

When Warren Gatland returned from the 2017 trip to New Zealand, he said he would not be tempted by another tour, worn out by media ridicule in his home country and anticipating the cut in the length of future itineraries that would make planning even more difficult and threaten a core principle of the tourists: that every player will have the chance to compete for a place in the Test side.

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Marnus Labuschagne hundred gives Australia control against New Zealand
Marnus Labuschagne hundred gives Australia control against New Zealand

Marnus Labuschagne’s third straight century put Australia on top in the first Test against New Zealand in Perth. After Labuschagne’s 110 not out gave Australia the upper hand, they lost two late wickets in an enthralling final session against the pink ball at Optus Stadium.

Steve Smith fell for 43 before Matthew Wade left an in-swinger from Tim Southee that took his off stump, leaving Travis Head (20 not out) to survive a nervous last half-hour.

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BOA demands the ‘fullest possible sanctions’ be taken against Russia
BOA demands the ‘fullest possible sanctions’ be taken against Russia

• British Olympic Association support calls over Wada ban
• Russian speaker suggests country host alternative Games

The British Olympic Association has called for the “fullest possible sanctions” to be taken against Russia following the four-year World Anti‑Doping Agency ban imposed this week for alleged manipulation of doping data.

While Wada also agreed that individual Russian athletes would still be able to compete internationally if they could prove they were not tainted, the BOA has demanded “undeniable proof” that those Russian athletes who travel to Tokyo are clean.

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FAI in meltdown: debts and dysfunction put Irish football in peril
FAI in meltdown: debts and dysfunction put Irish football in peril

With sponsors dropping out and the government withholding funding many wonder if the FAI can – or should – survive

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) had myriad reasons to duck a parliamentary grilling this week.

Years of greed and dysfunction at the heart of Irish football have come to head. The organisation is broke. Sponsors are dropping out and the government is withholding funding. Redundancies and cutbacks loom. Public anger is mounting and there are threats to staff. Many wonder if the FAI can – or should – survive.

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Ferguson and Carroll turn back time but is old-fashioned a new winner? | Paul Wilson
Ferguson and Carroll turn back time but is old-fashioned a new winner? | Paul Wilson

Everton’s stand-in manager and Newcastle striker triumphed this past week with traditional values but science is also needed

What a week old-fashioned centre-forwards have just had. First we saw Duncan Ferguson revive Everton’s fortunes from the touchline just by breathing on players who were struggling to make any impact under Marco Silva, then Andy Carroll came on at Newcastle and helped engineer a remarkable comeback against Southampton.

Carroll is a particularly interesting case because when occasionally deployed as an impact sub at West Ham it was usually a signal for spectators to express further dissatisfaction with the manager for not having any better ideas. Carroll as Plan B was, essentially, a sign of desperation, a last clutch at a straw. Yet Steve Bruce was rightly full of praise after the forward came on against Southampton and made an impact. “Big Andy coming on was a huge help,” the Newcastle manager said. “He showed glimpses of what he had 10 years ago.”

Related: Premier League: six summer signings who are struggling to fit in this season

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Kieran Trippier puts penalty miss behind him to focus on last-16 draw
Kieran Trippier puts penalty miss behind him to focus on last-16 draw

  • ‘I was confident but it was a good save,’ says Atlético defender
  • Englishman not worried about facing Premier League club

Kieran Trippier was denied his first goal for Atlético Madrid when he was unable to score from a penalty in the second minute of their victory against Lokomotiv Moscow, but insisted that it was out of his mind as soon as Anton Kochenkov had pushed it against the post. The Englishman overcame that setback to help his side secure a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, where they have a 45% chance of meeting Liverpool or Manchester City. The former Spurs full-back, though, said he did not care whether he faces an English team.

Related: Kieran Trippier: ‘Everywhere I go they shout Rooney at me. Everyone’

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World Cup offered timely reminder of rugby’s values, on and off the pitch
World Cup offered timely reminder of rugby’s values, on and off the pitch

Japan’s hosting showed what the game might become while South Africa’s victory offered succour to its people

So in the end Jack did not kill the 15 giants. But still the Rugby World Cup had a different kind of fairytale finish. Siya Kolisi, South Africa’s first black captain, a kid from a township outside Port Elizabeth, led his team to a famous victory. And a team that once epitomised the apartheid regime was reborn, at last, as one offering the promise of togetherness. It was not long ago that the Springboks were jeered by black South Africans. Now they are being cheered by them. They have made good on Nelson Mandela’s words from 1995. “Sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else does,” Mandela said, “Sport can create hope where once there was despair.”

