Danny Cipriani: ‘It’s been the same story for six years, hasn’t it?’

Fly-half remains philosophical about his England exile and is enjoying his new leadership role at GloucesterIf Danny Cipriani feels messed around by England he hides it well. You might expect confusion, resentment, even betrayal at how he again finds himself on the outside looking in after the briefest of comebacks over the summer but on a chilly afternoon in Gloucestershire there is nothing but positivity from the exiled fly-half.To recap, Cipriani made his first England start in 10 years in their first win in six matches in June but was discarded again for the autumn campaign. It followed his arrest in Jersey but Eddie Jones insisted his latest omission was based on form, all while Cipriani was tearing up trees with his new club, Gloucester. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Phil Neville: 'To be told I knew nothing was incredibly disrespectful'

The 41-year-old reflects on a year in charge of England Women and how he plans to lead them to World Cup glory next summer“Flown by. Absolutely flown by,” Phil Neville says as he reflects on his time in charge of the England women’s side. It has been almost a year and, as is the case with any job, there have been highs and lows, both of which Neville is willing and able to speak about on a clear winter’s afternoon at the national team’s base at St George’s Park.Pride and ambition radiate from the former Manchester United defender and no more so than when conversation turns to next summer’s World Cup in France. England qualified for the tournament with victory over Wales in August and, following last Saturday’s draw, have been placed in the same group as Scotland, Argentina and Japan. It starts on 7 June and for the manager the target is clear: to get to the final in Lyon a month later and win the competition for the first time. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Lisa Ashton goes to the oche and the nuns go wild at the PDC World Darts

Ashton took the opening leg in style but her first visit to Alexandra Palace ended in defeatBy 6pm the fairground outside Ally Pally is just beginning to wind down, the ferris wheel has stopped going, the merry-go-round is slowing and there is a sign outside the grotto promising that Santa will be back again tomorrow. So, at that time of night, it’s little kids this way and big kids that, up the hill and on beyond the fair to the Great Hall for the opening night of the PDC World Championship. For a lot of people the trip is a winter tradition now, a little less solemn than the carol service at St Paul’s, a little less sobering than swimming in the Serpentine on Christmas morning.The Championship has junked one of its own old rituals. The walk-on girls are gone. The PDC chairman, Barry Hearn, says he was forced into it by the TV companies. “It’s out of my control,” he said. “We’re living in changing times – the PC brigade, the liberal brigade are out in strength.” Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Hodgson feels bloodied Crystal Palace sink into ‘absolute doom and gloom’

Palace host Leicester on Saturday but are missing Wilfried Zaha, without whom they have not won since September 2016Roy Hodgson was discussing defeat, a numbed sense of disappointment Crystal Palace have had to endure too often this season, when the conversation veered unexpectedly into even gorier territory. “You will never get away from the classic American expression that the winner bathes in the loser’s blood,” he said. “That’s where we are. We’ve lost, so it’s our blood out there at the moment and the winners are bathing in it. I just hope we’ll be doing a bit of bathing in blood ourselves in future.” Related: Crystal Palace v Leicester City: match preview Continue reading...

15-12-2018

José Mourinho: Manchester United are far from playing in my image

• Manager says reasons run deeper than transfers• Trophies matter, Mourinho says, before game at LiverpoolJosé Mourinho believes Manchester United are a long way from playing in his image and has suggested structural issues at the club are to blame.United travel to Anfield on Sunday 16 points behind Jürgen Klopp’s Premier League leaders. Liverpool are viewed as a team in their manager’s image and Mourinho was asked whether the same could be said for him and United. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Team Sky’s legacy: titles and ambition tarnished by coldness and allegations | Richard Williams

