England’s Marlie Packer: ‘I thought it was all over. I’d lose my job, lose my rugby’

The Saracens back-rower’s career hung by a thread after a ‘soul-destroying’ drink-driving incident but the RFU’s support meant the chance of a fresh startMarlie Packer remembers it as a gorgeous August Saturday. Saracens had a pre-season friendly. She was still recovering from an operation, so didn’t play, but spent the day running out the water bottles. They won handily, and afterwards everyone went to the pub. It was the first time the whole squad had been back together since they won the Premiership final three months earlier. “Everyone’s spirits were really good,” Packer says. She had two drinks. “I didn’t really think about it, I didn’t feel drunk or anything like that, I was just in a good mood. We all were.” And then she drove home.It’s a long way from Saracens’ home ground to Packer’s house in Twickenham and she was most of the way there when it happened. Coming down the Kew Road she saw a car come rushing up to a junction ahead. She was sure it was going to pull out, so swerved into the other lane to avoid it. Her van clipped the back of an oncoming car, the airbags exploded, and her van smacked into the kerb. Through the shock, she felt certain she wasn’t hurt, so she unbuckled herself, opened the door and ran around behind to check on the people in the car she had hit. Mercifully, they were fine too. Continue reading...

23-01-2019



Super Bowl: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs

Tom Brady reaches an unprecedented ninth Super Bowl after leading his team to a 37-31 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

23-01-2019



England in West Indies: James Anderson takes four wickets to boost tourists

James Anderson takes four wickets in the final session to swing the first Test in England's favour on day one against West Indies in Barbados.

23-01-2019



Unai Emery sings Monchi’s praises with Arsenal seeking new technical director

• Monchi among contenders to replace Sven Mislintat• Emery worked successfully with Monchi at SevillaUnai Emery has been singing the praises of Monchi, one of the contenders to become Arsenal’s new technical director. “I worked very well with him in Sevilla for three and a half years and my relationship with him is good,” Emery said. “He is a good person and a good professional. I can say he is working in Roma and this issue is the club’s responsibility.”The hierarchy are currently refining their search for someone to oversee the technical side in addition to replacing Sven Mislintat, the outgoing head of recruitment. The influence of Emery’s first-hand experience of working alongside Monchi remains to be seen but the Arsenal manager said that it was more important to get the appointment right than rush to a speedy conclusion. Continue reading...

23-01-2019



South Korea unveils biggest ever investigation into abuse in sport

Human rights commission to interview possibly thousands of adults and children in wake of allegationsSouth Korea’s human rights commission plans to interview possibly thousands of adult and child athletes about a culture of abuse in sports after a wave of female athletes came forward to allege they had been raped or assaulted by their coaches.The year-long investigation will cover 50 sports and include children competing from primary schools upwards, Park Hong-geun, an official from the National Human Rights Commission, said on Wednesday. Continue reading...

23-01-2019



Australian exit shows Serena Williams is haunted by trauma of US meltdown

Serena Williams has insisted she will ‘soldier on’ in search of slam glory but her quarter-final collapse against Karolina Pliskova posed questions about her emotional stateSerena Williams leaves Melbourne – and the rest of tennis – less certain about her future than her magnificent past, upset yet oddly resigned to the fact that what she hoped would be the extension of her comeback had unravelled in glorious confusion.In trying to rationalise the disappointment of falling three wins short of drawing alongside Margaret Court with a staggering 24 career majors, Williams moved with far more dexterity in the aftermath than she did while enduring a head-spinning collapse in the third set of her quarter-final against Karolina Pliskova. Continue reading...

23-01-2019



Winx world’s best at last but has to share top billing with Cracksman

• Australian mare won her fourth Cox Plate in October• John Gosden’s Cracksman rated alongside Winx on 130Winx, the Australian mare who took her winning sequence to 29 races with a record fourth success in the Cox Plate in October, was named the world’s best racehorse for the first time in her career at a ceremony in London on Wednesday.She took only a share of the prize, however, as Cracksman, John Gosden’s Champion Stakes winner, was rated alongside Winx on a mark of 130, with Accelerate, the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, third on the list with a rating of 128. Continue reading...

23-01-2019



Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas v Rafael Nadal preview

Stefanos Tsitsipas feels he "can do something good" against 17-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semi-final.

23-01-2019



John Amaechi fears NBA London game may not return for years if it goes to France

Former NBA star John Amaechi fears that if the yearly NBA London game transfers to Paris it might not return to for years.

23-01-2019



Ben Stokes’s five-ball burst underlines claims he is Flintoff’s heir apparent | Ali Martin

England all-rounder marks 50th cap by giving West Indies a taste of his indefatigable brawn and a natural ability to get the ball hoopingAt 9am the England supporters had swamped the public spaces outside the Kensington Oval, perusing the market stalls, taking on early fluids and jostling for pictures in front of the cover-driving statue of Sir Garfield Sobers.Inside the so-called mecca of Caribbean cricket another all-rounder was also being celebrated. In the pre-match huddle Ben Stokes received his 50th England cap from his former county teammate Steve Harmison, who once planted his personal flag in the region when blasting Michael Vaughan’s side to a series win in 2004. Continue reading...

23-01-2019



Emiliano Sala: little hope player and pilot are alive, say rescuers

Police to decide on Thursday whether to keep searching, as pilot is named as Dave IbbotsonRescuers fear that there is little hope of finding the footballer Emiliano Sala and an experienced pilot alive after their light aircraft went missing over the Channel Islands.The search for the new Cardiff City striker Sala and the pilot, who has been named as Dave Ibbotson from Lincolnshire, was postponed as darkness fell on Guernsey on Wednesday. A decision on whether to resume the search would be made early on Thursday, police said. It is understood that a French navy vessel had been directed to the area to assist. Continue reading...

23-01-2019



The Breakdown | Concentration of Ireland rugby talent leaves English trailing in Europe

Leinster – and the fast-rising Scottish sides – are packed full of internationals while Test players are spread more thinly across their Premiership and Top 14 rivalsThe Premiership goes into the final round of the European Champions Cup group stage this weekend hunting a first victory over an Irish province in this season’s tournament. Its clubs have three opportunities: Ulster travel to Leicester, Leinster are away to Wasps and, in the one contest that has an outcome for both teams, Exeter have to become the fourth team to topple Munster at Thomond Park in the competition.The Chiefs’ task is even more demanding because of the bonus point Munster secured at Gloucester last Friday. It means Exeter not only have to win but deny their opponents a bonus point, unless they score at least four tries. For all the impact they have made in the Premiership in recent seasons, reaching the last three finals, they have yet to find the formula in Europe where a gameplan based on retaining possession is more hazardous because of the extra latitude given to the defending side at the breakdown. Continue reading...

23-01-2019