We should not garnish it any more than that. If anything, this may be the moment to offer a timely reminder that we should not overreach or strain to explain the significance of all this. South Africa’s coach, Rassie Erasmus, was absolutely clear about the limits of what his team had achieved. The World Cup final had bought his country 80 minutes of togetherness, Erasmus said, and a couple of happy hours after the match when people back home had put aside their differences. Nothing more than that. The social problems he and Kolisi spoke so openly about this week will not be fixed by this victory. But it will give some succour and a hint, too, of what is possible.

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The Fiver | Storming into Lyon's den to berate successful young athletes
The Fiver | Storming into Lyon's den to berate successful young athletes

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On the day of a Bayern Munich v Spurs match so uninteresting that expert analysis will presumably be provided by Danny Mills, one could be forgiven for thinking that the last round of Big Cup group games are always irritating and pointless. But that would be to ignore the evidence of Tuesday, when Liverpool delivered a Hollywood climax to Group E, Mohamed Salah channelling the Force with Skywalker-esque precision to hit a tiny target from a distance far, far away. Admittedly, that description only really works if you think RB Salzburg are comparable to the Death Star, Jordan Henderson is a wookiee and Jürgen Klopp would look ace in Princess Leia’s clobber. And maybe he would, The Fiver isn’t saying otherwise.

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Which football teams have had underwear models as managers? | The Knowledge
Which football teams have had underwear models as managers? | The Knowledge

Plus: quickfire sackings of derby rivals, trading away-day thrashings and managers sent packing at half-time

“With the interim appointment of Freddie Ljungberg as Arsenal manager, the Gunners now have a former professional underwear model in charge,” begins Sam Rowe. “Are there any other managers who have once been models, past or present, excluding players modelling their team’s kit?”

Let’s start by giving you a bit of context on how and why Ljungberg came to be an underpants model. If you can remember back as far as 2006, you may recall seeing pictures of Ljungberg gazing out of huge billboards in just his smalls after signing a deal with Calvin Klein. The story goes that he only landed the contract because David Beckham was reluctant to compromise his image in the UK. Initially Ljungberg had no such reservations and was paired with the Russian model Natalia Vodianova for a global campaign but he soon grew weary of seeing his own flesh everywhere. “It’s weird to see yourself on billboards and I don’t really enjoy it now,” he said in 2007, when he hung up his briefs.

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Buy a classic sport photograph: the big splash
Buy a classic sport photograph: the big splash

The tenth of a Guardian Print Shop series featuring classic sports images from the likes of Gerry Cranham, Mark Leech and Tom Jenkins – yours to own for just £55 including free delivery

While most other photographers took their places on the sidelines of the athletics track at the White City stadium for the 1965 British Games, photographer Gerry Cranham, always hunting something a little different, ducked down alongside one of the steeplechase hurdles and awaited his quarry. He knew his low vantage point, combined with the mirror-like surface of the water, would offer a crisp reflection of the action and the surrounding architecture; he knew, too, that having athletes leaping over his shoulder into the drink would fill the frame with drama. The resulting image is a dynamic example of Cranham’s vision and craft – it’s also a memento of one of London’s long-lost sporting stadia. Erected for the 1908 Olympics, the 93,000-capacity venue played host to numerous British Games, as well as greyhound racing, speedway, boxing, Queens Park Rangers Football Club and a match at the 1966 World Cup before being razed in 1985 to make way for the expansion of the BBC’s headquarters.

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Sports quiz of the week: clothes, coins and a heavyweight contest
Sports quiz of the week: clothes, coins and a heavyweight contest

Who is flying the flag? Who lost his job? Who is a hypocrite?

Duncan Ferguson will take charge of Everton for their match against Chelsea this weekend after Marco Silva was sacked. Which of these statements about Ferguson is false?

He once scored a hat-trick of headers in the Premier League

He was in the Everton team the last time they won a trophy

He has scored more goals in the Premier League than any other Scottish player

He is Scotland’s all-time top goalscorer

Vivianne Miedema had an eventful afternoon when Arsenal played Bristol City in the Women’s Super League last weekend. What did she do?

She came on as a substitute in the 89th minute, scored in the 90th minute and was sent off in the 91st minute

She signed for Arsenal from Bristol City in the morning of the game and went on to score the winning goal against her old club

She was the referee and had to send off five players – and both managers

She scored six goals and set up four more

Andy Ruiz Jr is defending his heavyweight world titles against Anthony Joshua on Saturday at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia. How long did it take to build the 15,000-seat stadium?

56 days

Nine months

Eight years

Seventeen years

Joshua and Ruiz have lost one fight each as professional fighters. Joshua’s defeat came against Ruiz. Who is the only boxer to have beaten Ruiz?