The cycling team, who will lose Sky as a sponsor next year, raised the sport’s profile in Britain but took it away from the humanity treasured by puristsEvery now and then a new force enters a sport with an impact so crushing it reshapes and even deforms the whole competition. So it was with the state-sponsored German grand prix teams in the 1930s, with East African distance runners over the past two decades and with football clubs benefiting today from the sovereign wealth of Arab states. Team Sky’s recent dominance of cycling’s major events can be measured on that scale.Many will mourn the passing of a name that helped bring British riders to the forefront of the sport: first Bradley Wiggins, then Chris Froome and most recently Geraint Thomas. When Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 it was the fulfilment of what had long appeared an impossible dream. By the time of Thomas’s recent Tour victory – a sixth for Sky in seven years – it seemed almost commonplace. Froome’s victories in the Vuelta a España in 2017 and this year’s Giro d’Italia meant he and the team held all three grand tour jerseys simultaneously. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

15-12-2018

Livingston 5-0 Hearts: Hosts score five goals and Arnaud Djoum sent off in 14-minute spell

Five goals and a red card in the space of 14 minutes ensure Livingston hammer Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.

15-12-2018

Mollie and Rosie Kmita: the twins 'breaking the mould' for women in football – video

Twitter UK has launched a new #WomenInFootball campaign with sisters Rosie and Mollie Kmita telling the story of how they ‘broke the mould’ to earn respect in their sport. Rosie, a professional footballer at West Ham, and Mollie who plays for Gillingham, believe ‘women’s football is going in the right direction’ and hope to inspire the next generation of female players. You can watch all four films in the series here.The 100 best female footballers in the world 2018 Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Gary Anderson beats Kevin Burness to make third round of PDC World Darts

• Two-time world champion hits seven 180s during victory• Wins also for Ted Evetts, Chris Dobey and Danny NoppertThe two-time world champion Gary Anderson booked his place in the third round of the PDC World Championship by beating Northern Ireland’s Kevin Burness 3-1, hitting seven 180s on the way.Anderson won three legs in a row to take the opening set against Burness, who beat Paul Nicholson in the day’s afternoon session. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Chelsea condemn own fans over antisemitic chant in Budapest

Chelsea’s reputation took another withering blow on Thursday night, with the club condemning their own supporters after they were heard singing an antisemitic chant in Hungary, just days after four fans were suspended for allegedly abusing Raheem Sterling.Minutes into Chelsea’s first match since Saturday’s Premier League encounter with Manchester City was overshadowed by the alleged racist abuse directed at City’s Sterling, a group of the 1,273 travelling supporters were heard singing a derogatory chant about Tottenham fans, featuring antisemitic language. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Canelo Álvarez awaits in Rocky Fielding's unlikely shot at glory

Few will give the 31-year-old Liverpudlian a chance on Saturday when he climbs through the ropes at Madison Square Garden to face Canelo ÁlvarezWhen Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez announced the first opponent of his blockbuster 11-fight, $365m contract with upstart streaming service DAZN, the collective reaction from the general public was unanimous: Who?Few beyond dedicated boxing fans were familiar with Rocky Fielding, the lesser of the two super middleweight champions recognized by the World Boxing Association, the sanctioning body that hands out belts seemingly at will and has done more to cheapen the currency of a world title than any one factor (and it is a high bar). Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Olivier Giroud: ‘Winning the Premier League is my last dream as a footballer’

Chelsea striker and the French voice of the Green Goblin discusses his World Cup high, how he coped with once being jeered by France fans and how being a fringe player involves patienceFive months on and Olivier Giroud still struggles to get his head around the fact he is a World Cup winner. Reality kicks in on occasion. Most obviously there was the moment on the open-top bus, crawling down the Champs Élysées in mid-July serenaded by half a million compatriots, when nine air force jets roared overhead trailing red, white and blue in their plumes and he felt “like a rock star”. He will receive a replica of the trophy any day now to sit alongside the framed photograph of his eldest daughter, Jade, kissing the real thing amid the ticker tape and pyrotechnics at the Luzhniki. Related: Liberté, égalité, diversity: how France won the World Cup Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Jockeys face tougher whip penalties in British Horseracing Authority crackdown

Controversial stronger deterrents to jockeys breaching the whip rules in British racing are on the horizon, the BBC has learned.

