Eddie Jones: I won’t try to talk Manu Tuilagi out of leaving for France

22-02-2019 • Tuilagi linked to Racing 92 in £800,000-a-year deal• England coach says it’s ‘not his job’ to change player’s mindManu Tuilagi will bring a premature end to his England career with Eddie Jones’s blessing if he makes a lucrative move to Racing 92. Tuilagi was spotted at the Paris club last week and has been heavily linked with a three‑year deal at Racing worth upwards of £800,000 a year.Tuilagi would be turning his back on England, however, having made his first international start in five years against Ireland this month, as well as Leicester, who have nursed him through a litany of injuries in recent years at no little expense considering his £450,000-a-year wage. Continue reading...

Virgil van Dijk wants to become 'Liverpool legend'

22-02-2019 Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk says he wants to join the list of Anfield greats in his time at Liverpool.

Trainers pull out of Lingfield over ‘horrendous’ prize money

22-02-2019 • 20 trainers pull horses from Saturday’s Lingfield card• ARC cut prize money contribution by £3m in 2019Racing’s latest prize-money row has dramatically undermined Saturday’s Lingfield card, with one race drawing no runners at all and another attracting one. Trainers said they had taken their horses out because the £4,500 on offer for the races at the Arena Racing Company track was “horrendous” and there were more attractive options elsewhere. Related: Talking Horses: Arc £3m prize-money cuts start to bite at Southwell Continue reading...

Christian Atsu: ‘Sometimes what’s happened to me seems like a miracle’

22-02-2019 Newcastle winger remains close to his roots in Ghana and takes inspiration from ‘father figure’ Rafael BenítezIt is a very long way from Ghana’s Ada Foah to Hillsong church on Newcastle’s Westgate Road – and not merely in miles. Christian Atsu has made that transformative journey, swapping an existence as one of 10 children whose late father eked out a living fishing and farming on the junction of the Volta River and the Atlantic Ocean, for a new life on Tyneside.Almost everything has altered but one constant remains: the Newcastle winger’s Christian faith. Church was a central part of Atsu’s childhood and worship at Hillsong, a short walk from St James’ Park, binds the Ghana international to his new habitat. Continue reading...

VAR brings drama – it enhanced the Champions League at Schalke

22-02-2019 Manchester City’s experience showed VAR is imperfect and will not end debates but also demonstrated its beautyVAR: farce or fantastic fillip for football? Thirty-five minutes into Manchester City’s breathless 3-2 win at Schalke came an incident that was a gift for those who view the system as a farrago waiting to happen.When Daniel Caligiuri’s shot hit Nicolás Otamendi’s right arm the technology kicked in. Except, not at first, as the pitch-side monitors failed to work. This caused a delay of three minutes before studio-based officials informed the referee, Carlos del Cerro Grande, a penalty should be awarded. Continue reading...

Super League: Wakefield Trinity 22-12 Catalans Dragons

22-02-2019 Wakefield secure their first Super League win of 2019 as they score three tries to beat Catalans Dragons.

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

22-02-2019 In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The NFL's Kaepernick settlement should just be the start of making amends | Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

22-02-2019 Hopefully the league can now support the values of the US constitution rather than pandering to those who mistake parochialism for patriotismIn one of my favorite sports movies, Vision Quest, the varsity wrestling coach tells his students they can challenge the best wrestler in any weight class if they want to take his place.“Fairest thing in the world,” he smugly tells them. As soon as one kid raises his hand to make that challenge, the coach quickly dismisses the team, pulls him aside, and says: “You’re out of your mind!” Continue reading...

Soccer and soju: The football match that kicked off Korean peace

22-02-2019 How a friendly chat on the sidelines opened the door for North and South Korea to start talking.

