19-12-2018 'He doesn’t play in a dinner suit': the 25 best rugby union quotes of 2018 | Robert Kitson

From Eddie Jones’s praise for ‘tough rooster’ Owen Farrell to Ellis Genge questioning rugby’s inclusivity and Ben Moon’s bouncy castle call-up“Is the international game under threat? I think it is. Look at the balance sheets of some nations and you can see exactly where we stand. If you ask me as a businessman, the business side of rugby is not working. By the 2019 World Cup we need to have a blueprint for the next 10 years. I’m not going to be an accomplice to rugby’s ruin” – World Rugby’s Agustín Pichot issues a stark global warning.“I don’t think the natural talent in New Zealand is better than some of the talent we have on this side of the world. Defensively in Europe we are more advanced than they are, most definitely” – Ronan O’Gara, currently Crusaders assistant coach. Continue reading...

19-12-2018 'I feel so sorry': Pochettino reacts to Mourinho's Manchester United sacking – video

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said it was ‘sad news’ that Manchester United had sacked José MourinhoJosé Mourinho sacked by Manchester United after worst start in 28 yearsJosé Mourinho sacked: Manchester United to appoint caretaker – live!Manchester United fans on Mourinho: the ‘serial winner’ who had to go Continue reading...

19-12-2018 José Mourinho must take the consequences, says Jürgen Klopp

• Klopp has more sympathy for sacked lower league managers• Liverpool beat Manchester United in Mourinho’s last matchJürgen Klopp said he has more sympathy for managers sacked at lower league clubs than José Mourinho and his former Manchester United rival had to “take the consequences” for what unfolded at Old Trafford.The Liverpool manager oversaw a comfortable victory over United on Sunday in what proved to be Mourinho’s final game. He said Mourinho remained an outstanding manager who has “all my respect” for what he has achieved and would not find it difficult to land another top job. For that reason, and perhaps the lucrative pay-off from Old Trafford, Klopp insists he has greater concern for peers sacked at the lower level than a two-times Champions League winner. Continue reading...

19-12-2018 Talking Horses: Arc £3m prize-money cuts start to bite at Southwell

The reduction in prize money is a response to the government’s decision to cut the maximum stake on FOBT machines in betting shops from £100 to £2The all-weather Flat card at Southwell on Tuesday afternoon has more runners per race than either of the jumps meetings at Catterick or Fakenham, but the lowest prize money per race by a long way, £7k on the Fibresand at the Midlands track versus £9k for Catterick and £10k at Fakenham. And it is a situation that can only get worse as the winter goes on after the Arena Racing Company (Arc), which operates four of the five all-weather venues, announced on Monday that it will cut its contribution to prize money by £3m in 2019. The reduction, Arc says, is a response to the government’s decision to cut the maximum stake on FOBT machines in betting shops from £100 to £2, a move which – according to the bookies – could lead to the closure of as many as 4,000 of the country’s 9,000 or so shops. This, in turn, would lead to a huge drop in the media rights payments to racecourse operators, which are calculated on a “per-shop” basis. Continue reading...

19-12-2018 Alan Shearer: Q&A on Jose Mourinho's sacking by Manchester United

BBC Sport pundit Alan Shearer answers questions about Jose Mourinho's sacking as Manchester United manager on Tuesday.

19-12-2018 England’s netballers set sights on new horizons after Spoty double

English netball walked away with two BBC prizes but attention swiftly turned from celebrations to plans for the futureThe day after the night before, and England Netball had already moved on from their unexpected triumph at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards.The Commonwealth gold medal-winning squad were named both Team of the Year and creators of the Greatest Moment of the Year, provoking scenes of celebration in the aisles at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena. The party did not last for long, though. Players were under strict instruction not to overdo the celebrations on Sunday night and, by Monday lunchtime, they were back at their training camp in Loughborough. Continue reading...

19-12-2018 Zidane? Pochettino? Who will be Manchester United's new manager?

Zinedine Zidane, Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte are possible contenders to be José Mourinho’s long-term successorMourinho sacked after United’s worst start in 28 yearsThe former France international is currently out of work after leaving Real Madrid last summer following the victory over Liverpool in the Champions League final. Remarkably, that was his third triumph in the competition in only two and a half years in charge. Is unlikely to join a club until next summer, which could suit United. Continue reading...

19-12-2018 What happened next? How the World Cup brought in a new era for Alex Scott – and women in football

She had already earned 140 caps for England, but Scott became one of the breakout stars of the men’s tournament this year as the first woman pundit taken to a World Cup by the BBC. She reveals why it wasn’t all plain sailing Alex Scott is not alone in looking back at the long hot summer of 2018 with a pronounced sense of nostalgia. But for the former Arsenal right back, who herself won 140 caps for England, it holds particularly cherished memories: she became the first female football pundit ever taken to a World Cup by the BBC.The Champions League winner and six-time Premier League champion saw a fearless England side ride a wave of uncharacteristic national optimism to the semi-final of the World Cup in Russia. Continue reading...

19-12-2018 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Man Utd to confirm interim manager after website post

Former Manchester United forward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to be named the club's interim manager on Wednesday.

19-12-2018 Focus on skill and not emotion rewards Tim Paine's new Australia

Australia skittle India’s tail end before lunch on final dayPaine ‘relieved’ to post his first win as captainIt was with just enough of the old and just enough of the new that Tim Paine’s side found the necessary balance to win their first international fixture under his tutelage. Both captains acknowledged the runs made by the hosts at the start of the Test were the biggest input to the result, a base that allowed the Australian attack to swamp their opposition four days later – a business model they made their own for two decades when they were the top of the world.Getting ahead in the game also allowed them to project themselves accordingly, Paine himself taking responsibility for pushing back against the hyperactivity of his opposite number, Virat Kohli, that dominated so much of the colour and movement through the middle days of this Test. When it all came together on the fourth evening and fifth morning in Perth, it was the best sign yet of a welcome thaw in Australia’s long winter. Continue reading...

19-12-2018 Gareth Farrelly: ‘It was a toxic, bullying culture for young players at Aston Villa’

Midfielder turned lawyer claims coach Kevin MacDonald left a ‘dark shadow’ over players at Villa and says it drove him to suicidal thoughts“It was a culture of verbal and physical bullying, but there were no checks and balances; he operated with impunity … It was like a dark shadow came over.”Gareth Farrelly, now 43 and a qualified lawyer, with a Premier League and international career behind him, is recalling the bullying he says he endured as a young player at Aston Villa in the 1990s from the coach Kevin MacDonald. It was a “relentlessly negative” regime under him. Continue reading...

19-12-2018 Mauricio Pochettino plays it cool but dance with United has already begun | David Hytner

The Tottenham manager has been in Manchester United’s sights before and has enhanced his CV since – will the stars align this time?Mauricio Pochettino has been here before – with Manchester United and Real Madrid – and it is tempting to suggest that he has now perfected the tap-dance.On one side of the fine line, the Tottenham manager talks up the respect he has for his employer; his happiness in north London; his focus on the job in hand; his professionalism. And on the other, there are a series of expansive shrugs. Who knows what the future might hold? It is known as showing a bit of ankle. Continue reading...

19-12-2018 FA Cup highlights: Blackpool 3-2 Solihull Moors

Watch highlights as a Jay Spearing penalty in extra-time help Blackpool edge past a spirited Solihull Moors and into the FA Cup third round where they will host Arsenal.

19-12-2018 Qatar World Cup: What will it be like for fans in 2022?

It is four years until the 2022 World Cup final takes place in Qatar - Richard Conway finds out what a winter tournament could be like for fans.