15-12-2018

England Netball: Sport England to back national programme until 2021

England Netball will receive financial backing from Sport England until 2021.

15-12-2018

How the Seahawks dismantled the Legion of Boom and still thrived

Many thought Seattle were set for a spell in the wilderness after breaking up their great defense. But they are on course for this year’s playoffsThe Seahawks are this year’s surprise outfit. It feels like a long, long time since Seattle went through the will-they-won’t-they Earl Thomas dating game; since John Schneider and Pete Carroll detonated the Legion of Boom era and kicked Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett to the curb; since Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor were forced to retire; since Thomas flipped off his own sideline in an act of understandable insubordination. Seattle entered the season with few expectations. Vegas odds placed their chances at a Super Bowl a hair ahead of the Browns, and any Seahawks discussion elicited a shrug. Unless, of course, you wanted to talk about the glory days and how different (read: boring) this year was going to be. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Sports quiz of the week: Champions League, Canelo and conspiracies

Who was big? Who doubted? Who scored Liverpool’s penalties?What offer did basketball player Stephen Curry receive this week?President Trump offered him the job of coaching USA’s Olympics basketball teamMarvel offered him a role as a baddie in their next superhero moviePhil Mickelson offered him a winner-takes-all round of mini-golfNasa offered him a tour of the lunar lab at their space centre in HoustonMichael “Rocky” Fielding fights Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez in New York this weekend. Why was Rocky given his nickname?He starred in Creed 2 as young Rocky’s body double He was born in Ballyrock He has never watched any Rocky films and vows he never willHe weighed 10lb when he was born On a similar theme, what does “canelo” mean?ChampChopperCinnamonChilledAll four English clubs in the Champions League have qualified for the knockout stages. Which of them did so with a negative goal difference in their group?Manchester United LiverpoolTottenham HotspurManchester CityVinicius Junior was just 18 years and 152 days old when he made his Champions League debut for Real Madrid on Wednesday night. Which player was even younger when he started for Real against Ajax in the competition in September 1995?Iker CasillasRaúlGutiLuis Enrique Liverpool host Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday afternoon. Who scored two penalties for Liverpool the last time they beat United in the league? Luis SuárezDanny MurphySteven GerrardFernando TorresTeam Sky, whose future is in doubt, have won six of the last seven editions of the Tour de France. Which cyclist won the other one?Vincenzo NibaliNairo Quintana Rigoberto Urán Romain Bardet The new Formula E season begins in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Which innovation has been introduced for this season?Attack mode, which gives drivers a temporary speed boost like in Mario KartTag-team mode, which gives teams a chance to sub in a Formula 1 driver for one race of the season Water mode, which permits teams to soak the track in one race of their choice Petrol mode, which permits teams to use non-electric cars for one race of their choiceEngland played Belgium twice in the football World Cup earlier this year (and lost twice). The two countries are meeting in the semi-finals of which tournament this weekend?Men's Hockey World CupChess World CupCurling World CupWomen's Volleyball World CupIn which city are Anastasia Dobromyslova and Lisa Ashton competing at the minute?RiyadhLondonNew York CityMelbourne1 and above.Oh dear. That's a bad score2 and above.Oh dear. That's a bad score3 and above.Oh dear4 and above.Not bad but not great5 and above.Not bad but not great6 and above.Nice work. Enjoy your weekend7 and above.Superb scoring. Enjoy your weekend9 and above.Superb scoring. Enjoy your weekend8 and above.Superb scoring. Enjoy your weekend0 and above.Poor show10 and above.You are a genius. Enjoy your weekend Continue reading...

15-12-2018

'Solari the stopgap with bigger name to come' - what is going on at Real Madrid?

The relatively unknown Santiago Solari has been placed in charge of Real Madrid - but he is not likely to be in the role for long, writes Andy West.

15-12-2018