The Breakdown | Bold England are contenders for World Cup but don’t write off Ireland

22-02-2019 Eddie Jones’s positive selection and tactics in Dublin showed his side have hunger and desire, while Joe Schmidt’s team have overcome adversity beforeEddie Jones has been around long enough to appreciate that destiny lies at the end of a road blighted with potholes and misleading signposts. After his greatest triumph on Saturday he was gracious in victory, 11 months after he had been booed by some home supporters at Twickenham after Ireland had secured the Grand Slam there.“They are a top team,” he said of Ireland, the world’s form country in 2018 who had been systematically taken apart by England. And they are. Just as England found last year after two years of barely uninterrupted success under Jones, nothing feeds the appetite of an ambitious team like a setback. Continue reading...

Pep Guardiola: Newport were chanting 'Who are you?' It was nice – video

22-02-2019 Pep Guardiola praised his Manchester City players, in particular Phil Foden, as they beat Newport County 4-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.Newport had beaten both Leicester City and Middlesbrough on their way to the fifth round of the tournament, and contained the Premier League leaders well for significant spells of the game.  Continue reading...

Rory McIlroy takes one-shot lead in WGC-Mexico Championship

22-02-2019 Rory McIlroy is one shot ahead after the first day of the WGC-Mexico Championship.

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

22-02-2019 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.

Alysa Liu's remarkable rise: is 13 too young to be an elite athlete?

22-02-2019 The figure skater is barely into her teens and is already the US champion. But some believe the mental and physical strain of elite sport should waitAlysa Liu covered her face and cried as the results were announced at the US ladies figure skating championship in Detroit, Michigan, last month. Her coach, Laura Lipetsky who has worked with her since she was five, hugged her.Liu had just won the national title at the age of 13, making her the youngest athlete to have done so, and with two triple axels no less. The weeks since have been a media frenzy. She appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and profiles on her meteoric rise have been published across the world. But for all the attention Liu has received, she won’t be able to compete in Worlds. She’s too young. A 1997 International Skating Union rule requires athletes to be at least 15 by 1 July preceding the season to participate in senior-level international events. Continue reading...

Chris Eubank ‘petrified’ son will lose must-win fight against James DeGale

22-02-2019 • Senior suggests Junior may struggle with mental approach• ‘It’s definitely a 50-50 fight. I’m not convinced he will win’The trouble with boxing is that the real thing is invariably preceded by faux outrage and empty rhetoric, but it was nonetheless a minor jolt to hear Chris Eubank admit he was “petrified” about the outcome of his son’s career-defining fight against James DeGale on Saturday night.Senior (or “English”, to use his preferred handle) was the master of surprises in his fighting days and did not disappoint in his role as father and sometime adviser to Eubank Jr when he declared: “It’s definitely a 50-50 fight. I am petrified he may not win this.” He added: “I’m not convinced [Junior] will win, because James DeGale has pedigree in terms of being [an Olympic] gold medallist, twice a world champion. It’s real. I respect the man’s abilities. Junior has it – but who turns up on the night? Continue reading...

'I won five Champions Leagues and these guys zero': Ronaldo taunts Atlético despite defeat – video

22-02-2019 Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Madrid was an unhappy one with his Juventus side losing 2-0 to Atlético in the Champions League. Ronaldo received plenty of abuse from the home fans and reacted in the mixed zone after the match displaying five fingers to the media, one for each Champions League title he has won. Giménez and Godín put Atlético Madrid in charge against Juventus Continue reading...

The Fiver | Staring us in the face, in plain sight, giving us the big do-you-want-some

22-02-2019 Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Yesterday evening, Barcelona took 25 shots against Lyon but none of them went in, so they drew for the fourth time in five matches. At Anfield, Naby Keïta had a pass completion rate of 74%. But apart from those two examples of things that are brimful of pretty attacking promise but aren’t quite clicking at the moment, there was very little to talk about in Big Cup. The needle on the Fiver’s patented Entertainmentometer™© got stuck halfway between Mildly Diverting But Only Because There’s Nothing On Any Of The Other Channels and Intriguing But Only Because You’re Trying Way Too Hard. Bah. As a banner displayed in the Bayern end and applauded by the Liverpool fans noted, you had to pay £48 for a ticket to watch this stuff. One day a real rain will come. Continue reading...