Tyson Fury

Joseph Parker

Wladimir Klitschko

Deontay Wilder

Paris is hosting the Olympics in 2024. Where do they want to hold the surfing tournament?

In a swimming pool below the Eiffel Tower

The River Seine

Biarritz

Tahiti

Angry Bordeaux fans invaded the pitch this week at the start of their league match against Nîmes. What happened when the game resumed 25 minutes later?

The Nîmes fans held their own pitch invasion to protest against their team

The Bordeaux fans left the stadium and went home

Bordeaux won 6-0

Bordeaux conceded three goals in 10 minutes and the fans invaded the pitch again

Roger Federer has been honoured many times in Switzerland. In the past he has featured on postage stamps and been given cows for winning trophies. How did the country pay tribute to Federer this week?

They renamed their stretch of the Rhine river the "Roger river"

He is becoming the first living person to have his face printed on a Swiss franc

The city Fribourg is being renamed "Federbourg"

They are giving anyone called Roger free personal training sessions

Which of these rules is changing next season in Formula One?

Cars will have to take at least four pit stops per race

Cars will not be allowed to carry adverts

Races will finish when the chequered flag flies – rather than the electronic panel they used this year

Driver will have to start races by running to their cars – like they once did in Le Mans

Paul Scholes criticised Freddie Ljungberg’s choice of clothing for his first game in charge of Arsenal, saying: "You would think he’d be out in a suit to show a bit of proudness that he took the job – a shirt and tie to show some discipline. I don’t think he’ll be the right man.” Why was this criticism a bit harsh?

Ljungberg was only put in charge 45 minutes before the match

Ljungberg had just led his team to a 4-1 win

Scholes didn’t wear a suit in his first game as a manager either

Scholes said it while wearing a snood

Watford have sacked two managers this season. How many league games have they won?

One

Three

Five

Seven

There was a local derby between two college football teams in Mississippi this week. It was a tight match but wide receiver Elijah Moore scored a touchdown in the final few seconds to almost certainly guarantee his team would win. But what happened next?

The electricity in the stadium failed, the digital scoreboard did not record his touchdown and the result stood as a draw

Moore celebrated on all fours like a dog taking a pee, the referee penalised his team and they lost the game

The referee ruled the touchdown illegal as a cat had been on the pitch

A mass brawl kicked off and the game was called off

1 and above.

Ah well. Have a good weekend

2 and above.

Ah well. Have a good weekend

3 and above.

Ah well. Have a good weekend

4 and above.

Ah well. Have a good weekend

7 and above.

A fine score. Have a great weekend

5 and above.

A solid score. Have a good weekend

6 and above.

A fine score. Have a great weekend

8 and above.

A fine score. Have a great weekend

9 and above.

You are a genius. Have a fantastic weekend

10 and above.

You are a genius. Have a fantastic weekend

0 and above.

Ah well. Have a good weekend

11 and above.

You are a genius. Have a fantastic weekend

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The Breakdown | Kidney and Boyd show coaches are worth weight in gold in Premiership
The Breakdown | Kidney and Boyd show coaches are worth weight in gold in Premiership

The salary cap and CVC cash have turned the league on its head, putting an emphasis on who gets most out of players

When Bristol took on London Irish at Ashton Gate last Sunday it was the first time the two clubs had met in the Premiership for 10 years. One or other had been in the Championship in that time, mainly the Bears, and the presence of the two most recently promoted clubs in the top half of the Premiership is an indication of how the salary cap is working.

The top four clubs have had stints in the Championship in the past 12 years while the bottom four have always been in the Premiership: Saracens are bottom because they lost 35 points for breaching salary cap regulations but Leicester, Wasps and Bath, all former European Cup winners, have mustered four victories in 15 matches in the tournament this season, although between them they supplied 12 players for England’s World Cup campaign.

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Six Nations coaches need to freshen up squads or face falling behind | Robert Kitson
Six Nations coaches need to freshen up squads or face falling behind | Robert Kitson

In 2000 Warren Gatland used World Cup players and Ireland lost so he tore up the teamsheet and turned things around

It has been a curious European Champions Cup season so far, with very few sides performing above pre-tournament expectations. Gloucester and an understandably distracted Saracens have sent out weakened teams for fixtures which could have transformed their campaigns, the Premiership leaders Northampton were ultimately unable to live with Leinster while Bath, La Rochelle and Ospreys are effectively down and out.

There are, however, three notable exceptions. Leinster, Exeter and Toulouse are all still unbeaten and, along with Saracens, Racing 92 and Clermont, it is already hard to see anyone from outside that sextet making the final in Marseille on 23 May. Any international coach looking for an injection of confidence and quality into his squad after the World Cup should, in theory, look no further.

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